The Santini Beta Light Short Sleeve Wind Jersey is a good option for in-between, possibly showery days. It's similar to Castelli's Gabba, offering protection from light rain without requiring that you pull on a waterproof shell and without causing you to overheat even when riding fast. It's not one you'd choose for the depths of winter, but for autumn, spring and even cooler wet summer days, it comes into its own.
- Pros: Shower protection, snug fit, sleeve length
- Cons: Stiff zip and no garage to protect the neck
Two years ago, Stu gave the previous incarnation of the Beta (not 'Beta Light', mind) 7/10 overall.
There's scant information to tell the 2017 'Beta 2.0' apart from the 'Beta Light' reviewed here – Santini's performance bar chart for the Beta 2.0 vs Beta Light is identical across all eight categories, including temperature range, and they're made of the same Gore Windstopper 178 fabric.
Stu's main beef with the Beta was the fit. At 6ft, with a 38in chest and 33in waist, I'm a bit taller than Stu, and smaller by about an inch around the chest and waist, and I found the Beta Light pretty much bang on for the medium tested. It was properly snug – Santini calls the fit 'slim'. Certainly there was no excess fabric to complain about, and with my hands on the handlebar the shoulders felt spot on (it's not me in the photos, by the way, or Stu).
Fabric and features
The Windstopper fabric covers the chest, outside of the arms and upper back. Under the arms it's a mesh vented fabric, while below the shoulder blades a fleece-lined panel backs the pockets down to the wide reflective gripper hem.
The 'short' sleeves are very long – just above the elbow on me, providing welcome insulation and pairing with arm warmers nicely to keep your biceps and triceps toasty. The sleeves aren't laser-cut, having the mesh fabric extending all the way down, but having a hem wasn't an issue.
The high collar is fleece-lined, and the zip is backed by a large windflap. The zip itself is a disappointment, really the only fault in the garment. It really is a two-handed affair to get up or down without snagging, and there's no zip garage at the top to keep scratchiness at bay.
The three open pockets are deep. Pumps and tool rolls are held securely, and any of them could swallow an iPhone 5/SE in a waterproof case, including the zipped central pocket. Larger phones should fare equally well.
Visibility-wise, apart from the high-vis yellow there's a reflective hem across the top of the pockets, as well as the Santini logo around the rear hem.
Weather with you
Earlier in the season, on a ride in the Highlands with temperatures hovering in the mid-teens, I was warm and comfortable, including down to my fingertips thanks to some arm warmers and a thin merino baselayer. Santini does Beta arm warmers to match, but Castelli Nanoflex or similar work fine. On what was a relaxed 65% of max heart rate (MHR) outing, I didn't break a sweat on climbs or need to warm up on descents.
Ramp up the pace to 80ish MHR, add cooler temperatures plus some scattered showers, and the Beta Light really begins to shine, maintaining temperature nicely on the steep ups and rapid downs. Perhaps my earlier comparison with the Gabba was a bit out; the Gabba is designed to act like a wetsuit – get properly soaked, yet still be comfy when riding hard. The Beta Light could be considered a Gabba Light – not as heavy, not as hardcore, can brush off passing showers with ease while keeping you warm and windproof.
It's not the jersey to choose for a day when heavy rain is forecast, unless you pack a shell into one of the ample pockets. I'd say it works best as a spring/autumn chance-of-light-rain jersey, maybe even a colder, overcast summer's day depending on how warm you run.
In my wardrobe it sits between a windblocking brushed jersey for dry outings, and a Castelli Gabba or my beloved Endura FS-260 SL jersey for when I know I'll likely get soaked but will be working hard.
At the £130 RRP, the Beta Light isn't cheap but it's worth the money; discounted to £85, as it is online at the time of writing, it's a serious contender for your cash. If Santini sorts out the zip it would be almost without fault. Well worth a look.
Keeps you comfortable in cooler, windier weather while working hard, only let down by a stiff zip
road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Beta Light Short Sleeve Wind Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
It's for people wanting to go fast in middling temperatures, with a chance of rain.
Santini says: "Feels like a jersey, performs like a windbreaker. Made from Santini's exclusive Windstopper 178 with carbon fibre inserts on the back and sides, the Beta jersey offers thermal insulation, wind protection, breathability and comfort at a temperature range of 15-20°C (60-70°F). With elongated sleeves down to the elbow and thick elastic on the back at the bottom of the jersey.
"Made in Italy"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fit - Feels like a jersey, performs like a windbreaker. Sleeves have been elongated down to the elbow. Internal flap covers the zipper length to reduce wind resistance. Thick elastic on the back at the bottom of the jersey keep it in place.
Performance - Made from Santini's exclusive Windstopper 178 with carbon fibre inserts on the back and sides, the Beta jersey offers thermal insulation and wind protection in colder temperatures of 10-15°C (50-60°F) and breathability and comfort at higher temperatures of 15-20°C (60-70°F).
Comfort - Keep riding whatever the weather, without ever needing to stop or slow down to add or remove layers. When used in combination with the Beta arm-warmers, it's the only spring jersey you'll ever need.
Durability - Made from high quality materials, with attention given to every stitch. Vigorous quality controls are in place to check every item produced. Made in Italy by our highly skilled production staff.
Well put together. Feels like quality.
Thermal regulation was spot on, only let down by the zip.
Pretty much spot on for me.
Sized perfect for me – if you like snug.
Doesn't feel like much for the performance.
Keeps you comfy when working hard.
At full RRP the price is middling for this sort of garment.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed up fine, no staining.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't really fault it, apart from the zip being a hassle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pockets are very well done – deep, the elastic just right, and a phone can fit in the zipped one for security over rough roads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The zip. It's not a good 'un for single-handed operation, but does the job and isn't flimsy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good jersey, if a bit expensive. If Santini fixed the zip it would score more, though that shouldn't be a dealbreaker, especially if you can get one on sale...
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling