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Santini BeHOT bib tights – review

Santini has a long history and this year the Italian clothing manufacturer celebrates its 50th anniversary - and these BeHOT 'heat generating' bib tights demonstrate the advances made in fabric technology in that time.

The BeHOT bib tights are new for 2015 and, rather than insulating your legs and torso, as is the case with other tights, are designed to generate additional heat.

How so? Santini claim the BeHOT’s fleece-lined fabric is constructed from a unique yarn (they won’t tell us much more than that) which generates heat from the movement of your legs as it stretches and compresses the fabric, while it also holds on to more of that heat than other fabrics.

The result is a claimed temperature increase of up to four degrees and, in use, the tights were certainly warmer than the thickness of the fabric would indicate. The additional warmth is most noticeable around the torso (the tights are cut high at the front to provide additional coverage) and upper leg, and there were no cool spots in testing. We found the BeHOT tights ideal for temperatures below five degrees and, during the recent cold snap, down to around minus three degrees. That’s the coldest weather we tested them in – any lower and riding isn’t particularly desirable by any means.

Despite their warmth, we also found the tights to be breathable in warmer temperatures, up to around eight to ten degrees, when they didn’t develop any clammy feeling or heavy sweat build-up.

The fabric also has a Acquazero water resistant finish which does an admirable job of beading light rain and ensures the tights don’t become soaked through too quickly. The fabric also does a good job at retaining heat when the fabric does become wet in persistent rain.

Winter tights can often feel restrictive due to the bulkier material, sometimes actually feeling like they slow the rider’s pedaling action, but the BeHOT tights’ relatively lightweight fabric gave plenty of freedom of movement. The fit is also excellent, and although initially the ankles seemed tight when getting into the tights, there was little to no restriction in use, and no foot loops are required for the tights to stay ‘down’. The leg length of our size large tights allowed for the tight to overlap well into a winter shoe around the ankle bone and we experienced very little bunching on the knee when riding.

The GIT (yes…really) ‘Twist Gel’ chamois wasn’t distracting and proved adequately comfortable – not outstanding, but above average. This, of course, is a personal thing, but previous GIT chamois’ we have used have lasted well over several high mileage seasons and kept their shape and padding well.

Otherwise, there’s a handy zipper placed on the front panel for pit stops, while the shoulder straps are wide and didn’t cramp or create any pressure points, even when ridden on the commute with different bags, both over the shoulder and rucksacks. A mesh panel on the back of the tights helps prevent overheating and there’s reflective piping on the thighs and calves.

Conclusion

All this make these a very solid and utterly reliable pair of winter tights, with a fabric that does seem to add a degree (or four) of heat – always welcome if you find winter riding especially hard or want some more warmth for particularly long and cold days in the saddle.

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