Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights review
Bib tights that offer water and wind resistance, and are still comfortable to ride in, can be hard to find – and harder still are women’s-specific options, so we gave the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights a ride to see if they're what winter bike ride dreams are made of
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The women’s-specific Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights make bold claims of windproofing and water-resistant abilities and deliver. Sportful has come up with some simple yet innovative ways of keeping you warm and dry with these bib tights, which are suitable from late autumn to early spring. With reflective detailing and an almost perfect chamois these are pretty close to being the ultimate women’s winter bib tights.
Additional back water resistance
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Over the years, Sportful has gradually been upping its game in terms of providing decent women’s-specific winter kit, with the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights one of its more recent additions.
The Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights are, in the main, made from Sportful’s NoRain Thermal fabric. We’ve seen several versions of the fabric used on other Sportful products, most recently the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib shorts, and have so far really rated its ability to bead water off, as well as offer wind protection.
NoRain is a nanotechnology water-repellent coating, where the material fibres are coated with millions of tiny hydrophobic silicone filaments, making water bead off.
>>> Seven essential tips to get your bike ready for winter
The benefit of this treatment is that it allows the Sportful Thermodrytex Plus, a Nylon/elastane mix fabric, to not only provide a thermal fleecy soft inside but also, according to Sportful, it is extremely breathable and has a minimal moisture absorption – in theory keeping you dry inside and out.
A double layer of this thermal fabric has been included on the thighs and knees of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights, while at the back a NoRain Light rear flap with reflective detailing has been included to offer extra protection from rear wheel spray.
Inside the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights is a women’s Infinity seat pad, we’ve seen it under a few of the shorts now, such as the Sportful Bodyfit Pro Women's bib shorts. It’s not my ultimate chamois nirvana, but still a great option and it’s pleasing to see its inclusion.
Up top of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights is a high fronted mesh upper with a zip closure, while at the bottom a reflective piping surrounds camlock ankle zips.
Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights: the ride
Opting to test ride the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights for the first time on a particularly wet and cold late autumn ride, with no mudgards, always meant they were going to get a good run for their money. Pulling them on, I found the women’s-specific fit was spot on. I personally really like the inclusion of a mesh upper, it ensures the tights are held securely in place, while doing away with the double layer quandary, allowing me to stick with what I know in terms of base layers and winter jackets.
The double layer at the front of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights worked superbly, both in terms of providing water resistance and a wind block, and I was really impressed at the level of stretch still around the knee area, not once did I feel any movement restriction or resistance.
The move to put the extra panel of NoRain Light at the back was a brilliant stroke of genius by Sportful – such a simple, but effective solution for those of us who aren’t mudgarded up.
It is worth remembering that Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights are only water resistant, and after an hour in really wet conditions the rain did eventually breach. This happened mainly at the seam where the chamois is sewn in, so if Sportful found a way to make that more robust, they would come pretty close to being waterproof.
The NoRain treatment will reduce overtime, and you will need to retreat with a DWR (durable water repellent) to extend their life, but that’s the same for any water-resistant/proofed product that’s not made from non-flexible fabric.
Getting out on the bike all year round is often be more of a mental than physical challenge. Having an awesome pair of bib tights makes getting out the door so much easier, and the Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's bib tights are one such pair of tights that tick all the boxes for winter tights, making the £130 price tag more than worth it.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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