Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket - review - Road Cycling UK

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Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket – review

Seriously warm jacket with added water resistance - this will leave you with few excuses not to ride through winter

When you pick up some jackets, you know they are going to be warm – the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket is one of those. But the trick with the Fiandre is how it marries its superb thermal qualities with enough wet weather protection for changeable conditions, making this a jacket which provides little excuse for not riding through winter.

The jacket is primarily constructed from two fabrics from the specialists over at Gore: Windstopper Warm and Windstopper Mid. As the names suggest, they’re variations of the same fabric, with Warm the full-fat, 300g, fleece-backed, winter-weight fabric, and Mid about 25 per cent lighter while still providing the same windproofing and water repellent outer face.

Sportful have placed those fabrics to ensure you’re getting the right protection in the right places, and added their own fleecy (but not windproof) NoRain fabric, which has a water repellent outer treatment, in those areas which will benefit from a little more breathability.

The Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket is constructed from three fabrics to provide heavy-duty winter protection
  • Specification

  • Price: £175
  • Sizes: XS-XXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Website: Sportful

Internally, the fabrics used have a brushed, fleecy finish which traps air and keeps it warm. Breathability is generally pretty good considering the thickness of the fabric but this really is a jacket for cold conditions. On one test ride which started cold but saw the temperature rise to 12 degrees in the sun, the jacket was too warm and a few moisture patches became apparent, suggesting the upper limit of Sportful’s zero to 15 degree suggested temperature range is a little ambitious. Still, the sacrifice of a little breathability for the level of protection offered here is a price worth paying and I found the Fiandre was most at home with the temperature in single figures- it then really comes into its own at around five degrees or below.

That protection means this isn’t a lightweight piece by any means but it’s not heavy compared to softshells of old, and despite the weight, the jacket still fits well, with a cut which minimises cold areas and comfortably allows for a winter base layer underneath.

During testing, I once rode with more than one base layer as a jersey coupled with the Fiandre Jacket would be a suffocatingly warm combination in typical British winter conditions (which was down to minus four for me), but it hints at the warmth you could achieve with this jacket if you wanted to ride in seriously freezing weather.

However, in the generally cold, wet and windy riding conditions for which Sportful’s Fiandre range is designed, the jacket is a bunker of protection. The water repellent fabrics mean the jacket is happy buffering off rain for prolonged periods. Beading is effective and the high collar stops or reduces the dreaded water down the neck scenario which can occur in heavy downpours.

The jacket does a good job at keeping showers and light rain out, making it ideal for anything but prolonged winter downpours

Other features include a waterproof YKK zipper and cuffs which lays flat to allow rain to bead and roll off the jacket – or at least slow its entry. That said, I’d like the arms to be a little longer or the cuff length to be increased to get a really solid glove overlap in the coldest weather.

The three rear pockets are well-sized, but not waterproof – and there are no drain holes, which could be handy in super-heavy downpours. There’s also no zipped pocket, which is a shame, as its useful to have somewhere safe for money and keys.

At the rear there’s also a hidden flap, held in place inside the jacket by a popper when not in use, to provide an extra layer of protection against road spray. It works as intended by stopping road spray directly hitting your bib tights but you’re still going to get a bit soggy and it’s no replacement for mudguards.

The three rear pockets are spacious but we’d like a zipped pocket, too

While the styling feels a little simple, it reinforces the jacket’s no-nonsense approach to wet and cold weather protection. The red panels add a healthy flashy of colour, useful for winter riding, and Sportful also offer fluo yellow/black and all black versions of the jacket. Whichever one you choose, you’ll find reflective detailing on the hem (which, by the way, does a great job at holding the jacket securely in place, flush against tights), cuffs, and front and rear logos.

Conclusion

The Sportful Fiandre NoRain Jacket is a sublimely comfortable and protective jacket which leaves you with little excuse for not riding all through the winter. We’d like the cuffs to be a little longer and a zipped valuables to be added but the jacket succeeds wholly in achieving its primary aim – to provide a proper line of defence to winter weather.

Pros

  • Seriously warm
  • Wet weather protection for changeable conditions
  • Excellent fit

Cons

  • Cuffs could be marginally longer
  • No zipped valuables pocket

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