The Assos Equipe R Bib Shorts S9 perform really impressively for their price – the trickle-down effect from the more expensive RS and RSR ranges here is strong. They offer most of the performance with very few compromises being made.
During this test the temperature never rose above about 8°C and that only briefly, so most was done on my turbo with a fan. This was conducive to my modesty, as the shorts are pretty thin, and though they've added more black dye this time round, they're so tight they hug every curve like clingfilm and – at full stretch – go a tiny bit see-through. This never approaches indecency, however, and only happens on the thigh.
Assos highlights their transpiring and wicking ability, and this is simply first-rate. I was never conscious of any wetness in the stiff fan-generated breeze, to the point that they felt dry to the touch when other (thicker) garments were getting clammy. Being this light and airy, these have instantly become my top choice for summer riding to come.
Assos uses rather large and complicated panels for this, which means fewer seams and impressive comfort. This is 'Type.443 textile,' a derivative of the .441 in their RS line. It compresses and breathes like the RS, and with identical 50+ UPF, allowing no more than 2% of UVA and UVB to reach your skin.
Assos uses an 'A-lock' construction process (again a hand-me-down from the RS) and a brilliant butterfly panel, a single piece that wraps around the back and down each thigh; the result aids comfort and support, and it looks pretty tidy too.
The chamois is a very slightly lower spec than the RS, but in size, shape and comfort, I found it all but indistinguishable. The relatively long front section works really well for aggressive, hunched positions.
The waffle outer is silky smooth, with a pillowy first few millimetres before you hit the more supportive core. The real magic though is in the abrasion resistance; the whole pad floats, attached only at the front and back, leaving the middle, free to move over the outer. I found this most noticeable when going from standing to sitting, when the 'abrasion' of finding my sitting position again on the saddle with a little shimmy is all but eliminated.
This chamois is my new personal favourite, and the best I've ever tried.
It bears mentioning with a smile that Assos is developing a minor reputation for being a little comical in the codpiece department, thanks to all that padding and comfort. Whilst these shorts don't rise to Blackadder 'is that a canoe in your pocket?' proportions, they're heading that way.
I wish I could write about these without talking about the price. The price almost isn't ever the point with Assos, they're competing on performance, and are almost exclusively focused on that metric. However, these appear further down the budgetary ladder and fare better – these are effectively Assos offering 90% of their top-tier level of performance at 65% of the price. Viewed through that lens, they're a bargain.
At £155 they're still towards the upper end of the market, though a long way from the top (well over £200). They're up against the likes of the Giro Men's Chrono Elite Bibshorts at £169.99, or the Albion ABR1 bibs at £135, and at least the equal of either.
I think they've got the edge over the £200 Rapha Classic Bib Shorts in terms of aesthetics, chamois and straps, and even compare favourably to our recommended option from NVPA – the £145 Bib®/Short™ for anything except unnecessary punctuation.
Compared to Assos' own top-tier RS S9 at £210 and RSR at £260, these are simply blinding: almost all of the performance for considerably less money.
The cut here is unashamedly 'racing' and for high intensity training. They're noticeably more aero (compressive and smoothly finished) than Assos' Mille and Comfort series, and for the larger thighed 'sprinters' amongst us, the fit is compressive. It's certainly noticeable when walking around, but that disappears when on the bike, where they find their 'natural' position.
The straps are just perfect. They're so light, and remain constantly tangle and twist free. There's no adjustment, but I found them a perfect length, grippy and supportive, but not in any way restrictive. I soon forgot they were there.
Taken all together, I think the Equipe Rs look the business: discreet and well made. There's but one small logo front and back, and no full name spelt out; if you know, you know.
As you've probably gathered by now, these are the best bib shorts I've tried. The trickledown tech and performance are all deeply impressive. I struggle to find anything negative to say about them. The big seam isn't flat-locked, that's the only corner cut that I can find... but it's so well placed it didn't matter as it never rubbed.
These are a really great pair of bib shorts, perhaps the best I've ever worn, with standout comfort, a great compressive fit and tastefully discreet aesthetics.
Supremely comfortable chamois and a compressive, performance enhancing fit. Gorgeous
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Make and model: Assos Equipe R Bib Shorts S9
Tell us what the product is for
Assos says, "The entry into our Race Series, EQUIPE R combines technology from the EQUIPE RS system with simplified, everyday utility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
80% Polyamide, 20% Elastane.
3 layer chamois floating over the outer.
X-Frame 'suspension', limits sag on the upper back, and stabilises and supports the chamois insert.
Patented 3 layer perforated foam insert
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Beautifully made with great, thick stitching. While the central/main seam is not flat-locked, it didn't actually cause me any discomfort.
Rate the product for performance:
Compressive and aero as befitting a racing bib. These were supremely breathable/wicking with a tremendous pad. Top level comfort.
Rate the product for durability:
No real signs of wear after a month.
Rate the product for fit:
There's a lot of stretch to the material, though it's compressive – great when riding, though if you're not they can become a little uncomfortable.
Rate the product for sizing:
As expected. There's a little more compression here than with some, but they just feel tight rather than undersized.
Rate the product for weight:
These are fly-weight shorts, ideal for summer riding and high heat/intensity training. The straps are also noteworthy for lightness, comfort and fit.
Rate the product for comfort:
Few seams and great comfort. That chamois was a thing of beauty for me: not too plush, not too firm. Gorgeous and soft to the touch.
Rate the product for value:
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No discernible signs of ageing after a month.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. For high intensity training the compression is welcome, and quickly overcome by a raised heart rate.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light, comfortable, wick really well. I like the low-key styling, too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The biggest seam isn't flat-locked.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £155 these are towards the upper end of the market, though a long way from the top (well over £200). They're up against the likes of the Giro Men's Chrono Elite Bibshorts at £169.99, or the Albion ABR1 bibs at £135.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, immensely
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely
Use this box to explain your overall score
Clever design, premium fabrics, fantastic comfort, impressively low weight and high breathability all impress. The price is high but these feel worth it.
Age: 45 Height: 177 Weight: 95
I usually ride: Custom titanium gravel My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
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