No doubt you already know of the Sportful brand, we’ve stocked it at ProBikeKit for a good few seasons now.
The history of the company dates back some 61 years, starting life as an Italian manufacturer of high quality underwear for the US and Italian markets. Not your usual starting point for any cycling company, but in 1972 Dr Giordano Cremonese took over managing the business from his parents. As a keen skier and outdoor enthusiast he had plans to ski competitively. With no quality ski clothing available to race in, he decided to use the family business’ facilities and expertise in manufacturing to produce a number of garments. With this he unwittingly started the Sportful brand.
It took the company 13 years to then decide to enter the cycling market. Wool jerseys and shorts were the norm at the time, but Dr Giordano believed the professional cyclist could do with a bit of the technology that was now being used in the ski market.
It’s interesting to note that around this time Sportful weren’t the only European ski based brand that felt cycling could benefit from ski technology. The previous year Look; the French manufacturer, also entered the cycling market with a ski binding inspired pedal system.
Sportful have worked with many great teams over the years. One of these teams was MOG-Bianchi, who at the time, were nurturing a very young Mario Cipollini. Another was the all powerful Mapei team which boasted names such as Museeuw, Bellini, Ballerini, Vandenbroucke, Tafi, Olano, Steels, Bartoli and Freire (I could go on, the list of champions from that team is amazing). Sportful have also supplied kit to the Italian national team. With wins at the Olympics and Worlds the pedigree of riders and wins in Sportful clothing is pretty impressive.
For the past few years Riis’ team, Saxo Bank are the pro guys who have been racing and training in the kit. Sportful use this partnership to help develop their apparel and until August, if you see a certain banned Spanish professional out training, he’ll be decked out in the same non team branded Sportful Bodyfit Pro kit everyone can buy.
A few of us here at Probikekit have been keen Sportful users for some time. My personal favourites are any of the pieces that use the No Rain technology. It’s not actually a coating on the fabric but the fabric itself that is designed to repel a good shower. The best way we have heard it described is the way a peach sheds droplets when dunked into water. I’ve been using the leg and arm warmers since last spring and they are still going strong.
For 2012 Spring/Summer, we’ve just had a lovely load of boxes turn up with our first drop of Sportful goodies. So here’s a quick run-down on what’s tickling our fancy.
For the cyclist who wants the same kit as the Saxo Bank team riders but without the corporate branding, there is the Bodyfit Pro line. This uses the same materials, cuts and technology as you’d get if you were issued kit from the Service Corsa guys at Saxo Bank. The lightweight materials are designed to keep you cool and dry. All the kit is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible with features such as seamless construction for optimum airflow. The Bodyfit Pro Bib shorts are especially cool with a radio/media pocket plus Aeroflow Compress fabric. Pair that with the wind tunnel tested Bodyfit Pro Race Jersey, top of the tree materials, dimpled textures in certain areas including the one piece constructed shoulders and a whole host of other features and you’ll be cutting through the summer air (when it arrives) a little quicker with this kit.
Sportful put on a sportive every June in the Dolomites which is renowned as one of the hardest sportives in Italy. To celebrate the event they have produced the Dolomiti Race Jersey. This jersey is made from a fast wicking fabric combined with a race fit and all tied up in the usual Italian flamboyant style. The bold graphics may not be for all but if you’re wanting to stand out from the usual black and white of the club run it may just be your Italian answer.
Accessories this season are looking a bit on the fresh side too, the gloves look great with no crazy lumps and bumps that apparently ease pressure points. Good workman like mitts that will see at least a good long summer season or two. I’m sure as the mitts are white, clean and pure, Contador will be using them while not in his trade team kit. Just to look good you understand!
The Ultra Light Wind Stopper Gilet is another item that is worth saving up your pennies for. Super lightweight Windstopper fabric on the front with a poly mesh stretch side and back panels make for a lovely aero fit gilet. Chuck in 3 rear pockets and you’ve got yourself a nice essential piece of kit.
Just a select few items there from a great Spring/Summer line up from Sportful. We may have a few items up for review in a couple of months. Keep your eyes peeled and also over at our Facebook page to see how the kit fares, not a bad excuse to get out on the roads and clock the kilometres up.