Bicycle and Gear Reviews

Cold wear: Santini bib shorts are your friends

0 Comments 23 October 2010

This woman looks exactly like a normal cyclist who wears bibs

Yes, usually I take photos of items we review at home, but there are limits to what our eyes are meant to see. Me in bibs is not one of them. I do like using them though, and they are excellent in cold weather riding. Today we’re taking a look at two pairs from Italian company Santini, who some dub the lords of Spandex and the Bjorn Borg of cycling.

As you can see from the photo of your average commuter above, bibs refer to bib shorts or bib pants that are basically cycling shorts or pants with integrated suspenders instead of an elastic waistband. Since they are usually very close to your skin, they have to be modeled by people with very low fat percentages and women with additions. Seriously, I’ve never ever realized that they use women to advertise bibs, I’m a bit shocked right now.

My milkshake is better than yours.

I own two pairs of bibs from Santini, because I know that they’ll fit me. The other is a pair of Santini GITCX Bib Shorts, which are made of Lycra and Elastan – your basic cycling short materials. What I like about Santini products is not their price, which is not cheap, but the quality of their products. The GITCX have hemmed braces, an anatomical cut designed for cycling and silicon grippers on the legs – which feel a bit weird in the beginning if you’ve never worn anything similar.

Like with most Santini gear, there’s usually a size for everyone, going from extra small to 3XL. I use my short bibs under my Gore-Tex pants on those days I don’t want to wear my long winter Santinis (read: Laundry days) and they do a brilliant job in protecting your back and keeping your torso and thighs warm together with a Helly Hansen LIFA layer under the bibs and under a jersey/jacket and pants.

It's important to stretch your legs before exercising

The other pair I own is a sturdier pair of bib pants, dubbed Santini Storm Bib tights. As the name implies, these are made for winter and cold weather use and I have been using them in near-freezing temperatures as the only pants, and they work very well with a base layer underneath to keep you nice and cozy. These are very breathable and are made of a handy material called SuperRoubaix (which is really just Lycra and Elastan again), but it feels like there are two layers of the material, keeping your drier and warmer.

The Storm version has a few other nice things, such as foot stirrups to keep them from crawling up your legs and that also means you won’t have to use silicon parts, which can be a bit cold during the winter. All Santini pants use a synthetic Intech gel padding instead of an actual chamois (which is a fancy word for a piece of thin leather in your pants) and so far I’ve really liked this replacement.

So, if you don’t mind looking like a pro (if you’re really fit) or like a German sausage (if you’re me), then bibs are a great option for cold riding as they are more secure and thus warmer, just make sure you go to the toilet before you head out.

Santini GITCX Bib shorts (around €100)

Our verdict: ★★★★☆

The bib shorts are very, very good. Sturdy and still looking like brand new after months of riding and tens of long rides. The only thing that brings the score down is the expensive price, even though Santini’s are not the most expensive of clothes.

Santini Storm bib tights (around €100)

Our verdict: ★★★★★

There’s more of everything in the Storm pants, they’re full length and are the same high quality as the shorts mentioned above. And they cost the same.

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Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

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Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

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