- goldenGate floating pad
- Moisture control
- Robust fabric and construction
- The waistband can feel loose for the slimmer rider.
Price as reviewed:
When it comes to on-bike comfort, there can be many elements that lead to that distracted feeling when you can’t just fully enjoy the ride, and there does tend to be a strong theme that some kind of discomfort in the nether region makes the top of most riders lists.
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Assos has always been at the absolute pinnacle of the comfort curve, pulling on years of continued R&D in cycling anatomy, performance and technical fabrics that combine to produce the very best cycling garments worn by pro riders through to club cyclists. Being at the cutting edge and creating products that ooze performance and comfort does inevitably push a premium price tag, but having spent a good deal of kms in the chamois of the Cento Evo shorts, they really are the best money can buy. For those riders putting in serious seat time on a regular basis, these are an easy sell, not only looking from a comfort perspective, they’re also built to last.
Construction and on-bike comfort
Cento is Assos’ premium comfort label, so kit in within this range is naturally fully loaded with comfort features, so I’ll do my best to pull out the elements that really stood out.
The material used to construct the shorts is the tried and true .439 Diadema fabric, which has weaves that allow for four way stretch but at two different rates. In principle, the way this translates when wearing is a nice compression against the thighs from the robust feeling material but with enough movement and stretch to not restrict movement in any way. In addition, this fabric manages moisture really well and always keeps me dry.
The centre piece of these shorts is the S7 Evo insert, featuring a 10mm memory foam membrane that Assos claim is the intersection between comfort and performance. The pad is outstanding, and kept things really comfortable and also cool during multiple back to back 100km plus rides, where the intention was to push the envelope and see if they could keep me comfortable and pain free day after day. It was this that really sealed the deal, confirming these shorts stand above the rest.
Aside from the pad being super comfortable all day long, it was the smaller details that really impressed me. Taking the names directly from the Assos features list, firstly, the goldenGate. Assos has dropped the stitching along the sides of the chamois so it’s just attached at the front and rear, essentially allowing the pad to move independently of the outer fabric, meaning the chamois can stay put and not move or chafe when moving around on the saddle. I found this really worked well, especially on more grippy saddles where other shorts would move or shift when I was making position adjustments in the saddle. The second highlight is the ‘kukuPenthouse’. Now, I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall in the Assos marketing department when they came up with this name. But names aside, this is another really great touch on these shorts. There’s a small piece of soft microfibre fabric sewn into the front of the pad that is positioned to support the male anatomy, it also allows a degree of breathability to keep you cool down there on long hot rides. I’d never ridden shorts with a ‘kukuPenthouse’, but it was a welcomed addition and an extra degree of comfort that I really appreciated.
The shoulder straps are well designed and lay really flat on the body, they and not noticeable when riding, and feature a Y-shaped pattern at the back to allow the straps to fall between the shoulder blades. There’s a mesh panel for heat to escape; perfect for hot weather riding. The leg grippers are more minimal than previous Assos shorts I’ve owned, and I was worried they might slide up given the reduced silicone in the material, but in practice, there’s less bulk and less pressure, and just allows the shorts to become an invisible garment that keeps your focus and attention on the ride.
My only criticism on these shorts is the zeroWaist feature. For someone fairly slim like me, and who’s generally always ridden race fit shorts, the waist band was just a little loose and also sat too low, meaning if I was standing off the bike or sitting up my jersey would pull up over the waist band and cause it to bunch and catch on the jersey. Again, I think that given that these shorts fall under Assos’ regularFit line, I’m sure for riders looking for a more relaxed fit and a bit more space and comfort, these shorts a spot on, so I can’t really mark them down for that, but subjectively that feature didn’t really work. For those of you like me, I’d recommend the Equipe RS race line insead.
The Cento Evo Bib shorts retail for £225, which for some will be a bridge too far when it comes to shorts. I do think though that if you’re the kind of rider putting in a lot of regular miles, or have the money to spend on a pair of shorts that will keep you super comfortable all day, then they’re absolutely worth the money. This is backed up by the fact that if you look after them and wash as per the instructions from Assos, there’s no reason there shouldn’t last a good few years. I still have a pair of Assos S9 shorts that are going strong after five years of solid use.
One of the best shorts on the market today. The combination of premium fabrics and really high end features that will keep you comfortable and cool, day in, day out whether you’re spending the day out on the gravel or chasing that century ride, there’s a reason these shorts carry the Cento name.