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Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Bib Shorts



Water-resistant bib shorts ideal for changeable spring conditions

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Excellent fit and comfort and really good performance in the rain aided by a unique bum flap that offers extra protection from rear wheel spray make these ideal shorts for the unpredictable spring weather.

Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Bib Shorts - front full.jpg

To create these bib shorts, Italian company Sportful has essentially taken its very good Fiandre NoRain Bibtights and chopped the legs off. That means the shorts are made from the same NoRain water-repellent fabric that offers a decent level of protection in the rain. It's not a fully waterproof material, but it doesn't have the bulk or breathability issues of most waterproof fabrics.

That immediately makes these shorts well suited to the unpredictable conditions of spring, when you might set out under clear skies and return under a rain cloud. Where the fabric really impresses is that the water-repellent treatment doesn't compromise comfort or breathability. I've worn these shorts on dry sunny days and they've been just as comfortable and cool as regular bib shorts.

Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Bib Shorts - cuffs.jpg

A unique feature of the shorts is the bum flap. Sportful more elegantly describes it as a "double layer of fabric on [the] lower back for increased rain protection where it's needed most".

That pretty much sums it up, the idea being simply to provide a secondary layer of NoRain fabric over the area that is most prone to sogginess from rear wheel spray, without compromising the fit and comfort of the shorts. Because this flap isn't stitched along the bottom edge it's able to move independently of the main part of the shorts. Sounds like a gimmick, but it works. These shorts kept me dryer in showers than regular bib shorts.

The construction of the shorts is top notch. As is the way with most modern bib shorts these days, the leg openings are flat and seamless. Sportful has used a very wide elasticated panel backed with a grippy material, and the result is that the shorts don't slide up your legs during a ride and comfort are of the highest order. No seam irritation here.

>> Read more: the best bib shorts

A chunky mesh material is used for the back panel and the wide bib straps, and they spread pressure comfortably over the shoulders with enough stretch to provide easy nature breaks during a ride. There are a generous number of reflective strips on the back of the shorts, making them ideal for late evening rides or winter cycling.

Sportful's TC Pro padded insert is used across its range of shorts and it's a very comfortable pad, one of the best on the market. It uses a variety of foam thickness and density, from 14mm thick at the sit bones and slimming down to 7mm at the front and 4mm at the outer edges. The foam is perforated which boosts breathability and helps to keep the pad dry during hot and hard workouts.

I wore these during the Paris-Roubaix 175km sportive and they proved faultless, keeping me comfortable for the six hours I was in the saddle while the fabric dealt with the occasional puddles that featured on the route.


Water-resistant bib shorts ideal for changeable spring conditions test report

Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Bib Shorts

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?

Perfect for longer rides with changing weather conditions.

Lightweight construction with NoRain nanotechnology for water repellency.

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

Double layer of fabric on lower back for increased rain protection where it's needed most

Ultrawide lie-flat leg band

Highly elastic 3D mesh bibs

Reflective highlights

TC Pro seat pad

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Really good shorts for when the weather is unpredictable and there's a risk of rain

Rate the product for durability:

The recent spring weather has been ideal for testing these shorts, so they've been getting a lot of use, and the durability has been good so far

Rate the product for fit:

Fit is good but they do lean closer to a race fit than a relaxed fit

Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for comfort:

The multi-density foam padding is comfortable for the longest rides and it stays dry too

Rate the product for value:

For a short with added rain protection without compromising on breathability, they're ideal for British cyclists

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very easy

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

Work well in unpredictable weather

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Really good fit, comfort, and the added rain protection

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Wasn't anything that I could find to fault about them

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

Really comfortable shorts with added rain protection at a fair price

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,

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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Daveyraveygravey | 8 years ago

I tried these, but the sizing was comically small.  I'm 6 foot and 80 kg, so not huge and not tiny.  I normally take an XL, and tried that, but it was excruciatingly tight.  I could get them on, but it took effort and didn't feel comfortable.  I tried the XXL and although better, still not comfortable.

cdamian | 8 years ago

I have the tights and the non-light version of these, both are lovely. I even bought two of the shorts, because I use them so often.
They won't protect you forever, but they work for short rain showers and keep you warm in longer downpours.
They are also generally nice as bib shorts, very nice padding and good quality.
I probably get these once mine are dead.

sethpistol | 8 years ago

If this is the 'Light' version of the short then the material is lighter (more like normal summer short fabric) than that of the Bibtight (which is the same as the normal version of the short) - be good if they carried through the bum flap on the winter weight version too!

peted76 | 8 years ago

There's more lumps in them shorts than a pump track, you could have removed the ill fitting leg warmers before taking the pics!

I've a pair of the norain knee warmers and they are great, the pics are putting me off the shorts.

Rapha Nadal replied to peted76 | 8 years ago
1 like

peted76 wrote:

There's more lumps in them shorts than a pump track, you could have removed the ill fitting leg warmers before taking the pics!

Looks like a pound of sausages!

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