The Santini Coral Jacket has undergone some small but significant changes from last year's model. It offers the same great protection in cooler weather, is really comfortable and can withstand damp and showery conditions.
Pros: Great fit with room for a decent mid-layer. Improved length in torso from last year's model.
Cons: Not as resistant to rain as you might hope on the rear.
I tested and reviewed Santini's Coral 2.0 Jacket last year and was keen to see if Santini had made any changes to the technical design of the jacket. I am pretty sure (after 4 + weeks of testing) that they haven't (the cut though has changed slightly, but more on that later). It has simply been renamed and teamed with a jersey (review to come) and tights to form the Coral Collection that is endorsed by Lizzie (Deignan).
The Windstopper Fuga Fabric does a good job of protecting you from cold winds and light rain. A slightly thinner version of the material is used on the rear panel which really helps with the breathability of the jacket, as do the perforated panels positioned close to the arms pits.
Light rain beads and rolls off the sleeves, shoulders and front of the jacket but the rear panel is not quite as resistant. Maybe Santini's 4 out of 5 rating for water resistance is quite literal; 4/5's of the jacket can resist a certain amount of water, the remaining 1/5 doesn't! So while the rear panel does a great job of preventing you from overheating, it is more of a sponge in heavy rain.
The cuffs are also not as effective at repelling water as the black Fuga fabric, they absorb moisture pretty quickly and remain damp. The entire jacket will not withstand much more than light rain; beading and rolling stops and the material develops a layer of moisture that, if added to, eventually begins to penetrate. When it does the windproof properties of the Fuga fabric do a good job of keeping the chill off. The rear panel was feeling damp (inside) after about 45 minutes of continual, steady rain, the black fabric managed double this before I sensed dampness. The rear panel was also slower to dry out once it had stopped raining, perhaps because because it wasn't getting full airflow against it.
The jacket is at its best in temperatures between 5 and 8 degrees, I could wear it with a single base layer and be comfortably warm. If I worked up a sweat then eased off I didn't cool down too much- the insulation properties of the material are pretty decent. Although the temperatures haven't dipped below freezing yet this year, I got some testing when it was around 4 degrees and the jacket kept me just warm enough teamed with a good quality base layer. Anything lower than this and it's going to need a mid-layer too. This is just what I found last year so I don't think that any technical alternations have been made to the jacket.
Thankfully, the jacket does lend itself to being teamed with a mid-layer; it's not a bulky fabric and the fit is not skin tight. It's just the right balance- a flattering cut that molds to the body without being overly clingy. I am certain that the sleeves are slightly more generous than the previous version. It'll get lots of use through the winter if you have some good layers to team it with. The Coral Jersey (insert link) fitted under it well; it's very tight fitting jersey with a short body length.
Last year I whinged about the short body and sleeves. I tested a medium again this year and was happy to see that this has changed. The sleeves have about an additional 10mm, while the rear length has a good 25mm. I can no longer slate the Coral Jacket for a lack of lower back protection. Equally, the pockets that I claimed sat too high on last year's model have dropped down (due to the lower base hem) – all three are now much easier to access while riding. The side zip pocket is still there and is really useful for keys and loose cash.
Santini have kept the quirky cuff design from last year. Although I would still prefer another centimetre on the sleeve length it's adequate with gloves of a good length; the tapering down of the sleeve to the end cuff means that they fit perfectly under a glove, though that isn't preferable in the rain since, as mentioned above, they hold moisture.
Just like the Coral Jersey, the Coral Jacket is available in three different colours: Water, Bordeaux and Navy Blue. There is no option with the visual punch that last year's 2.0 collection had, so not great for visibility on dull days, but they are better for hiding filthy mud specks and stains.
Santini have stuck an additional £15 on the price of last year's model. I think this is a bit excessive given how little they have changed, but it still doesn't make it as expensive as some comparable jackets. Both Sportful's Fiandre Light Women's Jacket and Rapha's Training Jacket have very similar properties and a RRP of £160. As ever, a dhb option comes in considerably cheaper; the Aeron Women's Full Protection Softshell is only £110.
Small improvements to the cut of last year's Jacket have certainly improved its overall performance and comfort; it's perfect for cooler days on the bike and will withstand light showers. The slightly more generous fit and low bulk fabric make layering easy - it'll serve you well in a decent range of temperatures.
Good investment for winter. Accommodates layers well for the coldest of days. Just don't stay out too long in the rain!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Coral Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Santini tell us that 'the Coral jacket is engineered for supreme protection against wind and rain thanks to the Windstopper Fuga fabric.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
*Back and cuffs are made of warm Stelvio fabric.
*Designed to adapt to the curves of the female body.
*Reverse coil coloured zipper.
*Reflective piping on the back.
*Two rear pockets allow you to store all you need for your rides.
*Jacquard elastic at waist.
Great, just not quite up to the lower temperatures of the suggested range, ie. anything below zero, unless you are adding a a substantial mid- and base-layer. Doesn't stand up to persistent heavy rain, but it's not a waterproof anyway!
Same as Coral 2.0 which I used excessively last winter and still looks great and performs well in cold conditions.
Light rain beads and rolls. Heavy persistent rain penetrated the jacket. The rear panel is not as effective as the solid black panels. I don't think it's 4/5 as rated by Santini, more like 3/5.
Superb, last years model came up short in body and sleeve length, this has been addressed. Personally would prefer another centimetre on the sleeves but I do have long arms!
Spot on as a medium.
They've added £15 onto the price of last year's jacket, a bit excessive perhaps.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, 30 degrees, no softener and it's fine.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent, make sure it's used with sufficient layers if the temperatures really dip. Santini recommend this too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Not excessively bulky so great for getting layers under meaning you can really make full use of it from now right through until Spring.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Nothing, though the price increase is a bit steep given how little has changed.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Still comparable with other known manufacturers despite increase. There are cheaper though.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Scores higher than last years model thanks to improvements in body and sleeve length! Superb jacket in cooler conditions.
About the tester
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…