Sportful winter clothing – first look

Wind and rain are among the cyclist’s many enemies in winter but Sportful’s No-Rain range aims to keep both at bay.

We will be testing the Fiandre No-Rain Jacket Light and No-Rain Bib Tights.

Sportful’s No-Rain range is designed for the cold and wet winters of northern Europe

First up, it’s impossible to ignore how bright the jacket is. Hi-viz, fluoro, neon – call it what you want, it’s bang on trend and the colour of 2013. We’ve seen a host of high-end clothing brands (Sportful, Santini and Rapha among them) embrace it. The No-Rain Jacket Light is best described as optic yellow, like the colour of a tennis ball, but it’s also available in white/black.

Fiandre is the Italian word for Flanders and the jacket is designed for use in the cold and wet winters which fall upon the region every year. Sportful’s No-Rain range uses the Italian firm’s proprietary No-Rain nanotechnology, which uses silicone particles in the fabric to repel water. It’s part of the make-up of the fabric so, unlike a waterproof treatment, it won’t wash out.

The No-Rain fabric is used on the lower arms and back (essentially the black parts of the jacket in our pictures). It’s fleece-lined, has plenty of stretch and, according to Sportful, very breathable. Otherwise, a Gore Windstopper 4-Way Light fabric is used on the chest and the upper sleeves (the fluoro bit). It has a three-ply construction, which means it’s water resistant as well as windproof. Sportful say the combination of the Gore and No-Rain fabrics makes the jacket ideal for use in constant, drizzly rain. A high collar and waterproof zip provide further wind and rain protection.

Fluoro yellow is the on-trend colour of 2013

Otherwise, the jacket has the Sportful logo printed on the left shoulder, and the No-Rain logo on the left arm. There are three pockets at the rear, with a small flap over the top of each to stop rain getting in, and a reflective tab on the rear hem, which has a silicon gripper on the inside.

Sportful describe the No-Rain Jacket Light as having the weight and fit of a jersey but the protection of a jacket. An initial test ride revealed a garment which is, as the name suggests, light and with a close fit – a nod to the company’s racing heritage (Sportful currently sponsor Alberto Contador’s SaxoBank-Tinkoff team).

It’s recommended for temperatures to five degrees, which, combined with a good base layer, should cover much of the British winter. A thicker, warmer version of the jacket is available for truly cold conditions and we’ll be testing that with Sportful’s Total Comfort Bib Tights as the season progresses.

The No-Rain Bib Tights cost £90

The Sportful No-Rain Bib Tights use the No-Rain fabric throughout, except for on the mesh back panel. The lack of seams in noticeable and Sportful say this helps improve the waterproof qualities of the bib tights, reducing the areas where water may be able to compromise the fabric.

The lack of seams and simple aesthetics, with just a black-on-black No-Rain logo subtly printed on the left leg, makes for a very clean pair of bib tights. Two reflective tabs, one on each leg, improve low light visibility. The bib tights use Sportful’s seamless Body Fit Pro chamois. It’s been developed alongside the SaxoBank team and, with a seamless construction and variable thickness, is designed for riders who want to ride aggressively but in comfort.

The No-Rain Jacket Lights is priced at £135, while the No-Rain Bib Tights cost £90. Both are available in sizes XS-XXXL.

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