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Sportful's BodyFit Pro Women's Thermal Jersey delivers on both comfort and performance in cool conditions. It's classically styled, with a pro fit, and will likely appeal to competitive riders and those who want to enjoy kit that the professionals don during training.
Sportful claims this jersey has been developed with input from World Tour riders, and it's certainly a race-fit garment and offers top-end performance, albeit in very specific conditions.
If you stay true to size you'll be getting a skin-tight jersey that hugs your every curve. However, it doesn't lack length anywhere – even when you're down on the drops this jersey offers plenty of coverage at the lower back and it stays put, thanks to the fit more than anything else. There is a silicone strip on the rear, and an elasticated hem for added support. I never had an issue with the jersey riding up, or swinging round.
Sleeve length is good too – if anything, there was a little excess for me, though I'd rather it that way than too short. The elastic cuffs are nothing fancy but stay put, under or over (slim) gloves.
The collar is sufficiently high and close to keep out draughts. I have used high neck undervests with it and not felt constricted, though trying to zip up with a bulky neck warmer underneath is pushing it.
There is no zip garage to protect your neck – or anything at the hem line to protect your shorts/tights – a bit of an omission at this price perhaps. It does have an external zip guard, though – a nice touch that helps to limit cold air entering. I've rarely had issues with flaps sitting on the inside, but with this setup I'd say the flap is less likely to get caught up in the zipper.
Sportful has used two different fabrics in the construction of the jersey, each positioned for best effect in terms of protection and breathability. That used on the shoulders, sides and upper arms is light and stretchy, while the front and rear panels are slightly thicker with a little less give. None of it feels restrictive: the jersey conforms to your body without resistance, regardless of how much you move about.
The interior is soft to the touch but far from fleecy – it's not the cosy fabric you often associate with thermal jerseys.
The combination of protection on the forward facing panels and breathability elsewhere works well. I've used the jersey with a very thin baselayer and not once noticed any moisture build-up or retention on the fabrics. I found this setup perfect in temperatures hovering around 10 degrees; approaching 15°C and you might need to lose the baselayer (or go with a vest), while below about 8°C you'll likely want to start adding more layers. As it's such a snug fit, you can get another jersey over the top easily, or a jacket for bitter days or in the rain – in line with the 1/5 rating on Sportful's website, it's not at all rainproof.
On its own, it's a brilliant bit of kit for dry, mild days when you want to go out and have a short blast.
At the rear, its three traditional style pockets are plenty big enough to take a large, modern smartphone, a rain jacket, food or spares/tools. The fabric has a lot of give here, so there's no struggle to keep loading them. There's no zipped pocket, which is worth noting if you are fan – I rarely use these so didn't miss it.
Reflective detailing is minimal, with just a small Sportful logo on the central rear pocket. If you like to wear more striking kit there's a red option available as well as this Blue Corsair on test, or there's a darker Blue Gold too.
On the face of it, £100 is a hefty price for a jersey that, unsupported, performs in very specific conditions. That said, Castelli's Diagonal FZ jersey is a similar design and will set you back a tenner more, though it is noticeably warmer.
However, I'd say you get a similar level of performance and fit from Liv's Race Day Jersey and you'll be saving yourself £25. And Fat Lad At The Back's thermal jersey with a very long name is £69.99, though Lara wasn't very impressed with the finishing. Or, for £59.99, Altura's Nightvision LS Jersey is worth considering, although I found the fit less appealing and the pockets inadequate.
Overall, I'd say this Sportful jersey is worth considering if your riding is consistently performance focused, or you like riding in race-orientated gear – though it does come at a rather premium price.
Perfect for performance-focused riding in dry, cool conditions, and equally good as a mid-layer for wintry rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Bodyfit Pro Women's Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, 'This jersey was fine-tuned by our WorldTour riders, 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?
*Double-layer jersey printed on torso
*Sleeves and side panels in brushed stretch fabric
*Covered front YKK® Vislon® zip
*Silicone gripper elastic at bottom of jersey in back, with reflective detailing outside
*3 back pockets
*Temp. Range: 15°+ C
Soft shell might be vulnerable in the long term.
Think aero-fit; very snug but doesn't come up short anywhere.
Stay true to size if you want the intended pro fit.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Standard 30 degrees, no softener, no problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent breathability, as claimed. Performs optimally in dry, cool conditions, keeping you dry and comfortably warm during hard and moderate efforts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Breathability during shorter, pacy rides. It feels minimal but does the job.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's mid to upper range. Castelli's thermal Diagonal FZ pushes it down the price ranking, though it is noticeably warmer, but there are cheaper thermal options from Liv, FLAB and Altura.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they were a keen, performance-focused rider, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great piece of kit that performs well on its own in very specific conditions. It's breathability and snug, minimal fit make it a great supplementary layer outside of this window.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…