I’m someone who is constantly cold, and I’m constantly trying to find just the right clothing for cold and quick changing weather. As the weather changed from warm to cold this fall, I had the opportunity to try out a couple of items from Sportful that I’d hoped would fill some holes in my cold weather wardrobe.
The Sportful Fiandre Norain Team Bibtight and Fiandre Gloves are meant for the coldest weather you are likely to actually ride in. They are a joy in the worst weather, but they also work really well in the late fall and early spring when things are changing quickly.
The Sportful Fiandre Norain Team Bibtight is fleece lined and wind and water-resistant. I heard someone refer to a piece of gear as “no excuses” gear, and the Fiandre Bibtight definitely feels like that as you slide them on. They don’t claim to be fully waterproof, but the water resistance is enough to keep you feeling dry in a wide range of wet riding.
More impressive, though, is the performance at the edges of where you’d expect to be riding in the Fiandre Bibtight. One absolute I’ve learned from a lot of riding in the rain is that you will always get wet. The only thing you can change is how you feel when drenched.
The fleece lining on the Fiandre bibtight feels fantastic when you pull it on, but when it gets wet, it doesn’t act like a sponge. The Fiandre bibtights will continue to hold warmth even when thoroughly wet.
At the other end of the performance spectrum, when it’s warmer and drier than you expected leaving the house, you won’t overheat. Sure, these are inherently cold weather bibtights, but I’ve happily ridden with them on windy, but sunny, days in the low 50’s(F).
In terms of fit, I find them to be very similar to Castelli gear. I wear a small, and while I find Rapha gear to be a bit looser, I really love the way that Sportful, and Castelli, fit. It’s form fitting and tight but comfortable. I generally prefer stirrups on the bottom of tights, but the fit at the bottom of these tights, where you’ll find a reflective strip, is good enough that when the zipper is down, I’ve never had them move. No need for stirrups here, and the reflective strip is a nice touch in a place that’s very visible.
The chamois is a bit thicker than I’m used to riding in, but despite its thickness, it’s still comfortable. The one thing I’d love to see is a bit more of the water-resistant coating, that’s on the knees, on the seat area. I ride with no fender (mudguard), so anything that helps with water resistance in that area is appreciated.
Not only do I tend to run cold, but by the time my core starts to get cold, my fingers and toes, are absolutely frozen. For that reason, I’ve got a large collection of gloves, and I’ve tried a variety of strategies. Without going to something that keeps my fingers together, I’ve not had much luck for really warm gloves. The Sportful Fiandre Gloves have turned into another “no excuses” piece of gear.
Like the Fiandre bibtights, they are also fleece lined, and I really want to stress just how comforting it is to slide on a piece of fleece lined clothing on a cold day. Unlike the bibtights, the Fiandre gloves actually claim to be completely waterproof, and I’ve found that to be true.
They use a technology Sportful refers to as “Outdry®,” which is bonded to the outside of the glove, coupled with a long neoprene cuff. It definitely works, although, you do give up a bit of breathability compared to the bibtights. The palm, underside of the fingers and thumb, have silicone grip material but no padding. I’m someone that prefers to ride with no gloves in the summer and don’t like my winter gloves to have padding, but if you prefer a padded palm, this doesn’t have it.
There is also a wipe area that starts at the inside top of the forefinger and curves around to the inside of the thumb. The only thing I want to call out as a negative on these is the lack of touchscreen compatibility. I often shake my head at why companies don’t add that on all gloves, and I’m definitely shaking my head here.
Depending on where you are located you might be beginning to see signs of spring, I know I am. But for me, this is the time when I’m tired of being cold and wet, and I want the gear that will keep me feeling warm and comfortable through the rest of winter and early spring. The Sportful Fiandre Norain Team Bibtight and Fiandre Glove will do that for you. The Fiandre bibtights weigh in at 283g, cost around $140, and are available in sizes XS-3XL. The Fiandre glove weighs in at 129g, retails at $89.99, and are available in sizes S-XXL.
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