The design and performance of the Assos Equipe RS are up to the Swiss brand’s usual extremely high standard. This is a well-fitting, comfortable jacket that’s versatile enough to be worn at the outset of a ride rather than only when the rain starts. However, call me old fashioned but I would prefer a simpler one-way zip and a more traditional cuff design.
Manages to make hi-viz chic
Cuffs let in water
Two-way zip tricky to operate with one hand
The Assos Equipe RS is, according to the Swiss brand, the “offspring of our legendary rS.sturmprinz,” the latter being its all-singing (in the rain, naturally) all-dancing wet-weather jacket that costs £350 and is still a current model.
With the Equipe RS Assos has brought the price down, as well as the weight, but has tried to improve on the Sturmprinz in certain key areas.
The new jacket weighs a claimed 170g (our size medium weighs 185g) compared to the claimed 340g of the Sturmprinz (our medium weighs 301g) and as a result of the much thinner textiles used it's properly packable. Assos claimed the Sturmprinz was packable but in reality you’d have needed even deeper pockets than those necessary to afford it in the first place.
The Assos Equipe RS also has fewer panels and seams. The Sturmprinz, with its shiny, stretchy inserts around the fronts of the shoulders was instantly recognisable but not to everyone’s taste, whereas the RS Equipe, despite the unusual fluoro 'lollyRed' colour of our sample (also available in black) looks more mainstream – though it does keep the slots in the back for access to jersey pockets.
For the Equipe RS Assos has developed a new waterproof three-layer soft-shell fabric called Schloss Tex, which uses a hydrophilic membrane that's DWR coated, taped seams to keep water out, and is stretchy for a close fit.
Other highlights are a two-way zip that can also open from the bottom upwards and a long reflective strip running up the back.
Assos Equipe RS: ride
The set-in sleeves of the Equipe RS are more flattering than the Raglan of the Sturmprinz: overall the fit is close but not restrictive, thanks to the stretch of the fabric. The Schloss Tex is also very quiet, a relief after the rustle that accompanies the slightest movement of some rain jackets, and there's no windflap.
The two-way zip is a little tricky to operate smoothly: if you open it from the bottom upwards it’s difficult to reclose it using one hand, especially if your fingers are sweaty or gloved (ie in 90 per cent of cycling scenarios), since there's no puller. A regular zip would be simpler.
The first time I took the Assos Equipe RS out in rain, I found my forearms became wet surprisingly quickly, possibly due to the cuff design since in the under-the-tap test, the sleeve proved to be completely waterproof. Instead of a wide, stretchy band around the wrist the sleeves taper and simply finish, with a small sewn-in panel of (non-waterproof) soft, elastic fabric that doesn't seal them like a cuff would, allowing water in when they're facing forwards on the bike. The seams of these panels were also a little itchy, especially when wet.
However, the fit of the jacket is spot on, the waterproofing, comfort and breathability of the Schloss Tex fabric can’t be faulted: the Equipe RS can release the heat and sweat generated from a climbing session in the hills and then on the way back, when normal heart rate and power output are resumed, it’s possible for clammy clothing underneath to actually dry out as you’re riding, while maintaining a comfortable body temperature.
And the high-viz yet chic colour with a big reflective stripe up the back gets a big thumbs up from us.
As for its packability, yes, it can be tightly rolled and carefully manoeuvred into a jersey pocket rather than stuffed, but it creates a largish lump and there are certainly lighter, more packable jackets out there if that’s your priority.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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