Extremely comfortable and top performers in hot conditions, but they ride up the leg a bit too much. Oh, and please, will Assos learn how to properly attach their logo?
Very comfortable and compressive
Excellent pad and great positioning
More affordable given its Assos
Signs of fraying
Evil logo placement
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Assos are among the premium cycling retailers, so when the opportunity arose to test one of their more affordable bib shorts, I was curious to know how they would stack up against their far more expensive line.
The short answer is I was impressed. The best of Assos has been recreated with the Equipe R S9, and they are more than appropriate for those looking to race or those simply wanting a comfortable fit for all-day riding.
Not everything is perfect, but overall Assos have created a bib short that deserves its four stars and stacks up well against the best cycling shorts for men.
Assos Equipe R S9 bib shorts: construction
Essentially a more reasonably-priced downgrade on the RS bib shorts, the Assos Equipe R offering is designed as an entry-level race bib. Made with 80% nylon and 20% elastane, the stretch is significant and the feel is soft.
Most interestingly, the front panel of the bib shorts is different to a standard design: the panel around the chamois pad and more sensitive areas is cut shorter and thinner. The chamois insert is sewn to the front and rear of the shorts, meaning that the chamois follows the position of the body at all times.
The 9mm chamois foam pad is made from thermoformed foam and is a soft, comforting pad. The crossback straps, meanwhile, stretch over the shoulder well without too much pulling.
A rich black color has a UPF 50+ to prevent sun burning, and it is notable how elastic the waist area is. Elsewhere, the leg-grippers, backed by silicone finish that keeps them in place, are stitched onto the shorts.
As for added appearance traits, the brand’s logo is stitched on to the rear of the bib shorts up high, while also towards the lower part of the left leg.
Assos Equipe R S9 bib shorts: the ride
The first few times I rode with these bib shorts, I was only concentrating on one area: the tighter design of the front panel. Did it provide additional comfort to my crotch? Did it compress the space? After a short while I had a definite answer: while at first it certainly felt different to other bib shorts I’ve worn, I began to warm to and really like the design. Yes, it was more compressive, and, yes, it also drew more attention to that area by creating an, ahem, bulge, but it was also substantially more comfortable, with no pinching in sensitive areas. The visible seams even provide a nice-looking feature. Kudos, Assos. I am really impressed.
With the racer/serious rider in mind, it’s pleasing to report that these are a compressive fit, while the padding itself also gets top marks. Not once did I feel even mildly irritated by the chamois quality nor its position. Truly excellent performance and fit.
Also inspected in greater detail was their claimed breathability. Or, as Assos would like you to believe, their “ultra breathability” qualities. I live in Spain, temperatures can get very hot, so I need shorts that wick away sweat and don’t stick to me. No problem for these shorts, and no salty sweat marks were ever visible. A hat-tip must go to the elasticated yet durable shoulder straps, too: 10/10.
There were, however, areas of disappointment. The shorts (I am 175cm and tested a size small), in comparison to others, ride higher than usual, by an estimated five centimeters. It’s just not what I’m used to and I didn’t like having more upper leg showing.
If that criticism is more of a personal grievance, then my next two points fall into the problematic category. First: fraying. I’ve worn Assos products before and been very impressed by their durability. It was disappointing, and surprising, then, to see examples of minor fraying after just a handful of rides. I hope they are as durable as I’ve come to expect from Assos’ products before.
My other bone of contention is the stitched logo. I have previously criticised Assos’ insistence of attaching a logo like this, and while it pleased me that the chunky plastic design has not been replicated on these shorts, this stitched-on version looks cheap, tatty and ready to fall off.
Assos Equipe R S9 bib shorts: value and conclusion
For Assos, $208 / £140 is not a bad price. It puts them in the mid-range bracket for race shorts, and are certainly affordable to most racers. They are more expensive than the Lusso Perform Carbon v3 shorts, but significantly cheaper than the Velocio Concept bib shorts.
Do I like them? I love the front panel and chamois. Are they comfortable? Absolutely. Will I use them for when I’m going to smash out fast times in the summer? Most probably, yes. Performance-wise they are high-performers. Will they be my go-to shorts for when I want to look my best on a bike? No. The shorts ride too high for that, the logo is evil and those small patches of fraying concern me.
Nonetheless, these are undoubtedly a good quality pair of bib shorts, but just not up to the usual very high standards of Assos. But, then, that’s why they’re a bit cheaper. I shouldn’t really be complaining.
Assos Equipe R S9 bib shorts: specs
- Price: $208 / £140
- Colors: Black, black with red stip
- Sizes: XS - XXL
- Website: Assos
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Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.