Towards the end of last year (2016!) we sent London rider Beth Hodge a bundle of lovely Sportful cycling kit to put through its paces. You can read her first impressions on all of the items here, and now after several months of riding she’s brought us her thoughts on the Fiandre NoRain bibtights.
Designed for the very worst weather, these feature an extra layer of material over the thighs, knees and back. They offer a full length upper body with a zip and come in at £120 in sizes XS to XXL. Here’s how they got on…
Cold, wet, windy...I could continue. Sound familiar? That’ll be winter on the bike and we’ve only just got started. For those who want to get immersed in such a season, proper kit is needed making a potentially unpleasant experience slightly more pleasant. Anything that can keep us going for longer on the bike in the winter months is a must, and especially for riders like me whose veins freeze at the thought of below 10 degrees, comfort is key.
Winter bib tights are the most essential of winter wardrobe items. I’ve been testing the Fiandre Norain Bibtight, an item of clothing I would certainly describe as a heavyweight in the winter wardrobe arena.
As always my strict criteria for a good pair of bibs is fit. There is nothing worse than a chamois with too much of a free rein- and if you’re yet to be converted into the belt and braces of the world of bibs make sure you opt for waist tights that fit you correctly before you ride. The sizing was spot on for me in these bibs. From the length of the leg to the ‘body’ section, it was a comfortable fit whilst on and off the bike. Remember that they may feel a little tight when standing around your shoulder area- clothing designed to be ridden in should fit perfectly when in the riding position. The Sportful Fiandre NoRain bibtight is designed to be a performance fit so bear this in mind when looking at sizing. I am a size 10 jean and 5’6, and the small fitted me perfectly.
The body section has been designed really well for a winter product, and it’s almost giving an extra base layer with it’s nice high breathable back and front keeping everything toasty and of course giving ultimate protection of the dreaded gap! Gives me shivers thinking about it.
Sportful have really considered the elements of what can help with winter riding in this product by adding extra layers of material over key body points- the lower back, thighs and knees.
Starting with the lower back, an area that gets wet pretty quickly if riding without a rear mudguard I personally really like this addition of what Sportful call their NoRain Light rear flap- an extra layer of water resistant material that is closely fitted. Quite frankly anything that will keep my bum dryer for longer is a winner. It’s not visible on the bike but feels a little odd when walking in them, but I don’t wear bibs to walk in so it didn’t bother me that much. Excellent reflective detailing is a great addition to the rear flap and reflective strips are also found on the small zippers at the end of the legs.
The NoRain Thermal fabric (nanotechnology water-repellent outside, brushed fleece inside) is doubled up on the knees and thighs to keep areas which often take the worst of the weather toasty and working properly. I used NoRain arm and leg warmers for many years because the technology did exactly what it says it does, so to have a complete winter bib product using the same silicon finish for what Sportful say will provide a ‘permanent water repellency’ is quite unusual and worth looking at.
Finally what is really noticeable is the minimal seams used on the product. Fewer seams, fewer places for the rain to get in leading to a product that will withstand the elements for longer, keeping you riding more comfortably for longer.
Overall a winter product I recommend for performance wear to keep clocking up those winter base miles.
- Use of the proven NoRain fabric is worth having
- A heavyweight in the winter bib offering
- Great fit
- Rear flap feels a little awkward when off the bike
- Material may be too thick for changeable days (though Sportful give the product a 4 / 5 for breathability)
RRP: £120, sizes XS - XXL, see them here.