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Santini Redux Genio vest review

7 May 2020
Verdict:

Packable, lightweight vest that offers surprisingly ample insulation

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Good insulation • Practical details • Exceptional breathability
Against 
Not for those on a restricted budget • Fiddly zip

Question: why does the Santini Redux Genio vest make you more like a Green Beret than most other cycling gilets? Answer: because its trump card is the layer of Polartec Alpha fabric across the chest and upper body; a material that was developed for US Special Forces.

Their operations kit demands optimum breathability during intense periods of physical activity and, crucially, also when at rest (Green Berets don’t really go in for costume changes… ‘Do you mind if I strip my bulky gilet off before we engage in hand to hand combat to the death?’ Nah, thought not).

But, before I fly off into an Alan Partridge-tinged Special Forces flight of fancy, the Santini Redux Genio vest – here’s why it’s worth your money…

Insulation

We’ll deal with this first, because it’s the easiest thing for a manufacturer to get wrong. I’ve descended mountains in gilets that might as well have been binbags… Good enough at keeping the chill off at high speed, but quick to boil me as soon as I was on the flat or ascending again.

Gilet ownership is usually a great way to learn how to ride no-handed in safety, because you’re constantly donning and removing it.

But the Satini Redux Genio is one of only a handful of gilets I’ve worn for an entire ride: it does a fabulous job of repelling the bite of the wind and frosty early air, while also proving to be breathable enough to keep zipped to the neck on a hilly (pre-lockdown) 100km ride with no chance of experiencing the dreaded ‘boil in the bag’ sensation.

Fit

The Santini Redux Genio vest is certainly in the race-cut category – as is the entire Redux range for that matter. So, if your first few weeks in isolation have seen you reaching for the KitKats as much as for the remote control, I’d recommend sizing up. For reference, I’ve a 36-inch chest, and this size M vest is a snug fit over an aero jersey for me.

Zipping it up is my only area of concern (and it’s not KitKat-related). In efforts to keep the weight down, Santini has equipped the vest with a lightweight zip which doesn’t feel as sturdy as I’d like.

It’s a tense moment of anticipation as the zip transitions from the stretch fabric of the lower portion to the Polartec-packed chest area. The cam-lock zip itself stays exactly where you choose to lock it, though, so that’s dependable.

Versatility

Throw into the mix a good dose of practicality and you have yourself an incredibly serviceable garment. Two sizeable openings at the rear allow your hands to delve into jersey pockets with ease, while reflective detailing at the rear adds a little extra safety

It does roll up and fit in the rear pocket of a jersey – I checked, even though I didn’t have to take it off whilst riding, and it packs down comfortably to the size of a small fist.

Plus, I’m a massive fan of slightly more ‘eye-catching’ colours, so the pink and blue design of this vest is an instant hit with me.

But personal colour preference aside, if you’ve £140 available to you for a new gilet, this one will see you through spring and autumn, drier days of winter, and even – when we’re allowed to travel again – a riding holiday in the Alps.

Price: 
£140

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