When riding hard in showery conditions you don't necessarily need a full on waterproof. Something like Santini's 365 Transparent jacket to keep the worst of it off is ideal, and thanks to a snug fit its perfect for racing.
This Italian-made take on the race cape has a tailored fit which is cut for when you are in the saddle. The tail is dropped and the waist is cinched preventing fabric from flapping about or bunching when you are in motion.
Sizing is always a contentious issue when it comes to Italian clothing but the medium tested here fits me spot on (I'm a medium in DHB, Rapha and so on) which pairs up perfectly with Santini's online size chart. There is a 4XL maximum size which is good enough for a 47-inch chest, for the rugby players and body builders out there.
The Windtex fabric is water resistant and windproof. Many jackets of this style claim to be breathable but they seldom are, with venting making up for the deficiencies of the material (and let's face it, even the best vapour-permeable fabrics can't keep up with a cyclist toiling up a hill anyway). Rather than the usual pit zips Santini go for a large mesh vent across the upper back with the Windtex material providing a flap to stop rain water from getting in. It works rather well with the 365 being one of the most temperature-controlled race capes I've used. You do need to keep the zip at the front down a bit though to let cold air pass through if you're really pushing the pace. Your arms will also get sweaty causing the fabric to stick to them though I'm yet to find an unlined windproof jacket where this doesn't happen.
As far as the water resistance goes, it'll keep out light drizzle and short rain showers although heavier bursts or more persistant downpours will soak through. You will remain warm though.
The neck sits nice and high which stops drafts travelling down your back and the centre section, which is most likely going to be sat against the nape of your neck, uses a softer fabric for comfort.
Overall the Santini 365 is one of the better options and priced at £49.99 it sits somewhere in the mid-range. It's well made with the use of plenty of panels providing an aero fit making ideal for racing, fast club runs or pretty much any hard effort.
The full zip means you can control your temperature as you ride plus it's easy to get on and off while in the saddle, though getting it back in its little carry bag is probably best left to the coffee stop. When it is in its bag it'll easily fit in a jersey pocket.
Fit on the bike is great to with the tail covering your rear when you are in the drops and plenty of length in the arms.
Well vented cape with a racer's cut for aerodynamics, and plenty of size options.
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Make and model: Santini 365 Transparent Plain Zip Race jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The 365 Transparent is a water resistant and wind proof jacket with a racer's aero cut. It fits snug when in the saddle and packs down to a jersey pocket size in or out of its included bag.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
S - 4XL sizing
Looks good, nice and tidy.
Still warm but does an all round good job.
Standing up well but the material is easy to snag.
148g means you hardly realise you are wearing it.
Fit is good although the material can feel a little plasticky against the skin.
It's one of the better versions and cheaper than some of its competitors.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Providing a barrier against the worst of the weather while keeping things aero is exactly what you want in a race cape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The slim fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 35 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course! My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!