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GearO Giro: Santini Summer Skins
Santini have been the official skins of the Giro for several years and while not everyone has the goods to pull off a pink kit, just about anyone can fit one of the commemorative jerseys for this year’s Giro and or most of the rest of the line.

Sure someone like Danilo Delicious can roll up in pink and have everyone barking…

And Santini have been providing all of the leaders’ kit for the Giro for a long time. In fact they’ve been a part of load of podium kits. One of my favorite Podiums featured Mr. Santini himself (far right) along with a few other recognizable people, Ernesto Colnago, Paulo Bettini and Mr. and Mrs. Mapei – Mr. Squinzi and Mrs Spazzoli.

But while it seems like everyone else I know is rolling round Italy, all I got was the clothes for the trip!

I say that with thanks to Santini and Trialtir though, as clothing can sometimes be a little boring and this pile o pelo skin was anything but…

It’s one of the most recognizable pieces of clothing on the cycling planet and this year’s Leader’s jersey got a helping touch from uber designers Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana… (yeah, they’re Italian…)

The best part of this year’s Pink is in the details…

Pure Fashion touch as the little white around the sleeve sets a nice contrast line to make the pink stand out more than it already does… And the bit of Tricolore round the collar and down the sides sets out a splash to remind everyone where the heart of cycling lies.

But Fashion meets function as D&G make this jersey nice and breathable loading a generous chunk of mesh in the side panels.

Santini are also celebrating with a pair of jersey’s designed for making a strong and or conservative nod toward the 100th boot bike race…

With a tip of the hat to the days of legends like Coppi and Bartali, Santini do it up old school.

The pink sleeves stand out, but after the first glance, the button up collar and double breasted storage pop…

You still get big time storage in the back with three grande pockets and a separate zip closure.

And the fabric is mid-light, very breathable and adds full open mesh sides for even more ventilation.

The design is fashionable but with great fabric choice (way soft rather than more course fabrics on cheaper kits) as well as the mesh sides, this is wearable well into the upper 80’s…

More conservative but still with that little slice of Pink is a more subtle Centennial edition…

This one is a more standard Jersey with a slightly raised collar, full open mesh shoulders for breathing and a short zip. It’s also a mid-light weight fabric (not super sheer but again very soft and very breathable).

The sleeves are like the Cento Jersey in that they are a wide seam edge rather than any sort of gripper. It holds firm but doesn’t drag on the skin or warmers the way gel sleeves do.

The bottom of the Cento is also a wide stitch seam where the more conservative design is a double gel grip surface.

And out back of the more conservative design you get one massive pocket with a retainer stitch in the middle of the upper seam to help it hold your goods, but the whole pocket is open across the bottom.

The zipper compartment is as large as a full sized pocket on most jerseys and has room to stretch and hold more even when the main pocket is loaded up…

Santini also sent a standard club style “ICE” Jersey for the day to day chores…

This one is made in a similar fabric, short zip front and no mesh but the white won’t hold heat like the black and will work just fine on hot days.

Double gripper bottom Gel…

Stitch sleeve like the Cento…

And a standard 3 pocket back with a zipper that adds a bit more stiff material at the pocket tops to do a better job of holding in your valuables.

Last on the Tops is Santini’s straight up race skin, the “Split”.

This is extremely form fitting and exceptionally soft fabric for the main body that breathes like you are basically naked…

That’s coupled with an open mesh panel across the upper shoulders and a standard three pocket back.

The cut here is super aggressive and that shows best in the front to back length differential (gel on back only for ease of movement up front…).

All that said, the jerseys take a back seat to some of the nicest shorts around… Santini’s GIA Carbon 5 Bibs…

Top to bottom of the bottoms these are well made. The straps and back are some of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt that still holds very firmly. Open breathable mesh and fluffed flat seems…

This transitions into an interesting fabric used for the main panels that is very well ventilated…

But despite it’s open and loose appearance, a closer inspection reveals reinforcing weaves that allow the vents to hold open while making sure the fabric stays very snug and supportive.

