Cycle Show 2012: Sportful clothing

You may have noted the Sportful logo on Alberto Contador’s chest during last month’s Vuelta a Espana.

The Italian brand, whose parent company owns Castelli, sponsors the Danish Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank WorldTour team, led by the multiple Grand Tour winner.

We have a selection of Sportful’s winter kit coming in for test next month, including the 50 gram, Hotpack Ultralight jacket, inflated at the cycle show in the style of a petrol station forecourt mannequin. In its natural state, it folds to proportions that should allow it to be easily stowed in a jersey pocket without forcing a choice between carrying a jacket or energy gel.

The Sportful Ultralight jacket winging its way to RCUK Towers for test weighs just 50 grams but seemed plenty tough enough

Despite the absurdly low weight, it shrugged off attempts by Sportful’s man on the stand to push his finger through a section of the fabric held taught. The three vents under each arm are reinforced too (in something approaching the style of a plastic document holder in a ring binder) and protected by a flap. Protection from the elements lies in its DWR coating (‘Durable Water Repellency’), a spray on treatment commonly used in the industry (it’s a feature of the Mavic Helium jacket, for example).

Much of Sportul’s Cycle Show display focussed on summer 2013.

The Bodyfit Pro range is claimed to offer an identical fabric and cut to that used by the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank WorldTour team.

The Aero Race jersey from the Body Fit Pro range has a claimed weight of 72 grams

The collection’s Aero Race jersey, made from a Polyester-based fabric with a semi-open mesh design, has a claimed weight of 72 grams, and, according to Sportful’s man at the show, better aero performance than any jersey from sister company, Castelli. It felt light in the hand, and the full zip, three pockets, laser cut sleeve ticked three of our boxes. Its light weight is said to make it quick drying.

The short from the same line is £85, which compares favourably to others worn in the WorldTour. We’ll be testing the 2013 incarnation pictured here next summer to see if the performance is as attractive as the price.

The side panel has a dimpled surface, presumably for aero performance (replicating the golf ball principle) and Sportful’s man at the Cycle Show tells us it has a semi-compressed feel. The deep hem was something we liked on Castelli’s Velocissimo Equipe short, where it spread the pressure of the silicone gripper more evenly than on narrower designs, so its presence here bodes well for Sportful’s offering. We’ll test this observation with the short next summer.

The Grupetto jersey is said to have the same fabric and cut as the Body Fit Pro range but ‘without the logos’

The Grupetto range offers the same fabric and fit as the Body Fit Pro. We thought the contrasting blues of the jersey pictured here were rather fetching, and the full zip, silicone hem, and laser cut sleeve looked liked they might perform well.

We also liked the look of the Pista jersey, which at £40 included many of the features commonly found on garments two or three times the price, including a full-length zip, and a deep hem at the sleeve.

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