The Santini Coral Thermal jersey is comfortable and functional and great for dry, cool days in the saddle. It performs well with a baselayer and also fits well under a jacket for when the temperatures really drop.
The jersey's lining is a soft and warm thermofleece, which Santini claims helps to maintain a constant body temperature and suggests that it is ideal (with a baselayer) in temperatures between 15 and 20°C. I put this to the test (a while ago!) and absolutely cooked. The collar area and upper back absorbed buckets of sweat and didn't dry out in a rush – not pleasant. The jersey got its second outing in somewhat cooler conditions and really shone. It was about 6°C and, with a baselayer, kept me 'just warm enough'.
Subsequent testing has all been between 8-13°C and the jersey has really performed as it is designed to: it's kept me suitably warm without causing me to experience temperature extremes.
The cuffs are very well designed to prevent any cold air shooting up the sleeves; they are snug, stretchy and slim so will go under any glove, or over a low bulk one.
A biting wind does cut through the jersey itself, though, so don't expect it to keep you warm on its own as the temperatures continue to drop. However, it doesn't have to become redundant as it fits perfectly well under a winter jacket to provide an extra layer without making you resemble Michelin man.
I found the jersey very short in the body; if you like to feel a decent amount of lower back protection this probably won't suit you. I personally made sure I was in winter tights or had an exceptionally long-backed baselayer on. I hate any sense of cold air over the lowest part of my back.
It is a slim fit and the sleeves are particularly snug. The big advantage of this is that there is very little bulk so, as mentioned, the jersey makes for a great mid-layer. The snug fit also helps to hold the jersey in place – a good job as there is no sign of silicone or elastic around the lower hem.
Santini has used a slightly stretchier material for the lower back panel. It reaches round the side and makes for a flattering look. The pockets are made of the same fabric and can consequently handle a decent amount of kit. In addition to the bog standard three at the rear, Santini has added another two, one on each side. These are much easier to access than the rear ones, which sit quite high because of the jersey's short length.
Make sure you use the ample pocket space to stash a water-resistant shell or gilet, too, as the jersey doesn't tolerate rain at all.
I think the design is attractive and is available in three different colours, the 'Aqua Blue' I tested, Purple, and Bordeaux (a kind of dark red wine colour). The rear features a strip of reflective piping over the top of the pockets and the signature Lizzie (Deignan, née Armitstead) logo; the track and road racer endorses this range.
Santini has added £10 on to the price of the jersey from last year's model, and at £90 it's at the upper end of the price range when compared to similar tops. Although we haven't tested the new winter range, last year's £65 dhb Aeron Roubaix got a decent review, while Sportful's thermal designs range from £80-£90.
Overall, I'd say the Coral Jersey is a decent investment if you intend to use it as a mid-layer through winter as well as enjoying it on its own during spring and autumn. It functions really well in a specific temperature range, and looks great, too.
Performs well, but don't be misled by the temperature guidance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Coral Thermal Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Santini says, "The Coral jersey is the perfect garment to use on your winter rides. Made of soft and warm thermofleece Lite Pro, it maintains constant body temperature while you ride. The side inserts are strategically placed to slim the figure and ensure a perfect fit. Easy and comfortable to wear thanks to the full-length reversed coloured zipper, Coral is available in three colourful versions. Cuffs in double thermofleece to keep the heat in and prevent air infiltration. Includes five large pockets so you can have everything you need always at hand. With reflective piping on the five pockets to ensure maximum visibility on the road. Stylish design featuring a peacock pattern, main theme of the Lizzie x Santini signature series."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WARM AND SOFT
Breathable Lit Pro thermofleece to keep you warm while you pedal
3 back pockets plus 2 extra pockets on the sides to store everything you need
Reflective details for added road visibility
-Full-length reversed coloured zipper.
-Cuffs in double thermofleece.
-Five large pockets.
-Reflective piping on the five pockets .
-For use with a base layer with temperatures between 15° and 20° or with the Coral jacket on top for colder weather and rainy conditions.
Performed well in temperatures significantly below those suggested.
I have never had issues with rapid wear of Santini jerseys and jackets; this one seems no different.
A touch too narrow on the arms and very short in the body for me personally.
This is a smaller fit than the jacket. The medium is very snug for me and this would be my normal size. Typical Italian sizing.
Significantly cheaper ones out there and a £10 increase on last year's model.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following the instructions, no problems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The advice to use between 15-20°C is misleading; I'd say it performs well in dry conditions between 10 and 15°C.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
That it can fit under a winter jacket so won't become redundant as temperatures fall.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of protection for your lower back.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
dhb's Aeron Roubaix Long Sleeve is £65; Sportful offers a selection of £80 and £90 thermal long-sleeve jerseys.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Unlikely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, with a warning about fit.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good quality, looks great and works well (in lower temperatures than those cited). It is a bit expensive, though, and a little short in the body for my liking, but overall it's a good option.
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…