Sportful's Fiandre clothing has been well received by British cyclists and these updated Fiandre NoRain Pro Bib Tights are very good at providing extra protection in wet weather. They'll keep you drier for longer than regular bib tights, and the padded insert provides superb comfort no matter how long you're sitting on the saddle.
Sportful's original Fiandre NoRain bib tights were designed to protect you on wet rides, and stood out thanks to an extra flap attached only on three sides, over the bum. It was a talking point for sure, but the theory was sound: it provides extra protection if you ride without mudguards.
That extra flap is now integrated seamlessly into the tights to continue to protect you from rear wheel spray, but it's slightly better at keeping you dry in this area for longer. The Fiandre fabric also extends over the front of the legs and there's an extra layer over the knees and lower legs to ramp up the protection and insulation.
Where these tights really prove their worth is in dealing with the unpredictable and constantly changing weather, coping with both wet and warm rides and dry and cold, plus everything in between. The material is surprisingly breathable and this gives them a reasonably high operating temperature; Sportful quotes 5-15°C, which I would agree with based on my testing.
They're not totally waterproof, and Sportful doesn't claim them to be, but the NoRain does keep out the damp for much longer than regular fabrics. And when they do get saturated the fabric tends to hold onto your heat better, preventing that cold, damp feeling that can lead to a very miserable ride.
Inside the tights is the company's pro-approved TC Pro padded insert. It's smartly shaped and uses various density foam padding to ensure comfort is of the highest order, no matter how long you sit in the saddle for.
Holding the bib tights up are lightweight straps that sit flush with the body and are made from breathable material, and spread pressure nicely over the shoulders.
Short ankle zippers make getting in and out of the tights easier, and they are coated to keep water out. The durability of the zips has been just fine after lots of riding in very wet and gritty weather.
Fit is really good, too, with not a ripple of baggy fabric anywhere around the legs or hips.
While £135 is a lot of cash for a pair of bib tights, they are a lot more affordable than the recently tested Gore C7 Partial Windstopper Pro Tights (£180), Shimano Evolve Wind Bib Tights (£180) and Rapha's Pro Team Winter Tights (£210). Perhaps closest in performance and price are the Santini Vega 2 AquaZero bib tights (£140).
The updated Fiandre NoRain Pro Bib Tights provide great performance in the wet or dry, and do well with tricky-to-predict UK winter and spring weather. With a 15°C or so temperature ceiling they're still useful as the weather starts to improve but without being warm enough to whip the legs out just yet.
Great protection from the rain and cold with excellent seated comfort
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Fiandre NoRain Pro Bib Tights
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "A thermal bibtight that protects you from the snow, rain and cold of winter while at the same time providing excellent breathability during periods of maximum exertion. We have strategically positioned a seam very low, outside the main area hit by wheel spray, so it won't soak up water and grime, and you'll stay warmer. This bibtight comes directly from the pro peloton and has been tested in the most extreme situations, where warmth, breathability and fit are crucial in achieving the best results."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sportful lists these features:
Winter bibtight in NoRain Thermal fabric for outstanding warmth and water repellency
Double-layered front to ensure excellent warmth even at low temperatures and at high speeds
TC Pro seat pad
Coated ankle zippers for maximum water protection
Lie-flat bib straps for improved wearability and breathability
For the performance they offer and protection from bad weather, they are pretty good value for money.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with being regularly washed, they need no special care.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provide good seated comfort and adequate protection from cold, wind and rain, yet are breathable enough for when it warms up.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit and fend off the rain and wind.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not a huge fan of zipped ankle enclosures but they work well enough.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They undercut quite a few other top performers in this category.
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
Really good comfort and performance for changeable and unpredictable weather, whether it's raining or dry and cold, and the price seems fair for the performance and quality.
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, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com 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.