There can be little argument that Assos creates some of the finest cycling clothing in the world. Their S5 line of shorts was introduced in 2008 and five years later is still considered one of the premier shorts in the industry. This year at Eurobike, Assos introduced their next generation of shorts the S7.
In numbers alone the Assos S7 line of shorts is impressive. When compared to their S5 counterparts they are 14-percent lighter, have 47-percent fewer seams, 17-percent more soft compression and 21-percent better breathability. The first model in the line is the T.Neopro, a three-panel short with a standard fit. Next in line is the T.quipe, which is a five-panel short with race cut and compression material. Unique to the T.quipe, Assos cut a small triangle out of the front of the chamois and then sewed the edges together to create a padded cup at the front of the chamois. Third in line is the T.Cento, a five panel short designed for longer rides. To aid in comfort as the hours increase, the T.Cento gets a 10mm-thick chamois compared to the rest of the models, which feature an 8 mm pad. At the top of the line is the new S7 T.Campionissimo, a five panel short with features intended to set a new benchmark in the industry.
All the chamois within the S7 line use an elastic chamois with memory foam, though the composition and cuts differ with the four different models. All models within the S7 line use a design Assos calls the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge sees the padding stitched in the front and back, with the sides open. The design allows the sides of the chamois to float between the rider and saddle, resulting in it moving with the legs and reducing friction. The top three models feature Coldblack treatment that reduces the surface temperature of darkly tinted fabrics. Visually the models are virtually indistinguishable accept for a small color band on the outside of the right leg. The T.Neopro is black, T.quipe is purple, T.Cento is silver and T.Campionissimo is gold.
A unique feature on S7 T.Cento and S7 T.Campionissimo is a cutout panel at the front of the chamois that Assos has termed Kuku Penthouse. Assos cut out an ovalized square in the chamois, and replaced it with a softer, flexible fabric panel. This reduces pressure on soft tissue and increases airflow. To further increase airflow and preserve the increase flexibility created by the Kuku Penthouse, Assos employs a mesh fabric for the front outer layer fabric of the bib. Also unique to the S7 T.Cento and S7 T.Campionissimo is how the back of the chamois is attached the back of the shorts. To spread seam load and create a better fit, Assos added an extra stretch panel, they call Rear Terminal.
Although the T.Cento and T.Campionissmo share many chamois features, the T.Campionissmo has a slimmer race fit and is constructed from a woven fabric. Assos calls the material Type 444. The advantage of the Type 444 fabric is that it provides close to 33-percent more compression. The drawback is that it is more difficult to work with in terms of cutting the patterns and sewing.
We spent a few days riding the mid-range T.quipe with Assos in Lugano, Switzerland shortly after Eurobike and came away impressed. The race cut of the T.quipe makes for a good fit, while the material is soft and comfortable. The lighter weight is also noticeable compared to the S5 bib-shorts we have ridden in the past. Adding to the lighter feel are the shoulder straps that are placed widely apart, and are thick in width. Constructed from a polyester and Lycra blend they provided plenty of support. They even feature loops to place sunglasses on long, hot climbs when the jersey is unzipped.
In the saddle the chamois is well placed and very comfortable. There is enough padding to provide comfort without bunching in the groin or chaffing on the inside on the thighs. The unique cup at the front of the chamois, does just that and is very comfortable. The Golden Gate Bridge design greatly aids in comfort as the chamois is not sewn completely around its perimeter and follows the motion of the riders legs to perfection. Assos also has wisely left out seams where bunching occurs at the front of the short. This results in virtually no folds or creases in the Lycra when pedaling. The leg bands are wide, and keep the short legs in place without feeling constricted.
Since our first ride, the T.quipe have become one of our favorite pairs of shorts, moving into heavy rotation and seeing a lot of use. We are looking forward to December when S7 range will be available and we can get a few more pair.