Sportful have expanded the all-weather Fiandre No-Rain range for winter 2015/16 with the introduction of the Fiandre Extreme Neoshell Jacket and Fiandre No-Rain Bib Tights.
The Fiandre range seeks to provide protection from the elements in variable conditions (Fiandre is Italian for Flanders, where there’s no shortage of changeable weather – just like the UK) without compromising on fit or breathability. However, while those jerseys and jackets in the existing Fiandre provide varying levels of water resistance, the Extreme jacket looks to step things up a notch by using a fully waterproof fabric.
Sportful say they set out to “make the ultimate jacket: highly breathable, warm, with perfect stretch fit, and fully waterproof.” That’s no mean feat, however, Sportful reckon the Polartec NeoShell fabric used to make the jacket is up to the task. NeoShell has been around for a little while now but Sportful have been reluctant to use it as they haven’t been happy with the level of stretch required to get a close and comfortable fit on the bike.
The latest version of the fabric is said to tick that box, though, and is said to be windproof and waterproof, while offering improved breathability and coming to the party with significantly less bulk and an improved fit over a typical hardshell waterproof jacket.
Fully taped seams continue the waterproof theme, as does the waterproof YKK Vislon zipper. Out back there are three rear pockets and reflective detailing.
Sportful reckon this is the only jacket you’ll need when it’s colder than ten degrees – regardless of whether it’s wet or dry – and we’re looking forward to putting that to the test over this winter. However, the Extreme’s also available with short sleeves, coming with Sportful’s new Fiandre Extreme arm warmers also made from Polartec NeoShell, for wet weather protection when it’s a little milder.
All that tech doesn’t come cheap and the Sportful Fiandre Extreme NeoShell will cost £240 for the long sleeve jacket and £270 for the short sleeve version with arm warmers included.
Wet weather tights
The Fiandre No-Rain Bib Tights are another new addition to the range for the upcoming winter. The existing No-Rain tights remain in the collection, using Sportful’s proprietary silicone-treated water repellent fabric, but the Fiandre tights are designed to offer additional rain protection for riders who refuse to be put off by bad weather.
That comes in the form of a double layer of windproof and water resistant No-Rain fabric on the thighs and knees, as well as a water resistant flap at the rear designed to protect against wheel spray, which, for any rider who’s experienced a soggy chamois during a wet winter’s ride, is never a good thing (mudguards provide an alternative answer, of course).
Otherwise the Fiandre No-Rain tights are fleece-lined and use Sportful’s TC Pro chamois, while there’s a decent amount of reflective piping and camlock ankle zips. The Fiandre No-Rain bib tights will cost £125.
The Fiandre gloves are also new to the range and continue the theme of providing protection against cold, wet weather, using an ‘OutDry’ membrane to keep rain out and a fleece lining to lock in warmth. The neoprene cuffs are there to stop water creeping in and there’s stacks of grip on the palm and fingers. Sportful say the gloves are best for winter riding when it’s five degrees and below or there’s rain in the air. Yours for £70.
Fiandre for summer
Looking further ahead to spring/summer 2016 and Sportful have also added a number of pieces to the range designed to offer water resistance for when the temperature’s a little more clement – which, given the amount of rain we’ve had this summer, seems a smart move. It’s not clothing designed to stave off torrential rain, but more to protect against the light rain and passing showers brought around by changeable weather, when it’s not necessary to carry a full waterproof and you can instead rely on what you’re already wearing to do the job.
The Sportful Fiandre Light No-Rain SS is essentially a short sleeve version of superbly versatile Fiandre Light No-Rain Top, designed to offer extremely lightweight, packable protection from wind and light rain. If you want to take things a step further then there’s now also the Fiandre Light No-Rain Vest. The Sportful Fiandre Light No-Rain SS will cost £95 and can be paired with Fiandre Light No-Rain arm warmers, designed to offer lightweight, water repellent windproofing, for an additional £27.
Finally, the same No-Rain Light fabric has also been deployed on the new Fiandre Light No-Rain Bib Shorts. While there are already No-Rain shorts in the Fiandre range, they’re designed for cold conditions and have a fleece lining. The Light shorts, on the other hands, use, you guessed it, a lighter, unlined fabric for spring/summer rides when things get a little damp. Like the rest of the No-Rain range, the fabric has a water repellent finish, and there’s a double layer of that fabric on the lower back where it’s needed most. Other features include Sportful’s TC Pro pad, mesh bib straps, reflective highlights and ultra-wide leg bands designed to sit flush with the skin. The Fiandre Light No-Rain Bib Shorts will retail for £70.
That’s what’s new, then, but the rest of the Fiandre range which we liked so much last winter also carries over for the new season, including the Fiandre Light WS Jacket and excellent Fiandre Light Wind Jersey we reviewed earlier this year.