Straight out of the “you get what you pay for” stable, the Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket. Boasting a number of element-defying features, this mid-weight top layer should be a safe bet when it comes to winter and spring riding – indeed, it’s arguably best equipped for the latter – but with these fabrics associated, a rather aggressive price of £200.
I would say it’s not fully winter ready but if you are demanding when riding (i.e. don’t ride in heavy rain) then this is a good example of a jacket premium that will keep you warm and dry, designed to disperse warm air where it’s needed and hold it where you need it.
Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket: Design and Features
The front part of the Sportful Fiandre Medium jacket is made of Gore-Tex Infinium fabric. It is a windproof material designed to prevent the cold breeze from entering the jacket.
Don’t be fooled by the Gore-Tex moniker, although the name is synonymous with epic waterproofing qualities, even Gore is quick to state that its Infinium fabric is for “when performance is a priority and durability impermeability is not”.
Water repellency is however ensured by the use of Sportful NoRain fabric on the back, cuffs and collar (usefully high). A hidden vent is also placed under a flap at the top of the back to evacuate hot air.
A thoroughly racy fit is complemented by form-fitting cuffs that seal the sleeves away from chills and sit as easily on bare hands as they do on gloves.
A trio of external pockets adorn the back of the jacket (although there’s no waterproof compartment), while a NoRain-equipped low hem filled with a silicone gripper protects your rump and stays in place. .
Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket: Performance
The Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket is actually warm enough to wear over a simple long sleeve thermal base layer, such is the thoughtful design.
For the thickness of the Gore-Tex Infinium fabric in the chest and stomach area, it is particularly good at protecting your core from cold winds (or even direct cold).
Opt for this jacket when the rain clouds gather, however, and you’re in for a shot. The full-length front zipper is not waterproof, which increases the likelihood of a wet belly.
The use of NoRain material in the collar and cuffs traps rain at likely pinch points for water infiltration, with the fabric simply beading light rain.
And the drop hem in the same material effectively stopped tire spray from seeping through my bib tights.
Although the back pockets are secure, you’ll want to stuff anything particularly rain-resistant (like a cell phone and/or your wallet) into a waterproof bag (the CHPT3 Upcycled Essentials Case is a safe bet).
Despite the heat being trapped in the body of the jacket, it never manages to turn into a sweat party, thanks to a very neat section of perforated fabric ventilation that is hidden under the NoRain panel at the top of the back. .
Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket: Verdict
It is an unavoidable fact that the Sportful Fiandre Medium Jacket is expensive, especially considering that it is not suitable for heavy rain.
Granted, Sportful has other jackets in its lineup that are, but for that money you can reasonably expect the best of both worlds – windproof and waterproof.
However, if you’re looking for a stylish, well-constructed, warm and windproof jacket, this one will keep you comfortable in what we’ll call seasonal transitional climates, and if you never plan on riding in storms, you will be very satisfied with its performance. If you can afford it.
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