Sportful's updated Fiandre Light NoRain Short Sleeve Jersey offers a great balance of rain and wind protection with decent breathability, providing a really versatile top for tackling unpredictable spring weather conditions. It's well made, offers an excellent fit with three rear pockets for all your food and supplies, and comes in a choice of great colours including this fantastic orange, plus a boring black.
Pros: Keeps wind out, keeps you mostly dry, fits great, looks fab, three pockets, brilliant orange colour option
Cons: Other than the price I can't find anything to criticise here
Italian company Sportful's Fiandre (Italian for Flanders) range covers an increasingly wide variety of garments but the one thing they all have in common is an impressive suitability for the varied weather most UK cyclists have to encounter, especially at this time of year.
The jersey is made from a lightweight polyester material with stretchy windproof and water resistant front panels combined with a NoRain Light back panel fabric for extra water protection and breathability. It's all very nicely stitched together and durability has been just fine in the time I've been testing it.
The construction puts it at the lighter end of the Fiandre protection scale. I've found it working well from about 8°C upwards into the mid-teens, though what you wear underneath it and the intensity of the ride affects the temperature range in which it's comfortable. It's ideal for spring basically.
I've been wearing it with a Merino base layer and Sportful NoRain arm warmers. On warmer days it's kept me at a very nice temperature, and because it offers rain protection I've not had to worry about getting caught in rain. It certainly makes dressing easy on those days when you're refreshing the weather app constantly trying to get an idea of whether you're going to get rained on. Sling this top on and you'll be fine whatever happens.
It's also quite a versatile top. You can wear it over a baselayer on warmer days and you'll be fine, but if it's cooler you can wear it over another short sleeve jersey and treat it as a sort of gilet, for a little more warmth and protection than most gilets provide. That helps to make it a good top to stretch right through the full gamut of spring weather and into summer and makes it a good investment as well.
The collar is a nice length, tall and comforting, and the layer of material that sits atop the full-length YKK zipper provides a good appearance as well as offering a bit more protection from the elements. The sleeves are longer than most short sleeve jerseys, but that serves to give you better protection from the elements. As is customary, the tail is dropped for a bit of lower back/upper bum coverage.
Read more: The best wet weather racing jerseys — weatherproof spring/autumn/winter Gabba-style cycling jerseys, from the original to the Shadow jersey
I've always found the fit of Sportful clothing to be spot-on, and this size small jersey was no different. You can feel Sportful's racing experience in this top. It's a close-fitting design that hugs the body, clearly intended for racing and fast training rides. With a size range from XS to 3XL there's a size for everyone.
In terms of performance, the Light NoRain jersey is designed to provide protection from light rain – think short cloud bursts or that constant drizzle. But it's not a full-on waterproof jacket. For a lot of riding at this time of year a full waterproof is boil-in-the-bag overkill. When you just need more water protection than a normal jersey but not a fully waterproof jacket, the Light NoRain Short Sleeve steps up to the plate with just the right level of protection.
I've ridden through a lot of rain this year, as you probably have, and I've been impressed at just how well this top copes. Even on a ride of a couple of hours with constant rain, it kept my upper body nicely dry. During really heavy downbursts you'll find its limits, but it does dry out quickly after a drenching. What it manages to do is keep you a lot drier than a regular jersey.
It's also very breathable too, and that really is one of its key attributes. When you're battering along at a pace, grinding up climbs or hanging on to a fast bunch, you're kicking out a lot of heat. The NoRain Light tackles this exceedingly well, noticeably letting excess heat escape and keep your torso at a comfortable temperature. There's never that horrible clammy feeling and it doesn't soak up moisture either, whether from rain or your sweat. It dries quickly between efforts or cloud bursts.
When I tested the 2015 version of this jersey instead of pockets it had a large vertical zip designed to allow you to access pockets on a jersey underneath. Sportful has now added three conventional pockets. That makes it much more usable, and means you can wear it on its own over a baselayer. The pockets are reinforced and support however much stuff you want to load them up with, without sagging down to your knees.
I've tested a lot of Sportful Fiandre clothing over the years and I've come to really appreciate how it just works really well in the wildly unpredictable, ever-changing conditions we enjoy (or endure) in the UK. One day it can be mild and damp and the next cold and windy. Fiandre clothing has the versatility to deal with these changes and as the weather slowly warms up, this Light NoRain Short Sleeve Jersey is a really good choice. Did I say I love this orange colour option? They'll see me a-comin'.
Versatile windproof and water resistant short sleeve top for spring cycling
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Fiandre Light NoRain Short Sleeve jersey
Size tested: small, orange
Tell us what the product is for
Updated short sleeve design combined with front wind protection and full water resitance. Featuring breathble No- Rain light fabric inserts that allow excess heat and moisture to escape combined with durable rain resistance. Unique construction will repel light rain and will not soak up water.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stretch windproof fabric on front, shoulders and upper arms
NoRain Light fabric on back for water-repellent breathability and stretch
Unidirectional strech back construction for pocket support
YKK® Vislon® main zipper with wind flap
3 rear pockets
Reflective heat-transfer strips
Very adept at tackling unpredictable spring weather from cold winds to steady rain
Considering its versatility and how it suits a wide range of conditions, I don't think it's bad value
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy, it goes through a regular wash cycle at 30-degrees fine
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lives up to the company's claims for it well
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fits great, copes with wide range of conditions, keeps you mostly dry and is very breathable
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Isn't anything to dislike about it
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Other than the price which some may consider a bit high, I see no reason to not give this top a decent score
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.