With wind and water protection, could the thermal, women's-specific Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket be the one to keep you riding right through winter?
When the temperature drops, keeping the motivation to keep riding is hard and finding excuses not to can be easy – but, promising protection when winter starts to bite, the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket could be just the ticket.
The Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket has been made using two of Gore’s industry gold-standard Windstopper fabrics, Windstopper 4-way Warm and Mid. Both use the same layering system that includes the Windstopper membrane and durable outer with DWR (durable water repellent) fabric treatment, but the Mid version is 25 per cent lighter than the Warm, so has been used on the insides of the jacket arms and back, while the rest gets the 300g fleece-backed Warm version.
At the back of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket are two deep pockets, while the front boasts a waterproof YKK full length zip. The collar gets not only double-thickness fabric, but also a lot of height over a regular jacket, measuring 9cm at its longest, which should be enough to keep out any draughty gaps. Arms and waist are both finished with a slim-lined elastane, complete with reflective band detailing, which should make teaming with winter gloves and bib tights easy.
Pulling the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket on and it was immediately clear that it was up to winter thermal standards, an aspect I was very thankful for as I headed out in the the first snow flurries of the season.
Profile wise, the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket is reasonably slimline, weighing a reasonable 350g, I didn’t feel overly bulked out and had no restriction of movement.
On the move the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket did a good job at wind blocking, and even when pressing on up climbs it was still breathable enough to prevent overheating, or leaving me sweating profusely. This lack of moisture also contributed to keeping my core temperature up: staying dry can go a long way to keeping you warm.
Talking of staying dry, the water-resistant element of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket was true to its word. Light rain and road spray beaded off the fabric surface without penetration, but a constant downpour would eventually break the barrier. What I also really liked was the clever inclusion of the more forgiving black panel exactly where unwashable road spray hits, but with bright colours surrounding for rider visibility.
The two rear pockets on the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket aren’t my ideal. I’m a bit of a order freak and like tools, nutrition, phone/money separation, so for me I’d need to ride with a saddle pack. But the biggest head scratcher is that there’s no water proof/sealed pocket option. The depth does help with the feeling that items are secure, but it would be nice to see an additional zip pocket for money if nothing else.
The elasticated sleeves on the Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket worked really well with my gloves, although I prefer to have them tucked in, sort of negating the need for the reflective strip, and perhaps moving further up the arm would be a better placement. However, the same detail on the waistband worked really well, as well as securing the jersey in place.
The Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket sits around halfway up the winter jacket price scale. You can certainly buy cheaper, and more expensive, but delivering all of its promises it’s fair to say that this really is a great winter jacket purchase. It’s likely to swiftly become your go to item from late autumn through to early spring, practically half the year, making cost per wear really rather reasonable.
The thermal, windproof and water-resistant women's-specific Sportful Fiandre NoRain W Jacket ticks almost every box for the ideal winter jacket, keeping you cycling throughout the coldest months of the year.