When you are literally the company that ushered in modern day cycling apparel by producing the first Lycra cycling short, you have a helluva lot to live up to when presenting your new range of bib shorts as “game changers”. So, after years of research and testing, the Swiss company Assos has revamped their already successful S5 short line and has now released the prolific (yeah, we said it) S7 series.
Are They Really THAT Special ?!?
In a word, yes. Why though? Is it just because Assos is good at being shocking and very (very) elite? Probably (partly, anyway). Assos gets criticized for their marketing -usually consisting of sexed up shots of women seductively wearing their shorts and little else. Then they pile that on top of easily the most consistently self aggrandizing, self important copy to grace a brand since anything that came out of Muhammad Ali’s mouth. They also tend to cost a bit more of the ol’ scratch. But spend some time with their products, and you’ll realize that cockiness is well deserved. I mean, Muhammad Ali said he was the greatest and we believed him. Not simply because he told us but because he had the cojones say it and then prove it. Assos truly invests, researches and tests their products and they consistently put out pieces that provide new, important clothing features for cyclists. And all that Swiss precision and inability to do nothing but take themselves (or in this case, their chamois) too seriously isn’t wasted in simply pushing out fashion puff-pieces for a new season’s trends. They’ll keep pieces in their line for quite a few seasons; only revamping the products when they feel their research or a new technology could make a significant difference in the garment.
Oh, and they’ve got a something called a Kuku penthouse built into their shorts. More on that later…
Now, as far as the criticism on their price point, what can I say? Plenty of people will never be willing to spend the $519 required to get into the T. campionissimo, Assos highest priced short in the S7 line. But I will say this, Assos is dedicated to manufacturing their apparel with the finest materials. Their new S7 line has less seams, breathes better, has better odor fighting qualities and packs in so many other thoughtful, actually functional features that you really are getting something different in a bib short. Plus, Assos manufactures all their garments in Europe in Assos-owned factories. All their garments are hand-sewn and they even source their materials from Europe.This means they have greater control over the quality and consistency of their product. Plus the craftsmanship and attention to detail is spectacular. And we’re not the only ones to believe in Assos and their new line. Peloton magazine recently stated that the Assos T.equipe S7 bib short is “the best piece of cycling equipment in our arsenal – period.” Those are bold words from a powerful publication. I’m sure Assos wasn’t expecting anything less.
Breakin’ Down The Line
We find that there’s a bit of confusion with the terminology Assos uses regarding their apparel and they don’t always do the best job of pointing out the features and differences between their pieces. Since they just released the S7 line, we figured we’d do it for you. You’re bloody welcome.
There are four bib shorts currently available in the S7 line: T.neoPro, T.equipe, T.cento and T.campionissimo, in order of ascending cost. Each higher iteration of bib also represents a bib with more features, but (and this is where it can get confusing) they’re also targeted at specific types of riders, so the fit of the bib as well as the style and placement of the chamois is different in each model to best match the type of riding and the rider that’s expected to use it. The sublimated strap of each bib short (other than the T.campionisismo), states the style of fit.
T.neoPro ($199) is considered a “regular fit” and is the least expensive in the Assos line up. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features. Like all the other shorts, the T.neoPro is made out of fewer panels than their old shorts with the help of new fabrics and a pattern Assos lifted from the skinsuits they used in the 2012 Olympics -all designed to improve durability and comfort. But the big news is the new chamois tech that Assos has come up with. Their new Assos Waffle material allows the chamois to be lighter and breathe much better. They also incorporate what they call the Golden Gate, which means they sew the front and back of the chamois into the short but leave the center, where most of your weight is distributed, unattached, “creating 3 dimensional freedom of movement right in the most sensitive area”.
T.equipe ($270) The next level up in the new S7 line gives you a more aggressive, racing fit. With a trimmer cut to fit a racer’s more svelte frame, the T.equipe does also have a thinner, more spread out chamois. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less comfortable. They still make use of their new Waffle and Golden Gate tech, but they’ve modified it to fit the T.equipe’s thinner cut. Assos has also utilized two extra panels up front, which allow them to spread the chamois seams out to the side of the short. This helps eliminate bunching and chaffing even more. They’ve also included their Icecolor tech which allows the darker fabrics to reflect more heat, keep a cooler temp and help with muscle fatigue.
T.cento($370) Assos calls the T.cento their “long distance” short. I think that’s Assos code for comfort fit. The shorts have less compression built into the material to make them deliberately loser in abdominal and waist areas. However, Assos points out that the same rider should be able to wear all four of the new bibs comfortably. The fabric used in the T.cento is the same as the T.equipe, but there is a mesh section in the front panel of the short that is a bit more forgiving to riders with a more “robust” frame. They also include the Rear Terminal feature, which is an extra layer of material inserted right above the back chamois to improve durability in the area.
But the big difference between the T.cento and the T.equipe is the inclusion of what Assos is calling their KuKu Penthouse. Let that just sink in for a second. Because you have to love a company that is so willing to help you address the comfort of your…cuckoo. Essentially what they’ve done is cut a round section out of the front of their three-layer chamois, added “skin contact textile”, and created a ” ‘nest’ into which the male’s genitals are properly ‘stored’ “. Penthouse indeed. Thank you, Assos.
T.campionissimo ($519) Assos’ top of the line short. It’s serious stuff. Their prolific vision of what a “game changer” is all about. The T.campionissimo gets it’s own amazing fabric and chamois materials. Assos’ special Type A.444 ergoKompressor material offers more compression, cooler operating temps, lighter construction, more of an aerodynamic advantage (thanks to fewer seams and smarter seam placement) and faster drying times. The compression it provides is “asymmetrical” and is touted to give a 33% higher compression rate then their S5 shorts. They also get a fabric that is woven -usually unheard of for technical cycling apparel- but it allows Assos to control the flexation and compression of critical areas of the garment.
The chamois is a blend of the T.equipe and T.cento pads, with the T.campionissimo giving you that all too prophetic Penthouse for your Kuku and an aggressive, race inspired shape. The chamois’ foam pads are sewn directly into the shorts, meaning that they float as freely as the T.neopro but the construction is lighter and even more seamlessly integrated.
Conclusion: Is Assos The Way of The Future?
In a word, yes. In an industry that sometimes seems overwhelmed with new gimmicks and a hyper fixation on having the absolute newest and feature-laden gear, Assos is a brand that can definitely play that game, but also back up all their high-tech jibber-jabber with real, honest features that make a big difference to someone who loves to ride.
We carry the full line of the new S7 shorts (as well as some sweet Assos glasses and plenty of their other apparel) so come on in and find out what a Kuku Penthouse can do for you, your gentlemen vegetables, and the future of cycling.