Sportful's Fiandre NoRain Women's Bib Shorts are a good choice for showery days, keeping intermittent rainfall out well, though they'll get overwhelmed if it's heavy and persistent. I found the pad comfortable for a full day in the saddle, and even when fully soaked their fleecy inner kept me warm.
Pros: Rain repellent, comfortable pad, long length
Cons: Long length (if you prefer your shorts short)
I've used the Fiandres on all sorts of rides, from short commutes to three or four-hour training loops and one eight-hour day, half of which was in lashing rain.
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They're better when used in conjunction with mudguards, which I forgot to fit for that eight-hour ride. The legs repel rain well – you can see it bead and roll/blow away – but the rear and pad area don't seem as waterproof and can get quite soggy quite quickly from rain and road spray.
The fleecy inner keeps you warm even when wet, so all's not lost, and I've found them comfortable to wear when it's not raining and temperatures are in the teens. They're not high summer shorts, but that's not been a huge problem so far this year.
> Buyer's Guide: 22 of the best cycling bib shorts
The legs are a slightly odd length – long and settling just above the knee once you're on the bike, though they feel like they should be on the knee when you first pull them on (hence how they look in the photos – they do sit higher than that when you're riding). I have to say I like the length, particularly if it's a cold and wet day.
It's an unusual hem/cuff design too: a Lycra fabric attached to the leg and very deep – 70mm top to bottom. They're nicely stretchy without being too tight, with a raw edge finish, and the lower half is covered in a dotty silicone grip that works well.
Apart from those attaching the pad and the cuffs, the seams are overstitched but not flatlocked. Mostly they're unnoticeable and comfortable, although occasionally I have felt a seam in the leg, and you get definite lines in your skin when you take them off.
Up top, the bib section is a stretchy mesh, easy to pull on and off, and the straps sit comfortably without curling.
How well a pad suits can differ widely, but I found the Infinity design, with its varying degrees of density – from high under the sit bone area, to low on the outer edges – unnoticeable and therefore comfortable.
As for value, 80 quid isn't cheap, but for the extra protection you get and the pad comfort (for me anyway) it doesn't strike me as overly steep either. You can certainly pay a lot more for bibs without the weather repellency. I'd like to see flatter, neater seams for my money, but the fact that you can't really feel them when riding means it's not a deal breaker.
Very good bib shorts for combatting cold and wet weather, but don't expect miracles
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Make and model: Sportful Fiandre NoRain Women's Bibshort
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "Tired of hearing your male riding partners rave about the benefits our Fiandre shorts? We have added in this Women's specific version of our foul weather shorts. Featuring No Rain technology tested and proven on the frigid Belgium cobbles and enjoyed around the world when extra warmth and protection from the elements is a plus. No Rain technology is highly breathable and you won't notice a difference on dry days but when the road gets wet or precipitation is in the forecast it will really make the difference, keeping out most of the moisture and not getting soaked."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
NoRain Thermal fabric: Nanotechnology water-repellent outside, brushed fleece inside.
Minimal seaming for additional water protection.
Raw-cut edge elastic leg band with silicone dot gripper.
Infinity seat pad.
Mesh bib straps.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Very good (apart from the big, sticky-out label).
Rate the product for performance:
They're very good, comfortable bib shorts that keep your legs dry for a while at least.
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
I found the pad very comfortable, and it's good being dry(ish) for a while in rain; eventually water gets through, but these put that off for a while. I was also expecting discomfort – or at least an unusual feel – at the back of the knee but there wasn't any and I forgot about it.
Rate the product for value:
Cheaper than some bib shorts, more expensive than others; but they do repel rain and kept me comfortable on an eight-hour ride.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
As ever, 30°C wash. They come out fine and dry quickly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The rain-repellency can't stand up to prolonged downpours, but it's nice while it lasts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The rain-repellency. And the longer length.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Big sticky out label that needs cutting off. And the soggy bottom if you forget/don't have mudguards.
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 overall score
They're very good but can't perform miracles. They keep you comfortable in the cold and wet for a while, and though not cheap they aren't overpriced for the quality and performance. The pad suits me too, comfortable for an eight-hour epic, about five of which were in heavy rain. I'd say they're very good and warrant an 8 overall.
Age: 53 Height: 169cm Weight: size 10-12
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
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