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review

Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket

9
£190.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Exceptionally good wind- and water-resistant jacket for middling temperatures and changeable conditions
Windproof and waterproof fabric
Stretchy
Slim cut
Close-fitting cuffs and waistband
Could do with more reflectives
Weight: 
290g

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The Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is an exceptionally good wind- and water-resistant option for keeping you comfortable on rides in middling temperatures, especially when the weather can't decide what it's going to do.

Hold your horses road.cc, haven't you already reviewed this jacket? No, although this is similar to the Sportful Fiandre Pro that Dave Arthur reviewed for us. It uses the same Polartec NeoShell fabric on the front and the arms, but here you get Sportful's lighter NoRain material round at the back for increased breathability and suitability for slightly warmer temperatures.

> Find your nearest dealer here

As with that other model, the Polartec NeoShell fabric is the real star of the show here, used for everything but that back panel, the cuffs, waistband and inner collar. Put another way, it's the red stuff in the pictures.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - Polartec logo.jpg

Polartec bills NeoShell as 'the world's most breathable waterproof fabric technology'. Whether that means there's more breathable waterproof fabric technology in outer space, I couldn't say, but I can tell you that it's also virtually windproof (it blocks 99.9%, apparently), stretchy – especially across its width – and lightweight. If you're the sort of person who gets bothered by rustling fabrics, I'd say it's about a medium in that respect.

The NeoShell fabric itself doesn't let water through. Rain and spray beads up and rolls off the surface. The NoRain fabric used for the rear panel is a brush-backed fleecy fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment – so it's a lot like Castelli's NanoFlex, for example, and several other materials out there these days. It shrugs off drizzle but will eventually get overwhelmed by full-on rain. The advantage is that it's as breathable as any other Roubaix-type fabric, and it's hugely stretchy.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - shoudlers.jpg

None of the seams are taped (the ones around the shoulders of the Sportful Fiandre Pro are taped) so this jacket in no way replaces a hardshell waterproof, but it's great for those days when you get the occasional light shower, when it's misty or foggy, or when the roads are wet and there's spray in the air. If you live in the UK, that's a lot of the time.

Sportful suggests the Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is suitable for 10°C and upwards. I'd say you could comfortably use it when the temperature is a couple of degrees below that with a long sleeve thermal baselayer. It doesn't offer deep insulation for winter use, though. NeoShell is quite a thin fabric that keeps you warm mostly by stopping the wind getting in.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - chest.jpg

At the top end, you could wear the Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket in temperatures up to maybe 15-16°C with a short sleeve, lightweight baselayer underneath. NeoShell feels perfectly comfortable next to bare arms. I'm writing this review after a 12°C medium-intensity spin and I've found it about right for conditions like this – so you'll get a lot of use out of it in both the spring and autumn.

Polartec says, 'By engineering optimal pore size and placement, NeoShell releases heat and perspiration without high-pressure build-up. Continuous air exchange enhances natural thermoregulation, while still providing the needed protection from all outside elements.'

Basically, it is very, very good at letting excess heat and moisture out before you get uncomfortable, but you need to bear in mind that no waterproof membrane fabric can let sweaty vapour out as fast as you can produce it on a tough climb.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - collar back.jpg

The Fiandre Pro Medium is cut slim, and I like that very much. I've been wearing a large, which is bang on for me according to Sportful's size chart, and it sits close on both the body and the arms. This means there's no annoying and inefficient flapping.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - cuff.jpg

As mentioned above, there's a lot of stretch in the NeoShell fabric and there's even more in the NoRain, but if you're of a heavier build you might want to try before you buy, just to be sure. There's definitely no hiding in this one.

One drawback with many close-fitting jackets is that they feel tight somewhere or other, but I didn't find that to be the case here. Alter your position on the bike and there's no restriction around the shoulders.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - shoulder.jpg

The cuffs, waistband and inner collar are made from super-stretchy fabrics that all sit close. The tapered cuffs easily slot inside any gloves that extend over your wrists so no cold can get in there, while the waistband sits perfectly flat, a couple of tacky silicone stripes inside helping to keep it from riding up at the back. I just love the cut. Everything sits exactly where it should and there's no discomfort. Spot on!

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - back.jpg

The front zipper is a chunky-toothed option from YKK that comes with a windproof flap behind it and a chin guard up top. It looks like it's built to last and the zip pull is easy enough to grab in full-finger gloves.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - hem.jpg

You get the usual three open-topped pockets around the back, but no zipped option for cash or keys. The logo printed on the middle pocket is reflective, but that's yer lot.

2021 Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket - pockets detail.jpg

Polartec NeoShell cycling jackets are never especially cheap. MAAP's Prime Stow jacket is £218, for example, and Giro's Chrono Pro NeoShell jacket is £249.99. With that in mind, the Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is a decent price.

> Buyer’s Guide: 37 of the best 2021 waterproof cycling jackets

The Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is made from excellent fabrics and the construction is similarly impressive. The result is a top performance in middling temperatures, especially when conditions are changeable and you're likely to need some sort of protection from light rain and/or road spray.

Verdict

Exceptionally good wind- and water-resistant jacket for middling temperatures and changeable conditions

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket

Size tested: L

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?

Sportful says: "The Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium jacket shares features common with its cold weather sibling, the Fiandre Pro Jacket, but can be used in a wider range of conditions. It shares the same Polartec fabric on the front but uses Sportful's lighter NoRain material on the back. High breathability is the biggest asset here: ideal for slightly warmer conditions, or riding full gas. Pair this with a thermal layer and it's perfect for cold conditions."

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

Sportful lists these characteristics and features:

Midweight Jacket

Polartec NeoShell fabric is windproof, waterproof, and highly breathable

Strategically placed seams for optimised fit and protection from rain

NoRain protection on the back

Waterproof YKK zipper

3 rear pockets

10˚+ C

Weight: 240g

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

It's showing very few signs of wear. The fabrics aren't prone to getting snagged.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
6/10

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

It goes through the wash at 30°C and comes out fine.

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

It does its job really well in cool and changeable conditions when you can't be arsed to take a hardshell waterproof on and off.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The performance of the Polartec NeoShell fabric and the slim fit.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

It could do with a couple more reflectives seeing as it's likely to be used in poor/changeable weather conditions.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Polartec NeoShell cycling jackets are never especially cheap. MAAP's Prime Stow jacket is £218, for example, and Giro's Chrono Pro NeoShell jacket is £249.99. With that in mind, the Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is a decent price.

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 overall score

It's clearly an 8 or a 9. I'd go with 9 on the basis that the most important features – the fabrics and the cut – are exceptionally good.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 190cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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