Shorts are shorts, right? Well not when it comes to Sportful’s Fiandre NoRain Bib Shorts. Claimed to be water repellant and warm, ideal for the unpredictable European weather. The Fiandre range is new and has been designed for the wild and often wet Belgian conditions. Any cyclist riding in Britain knows how changeable the great British weather can be and understands it is always good to be prepared for any eventuality.
Unfortunately for the purposes of this review, the first few rides in my NoRain Bib Shorts had no rain! So not ideal to test the short’s wet weather credentials but still the perfect testing ground to check out the seat pad and fit.
A 100 mile Surrey hills loop was planned, a perfect ride to test kit on, with lots of getting in and out of the saddle and climbing. Putting the shorts on for the first time I was impressed with the raw-cut edge elastic lower section around my thigh. This had a silicone dot gripper, a subtle yet effective design, which prevents the shorts from riding up and doesn’t chafe or dig into your legs.
The bib straps felt fantastic, if a little on the short side. The mesh material felt comfortable against my base layer and offered a good level of breathability. I usually wear small shorts and size-wise these felt spot on. I like the long leg cut, especially in autumn and winter, although the long leg design may not be to everyones liking.
These shorts offer a performance fit although not a restrictive one. Comfort was also provided with the Bodyfit Pro seat pad. Used in Sportful’s Bodyfit range of garments, even after over 5 hours in the saddle this pad proved to be exceptionally breathable,comfortable and unrestrictive. I would go as far to say this pad is as comfortable as pads found in shorts double the price.
Now with the NoRain label adorning these shorts, this meant only one thing, I’d have to man up and get out in the rain. No problem it would seem as even after 2 and a half hours in persistent drizzle the NoRain nanoflex technology paired with carefully placed minimal seams performed perfectly. It’s quite a sight to see, the water droplets sitting on the surface of the material, keeping my legs bone dry.
The other very impressive feature on these shorts is the fleece brushed inner material. This kept my legs warm and protected from the wind.
So to sum up, whether you are looking for a bib short for wet weather commuting, winter racing or long autumnal training rides, the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Bib shorts will be more than up to the task of keeping you dry and warm. With subtle reflective detailing and understated, stylish graphics, you’ll been seen too!