Fisher Expo 2013: Santini

Italian clothing house, Santini, occupies a special place in the hearts of most cycling fans.

Founded by Pietro Santini in 1965, in a knitwear factory in Bergamo owned by his sisters, and still run by the old man today, with the able assistance of his daughters, Santini Maglificio Sportivo continues to clothe cyclists from clubs to WorldTour teams (Orica GreenEDGE, Katusha, and Vacansoleil-DCM will wear Santini kit again in 2013).

We cast an eye over several key pieces from the newly-updated 365 range, and over garments from their ‘fashion’ range, which turned out to be more technical still, at the house show of Fisher Outdoor Leisure, which handles most of Santini’s UK distribution.

Let’s take a closer look.

Guard jacket
The Santini Guard race cape has been designed with Orica-GreenEDGE

The Guard jacket has been developed with Orica GreenEDGE. The team wanted a race cape with a close fit to prevent the garment flapping in the wind.

While the fabric lacks elastene, the weave affords it some natural ‘give’ – what Santini calls “mechanical stretch”. It’s a single layer with taped seams and a fine membrane in eye-popping silver.

The zip is waterproof, can be locked down, and is stored in a ‘garage’ at the collar to prevent irritation at the neck. The collar is lined with microfibre for warmth. There are two elasticated pockets at the back, one zipped.

The Guard jacket is available in eight sizes from XS to 4XL. Colorways follow the Henry Ford model: any colour you like, as long as its black. It costs £139.

Bcool short
The Bcool short will be used this year by Santini’s WorldTour teams: Katusha, Orica-GreenEDGE, and Vacansoleil-DCM

The most striking garment we saw at the Fisher Expo was the Bcool short. A minimalist design developed with Orica-GreenEDGE, there is no bib to speak of at all at the front or sides, and only a low covering at the base of the spine.

They’re made from a mix of Newport lycra, one with claims for compression and UV protection, and from carbon-impregnated lycra from Swiss company, Eschler, and the hems are laser cut, in accordance with the current trend among the WorldTour peloton.

Internally, the Bcool short uses Santini’s Mig3 pad. The silicone is placed on a mesh in strategic areas, rather than in other models using Santini’s Twist Gel design, where a single, flat piece of silicone is used.

There’s a matching, and highly technical BCool jersey, too, very fitted at the front but stretchable at the rear, made partly from fabric impregnated with carbon.

The Bcool short comes in seven sizes from XS to 4XL, in black with white, red, or lime green accents, and costs £139.99.

GLL base layer
The string vest is back, this time in a technical fabric called Nilit

The string vest is back, this time in a technical fabric. Nilit is a polyamide (nylon) with all the usual claims for wicking and breathability, and frequently used in the less inspiring application of surgical stockings.

Breathability will doubtless be aided here by the large number of holes, and the signs for comfort are good: it felt extremely soft, and both the tee-shirt and vest options are seamless, thanks to production on a circular machine.

The GLL base layer is available in white and in two sizes (S-M and L-XL). The vest costs £39.99 and the tee-shirt costs £44.99.

Max Core Short
The Max Core short represents the entry point to Santini’s range

Santini’s entry-level bib short is made from Newport lycra and finished with flatlock stitching, presumably in a bid to beat irritation. The silicone dots in the hems are a nice touch and an increasingly common sight as clothing manufacturers seek to avoid the irritation that can sometimes come from an unbroken band of silicone.

The bib is high, and the straps, made from Lycra, not mesh (a favourite of this correspondent) looked reassuringly wide. Santini’s man on the stand said the leg offered a degree of compression, but until we’ve tried them, we can’t comment. The insert is Santini’s Max 2 chamois.

The Max Core short comes in seven sizes from XS to 4XL, in black or white, and costs just under £60.

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