Assos SS Superléger Skin Layer review

Assos's entry to indoor training kit brings a base layer which it also recommends for summer use

Cycling Weekly Verdict

Assos is late to the indoor riding kit party, but in the Swiss company’s normal style not only has it come up with something different, it has also ticked the quality box with this SS Superléger skin layer. It’s very good on the turbo, but is also marketed as a base layer for hot summer rides. Though I’ve not had a chance to use it as such, it seems to have some flaws for outdoor use.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Comfort - like it's not there

  • +

    Quality - typical Assos excellence

  • +

    Fit - snug, but not too tight

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Versatility - will it work as a summer base layer?

Released as the temperature tumbles, Assos’s new SS Superléger skin layer is intended to keep things comfortable during those long hours dripping on your indoor trainer. It was launched as part of an attempt to create the best indoor cycling clothing collection along with matching shorts, socks and sweatbands.

While most manufacturers have chosen to market an ultra light jersey for smart turbo trainer use, Assos decided on a base layer that could be used for long summer rides. Assos has produced a beautiful garment, though at £75 it’s not cheap, but it’s a good piece of kit and likely to repay you over the years. 

Construction

One obvious difference from other manufacturer’s indoor kit offerings is that this is a base layer, not a jersey, and while that makes sense, it does limit other uses as there are no pockets for carrying for carrying essentials to your pain cave.

Superléger translates as super light and that fits with my experience. It’s has a deceptively luxurious feel, in your hands it feels like something you’d use in the winter, but at 65 grammes it weighs next to nothing.

The main body of the top, over the shoulders and back, is an open mesh, a string vest essentially, but it never feels rough and sits well next to the skin. The solid front panel is described as ‘tubular knit’, which sounds incongruous for a garment designed for coolness. It’s an odd feel, thick but actually very thin.

One thing I can’t quite fathom though: if this base layer's other use is ‘the hottest outdoor racing conditions’ under a summer jersey, why does it have sleeves? [NB: Assos' standard summer base layers also have sleeves, but this is against the general trend - Ed.]

The Ride

For something so light the skin layer does a very good job at compression, especially when most of it is mesh, and for the most part you barely know you’re wearing it. While having a thicker front panel might be counterintuitive for use in the sweatiest conditions, the concept works well, nothing drips through onto your top tube, despite it wicking moisture from the skin and preventing clamminess.

I expected it to be too heavy at the front, but despite searching for a problem (during turbo use) I can’t find one. I have noticed it feels a bit heavier with fluid after a session, but not a lot emerges when you wring it out. It's remarkable.

I’ve not used this outdoors at all, but feel it would be too much on a really hot day, but maybe a reasonably warm ride would be okay. Black is the only colour option available and I’ve checked it under a light coloured jersey and it shows a little, but the biggest issue is those sleeves. Why?

As for the other items in Assos’s indoor line, the socks are the flimsiest I have ever seen and I didn’t think they’d stay up, but they are fantastic, they will definitely come out on those hot days as well as when I’m on the trainer. For me the Sweat Blocker sweat bands didn’t prevent sweaty hands, and were strangely awkward for wiping my face.  The Assos Equipe RSR Cycling Bib Shorts Superléger S9, as per my five star review, are the best offering within the range. 

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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.