Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights - review - Road Cycling UK

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Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights – review

Quality cold weather, water-resistant bib tights

Italian manufacturers Santini have released their Vega Acquazero range, designed to see you through the cold temperatures and fight off the rain too. These bib tights form part of this range, and we took them out in the recent downturn in weather to see what they’re made of.

What they’re made of, literally, is an apt starting point too, because the water resistant fabric is one of the headline features. In short, there’s a hydrophobic technical treatment which allows water to bead off, rather than absorb into the fabric.

As a result, the Vega Acquazero range is positioned in a similar vein as Rapha’s Shadow, Sportful’s Fiandre and Castelli’s Gabba collections, so the tights (and the Acquazero jersey we’ve reviewed here) needed to impress to take their place as a credible rival. And impress they did – for the most part.

The Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights have a water resistant finish which works well in light to moderate rain
  • Specification

  • Price: £139.99
  • Sizes: XS-XXXXL
  • Size tested: M
  • Colours: Black/red; black/yellow; black/white
  • Website: Santini
  • UK distributor: Zyro-Fisher

Water repellency is initially excellent; through showers and splashback alike, the Acquazero big tights aren’t ruffled. Even after washing (without a technical wash treatment agent) the fabric remains capable of continuing to resist water effectively in light-to-moderate rain.

However, the relatively lightweight nature of the fabric means in heavy rain it’s going to struggle – after a concentrated downpour, you’re still going to feel dampness seeping through after a while.

Naturally, a dedicated technical wash will help to retain the treatment in the long term – and may even improve it if given a full reproofing treatment – but for the purposes of this test we’ve washed it on a delicate 40 degree wash, with decent results when it’s come back.

The fleece inside is especially soft, and as a result boosts comfort in bib tights that are already very well-fitted anatomically. While many clothing companies claim to have an anatomic performance fit, Santini are among the best in the business at designing this. There’s no chafing whatsoever around the knees, with supple motion almost guaranteed.

The tights strike a nice balance by repelling (some) water and offering a good level of warmth, while remaining relatively lightweight and allowing enough heat to escape – call it breathability – without cooling you too much on crisp winter mornings. As a result, we agree with Santini’s recommended temperature range of 5-15 degrees, although we might extend that to closer to one or two degrees as a low point if you know you run hot or are particularly hardy.

The Intech GIT pad is very good too, and is plush enough for long, slow winter days in the saddle. We’ve heard reports elsewhere that it’s not especially comfortable, but our positive experience would indicate once again that the comfort of pads is largely down to personal preference.

The wide bib straps sit flat and comfortable against the chest and shoulders

It’s assisted by a ‘Twist’ gel core, which is supposed to aid in road buzz absorption, and we find it hard to disagree. The pad is relatively wide too, and also features perforations throughout the main section for added breathability. There’s no tactical placement like you might find on other high-end chamois pads though – Santini have simply put them everywhere for maximum effect.

A nice addition is the thick fleece padding at the front end of the crotch which helps to add extra protection against cutting winds – a welcome addition as the weather turned for the colder recently. It’s nice to see this area hasn’t been neglected.

Elsewhere, the details are well taken care of too. The ankles are well finished with a cuff you might expect to see on a long sleeve jersey – so no zips here – but the length of the leg and flexibility of the cuff is sufficient to avoid any issues, except a slight tightness when pushing or pulling your heel through.

These tabs add a little reflectively to the rear of the tights

Seams are flat and fleece-soft, while the bib section is high enough to afford extra protection without feeling restrictive around your diaphragm when panting hard. The shoulder straps sit flat and feel comfortable.

While these are premium tights with a price tag of £139.99, throw in the excellent fit, warmth and reasonable water resistance and they look fair value against the premium bib tight market. As a result, while these aren’t quite the last word in water resistance in every scenario, you can mark us down as fans.

Conclusion

The Santini Vega Acquazero bib tights are very comfortable bib tights that are capable of resisting showers. As long as you don’t expect them to keep out heavy or prolonged downpours, we think you’ll like them as much as we do.

Pros

  •  Very comfortable anatomical fit
  •  Good all-round design features
  •  Decent value for premium tights

Cons

  •  Not quite up to resisting heavy rain

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