Despite being designed by an Italian company, Sportful's Fiandre range has become a hit with British cyclists over the years. The new Light Wind Jacket is an ideal top for tackling mixed conditions when you need a bit of rain and wind protection but you don't want the insulation of an extreme cold weather jacket. For brisk rides in rapidly changing weather, this is a really good pick. Only the sleeve length is a slight blemish on an otherwise near-perfect product.
I've tested various iterations of the Fiandre Light Wind Jacket and jersey over the years and have always been impressed. Put simply, it's a jacket that feels like a jersey and copes well in typical UK winter weather, whether it's mildly moist or cold and windy. It makes dressing for unpredictable weather much easier than it used to be 10 years ago.
It's mainly constructed from Gore Windstopper 4 Way Light fabric – the front panels, arms and shoulders – while the rear panel is made from the company's highly regarded NoRain fabric. It has a water repellent treatment to protect you from road spray or showers. While the two fabrics used are not 100 per cent waterproof, they're often more than adequate in a light or short shower; provided the rain doesn't outstay its welcome, it'll keep you protected.
It's not as warm as the R&D Strato for cold and windy weather, but when it's looking like you might get a spot of rain, the water resistance of this jacket makes it a good choice. For brisk rides and high tempo workouts, the breathability is a real bonus; I rarely overheated on any of my test rides, even on the steeper climbs of my local rides.
The fabrics used in its construction create a jacket that is light and very comfortable to wear. It's a good fit as well, nicely shaped and generous around the torso – even the size small I'm wearing. It's a close fit but not extreme, and there's good freedom of movement in the arms and shoulders. The collar comes up high enough to keep your neck warm, and there's a dropped tail.
My only small criticism is the length of the sleeves. If you have a slim build and monkey arms and wear a size small like me, as you can see in the photos here, you might find the sleeves just a tiny bit too short. Most of the time it's okay, but stretch for the drops and the sleeves can pull up the arms exposing your wrists. It's not so much of a problem if you're wearing long cuffed gloves, but it's worth noting.
The whole jacket is nicely detailed too. As I've said, the collar is a generous height for neck warmth, and as well as the three rear pockets there's a small zipped pocket on the side, an ideal place for stashing a house/car key or some cake money, or maybe a gel.
You get a choice of three colours – black, red and this green (ideal for high visibility fans) – in sizes from XS to 3XL. Sportful has long been popular not just because it designs clothing that is nicely made, well appointed and works well in the UK, but also because of the keen prices. Okay, so £150 is a fair whack of money, but it's comparable to other jackets that offer similar weather-beating properties, such as the Lusso Aqua Extreme Repel Jacket.
If you want a highly versatile jacket with the comfort and low bulk of a jersey, with enough protection from light rain, the Fiandre Light Wind Jacket is a top pick. Provided the sleeves are long enough for your arms, it's a really good jacket for combatting adverse weather. However, the sleeve length is noticeably shorter than the previous version for which is reflected in the slightly lower score. If you have short arms you might just be fine - as ever it's sensible to try before you buy.
Versatile, water resistant and highly breathable jacket for winter riding in unpredictable weather
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Light Wind Jacket
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sportful says: "If you want a little extra wet weather protection but don't want to compromise on breathability this is the jacket for you. Full front protection with Windstopper combined with completely breathable No Rain Thermal back and sleeve inserts that let out excess heat and moisture."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gore® Windstopper® 4 Way Light fabric for wind and splash protection
NoRain Mid back for high-breathability water-repellent insulation
YKK® Vislon® zipper with wind flap
3 rear pockets with reflective piping
Zipped security pocket
High-cut collar Elastic binding for clean finishing on wrist cuffs Waist with reflective lie-flat elastic on back Reflective highlights
Sportful's clothing tends to be well made and stands the test of time.
For tackling mixed conditions with a bit of rain protection and enough breathability to prevent overheating, the Fiandre Light Wind Jacket is hard to fault.
I've tested several iterations of this jacket over the years and the durability has always been superb.
It's a very comfortable jersey and helps you tackle rubbish weather.
Sportful has long hit the sweet spot on pricing, and you definitely get a lot of performance for your money. You can certainly pay a lot less, and you can pay a lot more, but the Sportful strikes a nice middle ground.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For riding in all sorts of weather, from sun to rain, the Fiandre looks after you well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very breathable and looks after you in light and short rain showers.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd like the sleeves to be just a little longer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
For riding in unpredictable conditions the Fiandre Light Wind Jacket makes deciding what to wear easy, because it's versatile enough to handle a range of weather conditions, from sunshine to rain. However, the sleeve length is noticeably shorter than the previous version for which is reflected in the slightly lower score. If you have short arms you might just be fine - as ever it's sensible to try before you buy.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.