Sportful Fiandre Norain Bib Tights (2014)  £125.00

8/10

Warm and waterproof tights with good fit and a comfortable insert ideal for truly ghastly weather

Weight 276g   Contact  www.sportful.it

by David Arthur   October 29, 2013  

Sportful's No-Rain bib tights combine their proprietary fabric with water repellant technology that ensures rain beads off the surface, and strategic panels of waterproof silicone to make these ideal tights for riding in the British winter.

Tights with rain protection make a lot of sense for UK riding; it rains an awful lot. I was really impressed with Sportful's No-Rain bibtights when I tested them last year, which use the No-Rain material throughout. As with their jackets, they offer a Fiandre version which takes the level of protection to another level, for the truly ghastly weather that will properly test your motivation.

These tights are made from a thermal version of the No-Rain fabric, which has tiny nano-filaments of silicone integrated within the structure of the fabric that ensures water beads off, and adds a waterproof silicone material over the knees and top of the bum. You can easily identify these areas of silicone in the photo, they're the swirly contrasting panels. What this silicone does is greatly improve their performance in the rain.

I headed out in heavy rain the other day - the lengths I go for you - and after several hours of persistent rain, the tights held up just fine. Towards the end of the ride I noticed a cooling of temperature around the ankles, but the areas with the silicone material were just fine. They could easily extend the silicone right down the front of the legs for even more protection.

The thermal insulation on that ride, with an average temperature of around 7°C but with strong wind, showed the tights to provide good warmth. Sportful reckon they're good for between 3°C to 15°C. They're completely windproof as well, which contributes a great deal to that warmth, it's cold wind after all that saps your temperature if any body part is left exposed. And because the water repellency isn't a DWR coating or similar, but part of the fabric, breathability is excellent. I haven't sensed any degree of overheating on any ride in these tights, even when it hasn't been raining and the sun has been out.

Despite their simplicity of design, there's no restriction of movement or tightness to detect around the knees. They're anatomically shaped and there's enough stretch in the fabric so that they feel like a second skin. They're shaped and fitted following their BodyFit series, which is heavily based on the specs of the Saxo Bank professional team that Sportful sponsors. The seamless construction further boosts comfort against the skin. An ankle zip, located at the side, is waterproofed to keep the water out at this potential weak point.

Finally, inside the shorts is Sportful's BodyFit Pro insert. It's anatomically shaped so sits flush against your undercarriage and the infinitely variable padding means there's enough cushioning only where you need it. Sportful describe it as their most comfortable long distance pad, and I would agree. It's comfortable enough for the longest rides you might have planned this winter.

Verdict

Warm and waterproof tights with good fit and a comfortable insert ideal for truly ghastly weather

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Norain Bib Tights (2014)

Size tested: Medium

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?

Mesh bib straps. BodyFit Pro anatomic fit. No

Rain Thermal. Waterproof silicone layer over knees and thighs. Waterproof silicone layer on lower back protects from wheel spray. Camlock ankle zips.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Mesh bib straps.

BodyFit Pro anatomic fit.

No-Rain Thermal.

Waterproof silicone layer over knees and thighs.

Waterproof silicone layer on lower back protects from wheel spray.

Camlock ankle zips.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They really do work well in the rain, while they're not 100% waterproof, they keep a lot more water out than any other tights I've ever tested.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

The padded insert is comfortable no matter the duration of your ride, with just the right level of padding without feeling bulky.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

There's little choice if you want tights with any sort of waterproof treatment.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They provide a lot more rain protection than the regular No-Rain bib tights and cope well in cooler temperatures.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

I'll echo previous thoughts on Sportful clothing, the fit is excellent making these really comfortable tights. The padded insert does it job, and the waterproof finish works a treat.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They're not quite as easy to get into as other tights, but once on they're just fine.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

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, mtb,

 

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Will they fit on top of over shoes. In my experience, rain runs down the leg and inside most overshoes, therefore soaking the socks and then the shoes. With good overshoes you won't get cold, but you will get wet feet which isn't nice on a long ride.

Marky

Marky Legs's picture

posted by Marky Legs [113 posts]
29th October 2013 - 8:46

21 Likes

these sound great - even if 7 degrees isn't that cold - but what is the secret to keep water from running down your legs and into your booties/shoes?

posted by dbb [34 posts]
29th October 2013 - 8:47

14 Likes

Put some Sealskinz on as well as overshoes, add another line of defence to the inevitable water ingress.

posted by Nick T [844 posts]
29th October 2013 - 9:12

21 Likes

dbb wrote:
these sound great - even if 7 degrees isn't that cold - but what is the secret to keep water from running down your legs and into your booties/shoes?

Mudguards help a lot

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1764 posts]
29th October 2013 - 9:35

23 Likes

dbb wrote:
these sound great - even if 7 degrees isn't that cold - but what is the secret to keep water from running down your legs and into your booties/shoes?

Has anyone tried using Gaiters when cycling to stop this?

posted by bigbluebike [16 posts]
29th October 2013 - 10:13

13 Likes

I have a pair castelli nanoflex 3/4 which I think use a very similar/ the same fabric and although they were great to start with the water repellency has gone completely now despite the claims that it will last forever. Bit disappointing but I guess not that big a surprise. They were great whilst they lasted though!

posted by rockfield [68 posts]
29th October 2013 - 10:57

14 Likes

Like Marky said, popping the leg over the overshoes helps direct water from ingress. Longer cuffed overshoes help too, theres a few on the market. Its difficult to get properly waterproof material that still fits well & is comfortable, these are probably the best compromise there is!

posted by sethpistol [37 posts]
29th October 2013 - 11:12

16 Likes

Nice shoes BTW... what make/model are they please?

posted by mp31 [9 posts]
29th October 2013 - 14:23

15 Likes

look a fair bit like a scuba diving wetsuit

posted by jarredscycling [456 posts]
29th October 2013 - 16:53

14 Likes

mp31 wrote:
Nice shoes BTW... what make/model are they please?

They're Gaerne Carbon G Chrono Speedplay road shoes, here's my review of them http://road.cc/content/review/89910-gaerne-carbon-g-chrono-speedplay-roa...

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1764 posts]
30th October 2013 - 10:22

12 Likes

Dave - re comments above about the Castelli waterproofing wearing off, how are your year-old Norains holding up?

Jez Ash's picture

posted by Jez Ash [155 posts]
31st October 2013 - 12:39

9 Likes

Out of interest, Castelli and Sportful are basically the same company, so are Norain and Nanoflex actually the same thing?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1366 posts]
31st October 2013 - 12:42

11 Likes

Yes.

posted by miro_o [25 posts]
11th October 2014 - 16:07

0 Likes

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