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The Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9 are some of the best cycling bib shorts out there. They're excellent. Comfortable and warm, with a great pad, there's really nothing not to like about them – except perhaps the price.
Assos has used its Osmos Heavy material for the majority of the shorts. It's soft, stretchy, and provides a considerable amount of warmth. It has a fleecy lining that keeps you warm and comfortable even when riding in fairly cold conditions.
Despite the extra weight, the material is also very breathable and wicks well, something that becomes extra important in changeable conditions as the last thing you want is a pair of sweat-sodden shorts in the freezing cold. Both are exemplary on these shorts, quickly moving sweat away from the body.
The pad, too, is excellent. It's soft against the skin, squishy without making you feel 'enveloped', and firm enough to keep you comfortable on a variety of rides. I used these shorts in lots of different conditions and on a variety of surfaces and never once wished I was wearing something else.
Assos has used essentially the same pad as in its Equipe RS summer shorts, but without the 'kraterCooler' ventilation system. In fact, not only has it removed the ventilation system, it's added a panel of 2L Sphere Ultra, a weatherproof, breathable membrane, to the crotch area.
I certainly didn't feel like the shorts lacked in ventilation – and you're unlikely to be using these in anything much above 10°C anyway – and the extra weatherproofing is really useful.
They're designed for cool, dry days, but I used these shorts for a fair few wet rides and post-rain gravel rides and didn't notice any water ingress in this area. The thicker material all-round provides extra weather protection anyway, but having a specific weatherproof panel here is really useful.
Assos has used its 'GoldenGate' system to stitch the pad to the shorts. It's attached only at the front and back, allowing the pad to move more freely with you as you shift on the saddle throughout the ride – like a Mips helmet system but for your bum. It works really well.
The fit of these shorts is as close to aero as you're likely to get in a cool/cold weather pair. I didn't notice any kind of bunching or folding. The stretch in the fabric combined with the grippers on the bottom of the legs keeps everything in place impressively well.
Unlike the majority of colder weather shorts, these don't sit higher on the body. They essentially have the same cut as summer shorts, but with significant insulation on the legs. I initially thought this could cause issues with cool air rising up into the jersey, but this wasn't the case at all, even in cold and rotten conditions.
The shorts use the same 'Carbon Xbib' design as the Equipe RS summer shorts, creating what is essentially a harness in the middle of the back, which takes a lot of the strain off the shoulders and offers balanced support to the bottom of the shorts.
The straps are attached both to the top of the shorts section and just above the pad. Assos calls them 'rollBar' straps (in its description of the summer shorts), designed to 'lock the insert in place'. It's the same system here, and it works, keeping everything in place and secure.
At the bottom of the legs the Ultralight Leg Grippers are impressive. Essentially three lines of silicone that run around your leg, they keep everything secure when riding, and on top of that they keep knee and leg warmers in place well too, which is very useful – I often preferred pairing these with knee or leg warmers rather than going with full-length bibs.
Coming in at £200 these are not cheap, but you really are getting top quality for your money. These are probably the most comfortable autumn/spring bib shorts I have ever used.
And they're not overpriced compared with other high-end thermal shorts. Rapha's Pro Team Winter Bib Shorts are another £15, and while Le Col's Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II are £5 less, and look to offer a similar high-quality construction and comfortable pad, they lack some of the innovations you get with the Assos pair.
However, they are £40 more than Poc's Road Thermal Bib Shorts, which we haven't tested, though I have heard good things about them, and £50 more than Sportful's Fiandre NoRain Pro bib shorts which, if you clicked on our guide to the best cycling bib shorts mentioned at the start, you'll see get our vote for best winter bib shorts. Jamie reviewed them in 2019 and described them as 'perfect shorts for imperfect weather'.
In conclusion, you can save money by going for cheaper (but still very good) options, but apart from the price there isn't much not to like about these Assos bib shorts. They are very comfortable, fit well and stay in place perfectly, and offer both warmth and breathability.
The pad is superbly comfortable, and the GoldenGate construction means that even on the longest rides they stay that way.
The only real issue with these is that they are expensive, but I reckon you are getting what you pay for: a supremely impressive pair of autumn/spring bib shorts.
Very impressive shoulder season shorts that are both warm and comfortable
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Assos says: "Thermal bib shorts for training and racing in the cool, dry conditions of spring and fall. These shorts are built for cyclists committed to the racing and training program, regardless of falling temperatures."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
BEHIND THE PRODUCT
These bib shorts are appropriate for cooler temperatures that don't yet warrant knee or full-leg coverage. The thermal insulation is reinforced with inclusions (the twinDeck construction on the crotch panel) and omissions (we left out the kraterCooler chamois ventilation in that same panel) designed to preserve core warmth without providing too much coverage. The balance of warmth and breathability recommend these shorts for tempo efforts and base miles in cool temperatures, and the addition of warmers''secured with the shorts' Ultralight Leg Grippers''lets them follow the mercury still further down the thermometer.
OSMOS heavy is the warmest insulator of our EQUIPE RS line. Its combination of aggressive warmth and breathability are paired with a soft inner face and a gently compressive stretch, making it the ideal body material. A panel of 2L Sphere Ultra adds the protection of a weatherproof, breathable membrane at the crotch.
A-Lock Engineering is our S9 racingFit realized for bib shorts, with every fabric panel, strap, and stitch engineered for stability and confident comfort. ASSOS shorts are legendary; this fit design is why.
The following details are listed on Wiggle's site:
A-Lock Engineering - stabilizes the shorts and secure the insert in place
Osmos Heavy- brushed Osmos family (290g/m2) offering high levels of insulation
Sphere Ultra windproof crotch panel
rollBar brace design to stabilize the insert and lock it in place
Butterfly Pattern wrapping the lower back and legs, coming together in the rear resulting in fewer seams
Carbon Xbib forming a supportive A-frame that delivers limited vertical stretch in the rear
Ultralight Leg Grippers - Lycra leg band structure naturally grips the thigh -free of silicon treatment
EQUIPE RS Insert (no krater): Race-spec elastic interface insert in 3D basalt colourway, minus the kraterCooler ventilation holes in the front
Very well made, with strong stitching combined with an impressively stretchy fabric.
Supremely comfortable, even on long, cold rides.
All the stitching looks good, and although I didn't come off while wearing them, the thick fabric gives me hope they would survive.
Very comfortable because the fit is so good. The GoldenGate attachment of the pad is a real plus in this area.
The large I tried fitted exactly as expected.
Probably the most comfortable pair of autumn/spring bib shorts I have used, combining an excellent pad, warm material, and breathability.
Our score for value is based on how a product compares with its nearest rivals, so although these are expensive bib shorts, they're on a par with their competitors.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple – stuck them in at 30 and line dried.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Impressive. They are comfortable, warm, and fit very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pad – very, very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing to note, though I don't exactly like the price...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're £15 less than Rapha's Pro Team Winter Bib Shorts, and £5 more than Le Col's Pro Thermal Bib Shorts II, though they lack some of the innovations that the Assos shorts offer.
Poc's Road Thermal Bib Shorts are £40 less, and don't have quite the same premium features or innovations, but I have heard good things about them. And Sportful's Fiandre NoRain Pro bib shorts are £150, so a saving of 50 quid.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. I think they're well worth the money.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A superb pair of shoulder season shorts that are supremely comfortable, warm and breathable.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.