Brand Focus on Sportful

Although they feel like a relatively new company, Sportful actually date all the way back to 1946 when Olindo and Irma Cremonese moved to the foothills of the Dolemites to start a wool business.

The company morphed over the decades. From producing quality underwear in the 60s, then cross-country ski wear in the 70s through to the 80s and the start their focus on cycling apparel.

The iconic Monte Grappa is on Sportful's doorstep

The iconic Monte Grappa is on Sportful’s doorstep

Their experience in designing excellent cross-country ski wear proved to be really useful for designing high performance road cycling wear too. The use of cutting edge (for the time) acrylic fabrics and close-fitting athletic tailoring principles gave Sportful a real edge.

Very quickly Sportful’s cycling clothing drew a sizeable following among professional cyclists. Within a handful of years one of the most successful race teams of all time – Mapei – opted to use Sportful as their clothing supplier.

The Cremonese family are still at the helm of the company and the HQ is still in the same Dolomites valley as it started.

In 2014, Sportful have an enviable reputation for innovative, cutting edge clothing that has a certain Italian flair to it. A Sportful garment always looks great. With a nod to the past but without being overly slavishly retro. Minimalist but not boring.

Some famous past Sportful athletes

Some famous past Sportful athletes

The rugged and lofty location of Sportful’s HQ also means that they experience their fair share of ropey weather. They may be Italian but it’s not year-round sunshine up there. They have some jackets and tights that can really withstand being put through the winter wringer.

Aesthetics aside, Sportful clothing is first and foremost about performance. Race-bred, racer-designed and aimed at all riders who are prepared to pay a bit more to get top tier clothing.

They use patented materials from companies such a Gore-Tex, Polartec and Schoeller but they also have plenty of their own highly regarded fabrics to call on: NoRain, DiabloMesh, ThermoDrytex and others.

Sportful’s cycling range is pretty vast but it is actually quite straightforward to get to grips with.

R&D

This stuff is kind of like bleeding edge prototype clothing that you can actually buy. This doesn’t mean it’s made in a rush! Sportful’s R&D stuff uses the very latest technologies and fabrics that they can get their hands on. Consequently R&D clothing can be slightly more expensive than more established garments but that’s the price you pay for leading the pack.

You’ll never be uncomfortable on a winter ride ever again. Total Comfort bib straps and the Total Comfort chamois make for a (surprise surprise) comfortable fitting bibtight for long hours in the saddle during chillier temperatures. High-loft two-layer fleece fronts, ThermoDrytex PL+ thighs and knees for wicking, ThermoDrytex Plus rear for stretch.

Sportful R&D Bibtight – You’ll never be uncomfortable on a winter ride ever again. Total Comfort bib straps and the Total Comfort chamois make for a (surprise surprise) comfortable fitting bibtight for long hours in the saddle during chillier temperatures. High-loft two-layer fleece fronts, ThermoDrytex PL+ thighs and knees for wicking, ThermoDrytex Plus rear for stretch.

Bodyfit Pro and Gruppetto

Sportful’s top of the line ‘normal’ ranges. Close-fitting high-performance garments that have gone through loads of development from sponsored racers and have been designed using all that Sportful know about their available fabrics. These are the clothes that the Tinkoff-Saxo team choose. Thankfully they’re available without Tinkoff-Saxo’s “eye-catching” colourways and logos!

Gruppetto Partial WS Jacket With the fit and cut of Sportful’s Bodyfit Pro jacket but without the all-over Windstopper windproofing. The front and sleeves are Windstopper 4-Way Warm but the use of more breathable TDTxp fabric for the back means that the Partial WS jacket doesn’t overheat as readily. Three high capacity rear pockets for all your stuff. An excellent choice for UK riders. It goes without saying that it’s one of the most stylish softshell-style jackets available.

Gruppetto Partial WS Jacket
With the fit and cut of Sportful’s Bodyfit Pro jacket but without the all-over Windstopper windproofing. The front and sleeves are Windstopper 4-Way Warm but the use of more breathable TDTxp fabric for the back means that the Partial WS jacket doesn’t overheat as readily. Three high capacity rear pockets for all your stuff. An excellent choice for UK riders. It goes without saying that it’s one of the most stylish softshell-style jackets available.

Fiandre

Italian for “Flanders”. You know what Flanders means in the cycling world right? Basically this is Sportful’s filthy conditions clothing. This stuff is for when it’s guaranteed to be wet out there. Perhaps unintentionally a lot of the Fiandre range makes for excellent commuting clothing.

Fiandre NoRain Jacket Should be called the YesRain Jacket. You’ll quite look forward to it raining if you own one of these. Well, maybe. It just manically laughs in the face of precipitation. It’s a very modern answer to dealing with rain. It’s not designed to be a 100% no-matter-what water barrier. Those jackets just get too sweaty. It’s more about dealing with the rain enough whilst keeping you dry and warm inside.

Fiandre NoRain Jacket
Should be called the YesRain Jacket. You’ll quite look forward to it raining if you own one of these. Well, maybe. It just manically laughs in the face of precipitation. It’s a very modern answer to dealing with rain. It’s not designed to be a 100% no-matter-what water barrier. Those jackets just get too sweaty. It’s more about dealing with the rain enough whilst keeping you dry and warm inside.

Performance

Sportful’s everyman range. Classic bits of cycling executed in a typically no-nonsense but keen-eyed way. Not quite as close-fitting as items in the other ranges, the Performance range – as its name suggests – is still about well-made garments that perform well on the bike. Perhaps more suited to the “long-hours” rather the “high-speed” cyclist.

Force Thermal Jersey A good mid-weight thermal jersey. Great to ride in on its own or with a throw-on gillet if the temperature dips or the wind picks up. Thermoflow brushed polyester fleece, lay-flat cuff, three rear pockets (plus key pocket), YKK zip.

Force Thermal Jersey
A good mid-weight thermal jersey. Great to ride in on its own or with a throw-on gillet if the temperature dips or the wind picks up. Thermoflow brushed polyester fleece, lay-flat cuff, three rear pockets (plus key pocket), YKK zip.

Hot Pack and Protection

Sportful’s range of packable, stowaway outer layers. Super light and pack down to the size of a Satsuma. Fully windproof. Water-resistant. Sportful make some of the best fitting and high functioning stow jackets. These aren’t just shapeless body bags. How they pack such tailoring and features into garments that weigh naff all is nothing short of amazing.

Hot Pack 5 Donna Jacket Part of Sportful’s ever increasing range of women’s cycling clothing, the Hot Pack 5 Donna jacket weighs an incredible 65g. There are lighter stowaway jackets out there but not many that offer the fit and performance of this one. Schoeller Nanosphere fabric, high collar, optional thumb-loops, drop tail, back ventilation. Impressive stuff.

Hot Pack 5 Donna Jacket
Part of Sportful’s ever increasing range of women’s cycling clothing, the Hot Pack 5 Donna jacket weighs an incredible 65g. There are lighter stowaway jackets out there but not many that offer the fit and performance of this one. Schoeller Nanosphere fabric, high collar, optional thumb-loops, drop tail, back ventilation. Impressive stuff.

Accessories

Worthy of an article in its own right, Sportful’s accessory range is comprehensive. Gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers, overshoes, headwear and socks. Sportful make them all.

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Check out all the Sportful range on offer at Merlin Cycles

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