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Santini Karma Kinetic Men’s Bib Shorts



Excellent compressive fit, comfortable pad and great breathability
Compression on the legs
Breathable fabric
Comfortable pad
High front makes comfort breaks tricky
178g Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to recommends

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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The Santini Karma Kinetic Bib Shorts provide a really good compressive fit, a comfortable pad and excellent breathability. These are great for hot summer days on the bike.

Santini say these shorts are suitable from 18-35°C for rides of up to seven hours, and during the July heatwave I put these to the ultimate test (perhaps unwisely) on a hilly 100 miles in 30°C heat.

> Buy now: Santini Karma Kinetic Bib Shorts for £125 from Santini

The bibs are made with Polartec's Delta fabric, which is designed to wick sweat away from the body quickly, and this worked well – there were some damp patches, as you'd expect in such weather, but these quickly dried off once I picked up a bit of speed on the descents. I never found myself overheating in them and never felt uncomfortable.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - back.jpg

I've also worn them on a few of the rare cooler days we've had recently of around 13°C, and they were still fine.

They're standing up well to wear, too: I have worn these a lot during a month or so of testing and the quality of the stitching still looks great after frequent washing.


The GITevo chamois does a good job of providing all-day comfort without feeling too bulky. I've worn these shorts on long rides on some poorly surfaced lanes and have never experienced any discomfort.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - chamois.jpg

It has a seamless construction, with an anti-shock gel core designed to reduce the impact of the road. I'd say it's on a par with the pads in other shorts I own from the likes of Assos and Castelli.

Fit and sizing

As with other Italian kit, these size up slightly smaller than some shorts I've tested recently. I tested these in a medium, and was in the middle of the size guide range, and found these snug but not restrictive.

The shorts come in seven sizes, from XS to 3XL, so you should be able to find one that suits.

They have what Santini describes as a compressive performance fit. The compression provides a close race fit on the legs, which I liked as it gives good support when on longer or race effort rides.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - legs back.jpg

The leg length is also perfect in my opinion, sitting above the knee without being too short.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - cuff detail.jpg

The leg gripper is incredibly effective – perhaps too effective at times, sticking to my leg hair when putting them on. There was certainly no riding up during testing.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

The straps are made from a lightweight mesh material that's good for breathability. I've had some issues with the straps on similar shorts I've tested, but that's not the case here: there's no compromise on comfort.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - straps back.jpg

My only gripe with these shorts is that the front comes up quite high, around belly button level, and the material isn't quite stretchy enough for it be easy to have a quick mid-ride comfort break; it's not impossible, it's just not that quick.

2022 Santini Karma Kinetic Mens bib shorts - mesh detail.jpg

Colour-wise, the black with red stripes option I tested matches my club kit perfectly, but if that isn't to your taste there are three others to choose from: grey, green or blue, with different colour stripes for each.


At £125 (originally £140), the shorts sit in the mid-price range with a lot of competition, and I'd say the quality is in line with similar shorts we've tested.

I recently tested and liked the Assos Mille GT C2 bib shorts, at the same price; I'd choose the Santinis for harder efforts, and the Assos for more relaxed rides.

Stu rated both the Nopinz Souplesse Bib Shorts (£119.99) and the NVPA BIB/Short Navy (£145) highly, and the recently tested Kalas Pure Z bib shorts offer a similar compressive fit at £119, although with the opposite issue to the Santinis: Jo finding that the front of the shorts is a bit too loose.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling bib shorts

You can buy cheaper shorts – the Galibier Équipe 2 Aero Bib Shorts scored well and are priced at £73 – and more expensive shorts: the highly rated MAAP Pro Bib 2.0s come in at £235 (read the review here).


These Karma Kinetic bib shorts are great for long hot days in the saddle, with a comfortable pad and excellent breathability. The compression provides a good level of support, especially on more demanding efforts. All in all, I'd highly recommend these.


Excellent compressive fit, comfortable pad and great breathability

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Make and model: Santini Karma Kinetic Mens Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Santini says: "Made with compression fabric in a performance fit. Perfect to ride all summer long."

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

Santini lists these features:


Made with high elasticity, compact Italian fabric with power compression technology. It provides medium compression without being restrictive. Incredibly durable it retains its features through time. Printed leg gripper to keep the bib shorts always in place.


Bibs made with Polartec®'s Delta fabric for a fast transmission of sweat away from the body, guaranteeing rapid drying and great breathability.


GITevo chamois with gel core that absorbs shock steadily and gradually for comfort on long rides.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:

Great compressive fit and comfortable pad.

Rate the product for durability:

Look great after wearing and washing a lot.

Rate the product for fit:

Front could be a touch lower for my liking.

Rate the product for sizing:

On the smaller side compared with other brands, but I still wouldn't recommend sizing up.

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

The compression felt comfortable on the legs.

Rate the product for value:

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

Washed at 30°C with other cycling kit and looks as good as new.

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

Great performance, good fit, breathable and comfortable pad.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The compressive fit on the legs provided great support, and the pad was comfortable for long distance rides.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The high front made comfort breaks a bit tricky.

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

It's broadly in line with the competition – the Assos Mille GT Bib Shorts C2 are the same price, the NVPAs a little higher (£145), the Nopinz Souplesse £119.99, and the recently tested Kalas £119.

Some are much more expensive: the MAAP Pro Bib 2.0 are highly rated and £235.

Some a lot cheaper: the Galibier Equipe 2 aero bib shorts were well reviewed at only £73.

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

These are excellent – a great compressive fit and breathability, and a comfortable pad for long rides. I would definitely recommend these shorts.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 178cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Specialized Roubaix  My best bike is: Cervelo S3

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Indoor

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