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review

Santini Colore Bengal Men’s Thermo Jacket

7
£189.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Stylish and very breathable winter protection, but not entirely windproof and pretty tight at the neck
Stylish
Visible
Solid construction
Very breathable
Neck is very tight
Not entirely windproof
Could be warmer
Weight: 
426g

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The Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket is one of those things that gets the job done without you really noticing it, though its stylish yet visible design means others surely will. It's warm enough for the UK's many mild winter days, water resistant and fairly windproof too.

The Colore is cut to Santini's Classic fit, the most relaxed of its three (the others being Slim and Race). It's still a nicely tailored shape, though, and the front hem is high enough that there's no scrunching if you're in an aggressive crouch.

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Though slightly loose, the fabric is too heavy to flap and there's room for a couple of layers beneath. And that's good, because this isn't the warmest of 'thermo' jackets, and nor does it feel quite as windproof as the 'Zero Wind' label implies.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - back.jpg

I found that over a long-sleeve baselayer its limit was around 10°C, and single figures definitely need two layers beneath. Cold winds and high speeds create a slight but noticeable chilling along the arms – the black fleecy panels underneath are clearly not that windproof – and possibly on the upper chest.

I say 'possibly' because I found the neck too tight (and too heavily elasticated) to comfortably do up fully, so had to keep the zip below my Adam's apple. Maybe draughts were finding their way in there.

The upside is the Colore breathes very well. Santini says 'the inner construction of oval-shaped fleece enhance thermo-regulation'... I think it just means all the honeycomb gaps let hot, humid air out well, and it's true.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - inside.jpg

The neck is the only serious issue I have with the fit, which is otherwise very good, as is the sizing – the chart recommends me a large, which is spot on. I do think the sleeves could be just a little longer to accommodate shorter gloves more comfortably, but I had no issues with the longish cuffs of typical winter gloves. They stayed sealed.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - cuff.jpg

It's water-resistant thanks to an Acquazero treatment that means water beads off instead of sinking in, and it copes with showers as well as most softshells (ie, you'll need a waterproof if it really starts raining).

I personally love the looks of this Nautica Blue option, but there are black/white, orange/black and teal/lime green versions if you prefer. They all combine good visibility with, if you ask me (go on), stylish looks. The dots between the stripes are reflective too, for some night-time shine.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - shoulders.jpg

There are two reflective flaps bordering the usual three rear pockets as well, though there's no fourth zipped pocket lurking alongside. I found the pockets secure enough with my largish phone, and they're built from the same thick, strong fabric as the jacket itself.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - pockets.jpg

The stitching, that fabric and the overall build are all impressively neat yet rugged, as you might hope given the price.

2021 Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket - grippers.jpg

At £189 this is a fair investment, especially as it's not quite warm and protective enough for the worst of even a UK winter. However, it's reasonable against the competition: the Sportful Fiandre Pro Medium is now £200 and covers much the same temperatures, for instance, though it does it with a good bit less bulk – it's 136g lighter at only 290g.

> 6 top tips to help keep you cycling through the winter

If it's plush, strongly windproofed warmth you want (and a more relaxed fit still), the Specialized Men's RBX Softshell is cheaper at £150, if not nearly as stylish or noticeable.

> Buyer’s Guide: 55 of the best winter cycling jackets

The dhb Aeron All Winter Softshell is cheaper still at £120 and very good too, but don't go thinking the Santini is top end. It's not. The excellent Castelli Alpha ROS 2 is very comfortable and protective all the way down to zero, for instance, but is £300.

Overall

This is a stylish, comfortable and very breathable jacket for cool to cold rides, and has just enough room for a couple of layers as you get into single figure temperatures. The collar is a very tight and potentially uncomfortable fit, though – you might want to invest in a neck warmer at the same time.

Verdict

Stylish and very breathable winter protection, but not entirely windproof and pretty tight at the neck

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Santini Colore Bengal Men's Thermo Jacket

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the jacket 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 it's a "winter jacket, tailored for men. Warm, water-resistant and windproof, the CORAL BENGAL jacket protects you in style on winter rides."

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

Santini lists:

WINTER PROTECTION:

Warm, water resistant and windproof triple-layer membrane fabric to keep you covered on your winter rides. The inner construction of oval-shaped fleece enhance thermo-regulation. Underarms and sleeve cuffs in warm Blizzard thermofleece with Acquazero water-restistant treatment for freedom of movement.

COMFORT FIT:

Designed to sit comfortably on the body without restrictions. Inner collar and cuffs are lined in warm fleece fabric.

HIGH VISIBILITY:

A stripe of reflective dots on the chest gives you high visibility in low visibility.

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

It's water-resistant rather than waterproof, as you'd expect.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
7/10

Neat and comfortable except at the neck, which I found too tight.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for value:
 
4/10

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

No issues at the usual 30°C.

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

It's comfortable and protective, but not the best option with temperatures into single figures.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Good fit (bar the neck), breathes well, stylish looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Tight neck, sleeves could be a touch longer, not the warmest or most windproof of its type.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £189 this is a fair investment, especially as it's not quite warm and protective enough for the worst of even a UK winter. However, it's reasonable against the competition: the Sportful Fiandre Medium is £200 and covers much the same temperatures, for instance, though it does it with a good bit less bulk.

If it's plush, strongly windproofed warmth you want (and a more relaxed fit still), the Specialized Men's RBX Softshell is cheaper at £150, if not nearly as stylish or noticeable.

The dhb Aeron All Winter Softshell is even cheaper at £120 and very good too, but don't go thinking the Santini is top end. It's not. The excellent Castelli Alpha ROS 2 is very comfortable and protective all the way down to zero, for instance, but is £300.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? The price and narrow collar would put me off.

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, with caveats.

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is well made, comfortable, very breathable and looks great. The panels beneath the arms aren't entirely windproof, though, which limits its cosiness, and the collar was too tight on my (very average-sized) neck to zip up fully. This also compromises its protection, and neither detail is ideal given the upper mid-range price. With those details fixed, it would be an eight.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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