Its 50 years since Pietro Santini took over a knitwear factory to create the famous brand

Santini gears up for 50th year of Italian-made bike apparel

It is 50 years since Pietro Santini took over a knitwear factory from his sisters and started creating clothing for third parties. It wasn’t long before the company began specialising in the performance cycling clothing it’s now well known for, designing and producing all the range from its base in Italy. Now Santini produces over 3,000 items a day and exports the vast majority (75 per cent) overseas. The UK is one of those markets, where Fisher Outdoor Leisure brings the brand to the British bike business, and have been doing so for years.

According to Jonathan Sangan, UK Santini brand manager for Fisher, year 49 was a strong one for the brand.

“Across the full Santini portfolio our business year-on-year is up 60 per cent. The brand has real momentum and is unique in offering 365 stock, innovative fashion ranges for men and women, replica and custom kit."

Fittingly, Santini is closely linked with Italy’s primo bike race, the Giro d’Italia, since 1993. Each year the brand brings out Giro kit for consumer consumption.

“The Giro collection has again been well received,” Sangan tells BikeBiz. “The Maglia Rosa is the number one seller of course, but there is also a lot of interest in Stage jerseys. Look out for our Treviso-Valdobbiadene jersey with its Prosecco graphics.”

Santini’s custom kit trade is on the up of late, Sangan adds: “The custom business is especially strong as more retailers are seeing custom as an important marketing tool and a way of creating their own ranges and identity. Santini has actually been making custom clothing since its inception in 1965. Santini’s association with local teams to pro tour teams is in their DNA.”

All Santini’s custom kit is made in Italy in the Bergamo factory alongside the brand’s main lines. “For our customers Made in Italy is a key feature as they desire the association with Santini and Italian racing heritage.”

So is the the full set of kit available in custom wear? “There are over 200 options available to a customer and list keeps growing. Custom encompasses road, MTB, tri and running. It’s a complete package and mainly lines filter down from the Pro Tour, for instance we have now added the Reef water resistant jersey and ¾ sleeve race jersey to the custom line up as well as a full sleeve Tri skin suit. Minimum orders are generally 30 to 15 units a garment, but smaller quantities and one offs are possible.

Are the margins for dealers comparable to standard kit? “They are slightly less. Dealers can expect to make between 30 per cent and 40 per cent margin. But the promotional benefits, lack of a need to discount goods and the increased consumer loyalty more than make up the difference. Many dealers are happy to offer kit as part of high-end bike purchases.”

Sadly it appears there have been no particularly outlandish design requests made of the Santini custom team yet, but we hear they are willing to take any on.

Aside from custom kit, what has Santini got lined up for its anniversary year? Sangan explains: “Santini and Fisher have put together an exciting marketing plan this year including Santini sponsorship of the Elite Crit at the London Nocturne.

“Santini is also the official clothing sponsor of the L’Eroica. A fabulous and unique range of product is available now to select dealers. Santini is of course also celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, so look out for further exciting projects.”

Dealers interested in Santini custom kit should contact Jonathan Sangan at

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