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.
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.
Waterproof silicone layer over knees and thighs.
Waterproof silicone layer on lower back protects from wheel spray.
Camlock ankle zips.
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.
The padded insert is comfortable no matter the duration of your ride, with just the right level of padding without feeling bulky.
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.
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, mtb,