Santini has come up with the goods with its Giove Bib Tights. They're superbly comfortable for all-day wear with excellent cold weather properties; if you're keen to ride whatever the weather then the price might not seem too eyewatering, though they're certainly not cheap. I also found the pad oddly small, but it didn't affect long-ride comfort.
- Pros: Comfort, windproof areas, effective water resistance
- Cons: Pad feels a little small
If you are going to ride through the winter then it certainly pays to have decent kit. Luckily, nowadays we are spoilt for choice with good stuff. On paper these Santini offerings look to be ideal, with windproof and water resistant material to the front and Roubaix style fleece on the back, and an all-day ride pad.
Out of the packet I was a bit dubious of the size, a Large – Italian sizing is always interesting and I didn't think they would fit, but lo and behold they were spot on for my frame; even the bib straps were not tight on my shoulders which is usually the problem. The ankles were a little troublesome as there is no zip, but no big hassle to get on.
One thing I did notice was that the pad felt small – odd to describe, but although it's no smaller in area than your average pad, it's less padded out towards the edges.
In this funny winter of fluctuating temperatures, the tights have seen action in a variety of conditions from freezing through to around 14 degrees and everything in between. Personally I'll wear longs on any ride under 15 degrees (or at least shorts with knee warmers), so I'm a fan of tights and wear them lots. These, I'm pleased to say, have quickly become a favourite, mainly down to one thing – those windproof panels at the front.
The fleece-backed fabric used throughout the rest of the tights is warm but breathable and super-soft, but when the cold wind blows – and we have no shortage of that in the UK – they perform superbly. The windproofing starts from the top of the stomach and runs all the way down the legs to below the knee, just where it's needed. It does a fine job of keeping the chill off your thighs and nether regions, which I find suffer with normal tights.
In the rain they do an OK job of beading the water away initially, and when saturated they do at least stay pretty warm as long as you're working, so on a par with standard fleece material when wet through.
The pad is Santini's NAT offering. It's a multi-density design with a gel core, designed for rides up to seven hours according to the website. Despite the fact that the pad is quite thin and, as mentioned, feels smaller than usual, I certainly didn't have any issues with comfort, or with the rest of the tights. My longer rides were within the seven hours, and they were nothing but comfortable, with no bunching or rubbing seams to spoil things.
Otherwise, the tights are very subtle in their design with just a single reflective logo on the left leg, and washing is as simple as your usual kit: a cool wash with mild detergent. They have stayed looking good despite heavy use, with no wearing of the material or loose stitching.
Price-wise, they sit alongside other quality branded winter tights such as Castelli's Sorpasso 2s (£160), and the comfort they offer goes go a long way in justifying the cost. But you can spend a lot less – not surprisingly, Caratti's £55 Pro Windproof Bib Tights have sold out, and its Elite Windproofs (rrp £65) are in short supply, but a quick look at other tights we've reviewed in the last few months shows many good ones around and below £100. You can also spend more on Rapha and Assos...
Overall, I've been impressed with these tights: a great pair of go-to longs for the winter season.
Warm, windproof and with decent water-shedding abilities, they are a winner for winter riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Giove Bib Tights
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
They're cold weather bib tights with waterproof and windproof materials to stave off the worst.
Santini says, "The complete winter solution. Enhance your winter workouts. Enjoy maximum protection against the cold and the elements thanks to the wind-proof, and water-resistant Windstopper softshell and back panel and braces made in warm Blizzard thermofleece. Engineered for unbeatable freedom of movement thanks to a special ergonomic knee cut. Experience unsurpassed comfort as you accumulate base miles in the off-season with the next generation Nat chamois and its shock-absorbing Next gel core."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT Soft and warm thermofleece on back, braces and ergonomic knee cut
TOTAL PROTECTION Wind-proof and water-resistant Windstopper 210 fabric on the front
Really well put together, neat seams, and pad nice and centred, with an additional lining for weatherproofing on the inside of the tights.
They really do a great job of keeping you warm where you need it; the windproof aspect is especially good.
They have seen a lot of use and show no signs of wear and tear at all, despite getting muck on just about every trip out.
The tights were snug, but long enough in the legs and with no tightness across the shoulders from the bib straps.
The size L supplied fitted nicely for my 6'2" frame, Santini's size chart would suggest the waist size was fine but that they would be too short which wasn't the case. Going on height alone, Santini suggests a 3XL!
332g for a pair of winter bib tights is pretty good I reckon.
The soft material feels great against the skin and the stretchy bib straps mean no sore shoulders. However, the pad feels oddly small, so I found I was set in a fairly fixed position as there wasn't padding in places to be able to move around a lot.
I guess you are paying for the quality of the brand, and they are good; Assos tights are quite a bit more, but you can get decent offerings from dhb for a fraction of the cost.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Follow the label instructions for a cool wash and mild detergent (I use Halo sports wash) and I've not encountered any issues at all. They still look great after multiple trips through the machine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Designed for colder temperatures, they work beautifully in anything under 10 degrees. Over that they can get a bit too warm, as with most bib tights, but they do excel at keeping the cold wind and rain at bay, and you warm and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The windproof lining – it made all the difference to ride comfort keeping your stomach, thighs and, er, manhood much warmer than standard bib tights.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pad does feel small initially, but you get used to it.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At the upper end of the price scale here, with a myriad of options around the £100 mark and less, but cheaper than the Assos LL.habuTights_s7 which are an eyewatering £265.
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
They're a little pricey and the unusually small pad coverage feels slightly odd at first, but otherwise these are excellent tights, super-comfortable and supremely warm where it counts.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives