I have expensive taste - even as a kid I was infamous for looking at which steak cost the most on the menu (before being told I was getting the scampi….)
Fortunately my aspiring to the nicest things in life only extends to moderate indulgences such as houses, cars, watches, coffee, cycling etc. I can't afford the former items - but I can the latter!
One of the genuine joys of my return to more serious cycling is the kit I get to treat myself. So my Assos love affair is an expensive hobby.
Most people agree that in the summer the performance delta
between the very best and good kit is apparent but not always
In winter that's not the case - being cold/damp/wet/too hot etc sucks.
Even for those of us who sometimes question Assos's design and branding direction, we all agree that their technical materials and R&D are untouchable.
I tested 3 items of theirs:
SS Skinfoil_Spring/Fall_Evo7 and LS. Skinfoil_Early Winter_Evo7
Base layers are amazing things - the same jacket can be transformed by going up or down a season. The proper layering system really extends your riding, keeping you comfortable in a range of temperatures.
My two favourites are the short sleeve Spring Fall (£65) and the long sleeve Early Winter (£80).
iJ. Habu Jacket £235 (£260 for Prof Black version)
I had a version of this jacket 3 yrs ago and its still my favourite Assos technical jacket.
For 2016 winter I got the updated version; this one is the Prof Black Edition which is a limited run of stealth black - without the usual Assos branding. It's very fetching indeed !
Windproof at the front, breathable and stretchable at the back, the Habu jacket is snug fitting; As per Asso's "click fit" that they mention in their marketing, standing up the jacket feels very snug. On the bike the feel is perfect. It's cut for riding, not standing about...
It features lots of different materials with lots of funny names. The names are irrelevant; the effect is anything but.
I read a review somewhere that it has the "cut of a jersey, but the protection of a jacket". High praise indeed, and I agree 100%.
It's the cornerstone of my winter wardrobe - a very light base layer now, and a much heavier base layer in December, augmented with a gilet when it's truly grim.
The back features 3 pockets, and a further zipped pocket for keys or other valuables. There's also a reflective strip built in. Unusually, the Habu also features a pocket on the right sleeve.
This jacket is probably over-kill just for commuting - its too good for that. But for a jacket that can do everything, including really focused winter rides, its very hard to beat.
Tiburu Shorts (£175) or Tiburu Knickers (3/4 length, £200)
Assos have a slightly cringey slogan of "Game Changer". But these shorts really are.
These felt incredible. You put them on and you feel a million dollars. Without sounding 'odd' the various fabrics are quite a tactile delight. The transition from the buffle shorts to the elastic legs are a work of art.
The elasticated strap is also the nicest I have ever felt. When in the riding position you don't know you have them on, which is always the true mark of an excellent bit of kit.
They feel incredibly well designed and crafted - when I get to work and put on a pair of jeans, the latter in comparison feel like two bits of denim blindly sewn together, (given the way I dress that may well be the case).
My ride in to work has spoilt me rotten..
They are simply incredibly comfortable.
The pad is 8mm thick, and is independent of the shorts, rather than sewn in all the way round. So the pad moves as you do. Very clever.
These shorts are perfect for this weather - though because they
are so good they did make the transition to my cold knees even more
apparent than when I was wearing other shorts. I like to think my
knees feel the cold because of the enormous gear I am pushing into
The reality is I am simply older, and my knees are starting to creak,
For that reason I think the ¾ version (£200), or these with knee warmers (at this time of year) is the way to go
So, to sum up, Assos have really got it dialed. Their kit for this time of year is just superb. With the right kit you can thoroughly enjoy your ride, whatever the weather.
See the limited edition Prof Black line in store now.
Please click HERE to join us for our ASSOS Evening on October 26th.