The Assos Mille GT Spring/Fall Airblock Vest is a comfortable gilet that offers good weatherproofing and a surprising amount of warmth. It's quite chunky to pack into a pocket, though, and the flaps to access the pockets in your inner layer aren't the easiest to get on with.
- Pros: Warm, weatherproofing where you need it
- Cons: Access flaps make it fiddly to get stuff in and out of your pockets
The first thing you notice about this Mille GT gilet is that each panel seems to be a different kind of material.
The most heavy-duty area is across the chest and up to the neck. This boasts a breathable, windproof and water resistant soft shell material.
Most of the back is a thinner material, although it's thicker across the shoulders with a bit of fleecy lining.
The bit across your stomach is lined too and feels very nice.
The gilet is sold as 'regular fit'. With a layer or two underneath, the medium was a little more 'race fit' on me, but the Assos size guide suggests I'm actually on the medium side of large, so I can't fault it on this score. (It's not me in the photos.)
I found it pretty short too, but again sizing up would perhaps remedy this. The lack of pockets does mean that it may need to accommodate more than just you, however. If you routinely carry a lot in your jersey pockets, the gilet will need to go round all that.
The Airblock Vest is a surprisingly warm garment, given its size. On one ride I was out for an hour or so in steady autumnal rain with just a short sleeve jersey and long sleeve baselayer underneath. I felt plenty warm enough throughout and the weatherproof fabric across the chest did a sterling job.
Another time, I combined it with a light jacket for a colder, windier ride in the hills and again I was more than happy with the warmth it provided. The thinner sections helped prevent overheating on the climbs too. The weather protection's cannily placed only where you most need it.
As a convenient layer to carry around with you, this gilet is a little on the hefty side. Although 178g doesn't sound like much, you do notice it when you bundle the thing up and cram it into a pocket.
It seems more likely that the Airblock Vest would be used as a layer you put on at the start of the ride and then leave on.
With that in mind, it seems odd that it doesn't have pockets. Assos has instead deployed its 'rear pocket slot system' – a pair of covered openings through which you can access the pockets of the layer within.
This makes sense if this is a layer you whip on and off during a ride – because you might not want to decant everything from your jersey pockets each time you don or remove it – but it makes a lot less sense if it's going to be outermost for your entire ride.
I did not get on with the rear pocket slot system. There are two slots and I found this awkward when the layer inside had three pockets. Disappointingly, I also found it awkward when I wore it over a jacket with two pockets.
Different layers just don't necessarily align all that well. You can prise the flap apart easily enough, but then you tend to find yourself feeling up and down through the aperture trying to locate the pocket of the inner layer.
On one occasion I calmly slotted my phone through the opening only for a (justifiably) paranoid check a moment later to reveal that I'd missed the pocket, meaning the phone was only being held by the gilet's elastic waistband.
Considering the warmth this layer offers, it's worth noting that this pocket flap system is not designed for winter gloves.
The rrp of £130 seems pretty steep for a gilet, but the Airblock Vest is more than a featherweight slice of windproofing and there are quite a few similar products in this price bracket. It's more expensive (but quite a bit lighter) than the £90 Lusso Essential Thermal Gilet, and cheaper (but heavier) than the £150 PEdAL ED Tokaido Alpha Vest. The new Endura Pro SL II is £10 less (we tested the previous version in 2017).
Overall, it's a nice warm gilet, but it works best as one you'll keep on for the duration of a ride as it's a pretty big lump in your jersey pocket if you're not wearing it; the trouble is, it's fiddly to get into jersey pockets when you are. It's good, but with pockets it could be very good.
A lovely garment that offers more warmth and weather protection than you'd think; pockets would have made it a winner
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Mille GT Spring/Fall Airblock Vest
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
A gilet for spring/autumn.
Assos says, "Seriously protective, highly breathable core coverage for the variable conditions encountered during spring and fall.
"The Spring/Fall Airblock Vest is the latest gilet to join the MILLE GT line, armed with a blend of proprietary textiles developed specifically for the cool, wet, and constantly changing conditions that challenge us in the spring and fall riding seasons. Cut in our revised MILLE regularFit, the Airblock is less compressive than our racingFit apparel, providing a clean silhouette when paired with additional layers. The upper front panel is constructed using our NEOS MILD, which is a 3L softshell with a PU bonded membrane. Highly breathable, water-resistant, and 100% windproof, this flexible house-developed textile ensures your chest stays fully protected from rain, road spray, biting winds, and low temps. For a touch of insulation, we included our brushed RX material along the abdominal and upper back panels. Rounding out the vest is our rear Pocket Slot system that enables you to reach your jersey or jacket pockets underneath, as well as the spring/fall (2/3) climaCode graphic on the upper back, and a set of reflective strips on the lower left and right sides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
NEOS MILD: A patented 3L windproof and highly breathable softshell constructed with a PU bonded membrane for added water-repellency. Weight: 260g/m2; Breathability: MVP 20,000g/m2/24h; Water Column: >10,000mm; Elasticity: 4-way stretch.
RX: A brushed bi-stretch warp-knit fabric developed to wick moisture and add light insulation.
Type.157 Stripe Tex: Our proprietary breathable and stretchy circular knit textile with built-in UV protection and odorControl.
2W waistWave: Stitch construction on the waist preserves the natural stretch of the front panel's textile, absent of elastic material.
Rear Pocket Slots: Two openings on the lower rear panel give you access to your jersey or jacket pockets underneath.
Full-Length Zipper: Temperature regulation courtesy of a lightweight full-length zipper with camlock.
Reflective Accents: Placed on the sides of the outer pocket slots for added visibility.
Abdominal Cut: Triangulated pattern on the abdominal area provides a smooth, comfortable wrap.
regularFit: Optimized for total comfort in the riding position, with a more relaxed cut than our second-skin racingFit.
Makes sense to concentrate the more weatherproof fabric on the upper chest. No pockets. It instead has two covered slots through which you can access the pockets of the layer underneath.
Warm, and the chest panel offers good water resistance, but it's relatively hefty for a gilet so it takes up a lot of pocket space if you're not wearing it.
Heavy when compared to the average gilet, but fairly typical when measured against thicker ones intended for colder conditions.
Warm, snug and stretchy.
Not cheap, but there are plenty of these slightly thicker gilets in a similar price bracket.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A handful of washes. Seemed perfectly fine and the top panel retained its waterproofing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Offered warmth and weather protection equivalent to a much larger garment.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The warmth and weather protection.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The rear "Pocket Slot" system instead of pockets. It's fiddly and awkward to get into the pockets underneath.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
A nice warm gilet, but a pretty big lump in your back pocket if you're not wearing it, and fiddly to get into the back pockets when you are.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scott S40 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding