The Santini Mago bib shorts are a very impressive pair of shorts if you're doing some long rides, with one of the most comfortable chamois pads that I've ever had the pleasure of using. The problem is that until you ride them, they don't feel like £100 shorts, lacking compressive material and trickle down, high quality touches.
Exceptionally comfortable pad
Great for long rides
Available in a huge range of sizes
No compressive lycra
Lack quality feel
Hem might be a little tight for some
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At £100, the Santini Mago bib shorts sit slap bang in the middle of Santini’s bib short range, so with this place in the hierarchy it’s no surprise that offer good, if not quite stand-out, performance.
The highlight of the Santini Mago bib shorts is undoubtedly the chamois pad, which is among the most comfortable I’ve had the pleasure of using. Yes, the comfort of the chamois pad is going to be very personal to individual riders, but I’ve got nothing but great things to say about the comfort of this pad.
The “NAT Pad” name might not sound too attractive, but it has a highly technical construction that means it’s specifically made for long days in the saddle. At the centre of the multi-layered pad is the NEXT gel insert which claims to provide shock absorption, breathability and “micro-massaging cylinders to improve circulation”. The top layer that is in contact with your skin is made from an anti-bacterial microfibre, while there are also soft “anatomical wings” that extend a few centimetres down your leg.
All that makes for a chamois pad that is exceptionally comfortable for the very longest of rides. The bulkiest padding was concentrated really well underneath my sit bones so they didn’t begin to ache after four or five hours on the road, while the pad’s anti-bacterial and breathable properties meant that I never suffered any, errr, hygiene issues from the Santini Mago bib shorts.
Watch: Buyer's guide to bib shorts
Importantly, the stitching around the edge of pad is really neat and well done, and there are no rough edges which could rub during long days out. The extra bit of material at the sides of the pad also help to improve comfort even further.
Away from the pad, the Santini Mago bib shorts are still good, but never quite manage to match the high standard set by that chamois.
The main part of the shorts is made from a standard lycra material, which does an OK job, but for this sort of money we’re now starting to see other companies start to use compressive materials that apparently offer a slight performance benefit, and certainly give the shorts a much higher quality feel.
What certainly is compressive is the gripper around the bottom of the shorts, which was a little on the tight side even for my legs, which aren’t exactly tree trunks. Thankfully this isn’t to the point where the gripper is uncomfortable, but it certainly makes your leg bulge below the gripper, which is not the most flattering of looks. The only upside of this is that there is no chance of the shorts riding up your legs.
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The straps of the Santini Mago bib shorts are made from a lightweight breathable material that is comfortable and good in hot weather, although again it lacks the lazer cut finish that has began to give a more quality feel to the straps on some other bib shorts around the £100 price point.
There is however a little more attention to detail with the small gel pockets that are positioned on either side of the shorts, which mean you should no longer have to stuff gels up your shorts if you’re using these shorts in races.
One final big positive is that the Santini Mago bib shorts are available in no fewer than ten different sizes, all the way from XS to 6XL. Just watch out as Santini shorts generally come up a little small, so maybe go a size lower than usual.
For more details visit the Santini website.
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