Santini Tono bib shorts review

Santini pitches the Tono bib shorts at hot summer rides. We’ve tested them in more temperate British conditions

Santini Tono bibshorts
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Santini’s Tono bib shorts are a premium product, with a good fit and comfortable to ride for five hours or more. They have some good technical features, but they’re not quite as light or as airy as some competing summer bib shorts.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Good fit

  • +

    Built-in leg grippers

  • +

    Wide straps

  • +

    Comfortable pad

  • +

    Flashy looks

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Quite pricey

  • -

    White pad

  • -

    Not as lightweight as some summer bib shorts

  • -

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Santini Tono bib shorts are towards the premium end of the brand’s range. Their key feature is the built-in leg grippers. The leg fabric is raw edged and there’s a 7cm-wide area of small silicone dot grippers printed on their inner surface, in what Santini calls a tattoo effect. This ensures that the legs stay in place very well and without the grippers being noticeable.

>>> Ten best ways to make your bike more comfortable

The outside of the legs has some flashy-looking Santini go-faster graphics. If you like the slightly Italian look, they’re smart and will match the Santini Tono lightweight jersey.

Santini Tono bibshorts

The leg grippers on the Tono shorts are printed onto the back of the leg fabric

While the leg fabric is thin and stretchy, the rest of the Santini Tono bib shorts is made of a thicker Lycra fabric. This is durable, but not quite as breathable as some. The waistband and the bottom of the rear yoke are made of a doubled-up layer of the same fabric. This gives good support, but again tends to reduce airflow.

>>> Are aerodynamic fabrics worth it?

Santini Tono bibshorts

Santini's NAT pad has a gel core and is comfortable for longer rides

Santini’s straps are wide, hemless and flat, though, so they lie comfortably and have plenty of stretch. In the rear, they’re attached to each other with a lightweight mesh central panel that helps keep them in place well.

The Santini Tono bib shorts have a NAT pad sewn in. Santini says it is perfect for the hottest days. The pad includes a gel core to help distribute pressure well. Unfortunately the white antibacterial microfibre surface is prone to discolouration.

The Tono shorts are quite a close fit for UK riders but comfortable in typical UK summer weather. I wore them for rides of around five hours, with Santini saying the pad is good for rides of up to seven hours.

But if it starts to get a bit hotter, the lack of ventilation around the lower back, in particular, makes them not quite as satisfactory as some other options.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.