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The classically styled Sportful BodyFit Pro Thermal Jersey may look simple, but with the inclusion of plenty of technical fabrics it delivers on both comfort and performance. It's very well made too, which goes a long way to justifying the asking price.
Sportful's BodyFit range is designed for performance riders, those who want close-fitting apparel with a great cut when on the bike, no flapping fabric or creases around the joints. And that is exactly what you get here with the Pro Thermal jersey.
It has a dropped tail to keep your lower back covered when bent over on the saddle, and the front is angled up from each side to where it meets the zip which means you get no bunching of the material. It also helps prevent the zip of the jersey catching on the fabric of your tights or shorts.
The full zip leads up to a highish neck which is close enough to stop draughts but there is enough room to comfortably drop a neck gaiter or Buff down inside. There is no zip garage to protect your neck, though, something I would expect to see at this price. The way the fabric covers over the outside of the zip is cool, though, as it stops the air passing through and is less likely to catch on the zip when you do it up or take it down, unlike a covering strip of material behind the zip can do.
There is plenty of length to the sleeves for when you are stretched right out, and the simple elasticated cuffs mean they stay put.
At the rear you'll find three pockets running from side to side in a traditional style. They are deep too, plenty big enough to take a large modern smartphone and spares or tools.
The material is taut enough that the pockets don't sag much when heavy items are placed in them, and thanks to their depth I had no issues with things coming out when crouching in the drops and descending.
Most jackets and jerseys that you get nowadays have a smaller zipped pocket for your valuables and I missed that here on the Sportful. My keys and debit card were safe enough, but it is nice to have that added security of knowing they're zipped away safely.
Sportful has used various fabrics in the construction of the jersey, positioning them strategically for best effect.
TDTxp is used for the front and rear to protect your core from the cold wind. It's a fleece-lined Lycra fabric that is very soft to the touch and does a great job of fighting off the windchill. With a mesh summer baselayer beneath I was comfortable down to about 5°C, and with a thicker, long sleeve option I had no problems at -1°C and would probably have been fine if it had got any colder during testing.
The shoulders and sleeves use ThermoDrytex Plus which feels lighter than the fabric used on the core. Sportful says that its stretchiness aids movement and there is certainly no restriction to be found, however you are sat on the bike. The fabric is still fleece-lined to trap warmth, so the fact that it is thinner isn't an issue.
Joining the back and the front, the side panels feel the same as the shoulders in terms of material. The elasticity creates that close fit I mentioned earlier.
Size-wise, if you go by Sportful's guide you shouldn't have too much of an issue. Comparing like for like, though, or medium for medium, I have found that the Sportful kit I've been testing comes up a little small. I take a medium in virtually every other brand but would probably nudge up to a large for the Sportful jerseys and bib tights I've been testing. (It's not me in the pics.)
At £90, it's not a cheap jersey, and there are a few out there that cost less. The Altura Icon long sleeve jersey impressed Steve for its cut and warmth for its £59.99 price tag, and I was impressed by the £75 dhb Aeron Equinox Thermal jersey when wearing it alongside the Sportful, though the Sportful does have a nicer feel to the fabric.
That said, the quality of this BodyFit Pro jersey is absolutely top notch, with neat and tidy stitching throughout, and I'd pitch it at something like the PEdAL ED Kobe Thermo jersey. I've worn a lot of PEdAL ED stuff and know exactly how good the finish and materials are, similar to the Sportful. The Kobe is £60 more, though, at £150, which makes the Sportful look a bit of a bargain.
Overall, stick a zipped pocket on the BodyFit Thermal Pro and it'd be pretty much perfect. It's available in a choice of four colours and six sizes.
Very well made classically styled jersey that offers loads of warmth and comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful BodyFit Pro Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "A NEW IDEA FOR A THERMAL JERSEY
"This jersey was fine-tuned by our WorldTour cyclists, and it is exactly the same piece that they have in their wardrobe. It features a brushed fabric to keep you warm and comfortable and the typical close fit of a pro-level garment. We reexamined every detail to improve this version. It's excellent with other layers, or you can wear it alone on warmer days."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BodyFit Pro construction fine-tuned on our WorldTour riders
TDTxp body for extra core warmth and moisture management
ThermoDrytex Plus shoulders and sleeves for high-stretch warmth
Silicone gripper elastic on waistband
3 high-capacity back pockets
YKK® Vislon® zipper
The sizing is spot on to Sportful's chart although, as I say in the review, when comparing brands you might need to go up a size from your usual.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple wash in the machine has caused no issues throughout testing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a simple design but one that works so well when the temperatures start to drop.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great comfort and warmth.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I missed not having a zipped valuables pocket.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can go cheaper and still get a quality jersey from the likes of dhb and Altura, and brands like Triban are knocking out winter jerseys for even less. I'd say the Sportful sits at a fair price point, though, as it competes with others that sit at a much higher one.
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
This jersey really is quality throughout. The finish is excellent, the softness of the fabric makes it a joy to wear, and it performs too. Give me somewhere safe for my keys and it'd be hard to fault.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!