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The H2O is a brand new model from Santini and it has a cunning trick up its sleeve: it’s highly water resistant while still being as breathable as a normal jersey.
The H20 is made from a new fabric that’s exclusive to Santini for the next year. Manufactured by an Italian company called SITIP, it’s called Acquazero and it’s a mix of nylon and elastane so it’s very stretchy and very breathable. It doesn’t feel like a water resistant fabric in the slightest – there’s no membrane hidden away here – it feels like a soft and fleecy Roubaix but it helps keep the rain out.
This fabric isn’t waterproof like a hard shell but, if you’re interested in the tech, it gets a Grade 4 water repellency rating in the international standards (with Grade 1 being the lowest, and Grade 5 being the highest).
Okay, but what does that mean in practice? Drizzle: no problem, it beads up and rolls off with very little being absorbed. Light rain is okay too. Water starts to seep in slowly, but on one of our showery test rides we stayed drier in the H20 jersey than we did when we slung a waterproof jacket on top because of the higher level of breathability. You just have to look at the clouds and make the call as to which is going to be most comfortable.
When rain starts to come down harder, lots of it still rolls off but you will start to get wet, particularly if the water pools in folds in the fabric, and the seams aren’t taped so it can get through there. That means you’re better off with a waterproof jacket in hard rain – but the H20 will keep you much drier than a standard jersey.
Ours has been through the wash just a few times so we can’t yet report on the long-lasting durability of the treatment yet, but it’s still performing as well as it did to begin with so far and the manufacturer claims that it will carry on doing the business after repeated laundering.
As for other features, the H20 comes in a slim, sporty cut, and because it’s as stretchy as a pair of Roubaix tights, you can get a close fit without any tightness at all. The collar is high, you get three pockets in the lower back, and both the waist and the cuffs are elasticated so you don’t get any draughts. There’s plenty of reflective trim too – the zip and logos are reflective, and all that white stitching is holding more reflective material in place.
It's as insulating as you'd expect of a Roubaix fabric – it's a warm winter weight, although it's not windproof, so you'll want something over the top to stop the air getting in on really cold rides.
All that stretchiness meant the pockets sagged a little more than usual when we loaded them up to the max for a recent sportive, but not so much that it was a problem. The only other issue we've noted so far is that the reflective material on the side of the zip has begun to look a little tatty, with little slivers coming away with use.
Available in black and red.
Stretchy, breathable jersey in a highly water-resistant fabric – a useful addition to your winter wardrobe
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Make and model: Santini H2O Jersey
Size tested: Large, 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 say, "Long sleeves jersey in Acquazero (80% Poliammide, 20% Elastan), exceptionally elastic fabric, warm and totally water-proof, it maintains maximum breathability thanks to the Acquazero treatment. Minimal design with contrasting colour stitching and reflective piping to assure maximum visibility on the road. Long reflective zipper. Elasticated band on wrists and bottom for improved fit. Triple back pocket with vertical zip on central pocket. Reflective details on the back to improve visibility."
"Totally waterproof" is pushing it. If you're expecting this to keep the water out as well as a standard waterproof jacket, you'll be disappointed. If you compare it to a standard jersey, you'll be amazed.
We'd say that it's highly water resistant and see it as a halfway house between a standard jersey with no water repellency and a full-on waterproof shell.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 39 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: 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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.