The Sportful Stelvio Jacket was designed and developed with the Saxo-Tinkoff Pro Cycling Team. The team asked for a close-fitting, fully-waterproof jacket, which would be breathable enough that they could perform race-level efforts in it, without overheating and sweating buckets. That is some ask…
Staff rider and endurance cyclist Tim Wiggins has been testing the Stelvio Jacket out over the last few months, in a whole host of weather conditions. Here is his 1,000-kilometre review.
The Sportful Stelvio Jacket - No more compromises
Waterproof cycling jackets always seem to be a compromise. If they are waterproof enough to keep the weather out for hours on end, then they are most likely not packable. If they are packable enough to store in a jersey pocket, then they are most likely not waterproof and breathable enough for prolonged hard efforts in the saddle.
The Sportful Stelvio Jacket bucks the trend. This is a packable, fully protective waterproof jacket, which also fits incredibly well.
The heart of any waterproof cycling jacket is the fabric that composes it.
Historically, if you wanted to have breathability, then you sacrificed protection; and if you wanted to have protection, then you sacrificed breathability.
The fabric used in the Sportful Stelvio Jacket is different. Developed exclusively for this product, the Rainwick stretch fabric pushes the boundaries in terms of breathability and waterproofing.
The elements are kept out of the jacket through a double waterproof profile: the Rainwick fabric utilises a waterproof internal membrane, coupled with an external DWR waterproof finish. This two-element approach means that the jacket continues to shield you from wind and rain, even after many hours in the saddle.
When Saxo-Tinkoff demanded a race-level waterproof though, they crucially required maximum breathability. They needed to allow perspiration to escape from inside the jacket, when they were using it for mountain climbs and race efforts. The Rainwick fabric is successful in achieving this, and one of the best wicking waterproof fabrics that I have tested. The 3-layer construction utilises microporous technology, which means sweat is allowed to evaporate through the membrane; leaving you dry and warm, even on a long hard climb.
The Rainwick fabric also lends itself to creating an incredible fit on the Sportful Stelvio Jacket.
The fabric has stretch properties, which means that unlike most waterproof materials it is allowed to move with your body.
This stretch has also meant that Sportful can cut the jacket closer to the body than most waterproofs.
The result is a true race-cut waterproof. This is without any doubt the best fitting waterproof jacket I have used to date. Once you are in the riding 'tuck', there is no spare material to flap around in the wind; rather there is just the protection and coverage where you need it most.
The garment is kept in place by double elasticated cuffs, as well as a silicone gripper on the jacket's hem. These features help to keep the draft out, and avoid any annoying billowing in the wind.
From the collar to the cuffs, the fabric to the fit: the Sportful Stelvio Jacket delivers on its promise of being a true race-bred waterproof jacket.
Professional cyclists (and endurance cyclists like myself) are renowned for being fastidious about their kit; there can be no flapping, chafing, restriction or performance-dampening aspects. Waterproof jackets have traditionally been a nightmare to get right.
Sportful seem to have nailed it with this jacket, though. Breathable (or packable) enough to wear (or carry) it to the top of the Stelvio pass; it will then provide you with the protection you require if you have to descend in torrential rain and wind from the summit.
The Stelvio is the highest paved mountain pass in Italy. This jacket pushes the limits of what a waterproof jacket can offer, to new heights. It is faultless.
View the Sportful Stelvio Jacket at Wiggle