As Assos glibly puts it, "summer is pretty mindless when it comes to apparel choice." That's because the typical temperatures of grand tour season are high enough to impose mandatory minimalism in terms of cycling clothing. But the advent of changing leaves and falling temperatures gives the committed kit hound an opportunity to dip into the cycling wardrobe without going full mindless in the winter jacket direction. That means thermal jerseys, and—as frequent visitors to our site will know—many of us have an obsession with thermal jerseys that borders on a fetish. Of course, not everyone in the Competitive family loses their minds over basic, brushed thermal jerseys, but even the most function-first cyclists here feel a tinge of longing for the impressively articulated Assos iJ.intermediate_s7 profBlack Men's Jersey.
If a standard thermal jersey is an object of moderate idolization for the kit-conscious cyclists among us, than the iJ.intermediate_s7 is the heavily gilded calf that threatens to pull any cyclist into the idolatrous fold that fetishizes long-sleeve tops in the shoulder seasons. The metaphor isn't just hyperbole, as the jersey actually does feature gilding of a sort.
First, this edition of the iJ.intermediate_s7 is a vehicle for Assos' new profBlack look, which privileges understated subtlety over the look-at-me aesthetics of most race kit. Given the fact that Assos recommends it "for when you want to ride under the radar," this juxtaposition with loud racing strips is especially apt. The jersey is a nod to the tendency for European professionals to train in the cooler months with nondescript jerseys in order to avoid constant interruptions by starstruck fans. By which we mean: cyclists like us.
We're pretty sure we'd recognize Nibali's distinctive barrel-shaped torso or Aru's spectacularly violent pedaling style even if they were riding naked, but eliminating the bright team colors is an obvious plus for the less immediately recognizable guys like like Ulissi, who—if he weren't in his Lampre-Merida kit—might be able to pass as an unbelievably strong Italian recreationalist putting on a climbing clinic in the Swiss Alps. That's where profBlack comes in, as it allows guys like them to put in their winter base miles and springtime intervals unmolested by fans and constant selfie requests.
Of course, the implications of riding in profBlack jerseys aren't nearly as duplicitous for we mere mortals. When the professionals do it, it's both a dereliction of duty to sponsors who pay you to ride in their colors and an attempt to avoid exactly the kind of attention from the cycling public that those sponsors are hoping to generate; when the self-sponsored cyclists go all-in on black kit, it's just a timeless, tasteful expression of style.
The second "gilding" is much less focused on style. The iJ.intermediate_s7 is embellished with a windproof panel of stratagonUltra airBlock fabric across the front, so it leads into the crisp autumn air with a little extra core protection that still stretches so as not to inhibit the body-mapped fit and a free range of movement in the saddle. The material is also low volume and highly breathable, so it won't weigh you down but will help you enjoy the changing landscape in peace by preventing the accumulation of internal moisture.
For the sides, proximal portion of the sleeves, and across the rear panel, Assos opts for the Type.v X121 summer textile. Since these areas tend to not take the brunt of cool fall and spring mornings, Assos lightens things up to let your body's temperature self-regulate and further boost moisture management. After all, this isn't a winter jersey, and we find that cutting wind chill at the leading edge tends to be sufficient to keep us warm in temperatures ranging into the mid- to high-40s. Even the most cold sensitive among us can comfortably brave the 40s with some light layering and that windproof panel, but keeping the sides and back light means the iJ.intermediate_s7 can also comfortably accompany us on the warmer days of October and April. The key to cool-weather kit is versatility, and the combination of materials used here means you'll be reaching for the iJ.intermediate_s7 in all manner of conditions and temperatures.
The top of the arms and shoulders are the only occurrence of a traditional, brushed thermal material in the jersey's lay-up schedule. This material strikes a balance between the windproof core protection and superlative breathability of the other two materials, protecting the outer face of your wingspan with a bit more insulation but also maintaining the jersey's overall focus on stretch, moisture management, and fit. And if there are two things we expect from any Assos garment, it's a complicated, laboriously detailed material sheet (see above) and a fit that makes almost any other manufacturer's clothing feel like dingy bath robe.
Combining what Assos calls its Advanced Ergonomic Pattern Design (AEPD) racing cut with its cycling-specific body-mapping pattern design, the profBlack iJ.intermediate_s7 benefits from what may be the most thought-out design process in the business. Assos is the first to tell you that high-end materials mean nothing if the cut is bad, and we're happy to be second that assertion in order to give it the emphasis it warrants: High-end materials mean nothing if the cut is bad. (We'd even type it out with Caps Lock on if we thought it would pass the editors' scrutiny.) That's why Assos has spent a maddening amount of time studying how the body is shaped, and how it changes throughout the movements of cycling. The AEPD cut is the result, and it means the iJ.intermediate_s7 is made for cycling, not standing—an important fact to keep in mind when you try it on. The cut greets the contours of your body with a form fit and gentle compression to aid in muscle recovery and stabilization.
The AEPD sleeves terminate in Assos' WristWrap cuffs and their raglan shoulders culminate in a windproof collar to help keep the transitional chill at bay. For storage, Assos provides three ample rear pockets with a fourth pocket that zips closed for added security. The zippered pocket is also reinforced with a water-resistant membrane to protect snack cash or whatever other personal effects you'd rather not expose to capricious spring weather. In a final touch of typical thoughtfulness, Assos finishes the full-length zipper with an underlying draft flap, so the zipper doesn't compromise the windproof panels core protection.
- A long-sleeve jersey for transitional season cycling
- Windproof front panel takes the bite out of fall and spring air
- Thermal insulation on arms and shoulders
- Breathable paneling throughout maintains comfort
- Form-fitting silhouette built to "click-in" on the bike
- Standard pocket count supplemented with a zippered security pocket
- Silicone grip hem and elastic cuffs maintain coverage
- Assos' profBlack aesthetics celebrate cycling with simple style