There are some pieces of cycling clothing that fit perfectly and feel amazing to wear. The Sportful Fiandre Light No Rain Vest is one of those pieces and it brings with it quality pockets and light weather protection
- - Big tooth zipper
- - Stretchy material
- - Pockets for the times you plan to leave your vest on
- - Good elastic at the arms
- - Although stretchy, the pockets are narrow
There's a huge range of options when it comes to the best gilet for cycling. Some of them are surprisingly warm, others are waterproof, and some are better for emergency showers. One popular use is as a way to extend the use of summer jerseys into the spring and fall. When it's just a little too cold for a summer cycling jersey but not so warm that it makes sense to carry a jacket. Pair a vest like that with a set of the best arm warmers and you can do a lot without the expense of full winter gear.
The Sportful Faindre Light NoRain gilet is a vest along those lines. It adds a bit of warmth but not too much. Keep reading to see how we think it might fit into your riding wardrobe.
Design and aesthetics
The headline design feature of the Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain is the NoRain that's in the name. The Fiandre NoRain technology is a technology that causes water to bead and run off while remaining breathable. It's not a DWR (durable water repellant) treatment and there's no membrane. Instead, it's an embedded nanotechnology with tiny particles of silicone in the fabric. Like all softshell technologies, it will become overwhelmed with heavy sustained rain but light rain will indeed bead up and runoff.
For all the emphasis on that technology, it's actually a limited part of the design. The back panel uses a very lightweight version of the NoRain fabric. It starts at the top of the back between the shoulder blades then continue down to incorporate the pockets. Not only does it see limited coverage but it's so light in this context that, even for a vest, I wouldn't expect much protection.
Move around to the front panels and you get a better sense of what to expect in the design. The front panels, on either side of the full-length zipper, are a single unbroken piece of fabric. They curve around to cover each side of the torso and continue over the shoulders before ending above the shoulder blades. This whole section uses a windproof membrane fabric. The point here is that you can expect wind protection more than rain protection despite the name.
Outside of the technical design features, a big part of this design is the style. There are bold, beautiful, colours available with multiple options. If you want to stick with black that is still an option but the other four colour options straddle the line of adding colour while not being garish.
There is Sea Moss, Blue Sea, Red Wine, and Yellow as options and each one offers the chance to add colour tastefully. Branding is minimal with a single Sportful logo on the chest and another in the centre of the rear pockets. Each of those logos is also a hit of reflectivity. Then at the back of the right shoulder and on the left pocket, you can find a red, rubber, "Fiandre" tag bonded to the fabric.
I alluded to this throughout the other sections of this review but I want to really drive it home. The best feature of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain vest is the fit and form. That statement is not meant to take anything away from the performance but it's just so good from a style perspective. The colour options are in some ways muted but there's a vibrant nature to them at the same time. I went with the Blue Sea option and it amounts to a greyish blue that adds a vibrant pop of colour to nearly any summer kit I have without being garish. It's a calming visual.
Along with the excellent colour choices, the fit is equally outstanding. The fabrics are incredibly soft and there's a lot of stretch to them. Zipping up the hefty plastic zipper smooths your entire torso with light compression and no extra fabric. It feels so good, and breathes well enough, that I tend to use it even when I could probably get away without it.
That brings me on to the way it works best. This is a very light vest that adds just a touch of wind protection and insulation to a summer kit. In the fall and spring when it's sunny with blue skies but there's just a touch of chill in the air is when I use the Sportful Faindre Light NoRain vest. I love to pair the blue colour with my Castelli Aero Race 6.0 jersey and I have never shed it mid-ride.
It's light enough to shed easily but it breathes so well that it's very adaptable as temperatures rise. Given that I don't remove it, I take advantage of the three rear pockets. The top of the pockets has an elastic strip that keeps them flat against the body if you choose not to use them, and if you do use them, they share the same slightly narrow profile as the Escape Supergiara Thermal jersey pockets but the highly elastic fabric keeps them very usable. They are on the high side but it's not too much of a stretch to get your hand in.
Don't expect a lot of protection from rain, temperatures, or even wind. There are other vests that really up the protection factor and that's not the Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain. Sportful never claims more than it delivers though so instead expect gorgeous colour options, an amazing fit, a tall neckline and a sturdy waist. The stretch and cut come together for a slimming effect that looks great.
If you want pockets, they are there to use but if you'd rather ignore them, they will stay close to the body when not in use. It's got quite a specific window of use, but it is a perfect choice on sunny but crisp fall and spring rides.
Tech Specs: Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain vest
- Price: £105.00 / $120.00 / €99.90 / $160.00 AUS
- Available Colours: Black, Sea Moss, Blue Sea, Red Wine, and Yellow
- Materials: [front] WindShield 3L, [back] NoRain Light
- Weight: 112g size small
- Size availability: S-XXXL
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