These Assos T.Works_Teamshorts_S7 are right up there with the most comfortable shorts I've tested, with a fantastic fit and attention to detail that shows the Swiss company really knows how to make high-quality performance cycle clothing. Even though £130 isn't exactly spare change, they offer better performance than shorts that cost a lot more money.
For a generation of cyclists, Assos has been the default brand of choice when it comes to investing in high-performance, high-quality and comfortable cycle clothing, whether for racing or training. Times have changed and there's now a lot more choice on the market, not only in the price range occupied by Assos but also a much stronger mid-range than ever before.
The years of evolving and fine-tuning is evident in these shorts, and the pay-off is an excellent fit. This is where you're first impressed with the shorts after pulling them out of their wrapping paper and posh box. The fit is superb, with well-positioned and shaped panels, and the proprietary fabric providing a bit of compression without being restrictive. It's a race fit, but the stretch in the fabric ensures they're not overly tight.
The length of the legs is just right and the elastic band openings lined with silicone dots keep the shorts from moving about. Many shorts manufacturers have moved to raw cut and silicone-free leg openings, which are generally more comfortable, but I found nothing to complain about with the traditional Assos approach. It works.
A low waistline and wide elasticated bib straps that sit out wide at the front reduce pressure on your tummy and make comfort breaks easy. The back of the bib straps are filled in with a soft mesh fabric that is comfortable against the skin if you're riding without a baselayer. There's a glasses hook on the bib strap if you're interested, but it's something I never found useful. Glasses go in your helmet when not being worn. Discuss.
Get the shorts on and jump on the bike, and it's clear this is no cheap chamois. The S7 padded insert is an extraordinarily comfortable thing to sandwich between your delicates and a firm saddle. The distinctive purple dimpled surface hides multiple layers of foam with a four-way stretch and 8mm memory foam in key places. The construction of the pad is designed to ensure breathability and pull moisture away from the skin.
A key feature of the chamois is the goldenGate, which alludes to the fact that the middle of the pad isn't stitched to the shorts. This allows a small degree of movement and helps to ensure the pad stays in the optimum position. It does appear to allow the shorts to move with the pedalling motion more than other shorts, with less restriction noticeable, and no chafing or irritation at all.
All that combines to make it one of the most comfortable padded inserts I've used, not only compared with shorts in this price bracket but even those that cost a lot more. It's using technology filtered down from the company's more expensive products and doesn't skimp on any key comfort-providing features.
There's none of that bulky feeling you can get with some shorts, and I found them impressively comfortable for all sorts of rides, from short and intense chain gangs with lots of squirming around in the saddle, to longer 'epic' rides in the hills.
These Assos shorts combine hugely impressive comfort, with a fit and performance that makes them the equal of any shorts in the same price range and even those costing a significant amount more. I can live without the Mercedes F1 branding, but if you're a motorsport fan that might appeal.
Refined race-fit with hugely impressive pad insert
road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos T.Works_Teamshorts_S7
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Assos says: "The T.works_team_S7 short is the perfect addition to any ASSOS wardrobe. Inspired by and created through our collaboration with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 team's cycling club, the Works_Team, this short is something special.
"Based on the T.neoPro_s7 platform, this is the ultimate souvenir not only for an ASSOS fan. Finally the most advanced motorsport in the world meets the most advanced cycling short in the world."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
These shorts are adorned with subtle Mercedes AMG Petronas branding and inside they feature the company's neoPro_S7 padded insert, the most affordable in the S7 lineup. It's the entry-level chamois in the Assos bib short range, but Assos doesn't skimp on features and it shares much of the design and construction of the more expensive Equipe S7 pad.
They are as good as any other bib short at this price, and better than some more expensive shorts.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy, go through the wash just fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Provide a good fit and excellent comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The chamois is so comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The F1 Mercedes branding.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's clear Assos has a long history of making high-performance shorts as these are excellent, and good value even at their pretty high price.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.