Cycling in the winter should be enjoyable, regardless of the weather conditions. Wearing a good winter jacket is the best way to ensure you stay warm on even the coldest of days and enjoy every ride. We decided to put the new Fiandre Cabrio to the test for ourselves to see if it really is as revolutionary as Sportful claim.
The Italian company has redesigned their signature Fiandre Jacket making it more versatile than ever. It remains wind and waterproof but now features a removable panel which according to Sportful makes it adaptable enough for milder winter days. We soon noticed that the Cabrio is also packed with design features that leave you thinking “Why aren’t all jackets made like this?“.
Is the Fiandre Cabrio the Best Winter Jacket on the Market?
Two Jackets in One
There’s no getting away from the fact that cycling is an expensive hobby, largely due to all the different outfits in our wardrobes. Dressing for summer rides is simple; a base-layer, jersey, bib-shorts and maybe a gilet for extra protection and you’re good to go. Dressing appropriately in winter isn’t quite so simple. Some days can be mild and dry while others are wet and freezing cold. This normally means you have to buy a whole host of different jackets for different weather conditions, but not anymore.
The Fiandre Cabrio is constructed using Gore Windstopper 4-Way Warm fabric on the front panel and 4-Way Mid fabric on the sleeves and back. This ensures you’re protected from rain, wind and even snow. But what sets this apart from other winter jackets on the market is the removable rear panel. This can be taken off either before or during a ride and allows you to dress for different conditions without having to splash out on multiple jackets.
I’ll admit that when I first wore the Fiandre Cabrio I was sceptical about the removable panel. I didn’t think it would have a huge effect on temperature regulation. I was also worried about my mates playing with the zips mid-ride. As it turns out, I was wrong.
The first time I removed the panel on the fly was during a group ride. We set off at a steady pace in drizzly conditions, as expected the water-repellent nature of the Cabrio kept me dry. With around 20 miles to go the temperature had risen and we increased the intensity. I unzipped the panel and immediately felt cooler, much to my surprise. The cost saving of effectively having two jackets in one is massive. It also leaves more money in your back pocket for those all-important café stops.
Little Details That Make a Big Difference
I always feel like a lot of manufacturers come up short, quite literally, when it comes to two areas of winter cycling jackets; the sleeve cuffs and the collar. Having a draft running up your arm or down your neck is the last thing you want on a cold day. Sportful have addressed both these areas with the Fiandre Cabrio.
The sleeve cuffs feature an insert (notice the black fabric on the image below) that feels almost like a lightweight base-layer. This allows the outer layer of the jacket to move freely when you change hand positions or reach for your bidon without exposing your skin. The collar is fleece lined and cut to sit flush against the back of your neck when you’re leaning forwards over the handlebars. It’s also just the right height to offer full protection without being restrictive.
The zip has a very durable feel to it and sits snuggly behind an external flap. This offers protection from the wind but also rainfall and road spray when out with a group.
One of the biggest pros of a good winter jacket is that you can keep layers to a minimum and still stay warm. The Fiandre Cabrio is a similar weight to rival products but where some feel baggy and bulky the Cabrio is snug and comfortable thanks to its ergonomic fit. It’s easy to forget that even if you were to get caught out in the worst weather imaginable you’d still stay warm and dry.
On one of my first rides testing the Cabrio, I purposely headed towards the darkest skies I could find. Sure enough, I got caught in a downpour but the rainfall simply beaded and rolled off the jacket. Granted, a lot of products on the market feature materials that are highly water-resistant, but Sportful seems to have gone the extra mile. They’ve used the same sleeve cut found on a number of their best jerseys and jackets. The lack of seam across the top of the shoulder reduces water build up and also improves the overall fit.
So, is it the best winter jacket on the market? Simply put, yes. We feel like Sportful really has hit the nail on the head with the Fiandre Cabrio. It’s suitable for rain, sleet and snow, but at the same time versatile thanks to the removable rear panel. This new feature makes it ideal for not only foul weather but also milder days and winter sun. The Cabrio performs exceptionally well across a range of conditions, making it the perfect winter jacket.