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The Santini Eco Sleek Bengal Women's Jersey offers eco credentials and an aero fit. The fabrics are light and breathable, while that slim fit and low-cut collar are form-hugging – it's ideal for aspiring racers. It's on the shorter side in the body, though, so the fit won't suit everyone.
Firstly, receiving this jersey is a pleasant experience as it comes in a zip-up faux leather pouch which can be used to protect it whilst travelling to races or to hold other cycling goodies. It's best suited to racers and those wanting a more aerodynamic fit, as this is the jersey the leaders of the Tour de France Femmes wear.
It's designed for warm weather – Santini says 18-35°C. I combined it with a thin baselayer for temperatures of around 18-20°C, which worked well, and for temperatures above this it works well on its own.
The fabric is made from recycled polyethylene and waste yarns, and while that might sound downmarket it feels great against the skin and looks appropriately premium.
The front panel and sides are a mesh effect for breathability, while the rear panel and sleeves are nicely elasticate; more like traditional lycra. It all does a good job of letting air flow through, though the rear panel isn't as breathable as the back. That being said, I never felt like I was overheating.
The three pockets on the rear are a standard design (my phone fits in easily) and also feature the mesh-type fabric for breathability, and you get some reflective detailing there too.
The pocket fabric allows an easy horizontal stretch for larger items but little vertical stretch, which prevent the pockets from sagging. There's no zipped pocket for valuables though, which is a shame.
The Bengal comes in this trendy lilac colour along with three other colour options – teal, black and grenadine – all featuring the simple and sleek striped design.
The size range for this jersey is impressive, with eight sizes running from XXS to 3XL. It's designed to be a racing fit, so it's cut sleek and the short front/long rear is exaggerated to allow for aggressively tucked riding positions.
The sizing is accurate and my usual size small left no extra fabric, while the sleeves and shoulders felt good. I found it slightly too short in the body overall, but it felt okay on the bike. The waist is elastic with a silicone gripper, and it's effectively secure.
It's on the small side even for an aero jersey – others I've worn have been a bit more generous – so if you're particularly long in the torso or just want a slightly less tight fit, consider sizing up.
The sleeves are raw-cut with silicone grippers which work well, and even combined with arm warmers I didn't find them restrictive. The neck is also raw cut and has a low-profile collar which sits comfortably, while the long, grippy zip pull is easy to find while riding.
At £120 the Bengal isn't cheap, but it looks pretty good against premium race-fit options like the Assos Dyora RS Summer Jersey at £155 or the Velocio Women's Breton SE Jersey at an entire pound less than the Assos.
You can get good aero jerseys for less, of course – for example, the Lusso Women's Aero Jersey is £80, and Anna rated it highly for breathability and fit.
This is a stylish jersey for hot, high-intensity rides with the added bonus of being eco-friendly. The shortish fit won't suit everyone, but otherwise this is a great option.
Light, breathable recycled fabric and a good fit – though it's pretty short in the body
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Eco Sleek Bengal Women's Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
This jersey is for summer riding and Santini says, "Made with eco-friendly recycled materials, this aero-light jersey is perfect for your racing season."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Made with recycled fabrics coming from PET and waste yarns featuring a fresh feel on the skin. This jersey is one of the small steps Santini does every day for a more sustainable future.
Sleek fit with raw cut sleeves, raw cut low profile collar and shaped contrast colour silicon gripper on the cuffs for enhanced aero performance. This is the same jersey that the leaders of le TOUR de FRANCE FEMME wear.
IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Long covered zipper for great comfort and thermal regulation in the hottest days. Triple rear pocket to take what's essential with you. Elastic with silicon gripper at the waist to keep the jersey always in place while pedaling.
Very nicely made.
Light and breathable.
It feels well made and the zipper feels robust.
Fitted me perfectly in the arms, shoulders and chest but I found it particularly short in the body, even for a race-fit jersey.
If you have a long torso or would prefer a slightly less tight fit, I would suggest sizing up.
The raw-cut sleeves and neck are discreet and don't ride up, and the soft and stretchy fabric is very comfy.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues at 30 degrees and it's fast drying.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a great aero and lightweight jersey that is highly breathable in warmer temperatures.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The colour/design, material, and how the sleeves and neckline fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a bit on the short side.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £120 it's more expensive than some very good aero jerseys, but cheaper than the premium options while looking pretty premium itself.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a great race-fit jersey that's perfect for the summer months, though the short body won't suit everyone.
About the tester
I usually ride: specialised tarmac sl6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.
Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…