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Santini hasn't gone for extra pockets on its Gravel Men's Short Sleeve Jersey, focusing instead on a good fit and fabric that's breathable yet tough enough to cope with the odd trek through the brambles. This jersey is top quality, and decent value for money too.
Gravel clothing tends to be about carrying stuff, so we see many brands adding pockets – Endura's GV500 Reiver has seven for instance – but Santini hasn't gone down that route. Intead, it's stuck with the traditional three across the rear.
The Gravel jersey doesn't even have a zipped valuables pocket, which is a bit of an omission in my eyes, what with the nature of the terrain it's aimed at.
What Santini has created is a close-fitting, high-performance jersey from a tough and durable-feeling main body fabric, and one that's highly breathable too. It's also very soft against the skin.
I've worn it in a range of temperatures from the mid-teens (Celsius) up to the high-twenties without any overheating issues.
This is definitely a jersey for the fast gravel racer, rather than those out on an excursion. It uses Santini's slim cut, which is slightly slacker than their race range, but not massively so.
Some of Santini's recent test kit has come up small in relation to UK sizing, but this slightly more relaxed Gravel jersey lets you get away with your usual sizing (if you want a really close fit) or go up a size (for a bit more freedom of movement).
The arms, side panels and neck are made from a bodyfit fabric, which is lighter than the main body while having plenty of stretch, which keeps everything in place even when you are moving around on the bike. The arms never slid up while riding, and they offer a small amount of compression to protect your muscles on rough ground.
The rear section of the jersey has plenty of drop to provide you with cover when hunkered over the bars, and it's held in place by a silicone strip.
The three pockets are a decent size, easily swallowing a large phone and plenty of snacks.
Overall, the build quality is to a very high level, making the Gravel jersey a pleasure to wear. It has also stood up to plenty of abuse as it fought its way through the overgrown trails on a lot of my local routes.
Many gravel jerseys seem to come in grey or variations of a green theme, and while this one here is the latter you can also get it in blue with an orange zip and details, or dark grey with yellow detailing.
The Gravel is £80, which is £9.99 cheaper than the GV500 Endura mentioned above, although it's £20 more expensive than the Madison Roam short sleeve jersey.
The Santini is much more race-orientated, true, but the Roam – with it's high merino percentage – works well across a broad range of temperatures.
If you like to ride fast on the gravel and are looking for an aggressively-cut jersey, this Santini is a very good place to start your search. The fabric is great and so is the build quality, making this effectively a good value for money jersey.
Lacks the storage of some gravel jerseys, but makes up for that in performance and fit
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Santini Gravel Men's Short Sleeve Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Santini says, "The GRAVEL jersey is engineered with lightweight melange fabric to ensure supreme breathability and comfort. Perfect fit thanks to the bodyfit fabric on the neck and sleeves, it adheres to the contours of the body without constraining. Coloured silicone gripper at the bottom ensures the base remains firmly wrapped around waist.
"Triple back pocket provides ample storage space for longer rides Finished with a reverse coil coloured zip to perfectly complement the jersey design."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Lightweight melange fabric (main body)
Bodyfit fabric on the neck and sleeves
Coloured silicone gripper
Triple back pockets
Full coloured zip
Sizing is more generous than Santini's race range; their size guide is a good one to follow.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues with bunging it through the washing machine countless times.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A great jersey for riding fast on the gravel or road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No valuables pocket.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's well priced, with it sitting a tenner below the impressive Endura GV500, which is a similarly styled jersey. It's a bit more expensive than the Madison Roam, a jersey I think is great, but doesn't have the performance fit of the Santini.
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
The lack of extra pockets isn't a major dealbreaker for me when it comes to a gravel jersey, but I'd say the lack of a zipped valuables pocket is a downside. Other than that though, I can't really find much to fault.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!