This article first appeared on BikeRadar
After what seems like an eternity, spring is finally springing in the Northern Hemisphere. The flowers are blooming, freshly cut grass wafts through the air, and you can actually go for a bike ride on dry — yes dry — roads for the first time in months.
Longer days also allow for post-work bike rides to supplement weekend riding and I've even been out riding in bib shorts and short-sleeved jerseys!
Sportful visited BikeRadar at our Bristol HQ to showcase the latest and greatest from the Italian company. The range sees plenty of updates to some of the brand's most popular products, as well as a few fresh pieces added to the Spring/Summer line-up.
Below, we take a look at some of the highlights from this season's selection.
Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Short Sleeve jacket
Sportful's Fiandre range features heavily in the company's winter and summer apparel range. Fiandre is Italian for 'Flanders' and the pieces are designed to cope with the changeable weather associated with the region (and, indeed, many other parts of the world).
The Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain SS (short sleeve) jacket is light, breathable and packable, and offers more than adequate protection from light rain and cold wind.
A high collar and longer than usual sleeves, plus a low-cut rear, further adds protection, while the stretch fabric and panel construction prevent any restrictive feeling.
The latest Fiandre Light NoRain SS jacket also has cargo pockets for the first time, adding plenty of extra cargo space when worn over a regular jersey.
The jacket is available in orange (photographed), fluoro yellow, or black.
£100 / €119.90 / $149.99
Sportful BodyFit Pro LTD bib shorts
Priced at £115, these shorts are by no means a budget option, but from the first time you put them on, you know it's a serious piece of kit.
The BodyFit Pro range feature the same pieces of kit as used by Sportful's WorldTour teams, Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida, who boast Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali on their books. Sportful claims these shorts are the pro riders' choice for Grand Tour comfort, and if they're good enough for the Tour de France, they're good enough for you and me.
Featuring Sportful's Pro LTD pad and wider 'lie flat' bib straps, the bib shorts offer supreme comfort with flatlock stitching and a seamless leg band preventing any discomfort from seams.
The BodyFit PRO LTD bib shorts use Sportful's AeroFlow Compress panel structure, which aims to improve aerodynamics and offers greater muscle support. Longer leg length has also become a common trend at the top-level of the sport, which alongside aesthetics keeps the relevant muscles warmer if temperatures begin to lower.
I've worn these shorts for a few rides so far and they're fast becoming my go-to bib shorts. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review soon.
The Sportful BodyFit PRO LTD bib shorts are available in black with fluoro yellow, black (photographed), white or red detailing.
£115 / €129.90 / $169.99
Sportful R&D Celsius jersey
Sportful's R&D range is an opportunity for the Italian company to push the boundaries of what is possible from cycling apparel. Using the latest technologies and working closely with the company's pro riders, the R&D range is limited to just a few products each season and offers high-end performance alongside a high-end price tag.
The R&D Celsius jersey is designed for temperatures from 15-30 degrees Celsius, although the lightweight nature of the jersey and full-length zipper suggests it may be suitable for warmer climes.
Alongside the low (or non-existent) collar and lightweight material, an 'open mesh' inner layer (which resembles a super-lightweight base layer) is stitched into the front panels of the jersey. This open-mesh fabric adds insulation to keep you cool during long stints of climbing in the heat yet prevents the cool air on the descent giving you too much of a chill by keeping the moisture off the skin.
We suspect this jersey will only be useful for those who have access to hot alpine climbs this summer, but you may see the technology trickle down to more accessible price points in seasons to come — innovation is always welcome.
The Sportful R&D Celsius jersey is available in black/red (photographed) or black.
£110 / €129.90 / $179.99
Sportful HotPack 6 jacket
As the name suggests, the Sportful HotPack is now in its sixth iteration and features several updates for the Spring/Summer 2018 season.
The HotPack 6 features a built-in pocket to pack the jacket into and offers ample protection from any mid-ride showers or drops in temperature without taking up a whole jersey pocket.
The minimal seams means you might not get the greatest fit, but it does help prevent any water ingress. A high collar, elasticated cuffs and lower rear also helps keep any unwanted weather out.
While the jacket is available in black, the four other brighter colour options add a touch of visibility in low light.
The Sportful HotPack 6 jacket is available in black, orange (photographed), fluoro yellow, white or green.
£90 / €99.90 / $89.99
Sportful BodyFit Pro jerseys
For the 2018 season, Sportful has added three new BodyFit Pro jerseys to their range, including the BodyFit Pro Light, BodyFit Pro Evo and BodyFit Pro Classics jerseys.
As the names suggest, the BodyFit Pro Light is designed for hot weather and climbing, the BodyFit Pro Classics is for the cooler temperatures associated with the spring Classics, while the BodyFit Pro Evo is the brand's all-around race offering and a popular choice of the pro riders.
Learn more about the Sportful BodyFit Pro jerseys here.
From £80 / €89.90 / $149.99
Sportful Total Comfort bib short
While the BodyFit Pro LTD bib shorts focus on performance, the Total Comfort bib shorts focus on comfort. Sportful says the shorts are 'designed for those epic all-day riders where support and correct fit are essential' and it has several design features to back up this mantra.
Sportful's Total Comfort pad comes with up to 18mm of padding, while laser-cut bib straps and flatlock stitching prevent any unwanted chafing or rubbing from seams. The side panels on the leg of the shorts feature a stretch woven fabric to help wick away any moisture from the legs.
Silicone grippers feature on the inside of the leg cuffs and the shoulder contact point of the bib straps for a secure fit. Reflective piping on the leg cuffs for increased visibility is also welcome.
The Sportful Total Comfort bib shorts are available in black only.
£130 / €149.90 / $169.99
Launched for last year's Spring/Summer collection, Giara is Sportful's gravel-specific range (with the name paying homage to the gravel roads around Italy).
While gravel-specific may seem a step too far for some, the range also offers a relaxed cut and conservative design meaning the kit can be used in just about any scenario, while retaining the performance design aspects you'd expect from Sportful.
The range includes a short-sleeve jersey, long-sleeve jersey/jacket, vest, bib shorts, over shorts and accessories, and includes a few new colour lines for 2018.
From £70 / €79.90 / $79.99