“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” William A Foster
The first thing to come to a man’s mind when you mention Assos is the gorgeous topless female modelling the women specific bib tights and the first thing to come to a women’s mind is the topless female modelling the women specific bib tights.
Depending on how you look at it, Assos may have had a bit of a hiccup when it comes to the clothing models, but where they stand out from the crowd is in offering technically advanced cycling clothing that is designed to work together with your body and your bike.
Assos may have previously been perceived as an aspirational range and certainly when I first began cycling I looked at Assos like it was something to work towards and even earn! The theory for me, was that when I could put in the miles I could spend the money and treat myself to some Assos styling. Plus, I was hoping that I too would look like the female supermodel in all the pictures!
In the mid 1970’s Assos founder, Toni Maier-Moussa wanted to design and create the ultimate bike and was one of the first to see the possibilities of using carbon fibre. When the dream became a reality he took the complete bike to Zurich University for the first ever aerodynamic testing of a bicycle. After the tests were complete it was realised that extensive drag was being created by the riders knitted woollen clothing and it was from this that Toni had the idea to develop the first Lycra skin suit and then Lycra shorts.
Toni offered his shorts to one of the World’s top cycling teams – Ti-Raleigh and although they initially thought the idea was a bit crazy, they took the chance to test them. The rest they say, is history.
Assos technology and discovery was far from over however and in the 1998 Assos developed the first elastic cycling shorts insert, which reduced friction and skin chafing. This allowed the insert to perfectly follow the body in motion. Anyone who has been able to experience the comfort of the Assos insert will know what this means during long rides.
When buying Assos, there is one thing that will catch your eye and that is the naming conventions. Most of the pieces have really distinctive names like the iJ.bonKaCento.6 for example. When I first saw this name I had some very unmentionable thoughts about what was going to appear on the page, but luckily it is in fact a stylish and high performance winter jacket. Part of the name actually does make sense as well, with the bonKaCento and the bonKaMille. Cento being tailored for the slimFit cycling body type and Mille for the more robust, regular fit athletic body type. All I need now is a Biggo, for the large, cake stop, cyclist!
Within the shorts range Assos have given the consumer plenty of options. From an everyday short that is perfect for training and racing to a long distance comfort short that is available in two different lengths. The T FI.Mille_S5 regular or long leg are an excellent choice for those that take the longer route options in their local sportives, completing a century or audex ride, or even riding from Lands End to John O’Groats for charity. The design of these short guarantees optimal muscle compression to sooth tiring legs and a chamois that will allow you to spend hours in the saddle. Use the Assos chamois crème along with the bibshorts to feel the ultimate in comfort whilst you are riding. And the ladies can be just as comfortable as Assos have carefully put together a ladies chamois and bibs/shorts that equal the men’s range. (Except the women get the topless female model instead of the awkward male).
The range of Assos tights sees various season recommendations and the option to purchase tights with or without a chamois. The LL.fugu S5 is for the serious winter rider and is recommended for temps of between +6 and -6 degrees. You can use these in even colder conditions if you purchase the ones without the chamois and couple them with your Assos shorts or knickers for the added protection against extreme temperatures.
The greatest thing about the Assos shorts range is the tailoring. Because they have been created for when you are in race position on the bike, the bibs may feel slightly uncomfortable when off the bike. This all changes however when you are ready to roll. Assos recommend that if the bibs do not pull when standing then they are too big and a smaller size should be purchased.
Assos are also extremely proud of their layering system. Items on their own do a specific job, but pair them with another item and they become even more performance driven. Put your bibs, jerseys and jacket together and you’ll be sure to keep warm on cold days or allow you to cool off on hot summer ones.
Their jerseys are stylish as well and do look great when you are on the bike and their jackets are appealing for any type of rider. For rain protection the rS.sturmPrinz has been Assos’s engineering masterpiece. Their objective was not to make a product that was 100% waterproof, because that would mean it would also be 100% impermeable, but to try to find the perfect balance between insulation and protection, without risking your performance. This means that you are more likely to cross that line first, without feeling overly uncomfortable.
In summary, Assos clothing is well worth the investment and if you take the time to choose the right piece of kit for your style and type of riding, you won’t be disappointed. Cutting edge technology, design and functional performance all lend themselves to creating an excellent range of cycling apparel that will be well worth buying into.