There are days when the weather isn’t cold enough to merit a winter jacket, not wet enough to need a rain jacket but still chilly enough that a long sleeve is necessary to really get out and enjoy your ride. The Sportful Fiandre Light Norain long sleeve provides reliable protection from the elements in a versatile lightweight package. Designed to be worn over your kit, the Fiandre offers that extra bit of insulation from the elements on a cold or damp day.
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The Fiandre’s protection comes from the use of two different fabrics. Sportful’s WindShield 3L fabric is used on the shoulders, upper arms and the front while the No-Rain fabric is found on the back and forearms. Both fabrics are water-resistant but as a piece best used as part of a layering system, the top doesn’t provide the full-on protection you’d expect from a jacket. This is actually what makes the Fiandre so versatile as it has sufficiently more breathability than apparel that provides heavier duty protection from the elements.
It’s utility is most evident on a cold day with perhaps variable conditions. The Fiandre, which is Italian for Flanders, is apparel inspired to protect from the changeable weather that has made the spring classics in the region famous. That means brief showers, cold weather, mist and dampness that seems to hang in the air. On rides when you may want to peel off a layer had you worn a jacket, the Fiandre shines. It’s lightweight means that it remains comfortable to keep on even when the temperature warms up. It also can be rolled up to fit in a back pocket.
Out on the road, the light fabric does a satisfyingly good job of keeping a cool wind out thanks to the strategically placed wind-resistant fabric. In a brief shower, it’s a top that you will be very thankful to have broughout along.If the rain hangs around for too long, you will want heavier duty protection but in a shower it does an admirable job to ensure you don’t catch a chill or get your underlayers damp. In a hard effort or while climbing, the top can begin to get a little warm but an adjustment of the zipper will ensure you don’t overheat. The top strikes a nice balance between protection, breathability and it’s the sort of apparel that’s utility stretches beyond a single season.
The bright Fluro colour, other than being eye-catching, will make you visible out on the road but if you prefer a more understated look it is also available in black. On the right side of the top there is a zipper that makes it easy to access your jersey pockets underneath. If you are left handed, you will have to get accustomed to using your right hand to reach into your pockets.
The Fiandre is a piece of apparel that we found ourselves reaching for more often than we anticipated. A versatile piece that is not a gilet nor a jacket but has many of the same benefits as both. Made to be worn in varying conditions it’s perfect for a fall adventure when the weather can be as unpredictable as the riding can be rewarding. The Sportful Fiandre Light Norain long sleeve is available for $240.