Italian brand Sportful’s winter-focused Bodyfit Pro long-sleeve jersey can handle all but sub-zero spinning, discovers seasoned cyclist Charlie Allenby…

Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey

$140 / £120, sportful.com

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Pros:

  • Brushed fabric is extremely comfortable
  • Plastic grippers hold the jersey in place well
  • Performance isn’t diminished when wearing a jacket

Cons:

  • No zipped security pocket
  • Lack of cuffs on sleeves

Fit: 4.5/5
Comfort: 5/5
Breathability: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

Sportful is renowned for making solid, practical kit without the flashy colourways or eyewatering price tags of the more premium names in road cycling. The Italian brand’s products are not just mid-tier fillers either  – its designs have high-end credentials and are sported by some of the best in the professional peloton. They’re also perfect for pairing with the best cycling shoes.

The latest edition of its Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey was even fine-tuned by WorldTour riders – according to its website anyway. Constructed from a breathable, brushed fabric, it certainly looks comfortable and warm. But while it might have passed the test on cold weather training rides on the streets of cycling nirvanas Girona and Andorra, how would it fare in the depths of the UK winter? I wore it out onto the streets of north London to find out.

Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey performance

A thermal cycling jersey has to perform a delicate balancing act. Firstly, it has to be warm – getting cold is one of the first excuses for cutting a ride short, but the cold setting in can also become dangerous, particularly if you’re a long way from home. A winter-focused jersey can’t be too warm though. If you get too hot, you’ll accumulate more sweat, which when it cools on your skin makes you cold, creating issue number one.

Product shot of the back of a Sportful cycling jersey

The Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey has three deep rear pockets but no zips

The Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey managed to walk this tightrope extremely well. On colder starts, its brushed fabric kept the chill off for the 20 minutes it took me to properly warm up, while its thermal properties allowed a level of breathability that meant I remained comfortable and sweat-free throughout the rest of my ride.

On sub-zero rides, it struggled to keep the cold out on its own, but performed admirably beneath a cycling jacket – again, wicking away any moisture from my skin to minimise the chance of hot spots turning into cold patches.

Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey fit

Although the clue is in its name, the thermal edition of the pro-focused Bodyfit range was comfortable and fitted well, rather than being tight and restrictive like some aerodynamically optimised layers. Its fit was aided by stretchy rear panels, and the only minor fault I could find was a lack of cuff on the sleeves meant they slightly extended beyond my wrists when I wasn’t wearing gloves.

The jersey’s three rear pockets were well-sized and felt secure for holding mid-ride essentials and valuables. Although it didn’t have a zipped pocket, I was able to stuff keys, a bank card and a phone deep enough in them that I wasn’t worried they’d fall out.

Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey value

I’ve owned an earlier version of the Sportful Bodyfit Pro Thermal Jersey since 2018. It’s been a staple of my winter riding wardrobe ever since (even if it doesn’t smell fresh after five winters of wear). I say this to help justify the jersey’s $140 / £120 price. While it might seem a lot, it’s actually a relatively affordable thermal jersey. And is sure to be keeping you warm for the rest of this decade’s late autumns, winters and early springs.

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