The new top end clothing from Sportful for this winter and next spring relies quite heavily on high tech fabrics and non-traditional construction methods to put together jerseys, shorts, jackets, and tights that can handle a wide range of temperatures and conditions while keeping the rider comfortable. The R&D series in Sportful’s take on reapplying the tech and experience that they develop for their pro team (including 2015 Giro winner and 2015 UCI Road World Champ), so that it can be made into consumer clothing for all-day comfort. This R&D Jersey is designed as the pinnacle of Sportful’s tech for long days in the saddle, and forms the base of a line up that also includes Ultralight and Speedskin versions. Come past the break for more R&D details, plus the lowdown on their new Fiandre line-up for when the weather gets cold and wet…
The 150€ R&D Jersey uses a stretchy fabric for a close fit and adds mesh and laser perforated sections under the arms, over the shoulder blades, and even on the upper chest for optimized temperature control. The chest of the jersey uses separate panels for a more tailored, supportive fit, and comes together with flat thermowelded seams for a one piece feel. As seen in the unzipped pic at the top, the main zip also gets an integrated snap that lets the rider unzip the entire jersey to maximize ventilation, but keep the jersey in place without unnecessary flapping in the wind.
The R&D UltraSkin bib shorts on the mannequin above also carry a lot of pro tech over into an all day short. The 150€ bibs use a double mesh layer on the inner leg to maximize breathability while not sacrificing support. The fabric on the outside of the leg is not mesh, but a light stretch woven fabric with a ceramic-printed finish that dramatically boosts durability. Also, instead of traditional bib straps, Sportful has essentially sewn in an ultra-light mesh baselayer for more distributed support and better wicking under the R&D or other jerseys, with an integrated mesh rear pocket for overflow storage for extra long rides. The mesh top gets a full zip, and like some more useable skinsuits gets a lower t-way zip that serves as a fly for roadside bathroom breaks.
Adding to the long sleeve jacket is a Fiandre Extreme NeoShell Short Sleeve jacket. Surprisingly (at first only) the short sleeve variant costs a bit more at 300€, but does so as a result of even more versatility. The short sleeve jacket shares all of the same tech with 3/4 length sleeves actually, and includes a set of matching, integrated NeoShell arm warmers that make it function either as a cold and wet weather jacket or a more flexible transition season race jersey.
To add to the winter versions based on thermally backed fabrics, the Fiandre line also will continue over to the spring and summer with lighter weight pieces. Like the Fiandre Light NoRain Top for example which, available both for men and women, is a form fitted replacement for a packable wind vest that adds full-coverage and rain protection while keeping freedom of movement and breathability. The Light NoRain Top was a mainstay of the Tinkoff Saxo team who used it throughout the year when the weather would quickly change mid-race. The Fiandre Light Wind Jersey also is available for women and men, and functions more like an all day cool weather jersey. Its 4-way stretch Windstopper fabric keeps the rider warm, but also gets the NoRain treatment for all day weather protection without having to worry about additional rain jackets.
For a shorts and tights perspective the Fiandre line-up has the same winter and spring options as well. The 140€ Fiandre NoRain Bibtights are made of a brushed fleece inside, NoRain water-repellent outside for cold and wet comfort. The tights get doubled up thighs and knees for extra warmth on those long cold winter rides. An insulated bib shorts version sharing some of the tech as the tights is also available (just without the rear flap.) A Fiandre Light NoRain Bibshort will be available as part of the spring collection for just 100€. It gets a light summer-weight fabric, but adds the NoRain nanotech treatment to repel water for rides when you anticipate getting caught out in the rain.
Both pairs of bibs include an extra NoRain Light flap over the rear of the shorts/tights for more protection against rear wheel spray. The flap is actually designed to slide down close to the saddle and allow water to run down and drip off behind the rider, instead of running down the butt and legs. Most of the winter gear should be available now though Sportful retailers, with the light weight stuff ready around the end of the year at the latest.