Review: Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Long Sleeve Top
Enter the Fiandre range, from Sportful. This is a set of products that I've been keen to test for a long time, and I finally broke the fast, with the Fiandre Light NoRain Long Sleeve Top.
Le Fiandre, or Vlaanderen, refers to the Flanders region of northern Europe. It's an area that is famed for its unpredictable weather, Spring Classics and hard riding. This name, and the apparel within this Sportful range, promise to be kit that is perfect for the changeable autumn riding conditions in the UK. I've been giving this piece a good test run...
For most of September in the UK, as well as October (if we're lucky), we still get reasonable riding temperatures. The challenge of the conditions, comes from wind, rain and lower light conditions. The Light NoRain range is designed to deal with that, and help keep you safe and comfortable on the bike.
With the fit and feel of a soft shell, the packability of a wind vest, and the water-resistance of a light shell jacket; the Sportful Light NoRain Long Sleeve promises a seriously innovative package.
The design utilises a panelling of different fabrics, to optimise coverage in different areas of the body. On the chest and shoulders, you get a WindShield 3L fabric; this is super stretchy and feels like a normal jersey on the skin, whilst also providing notable wind protection. On the back and forearms, the Sportful NoRain Light fabric comes into its own; providing protection from precipitation from above, as well as from road spray from below. The NoRain material is similar to the water-resistant Castelli Gabba fabric; however, the panelling with the WindShield fabric in this design, means that you get even greater breathability, whilst still protecting key areas from spray.
The fit, is quite frankly superb. The stretch of the WindShield and NoRain fabrics, means that this fits just like a race-cut jersey. It also has long arms, a low-cut rear hem and a high cut collar; all of which help to keep out sudden inclement weather conditions.
The smaller design touches are also worth noting. For example, I'm a big fan of the zipper on the back, which allows you to access your rear pockets, without having to hitch up the jacket's hem. The zipper opening also doubles up as a great vent, to let unwanted heat escape.
In temperatures from 8 to 15 degrees Celsius, in light drizzle, sun and wind, this has proven to be the ideal choice of kit. The fluoro yellow colourway is sure to help your road-presence in low-light conditions, and the pack-ability means it is easy to take with you, or stash away as required. It's a versatile, lightweight top, which may well be one of the best bits of autumn/springtime clothing that I've used to date.
View the Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Long Sleeve Top at Wiggle.co.uk (Link)