Fixed Gear Crit

Testing: Santini UCI Rainbow Collection cycling apparel

Last year during our trip to Red Hook Criterium Milano No.8 Santini extended an invitation to us to visit their factory in Bergamo, a small city near Milan. We visited the factory to experience the craftsmanship in the production of the Santini cycling apparel firsthand. It was impressive to see how many people of the local community of Bergamo have been employed by Santini for decades. A couple of months ago,  Santini reached out again, this time with the question if we wanted to test some of their cycling clothing. Obviously, we couldn’t resist. Our eyes fell on the UCI Collection. As should, we know it is a no-no to wear the UCI World Champion stripes in its original style when not earned. Therefore, we were curious to find out how Santini implemented the original UCI World Champion rainbow stripes into great looking cycling kits that could also be worn by us, non World Champions. All while not giving the impression that the wearer thinks they are the World Champion. Moreover, in our eyes, the collection pays tribute to the heritage and history of the World Champion’s rainbow stripes.
Text: Brian Megens

Photo by Brian Megens

Gear tested:
The Rainbow bib short €170,-
The Rainbow long sleeve jersey €110,-
The Rainbow Beta windstopper jacket €180,-

The clothing was tested during various endurance training rides, races, and we even ended up riding in the clothes in the rain for several hours, all to make sure that our judgement would be derived from real ride experience and circumstances that people buying the Santini UCI Collection will encounter.

The Rainbow bibs are the most high-end bibs of the UCI Rainbow collection and it is reflected in the look and feel. The fit is great, both for the pant and the pad. An added detail is the golfball structure on the ends of the pant. During the race we didn’t notice the bibs at all, meaning it stayed in place perfectly despite the many times getting out of the saddle to attack or accelerate after the corners. Yes, the retail price of €170,- retail price is on the higher end for a bib short. However, it easily matches the quality of the bib shorts priced >€200 from other high-end brands. So if you are looking for a top quality bib-short with nice UCI rainbow details, the Santini Rainbow bib is the one to go for!

The Rainbow long sleeve jersey immediately stands out with its dark grey colour marl-effect fabric and rainbow stripes parallel to the right of the zip. The fabric can best be described as being in the middle of the super aero race shirts and the classic merino wool. The shirt has a comfortable fit, we ordered everything in size S and noticed that these long sleeves have the widest fit of them all. Don’t get us wrong, they are still race cut but are noticeably wider than for example the Rainbow Beta jacket. We raced in the long sleeve during a winter training race and the jersey kept us snug.

The Rainbow Beta windstopper jacket was the most exciting of the three in our experience. The bibs were superb, one of the best we have ever ridden in, however, good winter jackets that keep you warm while remaining breathable remain pretty rare. Santini did a great job with this windstopper jacket. Despite its name, we think it is a great overall winter jacket. It kept us warm during various rides ranging from 0 to 10 degrees celcius. We were astonished how breathable the jacket is. It’s not the warmest, so with temperatures around and below zero we recommend wearing 1 or 2 thick layers under it, but unless all your rides are with -5 degrees it shouldn’t stop you from getting this jacket. The only thing we noticed is that size wise it is way smaller than the other pieces in the Rainbow Collection. There is enough stretch in it, so the S did fit but probably an M would have been a better fit. Although it is not a rain jacket, when we ended up riding in the pouring rain for several hours it kept the water out for at least 2 hours which was also a nice surprise. So if you are looking for a warm, breathable, and water-resistant jacket, the Santini Beta windstopper is highly recommended by us.

Photo by Brian Megens

Conclusion
We can be short about the quality, it is simply top notch. The bib is just perfect, the long sleeve shirt is great for longer endurance rides, but we were most impressed by the windstopper which in our opinion is one of the best breathable, warm, and water-resistant winter jackets we have ever ridden in! We realise that the items are not on the lower price end of the market. However, for the quality you get with the Santini UCI Rainbow Collection the price is very decent. In comparison, another top of the line brands would have you end up paying quite a bit more.

Verdict

+ overall quality
+ fit of the bibs
+ material of windstopper
+ classic look of  material used for the long sleeve

– windstopper fit is on the narrow side
– long sleeve fit is on the wider side

To view and buy the collection: https://www.santinisms.it/en/uci-collection-21