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Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights



Very comfortable and great at regulating temperature, but you pay for the performance

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Santini has used Power Wool for its Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights, a blend of natural and synthetic fibres designed to keep you warm yet sweat-free. It works really well and is very comfortable against the skin, although you take a hit in the pocket for the benefits.

  • Pros: Fabric is soft against the skin; works in a large temperature range
  • Cons: Expensive; reflective details would be better running right around the leg

We are seeing Polartec's name pop up on quite a few manufacturers' products lately, with some very good items of clothing as a result. Its Power Wool used here, a mix of merino wool and synthetics, has wool fibres on the inside, against the skin, and synthetic fibres on the outer. According to Santini, this enables the tights to stretch but keep their shape, helps with durability and provides quick drying times. (Polartec has more info here if you're interested.)

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First up, they are very comfortable to wear – the wool is warm and very soft against the skin. Heading out for some longer rides over the Christmas period I was wearing the Adapts for up to five hours at a time and I never really noticed them at all. There are no seams in irritating places and the cut is great, so I had no bunching of material.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - side.jpg

I like the way the tights come up over the bottom of your stomach to provide warmth and support, and the bib straps are snug without applying any unwanted pressure.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - straps front.jpg

Santini says the Adapts work in a large range of temperatures and I would agree. On some colder rides I was perfectly comfortable down to around 3°C, while on days when it warmed up to around 13°C I was still feeling fine.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - Polartec detail.jpg

Riding hard at that upper temperature I did get warm in the top half of my body but my legs didn't feel clammy at all. The rear panel of the bib helps regulate that temperature once things slow down a bit – when paired with a decent baselayer and jersey, anyway.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - straps back.jpg

On cold days with vicious windchill stinging my face, my legs felt toasty warm and I could continue to ride hard without cooling muscles starting to struggle.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - front.jpg

The Santini branded pad has a few differing densities and the odd channel running through it to relieve pressure when sat in the saddle for a long time. It works well and I found it very comfortable. The padding is quite firm, so it feels like a supportive barrier between you and the saddle, helping to soak up bumps without completely blocking feel and feedback from the road.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - chamois.jpg

The legs are held in place with nothing other than the elasticity of the fabric itself. It works a treat – they never rode up – although the ankle cuff is quite fitted so you need to be a little bit patient when pulling them on and off.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - ankle detail.jpg

On each leg you also get plenty of reflectivity, but in a subtle way. It doesn't really show up in the daylight other than as a rainbow-effect logo, but when bathed in light after darkness falls it is quite striking, showing the legs moving and screaming 'cyclist!'. It's just a shame they only wrap halfway around the leg, as having reflectives on the rear makes so much more sense.

Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bibtight - riding detail.jpg

The tights are available in a good range of sizes, from XS through to 3XL, and the sizing is pretty realistic to the UK market. If you are a medium in most brands you will be in the Adapts.


Price-wise, at £215 they are very much at the top end of the market. This is Rapha territory, with the likes of its Pro Team Winter Tights II coming in at £210. Ash was certainly impressed with those, and they offer a bit of water resistance too.

Jack was also impressed with the Pearl Izumi Pursuit Hybrid bib tights, which again offer great weatherproofing and fit and for just £159.99.

> Buyer's Guide: 33 of the best winter bib tights and trousers

Others, such as the Gore C7 Partial Windstopper Pros and 7Mesh TK1s, offer decent weatherproofing and performance for well under £200, so the Santinis are up against some tough opposition.

That said, these are the bib tights I've been grabbing out of the wardrobe time and time again whatever the weather, and not once have I been disappointed. If you can find a decent discount somewhere, these are highly recommended.


Very comfortable and great at regulating temperature, but you pay for the performance test report

Make and model: Santini Adapt Polartec Thermal C3 bib tights

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Santini says, "Made with Polartec's Power Wool series of fabrics, an incredible line of products that use a combination of natural and synthetic knits to produce highly efficent thermo-regulating, advanced materials; offering all the natural benefits of an internal wool structure, with its warmth retention and unparalleled moisutre management with sythetic counterparts that form the outer face providing quick drying times, shape retention and durability."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Santini:


Perfect to face a variety of weather conditions and temperatures, spanning from frosty winter spins to the unsettled weather that can come with early spring rides.


Distinctive iridescent reflective thermo-adhesives details on the lower legs.


Poly and wool grid stretch with superior wicking action on the back. Extremely comfortable next-to-skin.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Very well made throughout.

Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:

Sizing is spot on with the guide and the cut is great: performance-orientated but without being too restrictive.

Rate the product for weight:
Rate the product for comfort:
Rate the product for value:

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Just follow the washing instructions and you won't have any issues.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

In terms of performance they can't really be faulted. Comfortable, breathable and a great fit.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

How comfortable they are.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Reflectives would be better on the rear of the leg.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

They are expensive, as highlighted by how many top-performing cheaper options I mention in the review, but they are very, very good across more temperatures than most.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? If I could get them for around the £175 mark, then yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

On quality and performance they can't really be faulted. They are comfortable to the point of being unnoticeable and work superbly in a range of temperatures. They are expensive, though, and that along with little niggles like the reflectives not being on the rear of the legs, just knocks the score down.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 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

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment


steveadore | 3 years ago

How have they held up in the long run? I seem to have run into some serious QC issues after only a handful of times wearing them (after I already had another pair replaced for the same reasons by the distributor). I'm seriously doubting their longevity/durability and will probably open a warranty case

cougie | 4 years ago

£215 ?  And they forgot to put the reflectives on the back ?


I bought some Caratti longs on offer before Christmas for £20 (may have been less).  They've been great for my  5 hour winter rides - I'm not sure what there is to say about them - they cover your legs and keep the chill off.  Oh and they have reflectives up the back. 


And will save you £200 on these.  No idea why you'd pay that much more. 

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