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As with the men's version of this jacket Sportful have, with the Fiandre W Light, attempted to produce a garment genuinely fit to tackle the typical weather conditions encountered by the average northern European cyclist. True to its name (Fiandre is Italian for Flanders), it's a jacket aimed at protection from all manner of weather, protecting from wind, cold and even rain, but remaining breathable and dry on the inside too.
Similarly featured to the men's version, this jacket has two generous rear pockets, as well as a sort of hip pouch pocket too. As with the women's long sleeve jersey, I'd have liked to have seen some sort of zipped security pocket really. Underarm panels are more breathable than the main body of super lightweight Windstopper LightStretch softshell fabric and give extra stretch for riding comfort, particularly when stretched forward and the back is shaped to maximize protection from wheel spray. There are reflective stripes under the pockets at the back too.
The cut of this jacket is superb. On the neat side, those on the cusp may want to go up a size, but it's designed to fit sleekly over whatever layers you choose to wear under it. And this is where it's particularly versatile, as depending on the temperature and conditions it's possible to wear anything from a lightweight short sleeved jersey through to a heavy duty thermal long sleeve under this and still feel the benefit. No matter how fickle the weather, I stayed a good stable temperature, didn't feel any windchill and even stayed dry in a good dump of rain, although I'd probably not want to risk setting out for a long, wet ride in this. Moisture was moved swiftly away from the skin, leaving a pleasant, dry, warm result.
If I had one personal quibble it would just be the colour. For a jacket orientated towards spring, autumn and winter use, black isn't the most visible, particularly when the sun is riding low in the sky. Nonetheless it looks smart and many will appreciate the ninja stealth cyclist chic. The company's website features images of a bright blue version which would seem preferable, but I couldn't find it actually for sale anywhere. At £160 it's a good buy, as you'll be wearing it in all but the vey warmest, driest conditions. At a squeeze it'll even fit into a jersey pocket 'just in case'.
Well-shaped, well-considered and extremely versatile jacket for three-season northern European riding
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Make and model: Sportful Fiandre W Light Jacket
Size tested: na
Tell us what the product 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?
Aimed at female cyclists looking for a versatile protective layer for three-season use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
If you could pick just one jacket to cover all your fall, winter and spring riding, this would be it. Full wind protection protects you in even the coldest conditions, excellent water repellency and the waterproof zipper keep you dry, and the outstanding breathability of our lightest Windstopper® fabric prevents overheating. Plus it's extremely light and the stretch fit guarantees comfort.
* Windproof Windstopper® LightStretch with excellent water repellency, stretch and breathability
* Waterproof YKK® Vislon zipper
* Two rear pockets
* Reflective stripes on back
Extra long tail to protect backside from wheel spray
Very well made from excellent quality fabrics and components.
Just the right level of warmth, windproofing and weather protection to make it genuinely useful.
Tough and durable.
For a breathable weatherproof and protective layer this isn't a bad weight or pack size.
A safe way of spending £160 as it'll see a lot of use all year round. Probably even in summer.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, fit, breathability and windproofing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of small zipped security pocket, colour inappropriate for winter use
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably. More so if it were a brighter colour.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A really effective and competent three-season jacket that will quickly become a go-to item of kit.
Age: 42 Height: 1.65m Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.