Assos Equipe RS jersey S9 Targa – it's expensive and not perfect, but I'll still be buying another for myself
A typically expensive Assos jersey that is equally typically almost perfect
No jersey can be all things to all riders. It’s not just whether this is the right jersey for the conditions, it’s the fit and the design, and for me this Assos Equipe RS S9 Targa is just about perfect for warm to hot weather riding, which we’ve had a fair bit of this summer. The real test of any bit of test kit is whether I’d buy one with my own money, and I will be buying another of these.
A proper hot weather jersey has been a must this summer, but a jersey has to fulfil so many more roles than just preventing overheating. It’s got to breathe and prevent clamminess, it must look good, make you feel good, fit well, and some might say it should help you go faster.
But ultimately on the bike you have to be able to take those things for granted, forget what jersey when you’re riding.
This might not be Assos’s most expensive jersey, but it is their leading racing top and the £155 price tag matches, but it does tick all the boxes you'd want from one of the best jerseys.
Assos says this is their “WorldTour short-sleeve jersey, refined,” and it certainly has a feel of quality about it.
The first thing you notice is the weight, at 137g for my Large it weighs next to nothing. The next thing is the differing fabrics throughout the jersey, the front is completely different from the shoulders and arms – and the back different again. The front is the most textured and eye-catching, covered as it is in dimples, it’s very slightly thicker too, as you’d expect.
The back has a far more conventional appearance, though it’s pretty thin, but Assos boasts a sun protection factor of 30, surprising considering you can nearly read Cycling Weekly through it.
The shoulders offer more protection from the sun with factor of 50, and are much more densely woven, giving that proper aero look and fit. Indeed the Swiss company boasts that this is its most aero and fastest jersey.
I’ve never really liked Assos’s designs – they were too blocky for me – and whilst I’m not a great fan of the black one I was sent, this jersey is available in some very attractive fade designs as well.
Assos says the Equipe RS S9 Targa jersey should be used in conjunction with the accompanying shorts on “fast, hot days for aerodynamics and comfort that exceed WorldTour equipment.”
Well, I might not be fast, but we have had some hot days, so I deliberately headed out to test the jersey (and shorts) with the mercury nudging into the 30s (Celsius) when I might otherwise have sat in the garden with a cold beer.
First of all, the claimed sun protection. Stupidly – but deliberately – I’ve not smothered myself with suncream when using this jersey, only putting it on exposed parts, but I have not been sunburnt.
A jersey is never going to cool you down on a hot day, but it never felt oppressive, like wearing blanket, even when the sun was beating down on the black fabric. Sit up and you feel the wind flowing through the thicker front fabric. I never felt clammy, and after running a hand down the front I found it was wet to the touch, testament to the jersey's wicking qualities.
Assos insists this is an enhanced WorldTour so you’d guess it’s built more for a skinny pro cyclist, but it fitted me perfectly despite being on the chunky side, in fact I loved the the fit. The aggressive fit never once felt restrictive, I love the low neck, and despite the lack of a protective tab the zipper has never once rubbed, whilst the wide gripper on the rear hem kept the jersey perfectly in place.
Being a race focused jersey, it’s no surprise there’s no zipped pocket, but the standard three pockets are quite shallow – my phone, gels and bars poke out of the top of the two outside pockets. There are little flaps to hold stuff in place, but if you tuck your gels underneath, then they’re difficult to reach on the move.
This is the tiniest of niggles though, everything has stayed in place whether tucked in or peeking over the top, and I have no other gripes with this jersey whatsoever. I’ve worn it at 33ºC and added a base layer to wear it at 19º – it’s now my go to summer jersey.
Fabric: Assos miniCheck, Push Pull and Stabiliser textiles
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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