Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket SS - review - Road Cycling UK

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Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket SS – review

A highly adaptable short-sleeve jacket which works well from autumn through to spring

The Sportful Fiandre Windstopper LRR is an innovative and stylish short-sleeve jacket that, on the face of it, appears to be as odd as ordering a roast dinner without the vegetables, yet really works as a highly adaptable anchor of a cycling wardrobe from autumn through to spring (and quite possibly beyond, depending on where you live).

A short-sleeve jacket, really? It sounds like an oddity in a kit range, but if you think of it like a gilet++ you’re almost there. The Sportful Fiandre Windstopper LRR is the answer to all those times you’ve been out in changeable conditions, split between getting soaked in a gilet or overheating in a jacket.

Sure, in the rain your lower sleeves do get wet – and if you’re out for a day-long ride in a downpour a normal jacket would be a better bet – but otherwise the Fiandre Windstopper LRR does a stellar job of keeping the torso warm and dry enough to comfortably ride in traditional, filthy British weather.

A short sleeve jacket? Yep, that’s right
  • Specification

  • Price: £185
  • Sizes: XS-XXXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Black/red; black
  • Website: Sportful

The jacket has an excellent fit – close and athletic – with enough stretch built in to avoid riding up while in an aggressive position on the bike. Faced with a grim road race, I wouldn’t hesitate to pin a couple of numbers on the back of the Fiandre. At £185 I might be miffed if someone wiped out in front of me, but it doesn’t feel a fragile item of kit.

At the heart of any windproof jacket is the zip, and Sportful have not under-specced the Fiandre Windstopper LRR. From the moment you pull up the waterproof YKK Vislon zipper up along the taped seems it’s clear the elements aren’t making it through here.

Taped seams feature prominently across the Fiandre. Sportful don’t claim it’s fully waterproof, but it’s clear any precipitation will have to work hard to make it through the impressive Gore fabric first.

The standard arrangement of three jersey-style pockets is included on the back. There isn’t a zipped pocket, but they are of a generous enough depth to make losing your keys unlikely. What isn’t standard are the drain holes concealed at the bottom of each pocket. I’m not sure if this is an overkill feature – if it’s raining hard enough that my pockets are actually flooding I’m more likely to be cowering in a bus shelter than out on the road, but you can’t criticise the thought.

The jacket is part of Sportful’s weatherproof Fiandre collection (Pic: Sportful)

The LRR jacket itself can be rolled up to fit into a jersey pocket, but this needs a deep pocket – it’s going to be tight in an aero jersey. Even then it protruded enough from the top to make me a little nervous of losing a £185 piece of kit. It felt secure, but I’ll admit to more than one pocket check each time it was stowed.

Sportful have intelligently built reflectivity into their logos on the front and rear of the jacket, and usefully added striped decals where most drivers are likely to see it. The red and black contrast of our test jacket is also attention-grabbing, while there’s also a black version if that’s what you’d prefer. Either way, the visibility features compliment the jacket rather than dominate it, so it strikes a good balance.

Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket SS
Sportful Fiandre WS LRR Jacket SS

Conclusion

The Sportful Fiandre Windstopper LRR Short Sleeve Jacket could become a mainstay of the cycling wardrobe for the three wetter seasons of the year.  This is a garment for riders who relish racking up quick miles in changeable conditions while their fair-weather buddies are still glancing outside through the windows, refreshing the weather app on their smartphone.

At £185 without sleeves it sounds expensive, but it’s adaptable enough to take the space of two or three other items of kit, and do the job just as well – if not better – providing you don’t slow down too much and feel the chill when it rains. In which case, a traditional long sleeve jacket may be more suitable.

Pros

  • Very versatile for use in changeable conditions
  • Windproof and (highly) water resistant
  • Impressively breathable

Cons

  • Not as much protection as a full jacket (obviously)
  • No zipped pocket

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