Assos Mille GTO Bib Shorts Review: Worth the Price?
Summer is the best time for a pair of bib shorts to prove their mettle. The heat requires bib shorts to breathe well, grip neatly, and not fall apart at the stitches after an aggressive wash tries to pull out the sweat. Iconic Swiss brand Assos has their answer to long-distance riding bibs: the Assos Mille GTO bib shorts. Assos says the Mille GTO bib are the “pinnacle of the Mille GT line.” High expectations for me then.
I’ve been riding these bibs on both the mountain bike and road bike to test the versatility and comfort of these shorts, and of course, to see if they meet the hype.
We have a few companion pieces to this. See our Assos Mille GTC Cargo Bibs Review as well as our discussion of whether or not cargo bibs are worth your time.
Mille GTO Stand-Put Features
As one would expect, the Mille GTO shorts excel on the road. Long saddle time is where their heralded chamois design comes to light. Assos calls this their Mille GTO C2 insert pad. There’s a whole lot of venting here courtesy of carefully placed holes to boost air circulation. Like previous-generation Assos bibs, this ventilated area extends quite far forward, mostly in an effort to retain support around the genitalia while maintaining decent airflow. This chamois also consists of three separate multi-density layers they call their Twin21 system, which is what allows Assos to claim the chamois is their plushest one yet.
These three layers that make the chamois are on the thicker side of the world of the short. The first layer is there for shock absorption, while the middle layer is an open cell foam, the goal of which is to cut down on moisture buildup. The top layer , which includes that ventilated area, is what Assos calls their 3D Waffle. It is what you feel on your skin, and it's larger foam cells promote even better moisture evaporation.
The most Assos-y part of the chamois is the Goldengate, which is their name for stitch-free chamois side panels. Assos claims a chamois that can move with the rider and stay as close to the skin as possible cuts down on friction and irritation, so the Goldengate comes unstitched.
Mille GTO bibs use the brand’s now-ubiquitous seamless bib straps, but it also gets the Assos Rollbar. If you’ve ever looked at Assos bibs and wondered why the straps extend so far down the back and past the bib material, this is that. Assos says it keeps the chamois in proper position. The look isn’t for everyone, but the goal is to cut down on friction against the skin while riding. The Rollbar seems to do that.
Let’s talk about the bib cuffs. The Mille GTO doesn't use a standard elastic band, but rather features an edge that seems to be cut raw, like some higher-end cycling jerseys we’ve seen. This one of course gets a bit of reinforcement at the edge, but the result is a clean, elegant look that compresses the leg quite evenly. There are rows of big silicone grippers that wrap around the leg and prevent the bibs from riding up or down the leg.
Riding the Assos Mille GTO
Lots of marketing names for stuff here, but bear with me here: the result of all of these curious names is that these bib shorts are easily the nicest bibs I’ve ever used. They’re also easily just as good as the bibs we have on offer from Rapha, Pearl Izumi, or Giordana. It comes to the material choice, decades of expertise crafting bibs that fit, and yes, all of those features to that make the bibs feel special.
The chamois pad feels excellent on rides both long and short. That it extends farther forward than normal bibs use is nice, and allows for an aggressive and aerodynamic position with no discomfort. Whatever they’re doing for vibration damping has proven to work well to offer a smoother riding experience. I haven’t felt any numbness when riding with these chamois as a result of the multi-layer pad, though your results may vary and all of that.
One of my favorite things about the Assos bib shorts I’ve been using is the bib straps. They are wide straps that do not cut into your skin at all. One thing I have noticed about them is that when you are sitting on the bike they become a little bit looser than when you are just standing with them on, making them a comfortable strap option. The shorts still stay on well when you are sitting on the bike, the straps just loosen up a little bit making it so there is no discomfort on your shoulders from the bib straps.
It comes together to make a pair of bib shorts that feel like they’re top of the line. The little gold details make the bibs seem expensive, and offer a visual reminder that, combined with the materials, reminds the rider that these are supposed to be nice bib shorts. They’re the shorts I grab when I know I’m going to be in the saddle all day, or the bibs I grab when I want a little advantage to my ride. You’ve heard of sock doping? Call these shorts doping.
A Question of Value
Of course, riding in a pair of bibs like these makes me ask myself, a college-aged cyclist, whether they’re worth the price of admission. Are these bib shorts that much better than a cheaper option from Rapha, Giro, or Pearl Izumi? Well, the quality of the shorts is certainly there, as I have ridden them consistently for spring and summer and haven’t had any durability-related concerns. The chamois still feels as thick and substantial as it was when it was new. The materials and craftsmanship seem up to the price point, and again, are nicer than anything else I’ve used. But whether that craftsmanship
One of the big questions that come up when looking at the shorts is “Are these shorts worth the money?” With the Mille GTC being $270 and the Mille GTO being even more expensive at $350 it asks are these shorts really that much better than a cheaper option from Rapha or Pearl Izumi. The quality of the shorts is certainly there, I have ridden them consistently for a couple of months now and have noticed no issues when it comes to durability. The chamois is still as thick as it was when it was new, and there are no places where wear has been an issue. The price tag is a hard thing to swallow, but if you are looking for a nice pair of shorts the quality and craftsmanship are certainly there.
Assos sought to build the best bib shorts for riding long distances they could, and it seems like they achieved their goal, price be damned.
Whether you say Assos or Assos all I know is that my Ass is oh so comfortable in these Mille GTO bib shorts. They’re incredibly comfortable, as one expects from a pair of bibs. The materials are high quality, and the overall feel results in these being what I grab for long rides or when I want to feel my best riding the bike. For some, that is worth the price point. For others, it won’t be. And that’s okay, Assos has other options that still have plenty of marketing jargon to digest.
Want a pair of Assos Mille GTO C2 bibs for yourself? See them in stock at Contender Bicycles, or contact us to learn more.