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Sportful BodyFit Pro Classics kit review

21 Mar 2018
Verdict:

Warm, versatile, well-made and cleverly thought out, but make sure you try sizes before you buy

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£16-115
For 
Warm, form fitting jersey Aero-race cut with training level comfort, Good for a range of temperatures, Finally some long socks
Against 
Bibshorts legs possibly too long for shorter legged riders, £16 is a lot for a pair of socks

I’m very excited about these socks. No really.

Sportful has long occupied a large section of my wardrobe, I rode to work in a pair of Sportful Fiandre bibtights and jersey only this morning in fact. But one thing has always stuck in my craw: its socks.

They are well-made and comfy, but they are short. This is how I’ve noticed Italians like it, but I like my cuffs a little longer. This year, Sportful has finally risen to the occasion with the new Ride 15 socks, comprising a 15cm/6” cuff.

There is little more to say on that except about time. And also, great job. The socks are most excellent. They should be for £16 a pop though.

Buy the Sportful BodyFit Pro Classics socks from Wiggle here

Leggie long

The socks aren’t the only things that are longer now. Sportful’s latest BodyFit Pro Ltd bibshorts are definitely longer in the leg than a comparable Sportful pair from a year ago. However, unlike the socks I’m less convinced.

The hems of the Pro Ltd bibs are a seamless band with silicone grippers on the inside. Sportful has been using this kind of hem for a long time, and it looks sharp and feels great, by and large mimicking the stretch of the lycra it’s attached to so there’s no unsightly salami-ing of the thigh.

However, I found that the legs on the Pro Ltd were a tad too long for my 32” stumps, and what would otherwise be a wonderfully crisp line across the vastus medialis (that pro-est of muscles we all secretly want atop the inner side of the knee), became a slightly riffly band that only tautened up when my knee was fully flexed.

Longer-legged riders will doubtless have no such problems, but for me the Pro Ltd legs could have done with being either a tad shorter or the hems a tad tighter..

Elsewise, the Pro Ltds are very good bibs indeed. I’m a big fan of the wide, flat bibstraps, which sit comfortably on skin and don’t crumple in on themselves during rides, and all-important seat pad is top notch.

The ‘Total Comfort Pro’ pad is Sportful’s more pro-fit offering, which means it’s up to 5mm thinner in places than the regular Total Comfort. It is well positioned in the shorts and intelligently cut, and together with the varying densities and thicknesses of foam amounts to a supremely comfortable perch that’s as good at feeling lightweight and airy for fast, hard rides, as it is at feeling cosseting for longer outings.

Buy the Sportful BodyFit Pro Classics bibshorts from Bike Inn here

Rainbow rated

Sportful has been busily clothing Peter Sagan for a while now, first as Tinkoff’s kit sponsor and now as Bora-Hansgrohe’s. And if it’s good enough for Peter, it should be good enough for me. And it is.

As you might guess by the name, the Bodyfit Pro Classics jersey is designed for Classics-style weather, and indeed it will in theory be Sagan’s choice this Spring. That means it’s designed for less than clement days or chilly early morning starts.

It uses what Sportful refers to, quite delightfully, as ‘peached’ fabric, that is, fabric that is brushed on the inside to make it slightly fluffy, like peach skin.

Other manufacturers might call this ‘Roubaix’ fabric, but I’d say there is an important distinction. The Classics jersey provides a snug, significantly warmer feel than your average jersey, but stops short at feeling ‘fleecy’, as per Roubaix fabrics.

It still manages to feel light and racy, but it also affords a decent degree of warmth and wind-resistance. Almost like a thermal jersey in disguise, which in many respects it is: more of Sportful’s flat-cut sleeve ends and high-stretch Lycra across the shoulders meant it fitted like an aero-race jersey but without feeling overtly compressive or thin.

I took to wearing it with armwarmers a lot, and it took to filling a gap between long sleeved thermal and regular jersey plus merino baselayer.

Admittedly this is a gap I’m not sure I knew existed until now, and as such the Classics jersey might be seen as a bit of a luxury – most riders, myself included, can probably create something that functions not dissimilarly by combining other pieces of kit.

But what the Classics jersey does that such kit ensembles don’t seem able is to be chameleonic without having to adjust anything, unzip or take off layers. I found it had a real ‘fit and forget’ quality, from temperatures around 6degrees to 13 degrees, and probably well beyond – we have not exceeded 13degrees here yet but I suspect the it would not feel too hot until the late teens or even early 20s. It is also nicely breathable and dries quickly.

Given all this I reckon the Classics jersey would make a great sportive-day kit edition, for all those ‘not sure what to wear days’.

There will never be one jersey to do it all, but the Classics jersey covers a broad enough weather spectrum that I think it’ll become a go-to garment for many months to come.

Buy the Sportful BodyFit Pro Classics jersey from Bike Inn here

The breakdown 

Sportful BodyFit Classics jersey - £90 - 5 stars - 

Sportful BodyFit Pro Ltd bibshorts - £115 - 3.5 stars - 

Sportful Ride socks - £15 - 4 stars - 

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