After a long and wet winter, I’ve been putting my thermal bib tights, jackets and deep winter gloves into the back of the wardrobe for another six months, and with the arrival of the spring weather it's time to look at Italian brand Sportful’s offering for the coming seasons.
Sportful R&D Cima jersey and bibshorts
Sportful’s R&D range is its cutting-edge product line and sits at the top-end of the brand’s price point.
The R&D Cima design is a new addition to the collection and features a lightweight jersey, bibshorts, mitts and socks that are designed for hot weather and long mountain ascents.
The R&D Cima jersey is available in either a red or fluorescent yellow finish on a predominantly black design. The stretch-woven fabric of the jersey has only three seams plus a full length zip, resulting in less fabric, and will stay drier from any sweat in the summer heat.
Inspired by time trial and track aero-suits, the jersey has a very low neck line and is in a very athletic fit.
The R&D Cima bibshorts continue both the colour theme of the jersey as well as its lightweight and heat management properties.
The majority of the legs on the shorts are constructed from an aero stretch fabric, which yes, is see-through, but will help with wicking sweat and features a raw-cut leg.
The rear of the shorts, which lies over the lower back, is a double-layer perforated outer and mesh lining that works together for wicking sweat and ventilation. The shorts also feature the TC Pro seatpad, Sportful’s top of the line chamois.
To complement the R&D Cima jersey and bibshorts a lightweight glove and sock are also included in the range.
- Sportful R&D Cima jersey: £95 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Sportful R&D Cima bibshort: £90 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Sportful R&D Cima glove £35 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Sportful R&D Cima 8 sock: £15 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Sportful HotPack NoRain Ultralight jacket
The ever-popular HotPack range began in 1999 as a packable jacket and 18 years later the jacket has developed to become exceptionally light. If the new version is like any of its predecessors I'm sure it will be a go-to piece for several seasons to come.
The HotPack jacket is available in either silver or fluorescent yellow and both pack down into a small rear pocket for easy stowage when the weather clears up — which also doubles up as an outer pocket when wearing the jacket. Weighing in at 105 grams, or two chocolate bars, the jacket is great for putting in a jersey pocket for longer rides or in changeable weather.
At £160 the jacket certainly isn’t cheap, but here at BikeRadar we are still using an earlier incarnation of the HotPack for the fifth season and it continues to perform.
- Sportful HotPack NoRain Ultralight jacket: £160 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Sportful Bodyfit Pro Road Suit
The Bodyfit Pro Road Suit won't be for everyone. Adapted from a time trial or track speedsuit, the Road Suit is a slightly relaxed short sleeve version that offers some of the aerodynamic and compression properties found in Sportful’s most technical race apparel.
The short sleeve suit comes in either black or fluorescent green and features three rear pockets and a double full-length zip.
While this may be overkill for the coffee run, the suit could be used in local races, time trials or give you the edge on that final sprint of your chaingang!
Sportful pairs the suit with its top of the line chamois and while the aerodynamic fabric of the body will help you keep cool, it is fairly see-through so I'd suggest pairing the Road Suit with a summer baselayer.
- Sportful Bodyfit Pro Road Suit: £140 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Sportful Grupetto Pro LTD jersey and bibshorts
Modelled on Sportful’s BodyFit range, the Grupetto line offers some of the features from race focussed products without sacrificing utility, and a more relaxed fit.
The Sportful Grupetto Pro Ltd jersey is a combination of stretch fabric and mesh side panels, which is designed to provide both comfort and ventilation, while silicone grippers on the sleeves and the rear hem further ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
The cut of the jersey is relaxed, but is by no means going to slow you down in the wind. It features three regular cargo pockets to the rear and a small zipper pocket for valuables.
The Sportful Grupetto Pro bibshorts come in a predominantly black design and are finished with the same black, blue, red or green colourways of the Grupetto Pro Ltd jersey.
Sportful’s BodyFit Pro seat pad has been updated for the season with a new colour and features a perforated finish to help with ventilation. I’ve used the new chamois for several hundred miles now and it is more than on par with the previous BodyFit seat pad and is exceptionally comfortable ride after ride.
Sportful also offers a mitt and sock to match the kit.
- Sportful Grupetto Pro Ltd jersey: £80 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Grupetto Pro bibshorts: £80 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Grupetto Pro glove: £30 / $TBC / AU$TBC
- Grupetto Pro 12 sock: £12 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Sportful Stelvio jacket
The Stelvio jacket was first seen at Eurobike last year, and after two years of testing and development with the Tinkoff team it has finally become available commercially.
Designed to be able to cope with the harshest of weathers, the Stelvio provides maximum waterproof protection without sacrificing breathability. While the HotPack NoRain Ultralight jacket provides the same level of water protection as before, the Stelvio claims to have 25 percent more breathability and is pitched as a market-leading fabric.
In an athletic cut, the jacket is tailored around the shoulders and features a second elastic hem around the sleeve to prevent any unwanted flapping. The full-length zip is water resistant, but also features a storm flap for added protection.
Although normal protocol in a race situation would be to remove a rain jacket in the finale of a WorldTour race, former Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) kept the jacket on and sprinted to second place at Paris-Nice, highlighting the race fit and breathability even at maximum efforts.
Despite the Stelvio jacket coming at a cost, the breathability and performance claims are bold and I'm looking forward to testing it fully.
- Sportful Stelvio jacket: £240 / $TBC / AU$TBC
Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain top
First featuring in Sportful’s Winter 2014 range, the Fiandre Light NoRain range has featured in every collection, both winter and summer, since. This highlights both the versatility and performance of the piece.
Constructed from NoRain fabric, the jacket is good for light showers but doesn’t offer full weather protection. It's soft, stretchy and the perfect outer layer for lighter spring/summer rains and great as a mid-layer in the colder months.
While the cut is athletic, the stretch of the fabric results in a comfortable fit even with packed out jersey pockets.
- Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain top: £115 / $TBC / AU$TBC