The cycling industry is continually obsessed with everything aero, and for good reason — it’s free speed. As the rider provides a considerable piece of the wind resistance story, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more aero clothing options.
Santini’s Interactive 2.0 kit is as close to a skinsuit as you can get and still have a separate jersey and bibs. Each piece is sold separately, though we are a little confused as to why they’re not sold as one package. After all, Santini claims the Interactive 2.0 jersey is “designed specifically to be worn with the Interactive bib-shorts”.
Highs: Extremely comfortable, fits ultimately snug, more practical to wear than a skinsuit, great on hot days
Lows: Limited pocket space, not great when worn as separate pieces, best for race-fit riders only
Buy if: You’re not sponsored and looking for a highly comfortable, yet aero race kit
At first look, we were a little worried and had to double check the tags to make sure our sample kit was not in fact a children’s size. Laid out on the floor, the kit is more akin to dolls’ clothing then something that is meant to cover a full-grown man’s bits and bobs.
The front of the jersey is made from artico fabric, which is akin to any summerweight skin suite you may have worn in the past:
The Interactive 2.0 kit is a slim fit, but stretch built into the material enables it to conform nicely around your body
Lucky for us, like a real skinsuit, the jersey and bibs have generous stretch built in and provide for an aero but comfortable fit. However, because there are a few overlapping areas of fabric, it also doesn’t show off your ‘curves’ in the ‘leave nothing to the imagination’ way a traditional skinsuit can.
Making the Interactive kit distinctive from other aero kit offerings is a 25cm length of zipper (roughly the width of the pockets) which connects the bibs to the jersey, locking the kit in place. We tried riding with the zip undone a few times, but it’s quite scratchy and annoyed us to the point we had to do it up. Because of its placement, it’s pretty scary to zip on the move.
In an effort to mimic a ‘skin suite’ the interactive kit zips together at the back:
We like the idea of the zip at the back, though we think its effectiveness may be trumped by the beefy grippers
Once zipped together we couldn’t really notice the zip — which is both good and bad. We definitely didn’t want to feel it pulling down on the jersey or up on the shorts while we were in a tucked position, but at the same, we question whether it did anything. Sturdy grippers that run around the bottom of the jersey kept it from uncomfortably riding up (more on which later).
The only occasion we felt the zipper made any difference was when we were decidedly un-aero with the top fully unzipped. The lower zipper kept the bottom of the jersey glued down at the back, preventing it from flapping in the wind as much.
The jersey is made from a combination of four fabrics, by our count. The front panel is what Santini calls Artico fabric: stretchy and lightweight; this material looks and feels similar to any skinsuit you may have worn in the past — albeit a bit thinner. The back is made from a similarly stretchy dimpled fabric called LycraKa. We were slightly worried the lack of a rigid material would lead to bouncy pockets, but we had no such problem. Mesh side panels help to keep things airy. We also loved the extra long sleeves.
Although this is a race focused kit the pockets are laughably small, and not very practical:
Storage space is at a premium in the small pockets in the Interactive 2.0 jersey
The reason we didn’t have any trouble with bouncy pockets is because we weren’t able to pack enough weight in them to warrant bouncing. If you plan to carry warmers, or a vest other than something like the Sportful Hot Pack, it’s a bit like trying to fit both feet in your left shoe. And on a long ride when food, layers and other essentials are required, it left us stuffing bigger items down the back of the jersey. There is also no zippered pocket for small valuables.
Being very light weight kit to start with, the Interactive 2.0 jersey excels in the hot weather. After an 80-mile jaunt in 90F (32C) degree Colorado heat, despite being completely salt encrusted, the Interactive 2.0 jersey kept us comfortable.
Keeping everything in place, as mentioned briefly above, are silicone infused grippers around the bottom of the jersey and extra long sleeves. The shorts feature the same tacky fabric, but here it’s more akin to a leg band than a gripper.
The same silicone infused material is used in the leg band, which prevents the shorts from riding up:
The leg on the Interactive shorts is super tacky
While they offer comfortable compression, the shorts can make for a bit of hot-dog leg if you’re not in peak form. Again a racy cut, the Interactive 2.0 bib shorts feature an uncommonly low cut front and mesh brace straps. If you’re looking for a super slim fitting, and comfortable set of bibs you’re onto a winner.
As per usual in the chamois department Santini has hit a home run. The MIG3 is the Italian firm’s lightest pad, and features a silicone gel core. The placement is spot on, the gel padding is very comfy and the pad’s front runs high enough to not offend at the cafe.
Despite the upper seams in all three pockets being busted from overloading, the Interactive has made its way into our regular rotation of kits. Although we’re not sure the zipper is needed, it’s a unique idea, and we look forward to seeing more of these ‘integration’ type features.
This gear is definitely designed around those who have a ‘pro’ build, so if you’re carrying a ‘spare tyre’ or ‘pony keg’ you may want to consider choosing something else or at least sizing up. Despite this, the high-quality fabrics, precision cut and superb chamois have kept the Interactive 2.0 close to the top of our drawer.