Santini IRO jersey GIAIRO shorts review
Great looks, superb fit and detail
Posted 23 August 2012
Words by Richard Hallett
How good does Santini’s IRO jersey and GIAIRO shorts combo look? Even on the reviewer. Damn good, if I may say so myself, and it looks even better when on the bike – and, no doubt, on a rider with a, shall we say, cycling-orientated physique.
Back to the kit… Looks are almost everything with cycling clothing; if it doesn’t look great, we won’t buy it. Sure, visual appeal is subjective and that of clothing perhaps the hardest aspect of cycling to judge, but this jersey and shorts combo by Santini should please even the most aesthetically-demanding of riders.
In this ‘colourway’, at least. There are three colour options: red, yellow and blue, of which the last is, to my eyes, the clear winner. The shorts have enough black panelling to avoid any possibility of offending onlookers or fellow members of the group ride, while the predominantly white jersey keeps the whole arrangement looking clean, bright and, important when cycling, airily light. Santini kit always looks good and this combo only enhances the firm’s reputation.
In terms of fit, which is, again, a matter for subjective judgment, there’s one point worth making; get the size that fits snugly and, like motorcycle leathers, both jersey and shorts sit more comfortably when in the saddle. Indeed, standing upright in these two garments is not so comfortable that I’d want to do it for very long. Climb aboard the bike, however, and it all makes glorious sense, both shorts and jersey disappearing from sensory perception until you glimpse your reflection in a shop window.
So, paean of praise for looks and fit delivered, what’s exciting on the technical front? Santini’s name for the jersey is IRO and, for the shorts, GIAIRO; seems like the GIA part stands for Gel Intech Anatomic, the company’s top synthetic chamois insert. Combining an anti-bacterial, breathable microfibre fabric shaped to obviate any possibility of bunching and Santini’s Twist Gel – er – gel, it is supremely comfortable.
The shorts are cut from an abrasion-resistant, elasticated ‘Action Power’ fabric that creates a light muscle compression and have well-proportioned bib shoulder braces in a wicking mesh. The leg grippers comprise silicon dots spaced around the circumference of the elasticated, Santini-print panels; looks and feels odd, works amazingly well.
Turning to the jersey, the sides and shoulders feature ‘breathable’ spot-mesh inserts. That probably means ‘more than usually breathable’, since moisture can and does exit anywhere through the ‘LycraKa’ fabric. The same dot gripper concept used for the shorts is found on the sleeves, where it works every bit as well; the jersey’s bottom hem is elasticated but not grippered-up.
So, what’s not to like? There’s just the one slight question hanging over the overall realisation of the IRO jersey; it has the usual three rear pockets, the middle one of which has a small zippered sub-pocket. All good. The two side pockets, however, are unusually narrow and, while plenty big enough for a gel or two each, won’t take a smartphone or wallet without a bit of a stretch. While no big deal when preparing for a ride, this can hinder extracting bigger items from either while actually riding.
Otherwise – and the above may not amount to any kind of drawback – there’s everything to like about this great-looking and great-fitting combo from Santini. And on the subject of fitting, the firm’s website has an accurate fitting chart on page 5. I happen to be at the large end of the size L fitment, ensuring a snug fit that I rather like. Especially when I am on the bike.
Santini FS94275 IRO jersey £89.99, FS1071 GIAIRO shorts £89.99; colours blue, red, yellow; sizes XS – 4XL