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Santini Women’s Legend Bib Short C3W Pad



Outstanding chamois in a quality pair of shorts, if you like the high back and halter bib
Impressive chamois
Potential fit issues for some

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's Women's Legend bib shorts have a great pad and are ideal for long days in the saddle, with light compression and some excellent grippers making for a secure fit around the legs. The bib setup and high back might not suit everyone though.

The shorts are made from a traditional style Lycra which gives a comfortable fit, and they move freely with the body while cycling.

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I began testing these in quite moderate temperatures – mid to high teens – and they were perfect teamed with leg warmers; I didn't sense any wind chill, nor did I experience excessive sweating.

On warmer days, though, they can feel a bit hot. Into the low 20s on a sunny day, I would prefer a mesh panel or simply a lower cut at the rear. When the sun's beating down you might not appreciate the coverage that the back panel gives.

Santini Women's Legend Bib Short C3W Pad - back.jpg

The chamois is nothing short of excellent. There is significant padding where required – your sit bones and genital area – and these pads are in sections, separated by channels, so that the chamois as a whole conforms to your body shape.

The padding tapers to the edge of the chamois, too. It's up to long hours in the saddle but won't make you feel like you're wearing a nappy.

Santini Women's Legend Bib Short C3W Pad - chamois.jpg

Despite its substance, I never felt like I was overheating in it. The dimples in the padding make a difference here, I think. I've enjoyed rides of over four hours on the road and tame, gravel outings in the Legend shorts and never once felt uncomfortable or experienced rubbing or hot spots.

Fit and sizing

Selecting a size from Santini's chart wasn't clear cut for me. Its shorts are based on three measurements: waist, hips and inseam, though I'd say the latter is personal preference. I come in at 'small' waist-wise, 'medium' hip-wise, and would personally want a 'large' inseam – I don't like short shorts.

I opted for a medium, which gave me the length and compression I would expect in the leg, but it was a looser fit than I'd prefer around the hips and waist.

> Read more reviews of women’s cycling clothing here

The back panel sits higher than many shorts, and for me there was too much material sitting loosely around the lower back, which didn't help to hold the shorts snug around the hips. I'd say this is primarily down to my body shape; my 'small' waist should have dictated the sizing over my 'medium' hips for a snug, skin-tight fit. This was particularly evident when down on the drops, with a gathering of material and a noticeable lack of compression at the groin. If I were to buy, I'd definitely be sizing down.

The leg grippers are top notch. A deep band lined with honeycomb-shaped silicone holds the shorts firmly in place against both leg warmers and bare skin.

Santini Women's Legend Bib Short C3W Pad - gripper.jpg

As you can see in the pics, the bib is an 'over-the-head-frontal-clasp' setup, not dissimilar to Liv's Race Day shorts that I reviewed last year. While I'm not a huge fan of this design over a conventional bib, I know that it can really suit women who have bigger boobs; a single, central strap is much more comfortable.

You can get them off for a quick pee stop without taking your jersey off (do take care not to strangle yourself by catching the bib on your helmet), but getting them done back up again post-pee really requires you to take your jersey off... So, in short, nothing gained in terms of practicality.

Santini Women's Legend Bib Short C3W Pad - clip.jpg

While the hook-and-eye style clasp is very small, it's actually really easy to use; the parts engage with no faff or fiddle, though there are just two 'settings'.

The shorts are really well made: neat seams with no obvious weak spots, and no irritating internal seams either. Even the chamois edge is tapered/closed down, so there should be no fraying or curling up here long term. I've washed and worn these excessively during the test period and there is no sign of deterioration.

> Read more reviews of women’s shorts here

Looking at value, there are decent bib shorts for less than £100 out there, such as Liv's Race Days I mentioned above, Van Rysel's RR 900s and Cycology's Women's Logo Bib Shorts, though they all have some sort of 'drawback'.

I'd say a more like-for-like comparison is Lusso's RS19 at £100. Santini's are only £10 more, and I don't think they are overpriced for the quality that you get.

> Buyer’s Guide: 32 of the best bib shorts

Overall, I can't fault the Legend Shorts' outstanding chamois and fabric durability. Just be sure to study the size chart carefully and size down if in doubt. And be aware of the high rear panel and frontal bib-clasp, as this won't be everyone's preference.


Outstanding chamois in a quality pair of shorts, if you like the high back and halter bib

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Make and model: Santini Women's Legend Bib Short C3W Pad

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Santini says: 'Legendary comfort. Our top of the range women's bib shorts. Manufactured from our Legend fabric to the highest standards. Experience a supreme tight fit around the leg thanks to the elasticated bottoms with honeycomb silicone grippers. Specially engineered with the C3W chamois technology for maximum comfort and performance on the saddle. Providing excellent shock protection, breathability and exceptional freedom of movement. Ergonomic braces with the frontal 'easy on' closure system.'

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

Santini lists:


Constructed from compressive Legend fabric for greater


New C3W chamois for total protection and lightness


Lycra braces and new 'easy on' closure system

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

Early days, but looking really good.

Rate the product for fit:
Rate the product for sizing:

Come up large – I'd advise sizing down.

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?

Recommended 30 degree cycle, looking as good as new.

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

Do what they claim: offer a tight fit around the leg, a chamois that is exceptionally comfortable and a fabric that flows well with body movement. The chamois is breathable and doesn't feel bulky despite offering substantial support.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The chamois.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The high back.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but the fit didn't make the experience exceptional.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? With some advice on fit, yes.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Durable fabrics and construction with an exceptional chamois make for a high quality pair of shorts, but the high back and halter bib won't be for everyone.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 173cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Road  My best bike is: Carbon road.

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: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!

Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 

After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing. 

Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…

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