The Sportful Fiandre Windstopper Women's Jacket is good looking and versatile, and works well as an extra layer for every season, but a couple of simple omissions are a bit disappointing given the price.
The Fiandre is longer than a lot of other jackets on the market, presumably to provide extra protection from spray off the road. Unfortunately, because there isn't a substantial gripper on the bottom hem, the jacket tends to ride up when on the bike, so that extra length is a bit wasted. The sleeves are a sensible length, though, and the cuffs sit nicely round the wrists with enough stretch to get gloves under or over, depending on your preference.
The fit is shaped for a woman's curves, and is sized as you would expect from Sportful's size guide. The main body is made from a light and slightly stretchy Gore fabric, which gives a lot of comfort and flexibility.
The high neck is lined in a fleecy material, and very soft and comfortable it is too. Doing the zip all the way up to the neck adds an extra element of warmth and protection without being restrictive.
The Gore Windstopper fabric paired with the YKK waterproof zip certainly keeps the wind out well and is impressively waterproof in light rain. Sportful doesn't claim that the jacket is fully waterproof, and it isn't, but the thin fabric is very breathable making it ideal as an extra layer for riding in any season.
It features two large rear pockets with plenty of space for snacks to keep you fuelled on long rides. There is also a side pocket, which Sportful says is for easy access and is the perfect size for most smartphones. This is great in concept, but proved fiddly to get into while riding. After feeling as though my phone was about to fall out on every descent, I eventually moved it to the rear pocket and felt far more comfortable with it there. I'd like to see a zip pocket instead, to keep at least my keys and a few coins for the coffee stop secure.
A big bonus of the jacket's light weight is that I found I could fold it into some of my larger jersey pockets if I wanted to remove it mid-ride. This only adds to its versatility, meaning you could use it regularly until the summer months, and knowing the British weather, it would probably come out even then.
Overall, I loved the design of the jacket and found it lightweight and breathable as the manufacturer intended. However, considering the £160 price tag, I was expecting more from the fit and would love to see a gripper on the hem and a secure pocket added to the rear.
Very versatile jacket, but adding one or two simple features would make it so much better
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Light WS W Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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?
Women-specific fit and styling in an extremely versatile jacket to protect from cold, wet and windy conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Gore® Windstopper® 4 Way Light for total wind protection with breathable water repellency
NoRain Light fabric on side
2 rear pockets with drain holes
Side pocket for quick access
Lycra® trim wrist fits easily over or in gloves
YKK® Vislon® waterproof zipper
Reflective heat-transfer strips
Windproof, showerproof and nicely breathable making it very versatile, but lacking in a rubber gripper on the bottom hem and rides up when cycling.
The manufacturer states that the Gore Windstopper fabric is water repellent and it certainly lived up to that, but it's not fully waterproof.
Far more breathable than most 'waterproof' jackets I've worn, while still keeping a lot of the rain out.
General fit was pretty average, but the extra stretch in the material allowed for great freedom of movement.
Sized as expected.
A substantial garment, but still very light and thin enough to squeeze into a larger jersey pocket.
You get what you pay for.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Has so far retained its shape and water resistance after multiple washes on a cold setting.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Stands out and does a good job in light rain and windy conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Loved the colour and freedom of movement the jacket allows and its breathability, which makes it a great all-season garment.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Lacking in a zipped pocket and the rear hem tended to ride up a lot.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Waterproofing and breathability were both strong points, but a lack of some simple features let it down. Sportful has succeeded in creating something versatile, but it 'does it all' for a high price without being exceptional.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Team Carbon My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track
Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross. Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.