Like with their bibbed brethren, the bib-free H.milleshorts_s7 Shorts showcase Assos' goldenGate construction method, which may be our favorite recent advancement in cycling shorts' technology. GoldenGate involves attaching the chamois at the front and rear, leaving the sides free to float so the chamois moves with your body instead of against it. This effectively relocates friction from the skin/chamois interface to the chamois/shorts, all but eliminating friction. We're starting to see this feature crop up in other manufacturers' lines but — true to the precedent of history — Assos did it first and continues to do it better.
The Type.429 material, a durable fabric whose properties are a study in apparent contradictions, is another element of the H.milleshorts that has enjoyed flattering imitation. It combines a low-volume with moderately compressive supportive to keep both weight and muscle fatigue to a minimum. It also enjoys the durability of a ripstop material but with breathability, moisture management, and a comfortable touch that belies its hard-wearing nature.
The shorts are cut to accommodate a regular, athletic build and — given that this is Assos — you won't be surprised to learn that the shape is engineered so they fit best when you're in the saddle. While we can't speak for every cyclist, not all of us at Competitive are built like the rail-thin, razor-elbowed climbers of the pro peloton. The mille fit means that the shorts conform to our body with a gently compressive, second-skin fit instead of squeezing and pinching our legs into bulging shapes that range from unflattering to uncomfortable.
The leg and waistbands continue this theme of fitting your body instead of forcing your body to fit the shorts. The legs terminate in low-volume superFlat grip bands to keep the cuffs securely in place, and the waistband uses gentle compression and a wide footprint to ensure coverage without adding pressure and restriction to your stomach.
The lack of bibs mean that the H.milleshorts are able to transcend the barriers of warm-weather imposed on other shorts. They're useful as a base layer when temperatures and precipitation start falling, because you can wear them beneath bib tights without adding undue bulk or interfering with your torso layering strategy. When the weather heads south, you won't be stuck with a terry-cloth winter chamois. Considering that Assos is known as "the shorts company" for a reason, that's a welcome revelation.
The H.milleshorts_s7 incorporate the amethyst chamois found throughout Assos' line in kit like the T.neoPro_s7 bib shorts. At its heart is the same 8mm-thick memoryFoam material first introduced in the venerable _s2 FI.13. This material exhibits remarkable return properties, so it quickly returns to its original position after deformation, essentially filling the gaps that your pedal stroke produces while your weight shifts throughout the pedaling motion. As you can imagine, the free-floating, goldenGate design also facilitates this action, which keeps contact constant to avoid chafing. The superAir and waffle construction of memoryFoam's first two layers warrant special attention, as they increase breathability and shed weight through negative space. It also effectively increase's the material's surface area, transporting moisture away from your skin to accelerate drying.