Wind and water repellent and packable, the Fiandre NoRain W Top is an ideal spring or autumn training partner for women
The middling seasons of spring and autumn, where changeable and unpredictable weather can either leave you too hot on the climbs or soaked and freezing to the core, make it tricky to decide what to wear on the bike.
Sportful’s concept with the Fiandre NoRain was to create a top to deal with this exact conundrum.
Constructed using panels of both Windshield 3L and NoRain Light in key areas, the Fiandre NoRain offers the rider the most benefit from each fabric’s properties.
Windshield 3L is a three-layer stretchy membrane that acts a wind barrier as well as offering an element of insulation and durable water repellency. It’s located on the top’s front, shoulders and upper arms – all the body areas that take the full hit of wind on a bike.
The Sportful-exclusive NoRain is a tried and trusted nanotech water-repellent treatment finish. As well as keeping you reasonably dry, the fabric is also warm, breathable and very stretchy.
Being neither a gilet or jacket does make the Fiandre NoRain somewhat tricky to pigeonhole, but if you have to label it you could compare it to wet weather racing jackets.
It’s worth noting here the naming convention of ‘top’ as opposed to ‘jacket’. While it may look like a jacket, in fact it’s not. There are no pockets, just one vertical zip on the right hand rear of the top, allowing you access to your jersey pockets underneath.
Sportful’s aim with the Fiandre NoRain top is to give you the packability and weight of a gilet with the practical features of a jacket – and in particular the arm and shoulder protection.
Video: buyer’s guide to spring and autumn clothing
Thanks to the NoRain fabric, the Fiandre NoRain is extremely close fitting over a standard long-sleeve jersey, with adequate stretch to go over pockets loaded with spares etc, while still retaining plenty of length to offer backside rain spray protection.
The arms are longer than those of most jerseys, but the Windshield fabric stops midway down the forearm and the low-profile NoRain fabric closes the gap between glove and top, preventing any additional mass being added at the cuff area.
While by no means bulky, the slightly thicker Windshield 3L is used at the front, collar and shoulder area. This does mean a double zip (assuming you have a zipped jersey underneath), but is no more noticeable than a standard gilet and jersey pairing.
Riding the Fiandre NoRain in early March I found it was perfect if I started with it over my standard long-sleeve jersey and then removed it mid-ride.
When riding, there was no wind flap from the top whatsoever. The stretchy fabrics that keep it close fitting also meant it was just as easy to pull the top over my jersey to gain access to my pockets, although I suspect that if I needed to reach in during a downpour I would be more inclined to go for the zip.
When the weather turned to drizzle, the water simply beaded on the surface and dripped off. It does make sense to team it with Sportful’s NoRain bib-tights or NoRain shorts to prevent a soggy bottom half.
The top is reasonably easy to stash when you do warm up, but it would be best to have one spare rear pocket for packing; even with a gel or two it’s a rather tight squeeze.
The Fiandre NoRain is a good addition to any cyclist’s wardrobe, especially for those looking for clothing to match performance as it ticks all the boxes of serious cycle wear – tight-fitting, breathable with added element protection.
There is a significant role to play in ensuring the top’s longevity, however, with Sportful recommending specialist detergents Grangers, Nikwax TX-Direct or Tectron DWR Treatment (found in outdoors shops), for the upkeep of the NoRain treatment.
However, it is expensive as a secondary layer and pocket space will be at a premium if you are stowing it away mid-ride. That said, it is very versatile, and I think it would get a lot of use in the British climate.
If you’re happy to keep on top of the housekeeping and don’t baulk at the price then it’s certainly worth purchasing.
The versatility of a gilet with benefits of a jacket make this a perfect transition jacket for changeable spring rides, or even mountainous days when you need extra wind or rain protection on the descent.