Fiandre is Italian for Flanders and this gives a good idea what Sportful’s new range of clothing is all about. Designed for dreary, wet, windy and muddy conditions, whether that be the cobbles of Belgium or the windswept fens of Norfolk. The Sportful Fiandre Light Windstopper Jacket claims to provide total wind protection, with a high degree of water repellency. Riding in the unpredictable British weather I was sure to put these claims to the test.
Pulling the jacket on for the first time I was impressed with the performance cut, not too restrictive and felt comfortable when on the drops. On my first ride the temperature was around 10 degrees so I wore just a summer base layer underneath and it felt about right, if a little warm on the hills.
The low cut rear section was a nice addition, keeping my back dry and the water spray from the wheel at bay. The sleeves were the right length, even with my long arms, and the lycra cuffs tucked either into or over a pair of gloves, were comfortable against the skin and didn’t ride up the arm. The only downside to the sleeves was the slightly loose cut.
For long rides it’s important to be able to carry energy food, tools, money and a phone. I am pleased to report all these items fitted neatly into the 3 well proportioned rear pockets. The drainage holes at the base of the pockets were another nice touch although I did find my phone had a slight build-up of moisture after a few hours. Carrying your phone in a case like a pOcpac would address this issue.
On a hilly ride the body temperature changes rapidly when climbing and descending. The rugged, easy to use YKK® Vislon® waterproof zipper with magnetic zip garage was a nice touch, meant the zip sat nicely on the jacket and made it easy to use on the move.
Any piece of clothing designed for the rigours of Belgian riding needs to be good in both the rain and the wind. Sportful have addressed this with the addition of WindShield 3L windproof stretch fabric, which has heat transfer strips added to it, maintaining the jacket’s lightweight credentials whilst providing an additional wind cheating effect. Belgium is known for its windy conditions, but so is Essex and this was the next testing ground. The wind protection is amazing, even into a strong headwind my chest felt insulated and warm.
Whilst this jacket does not claim to be fully waterproof, it is water repellant. Even in driving rain the main torso section, with NoRain light fabric on the side panels, kept me dry for a good while, although the arms did get wet rather quickly.
Visibility is important with any jacket, whether riding at night or in the day. The bright yellow fluoro and black design offered good levels of all-round coverage without making me look like a traffic light. An understated, timeless design, with subtle Sportful and Fiandre graphics finishes this jacket off perfectly and the lightweight design means it is ideal for all year round use, either stashed in a rear jersey pocket or when tackling the Flandrian roads.
Let us know you thoughts on the Sportful Fiandre Light Windstopper Jacket or if there are any products that you'd like to see us test in the comments section below.