If we were to grossly generalize, we might divide the Competitive office into two broad groups. The first group consists of discerning cyclists who self-identify as "roadies" and exhibit an occasional penchant for sartorial excess; the second, cyclists who insist on function over form, mismatching kit in a kaleidoscope of clash that might be referred to as get-the-damn-job-done chic. One group is particular about the style of what they wear on the bike; the other just wants to get out the door. The key area of overlap is that both groups insist on gear that is effective at its intended purpose, so the Assos iJ.bonkaCENTO.6 profBlack Men's Jacket—which blends style with fit and winter-grade protection—represents the rare instance where everyone in the office is in accord.
Many of us in the first group (sartorial excess) tend to take a lot of friendly flak for our very particular, exacting approach to all things cycling—especially from the second group (kaleidoscope clash). For example, the first group refers to the act of propelling a bicycle on the road as "cycling"—not "biking"—and we take pride in making conscious decisions about what we wear on every ride, an impulse that requires us to tailor our laundry schedule to accommodate our weekly training plan. When they can even be bothered to comment on it, the second group might refer to this behavior dismissively as elitist or even pretentious. We think it's just good manners. But even the most ardently function-only partisans (who we're convinced do take some pride in never matching) can find something to appreciate in Assos' profBlack line.
Among other things, Assos' new profBlack line is a nod to professional cyclists who will sometimes run afoul of sponsorship obligations to clandestinely train in the most comfortable, well-fitting, and highly functioning gear available. If you read "comfortable, well-fitting, and high-functioning" as, simply, "Assos," then you know what we mean. After all, winter cycling can be the most punishing time of year on the bike. It can also be an invigorating experience of cathartic, solitary exertion. Regardless of whether you’re a clandestine pro or an aspiring CAT 3, Assos' profBlack line provides the signature fit and foul-weather protection that help ensure your experience is better described by the latter.
That philosophy of luxurious functionality is, in typical Assos fashion, translated to the profBlack aesthetics, too, which eschew the brand's signature block sleeve pattern and black-and-white logo in favor of a sleek all-black look. Even the sleeves are dyed instead of sublimated, which produces a more saturated hue that will maintain its rich depth in the face of the long-term solar abuse of winter base miles.
The jacket's smooth, matte black face is only interrupted by reflective details, two zippers, some very subtle branding at the nape of the neck, and a bright blue zipper garage that references Assos' winter climaRange color. That final embellishment is mirrored by a few internal instances of the same blue, including the inner cuffs and the under placket, which add the kind of subtle style to the iJ.bonka profBlack that we'd expect to see in well-tailored menswear. Given the quality of construction and absurdly meticulous attention to minutiae, those details feel at home here, too.
The changes aren't just about looks, though, as the profBlack iJ.bonka is only available in the race-cut CENTO slimFit while—at the time of launch—the standard iJ.bonka was available in both the CENTO and regularFit MILLE cuts. (Though we should note that the standard model has since followed suit and is now only available in the Cento cut.) If you've got a more traditional athletic build (read: upper body musculature developed beyond the skeletal Euro climber's physique), you should expect a very slim, race-able fit that doesn’t leave room for thick thermal layers. Dedicated baselayers (like Assos' own skinfoil line) won't be an issue, but trying to squeeze a thermal jersey underneath the CENTO fit may present some logistical difficulties.
We should note here that layering is not a must. In fact, the iJ.bonkaCENTO6 is equal to intervals and training rides in most moderate winter conditions with nothing but a light baselayer underneath because it's partially windproof and partially not. The chest and arm panels that face the wind take advantage of Assos' TwinDeckFoiling to keep the cold at bay. It has two layers, one windproof and one insulating.
The outer layer is the strataGonUltra airBlock, a water- and wind-resistant membrane that breathes less when it's cold and more when it's warm, helping the material adapt on the fly to your work/rest cycles and the changing conditions of a day in the saddle. That means strataGonUltra airBlock retains more heat when you're cold dispels perspiration better as you heat up. The inner layer is Assos' RXQ fabric, a lightweight stretch fabric that is smooth on one side and fleecy on the other. The inner arms and side panels are strataGonMedium, a lighter, stretchier, more vapor-permeable version of the Ultra, which adds more stretch to better accommodate the slim fit. The back panel is RX fabric, a heavyweight stretch fabric that is alternately smooth and fleecy, and it terminates in stabilizing gel print to keep the rear hem in place.
The sleeves are equally focused on maintaining coverage with lie-flat, raw-cut cuffs whose low profile rests unobtrusively under gloves—a feature that's unique to the profBlack line. The zipper's large, ovalized pull tab is also a profBlack exclusive, and its expanded body is easier to grab when your sense of touch is impeded by windproof, winter-weight gloves. The profBlack iJ.bonka is finished with three standard rear pockets and the now-requisite zippered security pocket for carrying IDs and a key. In a final touch of Assos exceptionalism, the iJ.bonkaCENTO is finished with an attached gaiter that can be stowed inside the jacket or pulled on in times of extreme winter duress.
- A winter cycling jacket that redefines functional luxury
- Wind- and water-resistant leading edge fends off the elements
- Maintains breathability, especially during hard exertions
- Cut in a CENTO slimFit that rides tight for reduced flapping
- Stowable, integrated neck gaiter and lie-flat cuffs
- Oversized zipper pull for ease of use with winter gloves
- Assos' profBlack line features understated aesthetics to fly under the radar