Santini is a proudly Italian brand. Every item is designed in-house, and all of the fabrics incorporated come from the homeland of the 1965 founded company. Considering Santini is commissioned by the UCI to create the official leaders jerseys for World Cup competitions, the Pro-Tour and World Championships across multiple disciplines - they've got a lot to be proud of.
The women's collection from Santini is extensive, and being clothing sponsors for a number of women's teams and athletes (including Podium Ambition Pro Cycling last year) they've got plenty of rider feedback to be working with.
Now that it's November, and we've finally come to accept that it is indeed time to wrap up - we've been testing out the Santini Coral Long Sleeved Jersey (£84.99) and Coral Bibs (£99.99).
Both items are designed with winter conditions in mind - though the bibs are recommended for conditions right down to -8 to 5 degrees, whilst the jersey is for milder weather between 5 and 15 degrees.
Santini Coral Long Sleeve Jersey
The Coral jersey from Santini is made from a soft thermofleece Lite Pro fabric. Pulling it on, I was pleased to find the material had plenty of stretch, thanks to side inserts which allow a nice close fit that feels fairly racey for a winter garment.
The hem is wide and the material used offers greater elasticity, which means the bottom of the jersey sits nicely on the hips and the rather cool 'Santini' logo remains unstretched whilst the rear pockets stay securely in place.
- Thermofleece Lite Pro fabric
- Full zip, five pockets, elasticated hem and cuffs
- Colours: Yellow/Green, Red/Orange, Pink/Purple
- Sizes: XXS - 3XL
- RRP: £84.99
Santini rate the jersey 4/5 for breathability, and 3/5 for insulation. Without a doubt, it was the ability to remain breathable even on occasions where I felt slightly overdressed that most impressed me.
One of the difficulties of winter riding is dealing with the kinds of temperatures where you're cold on the outset, but hot as soon as you start moving. The result being you often have to accept either feeling underdressed for the first portion of your ride, or overdressed for the rest of it.
Wearing the jersey for outdoor track sessions and road rides when temperatures sat at around the 15 degrees, I was comfortable as I headed out, but concerned that I was going to overheat. During the first few minutes in this top layer, I often felt too hot. However, on every occassion as I began to get into my ride the breathability of the fabric genuinely began to show its strength, and within minutes I'd find myself comfortably sitting at a temperature that really did feel 'about right'.
When the mercury dropped (it was around 5 degrees on the morning these pictures were taken), again I was kept warm and felt my skin could breathe easily.
As you'd expect, you get a full zip to help you regulate your temperature. Slightly less 'as you'd expect' - you actually get three full sized rear pockets, and two much smaller angled pockets either side. That's five pockets. So if you struggle to fit all of your gear into the standard three - then you're sorted. It is worth noting that none of these compartments are zipped, and none have any sort of water resistant membrane to protect your valuables from sweat or rain (but this isn't a rain jacket so you're getting wet anyway).
The collar is high, and cuffs feature double fleece material for added warmth - as well as being nicely elasticated so they sit closely against your wrists to avoid cold air travelling up the sleeves.
I wore a size Small, and am a UK 8-10. Sizes start at XXS and go to 3XL, and the jersey is available in the colours pictured, or featuring Orange/Red or Pink/Purple.
Santini Coral Bib Tights
Like the jersey, the key fabric on these bibs is a soft thermofleece that stretches nicely to provide a fit that's snug without being restrictive.
Though the guideline temperatures top out at 5 degrees, I wore these in conditions over 10 degrees without overheating, and I've worn them as low as 3-5 degrees and stayed warm.
It's the upper body design that is most interesting in these Coral bib tights. And if you're at all fashion conscious on the bike you might find yourself feeling that you simply can't have the bibs without the jersey.
The upper body on the front is made from a breathable mesh fabric, that extends right over the chest, providing an in-built base layer that adds warmth without causing you to feel over dressed.
The rear of the bibs, however, features a low back. This is in keeping with the way most winter jerseys will feature added wind protection over the chest, and breathablity on the back where most people find they get a little sweaty.
- Thermofleece fabric, mesh upper, low back
- Reflective details at ankles
- Colours: Yellow/Green, Red/Orange, Pink/Purple
- Sizes: XXS - 3XL
- RRP: £99.99
The design is ideal in terms of breathability and temperature regulation. It's also nice as it allows you to undo the jersey zip even to your waist, without flashing way more than you wanted (though this is really something we appreciate more in summer kit designed for climing mountains).
My only critcism is that this leaves your back exposed. Many riders like to wear a base layer - even in winter - to wick sweat and also provide an extra layer of fabric to act as a buffer against road rash in the event of a crash. These bibs provide a 'base layer' front, but no base layer rear coverage. Whether you decide to give yourself a double layer at the front, or accept having no coverage at the back, is up to you.
As is probably obvious, there's no 'easy pee stop' feature. I did find this a bit annoying when heading out for a ride, and it makes mid-ride stops a bit more of a faff than I'd like. This said, as always I'd favour comfort when riding over ease of peeing so it's not a deal breaker.
In terms of the chamois, you get an anatomical Gil2 pad with anti-shock gel core and I felt well protected on long and short rides. Rather cleverly, anti-irritation anatomical microfiber wings have been sewn in around the chamois. Rather than the pad meeting directly to the rest of the fabric, there is a gentle graduation with a softer material which avoids chafing.
There are some reflective details on the ankles, as well as a reflective logo on the hip. As per the jersey, I wore a Small and you can get these in black with Yellow/Green, Orange/Red or Pink/Purple upper.
On the whole - as is hopefully apparent - I was really impressed with the fit and breathability of this jersey and the careful efforts taken to provide temperature regulation on the bibs.
My only criticisms would be the 'to base layer, or not to base layer' question of the bibs, the lack of pee-stop enabler, and a pocket with a zip and water resistance would be nice on the jersey. This said, these are minor nit-picking points. On the whole, I've enjoyed many comfortable rides in this kit - and expect to continue to enjoy many more.
Want to see more from Santini? Check out the collection here.