The Sportful BodyFit Pro Wind Vest is an excellent gilet which ticks almost every box: it’s lightweight, windproof, water resistant and high-viz, with a close race-specific cut which still has plenty of breathing room.
It’s not the most affordable gilet on the market but this one does it’s job as well as any we’ve tried.
Where to start? Lightweight. This isn’t a featherweight gilet like the type you can scrunch up into a tiny ball, but it’s still plenty compact enough to roll up and slip into a jersey pocket without any fuss.
The gilet is made from two fabrics, with Gore’s excellent Windstopper material used on the front, shoulders and side panels, and a super-stretchy fabric on the back panel. The Windstopper fabric has a degree of stretch in it but it’s primary job is, as the name suggests, to keep the wind out and it does that well, providing a lightweight but effective additional layer on chilly rides.
I’ve been using the gilet recently on rides where the temperature is anything around six or seven to 14 degrees, when I want something to wear over a regular jersey, without having to reach for a winter jacket. That temperature range will vary according to how much you feel the cold.
The Windstopper fabric is also water resistant, too, and we rode through an hour’s worth of steady drizzle without the rain truly penetrating the fabric. Again, that makes it a good alternative to a jacket when there’s a short shower in the air, though it’s obviously not going to keep you as dry as a dedicated rain jacket, by virtue of the fact the fabric’s not fully waterproof and there are two gaping holes for your arms. The Windstopper fabric is also used on the collar, which extends approximately two inches and provides a little extra windproofing for your neck.
The fabric used on the back panel is incredibly stretchy and contributes to the gilet’s close but nonrestrictive fit. It also improves breathability, too, though that’s not to say the Windstopper fabric isn’t good at transferring moisture. It is. Like most gilets, there are no pockets, though the back panel is stretchy enough that it’s not too much of a chore to reach under to access jersey pockets if required.
Sportful’s BodyFit Pro range is essentially the same kit as worn by Alberto Contador’s Saxo-Tinkoff team, but without the sponsors logos, and that’s reflected in the cut. It’s a race-inspired cut but the gilet is a little roomier than the jersey and jacket we’ve also got on test. The cut is excellent, ensuring there’s no excess material to bunch up or flap about in the wind, and I’ve been able to use my regular size, medium, as normal. The gilet is cut short at the front and long at the rear to reflect your position on the bike.
The gilet is available in two colours, either black or our high-viz sample, which has bright panels on the shoulders and under the arms. Sportful’s BodyFit Pro range is colour-matched – so much so that the gilet almost blends in with the BodyFit Pro jersey in our picture – and that’s a stylish look if you wear your kit as an ensemble. If not then the all-black gilet will probably ‘go’ with more that’s in your wardrobe, but prefer the high-viz option for riding at this time of year, even if there aren’t any reflective details to boost visibility at night.
We reckon a lightweight gilet is an essential item in any cyclist’s wardrobe for much of the year and, though the £85 retail price is a significant outlay, the pro-level price tag comes with pro-level performance.