The Santini Beta Windstopper Short Sleeve Jersey is designed to be as versatile as possible in temperatures from 10-20°C. The idea is to do away with layers, a one-jersey-does-all kind of thing – tricky you might think, but Santini has pulled it off.
The Beta is constructed in the most part from Windstopper Laminated 178 fabric, a shiny, smooth-feeling material that not only stops an icy northerly wind but keeps light rain at bay too.
It's been a mild old autumn and winter so far, and jerseys like the Beta really come into their own in these conditions. Wet days around the mid-teens are too warm for a traditional waterproof, so the Beta has been out getting a lot of action in the last few weeks.
An hour in reasonably heavy rain saw the Beta cope admirably. The rain wasn't heavy but it was consistent, the type where you slowly get soaked without really realising it until you stop. You can see the water beading on the membrane surface as you ride, and when I finally arrived at my destination and removed it the only place water had seeped in was around the arms where a different material is used. Impressive indeed considering the temperature (16°C), and I was moving at a fair old lick, meaning breathability is up to scratch too.
To remove body heat there are mesh panels under the arms, while the centre of the back and shoulders are made of a more standard Lycra material, as are the pockets and lower back.
When things get chillier the performance from the Windstopper is marked. You can feel the windchill on other parts of your body while your torso is still warm even with just a baselayer underneath.
For days when the temperature really starts to drop, Santini makes a set of matching arm warmers from the same Windstopper material to complete the setup.
As far as the fit goes, it's a bit of an odd one: the upper half feels quite racy, close across the chest (and we're talking about an unmuscular cycling chest here, mind – that's not me in the piccies!), but much more relaxed across the midriff. It didn't quite fit me as well as I'd have liked, though it wasn't uncomfortable. Try before you buy, as fit is a very personal thing, especially when you're perched on a bike.
Though short, the sleeves are surprisingly fitted as well, ideal I suppose for keeping up those arm warmers.
You get the usual three pockets at the rear, each with a drainage/ventilation hole. That's a nice touch because, if you are pushing hard in humid conditions, things like phones in your back pocket can soon steam up from your body heat.
The pockets themselves are roomy, but I'd like to see a little more tension to make them a little more secure, as they aren't the deepest.
While it's not cheap at £109.99, the Beta isn't overly expensive. Other jerseys that offer this kind of all-weather performance – the Castelli Gabba, for example – are usually a good 30 to 40 quid more.
Overall, the Beta Windstopper really works in the conditions it's intended for. Often, I would just wear this jersey without grabbing a gilet or windproof like I would normally have done. I wasn't a massive fan of the fit, and would like some deeper pockets, but on the whole the Beta is a clever and very useful design.
A clever jersey in the way it deals with the weather conditions, but could do with a little refining on the fit
road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Beta Windstopper Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Large Red/Black
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?
Santini says: "Forget your windbreaker at home, you won't need it! The BETA short-sleeve jersey is designed to work for every moment of your ride. No need to think about bringing a windproof jacket and no need to stop or slow down to add or remove layers; the Beta jersey made of the exclusive Windstopper Laminated 178 fabric, will be all you need. Extremely versatile, the Beta jersey will offer thermal insulation and wind protection in cold temperatures (10-15° C or 50-60° F) and breathability and comfort at higher temperatures (15-20° C or 60-70° F). Use it with the Beta arm-warmers! You won't need anything else!"
It's a jersey that does away with a layering system. As Santini also says: "A multi-weather garment that responds to a wide range of temperatures and conditions, saving you the hassle and added weight of carrying extra clothes."
It certainly seems to work against the majority of the elements and keeps you warm enough to wear in low temperatures that would normally require a jersey and gilet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Gore Windstopper Laminate fabric
*Mesh Underarm Panels
*Sizes - XS to 4XL
Lighter than a jersey and a windproof jacket combination.
A generous fit around the torso, though the arms are on the snug side.
Similar properties to Castelli's Gabba at a cheaper price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's been a mild autumn (so far) and the Beta has been spot on as far as the temperature range goes. It's ideal in the wet when it's too warm to wear a waterproof jacket.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer a more tailored cut.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I didn't really get on with the fit.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but try before you buy.
Use this box to explain your score
Technically the Santini Beta jersey is very good indeed. Autumn evening rides when the temp has been around 12°C with a bit of drizzle thrown in, and the Beta certainly keeps your core warm and pretty dry. On the downside, though, the cut isn't quite as fitted as I like, although the arms were pretty closely cut around my upper arms. Odd considering I'm not exactly carrying a lot of muscle.
About the tester
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
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
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.