Italian clothing company Santini have a deserved reputation for producing high quality cycling kit that lasts and lasts. They've just introduced their autumn/winter range for 2011 and from what we've seen, there's plenty to interest the serious cyclist over the coming cold months.
Colours are kept nice, simple and bright, while the Italian sizing is geared towards the less generously proportioned cyclist (that means thin). Check the sizing charts on Santini's website before buying.
Kines Windbreaker jacket
The Kines Windbreaker is a lightweight windproof and water-resistant jacket that's perfect for those early morning starts when there's a bit of rain about. Fine mesh under the arms and along the sides means you won't overheat, and once you're warm it folds up into a small bag that easily fits inside your back pocket. The jacket has a rear pocket of its own, complete with reflective piping, and there's a waist gripper to ensure that water flicking off the back wheel doesn't seep through. The Kines Windbreaker is available in black or white, four sizes and sells for £89.99.
Sight Breezewall jacket
The new Sight Breezewall jacket, priced at £149.99, is a moderately heavy windproof and water-resistant jacket that's rated from -8°C to +5°C. The Breezewall fabric is designed to repel the elements while maintaining breathability. Other features include three rear pockets (one zipped), reflective taping on the elasticised cuffs and the waist, and a zipper protector at the neck.
The Touch jacket is geared more towards autumn than winter, being rated from 0°C to 15°C, although we've found that jackets like these are useful year-round. The Touch is made from lightweight Zerowind fabric, which is claimed to be breathable, water-resistant and windproof, but our first ride in it in 12° misty conditions was a sweaty affair. Reflective piping and silver taping adorn the back and sides, there are three rear pockets and a zipper protector at the front. The Touch comes in four sizes (M to 2XL) and two colours (white and black/red), and costs £149.99.
The heavy-duty Neon jacket, made from Windstopper Fuga material, is one for the days where it's -5°C in the shade but you have to get out anyway. It's thicker than the other jackets in the range but we wouldn't call it bulky. It does look to be more crash resistant than most jackets though, with mesh 'armour' on the shoulder blades and upper arms. Other features include three rear pockets (one zipped) plus a front zipper protector. It comes in white/blue and black/red, and costs £215.
Feel water-resistant jersey
At first glance the Feel looks like a standard long-sleeve jersey – good for keeping the chill out but not the rain. But Santini have made it with their new Acquazero fabric, which they say is very water resistant. This is definitely something we'll be testing once the weather turns soggy. The red jersey that we have is quite bright (it's available in black and white too), although there's less in the way of reflective piping on it compared to the other jackets. There's the usual three rear pockets, waist gripper and zip protector. The Feel is £129.99.
The Sight is a no-nonsense long-sleeve jersey that's suitable for cool, dry conditions. Made from polyester fleece, it features three rear pockets, one of which has an internal hole for threading headphones through. The cuffs have a bit of extra fleece to keep your wrists warm but there's no waist gripper or zip protector. The Sight comes in four colours (blue, red, black, white) and sells for £79.99.
Wind XB tights
If you're looking for a pair of tights for sub-zero conditions, then the Wind XB padded bibs could be what you're looking for. They're made from Xtreme-Breeze, a thick thermal fabric that's supposedly wind- and waterproof on the outside and breathable on the inside. They zip up to cover your abdomen for extra warmth and come with a Coolmax pad so you don't need to wear shorts underneath. They sell for £129.99 and come in six sizes from S to 3XL.
The Storm bib tights are for the colder days in autumn but aren't really designed for deep winter. They're made from good old Super Roubaix material with a thermofleece lining and include foot straps to keep them snug against your shoes and socks. Santini's Gel Intech pad is used on the inside for comfort. They're available in black and white, in men's and women's cuts. Sizing is S to 3XL and they sell for £99.99.
The H2O bib tights are for those who want weatherproofing as well as warmth down below. They're made from Acquazero fabric, which as the name implies is designed to be water repellent. Reflective strips on the backs of the thighs and ankles as well as ankle grippers are a nice touch, while padding is courtesy of a Twist Gel Intech pad. The H2O tights are available in black and white, in sizes from S to 3XL. They come in at £132.49.
The Santini range is available in the UK via Fisher Outdoor Leisure. We'll be testing a selection of the products so look out for reviews over the coming months.