Santini have been around for nearly 60 years, specialising in Italian made road cycling gear. Here we tested their new Santini Gravel Bib shorts as part of our cargo bib short group test.
These bibs were tested over the grim May of 2021 and sunshine of June.
These are made from an anti-abrasion gabardine fabric. This feels thicker and more durable than a traditional bib material whilst still being fairly breathable.
The gel grips on the leg cuffs work really well, but the strap material choice is poor.
These are only available in a men’s cut with sizing from XS to 3XL. However, they seem undersized and do not seem to follow the same sizing as other Santini bibs, so I’d highly recommend sizing up.
Whilst the range in sizes is good ,the fact they are undersized may be limiting for some people and they don’t have much give. The cut on the front is in an awkward place fairly low down and can cause discomfort on your stomach. I found that the straps ended up twisting and losing their shape very quickly.
The chamois padding is focused on the sit bone area to the rear, with there being minimal around the crotch too nothing at the front, which I didn’t find terribly comfortable and not ideal for a long distance riding, which they are targeted at.
Cargo pocket features
There are two mesh pockets on either leg and rear pocket which is split, technically making four pockets. I mostly used the back pockets for stuff I didn’t need to hand all the time like keys and hand gel etc, I found their position a little off and with larger things like a phone wouldn’t be fully in the pocket, so this could certainly be improved.
As for the side pockets, these were great. I was apprehensive about things coming out of them, especially my phone, but everything stayed put and it wasn’t distracting at all. If you have a large phone though these might be a bit more risky (pictured is a Samsung S8). However there is plenty of capacity in there for all your snacks!
The material used for them is more durable and will be longer wearing that a traditional bib short. I did not experience any unusual wear, other than straps losing their shape nearly straight away and causing discomfort, which could be an annoyance in the long run.
These are very low key black bibs with reflective logos behind the mesh pockets. This looks good but kinda reduces the effectiveness of the logos being reflective since pocketed items will likely cover them (and the mesh limits it slightly already). There are however small reflective tabs next to these.
There is also a rubber Santini logo on the rear left which I can see wearing and looking tacky fairly easily.
The Santini Gravel Bib verdict
Overall these are a good bib, let down but their sizing issue and some awkward design choices.
Considering these are marketed at long distance gravel and MTB, it feels these bibs have been developed from a road cycling background and with less consideration for off-road.
They very much feel like more durable road bibs with some mesh pockets slapped on, which is probably going to be fine for a lot of gravel cyclists.
If you’re a male slim/toned rider with a bit more cash to spend (£160, no less), these are great gravel light bib and are visually easy on the eye. If you’ve got some shape and like to ride on a bit heavier gravel/dirt or into longer adventure riding these might not be the best bang for your buck. It’s also disappointing that there isn’t a women’s option.
Santini Gravel bib shorts£160 €176 $186
Great cargo options, but some odd design choices with regards to the fit and comfort leave room for improvement6.0/10
- Great secure, deep pockets on the thighs
- Minimalist branding
- Thicker, but breathable material
- Low cut becomes uncomfortable
- Bib straps lose shape quickly
- Chamois could be more supportive around the front
Last modified: 14th June 2021