Santini's Vega Acquazero Bib-tights are designed for the winter, using Blizzard thermofleece fabric, which is brushed on the inside to give a fleece-like feel, and Acquazero treatment on the outside to provide water-resistance. Unfortunately, though the fleecy fabric does a good job of wicking moisture and retaining heat, the tights' water-resistance is poor.
The overall construction, fit and cut are of the highest quality, and the tights are very comfortable on the bike.
The Jacquard seamless elasticated braces are a standout feature, which I found way more comfortable in use than the high-backed, bulky straps you get on some bib tights. Here, the elasticated front braces merge into a single, central, 6cm-wide, lightweight meshed back. It's a refreshingly minimalist approach and one that I like: I find having less thermal material on your back is better for heat regulation, as when a full thermal back is coupled with a winter jersey you can feel a bit too toasty.
The elasticated ankle cuffs work well and I experienced no movement up my legs, even though they don't feature any silicone gripper on the inside.
The unfortunately named GIT chamois has a silicone gel core and is designed to absorb shocks and then return to its original shape. It also features antibacterial micro fibre and depressions on the top layer to improve comfort and minimise chafing. It's Santini's long-distance/endurance pad, which is why I was surprised to find that it wasn't particularly comfortable on rides over 30 miles, and is poor compared with most other pads I've used. Of course, this is a very personal area, and you might get on better with it.
More surprising, though – and disappointing – was the 'water-resistant' Acquazero external fabric treatment. I found its water-resistant properties were limited to light spray, and it fell way short of Santini's 'Never fear rain again' statement on its website. It's really quite poor compared with other brands' products that do offer good water-repellency and was a big surprise, especially taking into account that this is the Acquazero's niche selling point over Santini's many other bib tight offerings.
Overall, then, these are well-constructed mid-winter bib tights that will keep you warm in all but the very coldest of UK conditions – as long as it's dry or only light showers. I found the minimalist, elasticated Jacquard braces way more comfortable than the high-backed, bulky straps on other bib tights, but the Acquazero water-resistant treatment, which gives the tights their name – only repelled light rain/spray, which was surprising.
A good fit and warm, but water-resistance is poor and the pad is only comfortable for short distances
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Vega Acquazero Bib Tights
Size tested: Medium, Black/red
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: "Never fear rain again! The Vega bib-tights will ensure protection against the rain.
"Maximum comfort and breathability thanks to the braces with transporting mesh insert on the back and Jacquard seamless elastic on the front."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Water-resistant 'Acquazero' treatment.
Jacquard seamless elastic braces.
GIT chamois with Twist gel core provides constant absorption of shocks.
Rear calf reflective strip.
Three months of use so far and no problems.
Let down by the pad on longer rides, otherwise very comfortable.
Water-resistance is poor; I only found they kept out light spray. And they're let down by the pad on longer rides.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to care for and nothing has come unstitched or unattached due to washing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable, good fit and warm. Water-resistance is poor, though. And they were let down by the pad on longer rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and construction. The Jacquard braces.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The chamois. Material that was claimed to be water-resistant but was only barely.
Did you enjoy using the product? On short rides, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
Although they're warm and fit well, water-resistance is poor, and the tights were let down by the chamois on longer rides.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cervelo P3, Cervelo R3, Felt F1 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking