Winter is well and truly here, and aiming to protect you from the elements without the need for bulky layers is the Santini Women's Beta Winter Windstopper Jacket. It does an okay job, but doesn't quite live up to Santini's big claims.
At just 295g, the jacket feels much thinner and lighter than any other winter jacket I've tried. This, along with the slightly stretchy fabric around the main body, makes it flexible and not at all restrictive to wear, whether riding or warming up with a mid-ride coffee. I found it very comfortable to ride in and the elastic strip around the base sat nicely flush against my back without moving around or riding up.
The sleeve cuffs are easy enough to tuck a pair of gloves underneath and leave no exposed skin or uncomfortable lumpy material. However, when riding without gloves on, the sleeves rode up my arms a little which was frustrating.
One other disappointing thing to note is that although the jacket features three reasonably sized rear pockets, the 'rainproof zippered pocket' promised on the website doesn't feature.
Size-wise, I tested a medium and would usually wear a small or size 8. The medium was a good fit, tapered to a typical female figure while leaving room for extra layers. The soft, fleecy collar comes up lovely and high and is definitely a nice bonus on especially cold days.
Santini gives this jacket an insulation rating of 5/5 and a recommended temperature range of -8 to +5 degrees. I was therefore disappointed to find that it didn't keep me especially warm and I needed two or three layers underneath when the temperature got below zero. The coldest I tested it in was a particularly early morning commute at -3°C. With a long-sleeved thermal baselayer and long-sleeved jersey under the jacket, I was just on the edge of being uncomfortably cold and wouldn't want to wear it in anything colder.
At the upper end of the temperature scale, though, I think Santini could be more generous. The breathability is fairly impressive, especially for a wind and water-resistant jacket, and I was happy with a light jersey underneath in around 8-10°C.
In strong wind, the jacket again disappointed me somewhat against Santini's 5/5 wind resistance rating. While the Gore Windstopper fabric is effective in lighter or moderate winds, anything stronger left me feeling the wind chill straight through the jacket. This wasn't entirely unexpected from the thin, lightweight fabric but was a bit disappointing nonetheless.
The zip guard does help to keep the wind from coming straight in via the zip while also preventing rubbing or chafing around the neck.
Riding in light rain and moderate showers, water will bead on the surface of the jacket to begin with and didn't start to permeate the material for at least half an hour, or longer in lighter conditions. In heavy rain I was pretty much soaked through within 10 minutes. The material used on the sleeve cuffs is particularly susceptible to water soaking through quickly, often leaving me with chilly wrists when I didn't have gloves underneath. Bearing in mind that the jacket is only water resistant and not waterproof, though, I'd say it does a reasonable job of keeping the rain out and once the rain ceases, it is very quick to dry.
Aesthetically, I think it's an attractive jacket, with its simple black design and several small logos and reflective details on the rear. I like the contrasting bright orange of the zip guard, which adds a splash of colour when the jacket isn't fully zipped.
Despite the looks and the showerproofing, for £139.99 I do think you could get more for your money, especially in the warmth department. It reminds me in both weight and performance of the cheaper dhb Aeron Long Sleeved Jersey, which I tested a year or so ago. That's currently on sale for £70, with an rrp of £105. Personally, I also loved the recently tested Rapha Core Winter Jacket which, while a little thicker and less water resistant, could be worth checking out too, for £120.
A good concept for a light winter jacket, but could be more protective on cold, windy days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Women's Beta Winter Windstopper Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for
Santini says: "Created to ensure a perfect thermal balance while you ride. Shields you against the elements on cold winter outings, but is breathable enough to wick moisture from your body during intense efforts. Includes a rainproof zippered pocket for storage of valuables and reflective piping on the back for increased visibility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Fit - Anatomically cut to provide you with a true road cycling fit. The combination of fabrics provide optimal protection from the elements without the need for bulky layers. Jacquard elastic strip at the base to keep the jacket in place at all times.
Performance - Made of insulated Windstopper thermofleece membrane to keep you riding in cold as well as rainy conditions. Three large rear pockets, plus a rainproof zippered pocket to keep your stuff safe and dry. Reflective piping on the back for added visibility in low-light conditions.
Comfort - Engineered for comfort: Specifically designed to keep you dry and comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. The Beta Winter Jacket shields you against the elements on cold winter outings, but is breathable enough to pull away moisture from your body during intense climbs.
Durability - The high quality fabrics chosen for the garment guarantee that the technical characteristics and the shape remain constant even after prolonged wear and numerous washes. Made in Italy by our highly skilled production staff.
Stacks up well against the water resistant claims, but certainly isn't waterproof.
A feminine shape and a good fit with space for a couple of layers underneath.
Sized up a bit on the small side. I wore a medium and am usually a small or size 8.
Doesn't weigh a lot and feels significantly less bulky than many winter jackets.
Really light and flexible, base hem sat in place nicely and was very comfortable to ride in.
At £139.99 it's expensive compared with similar jackets; it wasn't especially warm and you can get more for your money.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Really easy, no issues.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fairly average overall. Not as warm or windproof as hoped, but water resistant and very light and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Very lightweight and has a simple, stylish design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
It lacks the zipped pocket it's claimed to have, and isn't as warm as I'd expected from Santini's claims.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Maybe
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
Light and comfortable with a great fit, but performance in cold and windy conditions was disappointing for a winter jacket.
About the tester
I usually ride: Planet X London Road My best bike is: Bowman Palace:R
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, track
Ashia is a Maths student at the University of Bath and has been riding and racing bikes for the past 6 years after a track taster session at her local velodrome had her hooked. Most weekends, she can be found out racing, be it track, road, criteriums, time trials, triathlons, or cyclocross. Whilst she is fiercely competitive and loves to race, she is still on the look out for anyone hiring a "full time cafe rider" when she graduates.