Assos is a name synonymous with quality. Swiss made perfection at it’s best. Their range topping and eye wateringly expensive cycling shorts, the FI-13 S5 bib knicks are arguably the best you can buy.
I spend many hours in the saddle and I’ve tried many different shorts over the years. I’ve tried cheap shorts, expensive shorts, fancy ones and plain ones. I’ve even ridden in a pair that would get you sent to jail for crimes against humanity if you ever gave them to someone and yet, I’ve always come back to Assos. Why?
From the moment you open up the over the top packaging, you quickly realize these shorts are something special. Their six panel construction acts like one giant compression garment, compressing your muscles as you cycle and helping to aid in circulation. Think of them as active recovery garments and you get the idea. As you turn them over, you realize that each panel is made out of a different material, each specifically chosen for it’s purpose. The main material is A.430 type lycra. Specailly developed by DuPoint for Assos, this lycra is both thinner and stronger than lycra found on other shorts. Thinner lycra means it breaths better in hot conditions while mainaining integrity. As you pinch the material, you cannot believe something so thin has made it’s way into cycling apparel and not some other ‘garments’. Then you move to the front panel that extends down to the crotch area and comes up the back to meet the back brace. This lycra is about the same thickness as the A.430 lycra, but features a scale like texture. This harder wearing material was chosen to give the shorts added durability, and it’s not hard to see why. When these shorts cost just shy of $300, you want them to last as long as possible.
The aqua coloured braces features carbon fibers interwoven within the material. This is not some extravagance for extravagances sake. Carbon fiber resists static electricity build up and when woven between the shoulder braces, means your cycling jersey won’t cling to your back as your pedaling away. It’s the small touches that add up to make a big difference.
The leg grippers haven’t been sown onto the inside of the shorts, but to the end of the lycra. Less pressure means more comfort. The silicone drops that are used to hold them in place have just enough holding power to keep your shorts in place, without the feeling of your shorts being glued to you.
Now we come to the business end of the cycling shorts, the chamois. This is where most of the work has gone into in creating this level of comfort. The honeycomb like material not only has just the right amount of padding, its breathable hollow structure means you stay cool in summer without cooking. As you feel the padding, you realize that there is a cutout in the middle. This cutout is designed to relieve pressure on your perineum nerve. It does the same job as a cutout out seat. You move your fingers towards the back section and you suddenly realize that the two halves of the chamois are not connected. The left and right hand sides are only connected at the front. And just as suddenly it all makes sense. As your cycling, one leg is going up as the other is going down. Your insert needs to stretch to accommodate this movement. By not being connected at the back, the chamois can follow your legs more freely, helping to eliminate chaffing. When you place the insert on a flat surface, you notice that the front and back sections don’t sit flush with the surface. They are actually contoured in three dimensions so that they reduce pressure on your bits and pieces, 25% less according to Assos. Its amazing stuff when you think about it. Why should the bulky material be two-dimensional? Why should it compress everything? This ‘comfort pouch’ certainly makes a bigger difference the further you cycle.
If you value comfort above all else, these are the shorts for you. These are simply the most advanced shorts available on the market where no expense was spared in their construction. Designed for long distance training and racing, they are what all other shorts should be…comfortable.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Most comfortable cycling knicks available
Cons: You pay for all that comfort.