Pennies per mile.
Whenever we're confronted with a difficult buying decision in cycling wear, we turn to a pennies-per-mile equation. In effect, pennies-per-mile means calculating how important it is for us to be comfortable across the thousands to tens-of-thousands of miles we'll be subjecting our gear to and whether or not that comfort is worth springing for quality kit that won't leave us fearing the saddle after just two hours of spinning. We inevitably conclude that it's worth it, and Assos' HL.tiburuTights_s7 Lady Tights are a sound cold-weather investment when weighted on the pennies-per-mile scale. They combine two types of insulating material with the latest chamois technology and the inimitable Assos fit, an equation that takes the sting out of chilly training rides and may actually have you looking forward to the frigid fingers and numb noses of late fall and early spring.
RX Medium is the first material used. It surfaces throughout the front of the tights and insulates in two ways. The first is standard: It's thicker, so it increases loft for additional insulation over the front thighs, knees, and shins—the parts of your legs that lead into the wind. The second is far less standard, making it far more Assos: RX Medium is, essentially, any other brand's heavy thermal material but with an irrigated grid of reverse waffling that creates additional negative space to trap more insulating air without sacrificing the protective gains of a thicker material.
For the tights' aft face, Assos takes advantage of the fact that your hammies and gluts don't typically lead into the wind in order to lighten up with RX Light. (If those muscle groups are actually leading into the wind, then you probably have bigger immediate issues to deal with than cold.) RX Light is a lower loft material that emphasizes fit and breathability over bulwark protection, helping to dump internal moisture and excess heat. In autumn and spring cycling, when temperatures hover in the 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit range, we can occasionally get too warm during hard efforts. "Too warm" often translates to "sweating," and—in those temperatures—"sweating" will inevitably become clammy and cold. By regulating temperature and internal moisture, RX Light alleviates this issue.
Materials aside, the real test of any Made in Cycling kit is the fit. We've written at length about the Assos "click" elsewhere, so suffice it to note that the HL.tiburuTights aren't the most forgiving item to get on, but—once they're on—they may well be the most comfortable mid-weight women's tights we've ever had the pleasure of braving the cold with. Assos claims it improved the fit at both the waistband and the lower leg, but we honestly can't confirm that these fit any better than the previous generation. What we can confirm, though, is that 20 minutes in the saddle were enough to convince us that whatever Assos is doing, fit-wise, is working, and we're happy to be along for the ride. Chilly air can be enough of an obstacle for cycling; sloppy fit shouldn't be a compounding factor.
Another defining feature of the lower leg that we can vouch for is actually an omission: there's no zipper. The ankle zip is a staple in cycling clothing because most manufacturers use it as a crutch in order to ensure the lower legs fit while you're cycling but they aren't a huge struggle to get on. There is a negative to this, though, as the zipper constitutes a stretch-free zone in an area of the tights that relies on a little stretch to ensure conformity across the tapers and shapes of the calf, shin, and ankle. A zipper makes the tights easier to get on, but it fouls up the fit by interrupting the material's stretch. It also means there's a zipper rubbing against your legs. Omitting the zipper is part of the Assos click-in fit; the HL.tiburuTights may be more difficult to get on, but—once they are on—the supreme in-saddle comfort more than makes up for the extra few seconds of adjustment needed.
As with the men's LL.BonkaTights, the reflective strip on the rear calf of the HL.tiburutights_S7 Lady Tights is only attached at either end. Since this material is less flexible than the RX Light constituting the body, stitching it all the way around would effectively anchor a rectangle of RX Light, reducing the stretch-to-fit-perfectly design's effectiveness. It's the same principal as omitting the zipper. By anchoring the reflective strip only at either end with vertically oriented stitching, Assos frees up the RX Light material to better conform around your calf. Better conformity means a better fit, which—again—is the key defining element of Assos clothing.
And finally, no Assos description would be complete without dwelling on the chamois, which we suggest is a close second in the "defining element" category. The HL.tiburuTights_s7 are equipped with the women-specific Lady_s7 insert, which carries the tech and comfort of the summer-weight T.laalaLaiShorts' amethyst chamois into the realm of cold-weather cycling. The purple hue of Assos' Lady_s7 insert pays homage to the clothing of Roman emperors, English monarchs, and members of the Japanese aristocracy, and the chamois is designed according to the same philosophy of progressive support that informs the men's amethyst inserts but with a topography specific to female anatomy.
The waffled memory foam at the insert's heart absorbs road noise and shock and features a high degree of return. It's able to compress and reform fast enough that, as you pedal, it stays against your skin, "filling the gaps" while your legs and hips move through the surprisingly complicated biomechanical process of pedaling. The chamois' superAir waffle padding is perforated for increased breathability, and it combines with the amethyst top layer to transport moisture away from your body.
The whole thing is anchored with Assos' goldenGate technology, which involves yet another omission. This time, Assos leaves the chamois' sides free floating, only securing it at the front and back. The result is similar to the reflective strip/zipper effect, with the chamois' face able to freely follow your body in motion. Since the unattached sides allow the chamois to move with your skin rather than against it, the Lady_s7's goldenGate construction effectively relocates the point of friction away from the chamois/skin interface.
- A superlative thermal tight for cold-weather cycling
- Two materials provided targeted insulation, stretch, and breathability
- Signature Assos fit clicks into place before you clip in
- Chamois reduces friction between insert and body
- Wide elastic waistband for confident comfort
- Zipper-free cuffs for uncompromised fit
- Light silicone grip for more secure ankle coverage
- Reflective bands on lower legs help keep you visible