I’ve mostly ignored the other options in my closet, wearing the Sportful Bodyfit Pro kit for more than 2200 miles, over the last few months. This summer, when travelling around the Western US for a couple of weeks, I didn’t even bring another kit instead opting to wash the Sportful kit in a variety of Airb&b showers and sinks.
This level of quality from Sportful is both a surprise, and not. I’ve experienced Sportful bibs in the past, and yet sliding into a new pair still brings a moment of surprise at just how good they are. Despite being the very same as what you’ve seen Peter Sagan and the Bora-Hansgrohe team and Vincenzo Nibali’s Bahrain-Merida squad wearing while racing, the Sportful brand is less well-known in my corner of North America than other high-end cycling clothing manufacturers. That’s a shame, both because it’s better than most, and at an MSRP of $119.99 for the Bodyfit Pro Light jersey and $169.99 for the Bodyfit Pro LTD bibshorts, it’s also a relative bargain at this quality level.
Good pricing is only a bonus, though. The real draw is the absolutely perfect fit. The leg length on the Bodyfit Pro LTD bibshorts is a bit longer than a traditional cycling bibshort. This is something that’s being done often with modern kits, but I find the fit at the leg opening to be better than the Rapha Proteam bibshorts which is another bibshort with a longer cut that I have on hand. Often with a longer bibshort, I’ll get gaps between the end of the fabric and my leg.
Sportful manages to avoid that while keeping away from being overly tight at the leg opening. As you move up the legs, I find the cut to be more narrow and straight than other brands, and for me, this is perfect. The longer legs combined with the narrower cut can mean it’s a bit of a dance sometimes to get the Bodyfit Pro LTD bibshorts on and situated in just the right place, but once situated, nothing moves. The chamois is a Sportful designed piece that measures in at 13mm at its thickest and seems to really work well for me. I’ve used it for short rides as well as long days in the saddle.
I’ll be choosing this kit on an upcoming 200 mile ride because I’ve come to trust the chamois to provide just the right amount of support, even with my full carbon saddle, without any chafing. As I continue to move up the piece It’s perhaps the way that Sportful has handled the cut on the low back and lower abdomen that is my favourite feature on this bib. I like a higher cut in these areas and Sportful has, once again, really nailed it. I’m thin, and I don’t have a gut, but there’s nothing to make you feel like you’ve got a gut than a bibshort that’s poorly designed for the lower abdomen.
The Sportful Bodyfit Pro LTD bibshort is nice and supportive in this area with enough height to keep you from feeling cut in half when bent over in an aggressive position. It’s not the easiest for nature breaks, but I prefer this approach.
The one piece of these bibshorts that I do see a bit of room for improvement on would be the straps. They aren’t bad, but I think they could be a bit more robust, and while not uncomfortable, I’ve definitely experienced better. This is an area where Assos really shines, but I think the way that Sportful has handled the lower abdomen and the transition to the straps is better than Assos. Cutting to the chase, the Bodyfit Pro LTD bibshorts are the bibshorts I prefer over all the others I could reach for on any particular day.
I’m not one to mix bibs and jerseys from different companies, so it’s important to me that a company with a bibshort I love doesn’t fall short when it comes to a jersey. Thankfully, Sportful has done almost as well with their Bodyfit Pro Light jersey as with the bibshorts. Similar to the cut of the leg on the bibshort, you’ll find that the sleeves on the Bodyfit Pro Light jersey are cut a bit longer. Sportful doesn’t make any specific aerodynamic claims on this kit, but those long sleeves are likely a nod to increased aero efficiency, and the neck line is also a detail that looks to be a nod to aero efficiency.
In fact, I’d describe the Bodyfit Pro Light jersey as a collection of thoughtful details that comes together in a cohesive package. Like the matching bibshorts, the lower abdomen is an area that I think the Bodyfit Pro Light jersey handles really well. Oddly, this particular feature can’t be seen in the pictures on the Sportful website, but you’ll find a separate piece of fabric that covers the lower, front area of the jersey. This piece has slightly different stretch characteristics, and it helps keep everything nice and tight when down in an aggressive position.
Some other standout features include the large, smooth gliding, plastic zipper. This doesn’t strike me as a particularly aero choice, but it’s an absolute joy to use, and it slides without catching. There’s also a really great design choice in the way that the pocket seams are reinforced.
This does bring me to the one thing I’d love to change about this jersey. I’d love to see larger pockets and any time I use a jersey without a zippered pocket, which is sadly most of the time, I’ll always call that out as something I’d like to see change.
If you like a race fit cycling kit with an emphasis on performance, then the Sportful Bodyfit Pro LTD Bibshort and Bodyfit Pro Light Jersey is a solid choice. Sportful has chosen the fabrics wisely and really nailed the fit. The Sportful Bodyfit Pro LTD Bibshort has a chamois that I’ve come to trust for the short efforts but also over the long haul. On top of it, all it’s being offered at a relative bargain.