As you can see by the pattern, Santini also control the direction of the fabric’s movement with the weave pattern across the leg…

Standard gel gripper bottoms…

And a pretty large pocket in back that I have literally never used on any short but like seeing just because it’s cool…

Topping off the bottoms is Santini’s “TwistGel” anatomic Cham.

This is a very well vented Chamois that isn’t too thick and is pretty dense while still remaining very flexible. There are no stitches in the Cham itself which is notable only because of the number of layers that have to stay together…

There is a stitch line holding the overall structure, but as you can see there is nothing but thin soft fabric on the Chamois portion that sits near your “important things”…

We had a little bit of Q and A with Mr. Santini about their shop…

How long have Santini been in cycle clothing?
Mr. Santini: Since 1965. I started in a small workshop with my sisters Maria and Natalina. I converted the classic knitwear production that my sisters had for several years into a sporting one manufacturing cycling clothes.

What got you started?
Mr. Santini: The passion for cycling. I still ride my bike. I was never a great rider. I wanted to be a professional cyclist, but never had the talent or the legs, so I thought about a way to be involved in cycling without having to ride a bike. I wanted to make a difference in some way!

Is the whole of the family involved?
Mr. Santini: My wife Maria Rosa works with me since the very beginning. Monica, my first daughter started about nine years ago. Paola, my youngest daughter started a month ago. So, yes, we are all here. And I didn’t mention my brother in law, Roberto, his wife and sons and a good number of nieces and nephews are all here.

How many years now as Giro Leader suppliers?
Mr. Santini: For thirteen years we have been the supplier and the sponsor for the production of the leader jersey of “Giro d’Italia”. Sponsoring the Giro is for us very important because we are Italian and it is for us a big honour having our logo on the pink jersey of the most important race in Italy. The Giro d’Italia is not only a sporting event, but also a national event that involves everyone so it is very good for our visibility as a company.

What’s the most significant design breakthrough in the last decade or so for cycle clothing?
Mr. Santini: There have been a lot of innovations that over the years have contributed to the development of the cycling clothes. The more and more technologically advanced fabrics, the computerized machines for cutting, the graphics through the computers, the sublimatic print with the plotters. For us as well the continued research for the bibshort’s padding has made us the leader with the patent of the silicone gel padding without stitching.

Pretty nice designs. D&G did the leaders jersey, but who makes the new designs for Santini in general? What drove the fabric choices?
Mr. Santini: We have an internal design team that works mainly on the team clothing designs. For our fashion collection we started a few years ago a collaboration with external designers to keep the ideas fresh and new.

Why only Black shorts?
Mr. Santini: We do not do only black shorts! Actually we produce coloured shorts since the beginning of the 80’s! Even if black is still the best selling color by far, in the last years the young public has changed a lot. Lately white is actually the colour “a la page”!

Who’s the girl modelling the men’s bibs?!
Monica: She is a model, obviously. Unfortunately I do not remember the name but if you have questions on the male model I am prepared to answer!

OK, so Monica handled that last one, unfortunately (or fortunately depending…), but if you stop by their site, you’ll know why I asked…

As for the clothing line this year, I think Santini have stepped up both quality and design for ‘09 and forward. Fabrics are a plus and ventilation is very good despite solid hand and density and the use of mesh panels is a plus that (simply due to my living in the desert) is always a plus.

The Giro designs this year are the best in several, using piping, fabric and color density rather than playing too much with graphic patterns. The leaders’ jerseys are great looking and get better the closer you get. That’s down to good detail.

The shorts are the biggest winners here. People that like more padding and people that like a thinner more movable Cham might both find a way to like these (although Chamois are a VERY personal taste thing…).

Take a look at the sight for their North American Distributors Trialtir U.S.A. INC and note that Lots of this was done for the Giro but Santini have a LARGE selection of other gear and a very good customization and team section that can give you a bazillion different options to suite your needs.

The guys at Texas Roadhouse Cycling are not just the best fed team in North America. Santini partnered up to have them look as good as they perform.

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan

Thanks for looking. If you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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