Santic Darla Speed Suit
Santic’s Darla Speed Suit is a $200ish investment in faster times.
I’ve used mine for three separate 10-mile TT efforts and got some good times though not quite my best. Don’t get me wrong though, the times are at least 20 seconds faster than ‘regular’ cycling gear but probably another 10-15 seconds short of times with some of my even more technically aero kit.
Darla is a long-sleeved speed suit and is a tad more contrived to get on than other suits I have. I don’t think that’s any kind of issue as, after all, you want something tight to go faster.
The sizes come out a bit smaller than you might expect. So if you’re normally a medium then you might need the Santic in a large. Santic does provide a sizing chart which is correct it’s just that they have 3 different sizes for any one item ie one for the Far East, one for the EU and one for the USA…so closely check their sizing chart.
Santic rates the pad for 1-3 hours and I’d agree with that. It’s definitely good for a couple of hours but I’ve not used it for longer.
The suit material feels comfy, is highly stretchy and is a snug fit everywhere on me.
The company also quote an ambient usage range of 15~35℃. I was using it from about 20-23 degrees and I was sweating at exertion levels where I normally wouldn’t expect to sweat with only one layer. I would be reticent about using it at higher temperatures and I’m guessing the reality is that it will easily be fine to wear below the quoted 15 Celcius, maybe down to 10 or so.
Whilst designed as a solo race suit you can wear it for shorter rides though maybe the lack of rear pockets for storage makes it less practical for longer rides further from home.
I like the look. It is definitely a style that’s ‘of the moment’. The darker side panels make you look thinner than the inconvenient truth…always a bonus.
Santic doesn’t provide any wind tunnel stats. Generally speaking though a skinsuit can save up to 30 seconds and up to about 8 watts at 25mph over 10 miles.
The aero claims come from the stretchiness of the material and the placement of the seams. That said, there are shoulder seams. However, the removal of any kind of pocket will likely aid aeroness and Santic has removed all pockets.
There is no kind of special shoulder material to improve upper body airflow. By that, I mean dimple-type fabrics
In a nutshell: you’ll save time by having tight-fitting clothing and a one-piece further helps to eliminate the joint/overlap between your regular bib shorts and jacket.
Santic Darla Speed Suit Summary
A Speed Suit WILL make you faster and these are sensibly priced. You will be paying top dollar for the very best speed suits, Santic is coming it at a far more sensible price level than that but without state-of-the-art, technical fabric.
I’d say that Santic Darla is suitable for a special ride or race of some kind where speed is important but its lack of pockets inhibits its usefulness as apparel for longer, casual training.
Other Santic Cycling Tops
I own a variety of apparel from many brands. My favourite is, perhaps ASSOS but that is an expensive brand. I’ve also inadvertently & mistakenly bought some fake replica kit off Fleabay (never again). Santic kit sits somewhere within that quality range and their prices are generally competitive. For example, the Cangjie long-sleeved jersey is $60 and the short-sleeved Azuni comes in at $45 right now.
Both are classed as a tight pro fit, which follows the same aero principle as the speedsuit. Unlike the speedsuit, these do have the usual 3 rear pockets and they are a similar lycra content (10% spandex/elastane + 90% polyester/polyamide) to other brands (Assos can often be 85:15%)
Santic adds breathable sections where needed and some, but not all, designs have small rear reflective patches. Zips are protected from catching chest hair and most importantly they look pretty good. I certainly wear mine.
Price & Availability
- Darla – $200-$219 – https://bit.ly/3Rz78Br
- Azuni – now $45 – https://bit.ly/3xVfAUo
- Cangjie – now $60 – https://bit.ly/3BIRyNy
You can get a Santic Darla directly from the official store, at Santic.com. use the code Santic85 for a special offer ;-).