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review

Santini Redux Istinto Men’s Bib Shorts

8
£230.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Impressive performance and comfort once bedded in, all of which comes at a price
Loads of compression
Great pad – eventually
Excellent build quality
A big investment
Weight: 
185g

At road.cc 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 Redux Istinto Bib Shorts take aerodynamics and a skin-tight fit to the next level. They can take a bit of fight to get on – getting dressed elegantly isn't going to happen – but once in place and you've jiggled them about a bit, you're in for hours of cosseted comfort on the bike. This level of performance doesn't come cheap, though.

According to Santini, the Redux Istintos are a pair of ultra-high-performance bib shorts, and you can tell that's their intention from the moment you get them on.

> Find your nearest dealer here

There isn't a massive amount of give in the highly compressive Tattoo Effect Fitter fabric, but once you get on the bike it all makes sense. They are very comfortable, with the high compression levels giving your muscles plenty of support.

They didn't always sit right straight away, and sometimes I'd have to spend a few minutes adjusting the shorts for perfect comfort, but once I'd worn them a few times I knew where things should sit like leg length and so on, so it wasn't a longterm issue.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - cuff and logo.jpg

Being so compressive, and because it has a softshell kind of feel to it, the fabric can make the shorts a bit more difficult to get on than most; I had to manhandle them a fair bit just to get them up over my thighs.

This makes it more important than ever to get the correct size. I'm a medium in virtually every brand, and while once in position this medium pair felt very comfortable, if I was actually buying them I would go for a large, just for that little bit of extra wiggle room.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - cuff back.jpg

Seams have been kept to an absolute minimum, relying on the pull of the material to provide the fit rather than shaped panels, and the legs stay in position without any unwanted pressure, with a band of silicone for assistance.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - cuff gripper.jpg

The bib straps are a single piece so there are no seams on the shoulders, and thanks to their wide, flat design they don't cause any pressure points.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - straps back.jpg
2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - bibs straps front.jpg

At first I found Santin's C3 pad to be a little bulky, and for the first two or three rides I didn't get on with it that well. Since then, though, the gel pads seem to have moulded a bit to the shape of my sit bones and compressed a touch, so now I actually get on very well with it on rides of up to four hours, and I see no issues with ramping up the hours while wearing the Istintos.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - chamois.jpg

Santini gives a temperature range of 18°C to 35°C and while I haven't had the chance to try the upper range yet, I've worn these in temperatures up to the mid-20s and still found them to be breathable.

I haven't had any problems at the other end, either, on days below 18°C.

With their RRP of £230, you are going to be expecting top notch construction, and that is exactly what you are getting here.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - back detail.jpg

As I said, there aren't many seams, but the stitching on those there are is neat and tidy with little in the way of stray ends.

The fabric also looks and feels to be highly durable. They are showing no signs of wear and tear from interaction with the saddle, which is normally the first place to highlight any issues.

2021 Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts - legs back.jpg

Value

The Istintos are right up there, price-wise, with other top-end shorts, but it's still competitive.

Castelli's Premio Black bib shorts, which George reckons are 'genuinely innovative bib shorts that feel like a technological leap forward' are only £10 less, for all of that innovation – with a price tag of £220.

And Velocio's Men's Concept bib shorts are another pair that scored highly, with Jamie calling them exceptional at £228.

> Buyer’s Guide: 38 of the best cycling bib shorts

Aerodynamic, second-skin-fit bib shorts can be had for a lot less, though, like the £150 dhb Aeron LAB Racelines.

Conclusion

If you want a form-hugging pair of aerodynamic shorts that deliver huge levels of comfort at any price, then the Santinis are a good choice, especially if you are a very competitive and capable rider. There are many high-performing shorts available for a lot less money, though.

Verdict

Impressive performance and comfort once bedded in, all of which comes at a price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Santini Redux Istinto Men's Bib Shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Santini says, "Ultrahigh-performance bib shorts featuring aggressive aerodynamics and a defining, soft feel. Made of "Tattoo Effect" Fitter fabric for extra comfort. Finished with raw-cut bib braces, and for a pared-down design and a super-clean aesthetic. C3 multi density chamois with gel inserts. Idea for long, stylish rides."

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

From Santini:

PERFECT FIT

Fitter compression fabric with 'Tattoo effect' internal anti-slip honeycomb gripper

ANTI-SHOCK PROTECTION

C3 chamois features protective shell and ergonomic 3Dsurface

EXTREME COMFORT

Seamless elastic braces with new rear crossover shape

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
6/10

They size up small compared to many other brands, but follow Santini's size guide and you should be fine.

Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

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

I followed Santini's washing instructions and had no issues.

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

A high performance pair of bib shorts.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit when on the bike.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Pad took a while to settle down.

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

They're expensive, as highlighted by the likes of the dhb Aeron LAB shorts mentioned in the review, though Castelli and Velocio have offerings that aren't far behind.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I don't think I can justify the price.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Difficult to fault from a performance or fit point of view, but a big outlay.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  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,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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