A penthouse above the rest.
Six years have passed since Assos rolled out what would become known as the pinnacle of its bib short designs. Called the _s5, this revered collection of shorts has been, to all who've ridden in them, simply the best fitting and most supportive bibs on the market. Well, in the true fanaticism that dominates the collective mindset in the Swiss-based brand's Centro Studio, Assos engineers took to improving what many called perfect. The new collection to emerge is aptly titled _s7. There are four new "mission-specific" models of bib shorts within this technical-feature-laden lineup, with the T.campionissimo_s7 living in, shall we say, a penthouse above the rest. Six patents and nine innovations later, a new level of technological firepower has officially been unleashed on the world of cycling apparel design. Welcome to the next generation of unparalleled Assos perfection.
To start, let's run through the main Assos-specific textile that makes up the paneling of the creme de la creme T.campionissimo bib shorts, as it's notably a fabric-first in cycling shorts manufacturing. Assos is calling this material Type.444 ergoKompressor, with the real secret ingredient residing in its composition. First, Type.444 is a woven textile with a 33% Lycra content, versus the traditional knits used in almost every other pair of cycling shorts currently available to the public. The reasoning behind this is that Assos wanted a highly compressive bib short design that was still as light and comfortable as possible. So while most manufacturers rely on bib short constructions that use many fabric panels to achieve a desired level of compressive hold — while sacrificing both weight and comfort in the name of heavily-stitched seams — Assos' Type.444 woven textile mitigates this bulky, abrasive side effect that comes with standard compressive shorts by building the T.campionissimo with merely five sleek panels. Countless prototypes tested by both professional cyclists and Assos' very own Werksmannschaft (the Assos factory team) riders proved to Assos engineers that this exclusive woven textile provided the ultimate compressive-support-to-low-weight ratio, which was simply unattainable if they were to have paired this low panel count with a knitted material. And like the other fabrics composing the rest of the _s7 bib shorts line, Type.444 was finished with an iceColor application, which is similar to Coldblack cooling technology in that it effectively reduces surface temperature in dark fabrics. A cool, dry, and fresh feeling is the result, which complements your body's fully supported lower half.
Assos engineered these bib shorts to provide a slightly asymmetrical compressive hold that stretches more around your body, rather than vertically. This tuned stretch works to firmly secure the shorts in place while down in the cycling position, feeling more dialed while sitting in the saddle than while standing upright. This feeling has long been known to Assos' devoted followers as the signature "click on" fit. This Advanced Ergonomic Pattern Design (AEPD) fit is ever-present with the _s7 line, and it's been further enhanced by its new Y7 bib strap design. While the _s5's straps were spot-on from a comfort perspective, this latest generation's straps have been moved outward in the front slightly for better support. For example, while positioned over the hoods or down in the drops, traditional bib straps generally create a gap away from the torso between the collarbone and upper hips. But by aligning the straps outward, more along the obliques, the straps hug the torso, mimicking the body's movements without any gap, regardless of on-the-bike positioning.
Now for the heart of the T.campionissimo's technological dominance: the chamois. While we're always reluctant to use the phrase "game changer" in anything we describe, the research and development of the T.campionissimo's chamois might just warrant an exception. Assos is calling it the "kuKuPenthouse." Yes, that is the name, and we'll get to its meaning momentarily. But first, as with all of the _s7 collection, it wears the new amethyst color. According to Assos, this purple hue was chosen to pay homage to the clothing of Roman emperors, English monarchs, and members of Japanese aristocracy, as the historically-significant color highlights what it calls the "most technically advanced cycling shorts on Earth."
As the top-tier chamois within the _s7 line, the kuKuPenthouse received every one of the new technical innovations to emerge from Assos' extensive product testing. The engineers began with an 8mm-thick memoryFoam material. This was first introduced with the venerable _s2 FI.13, as its shock absorbing composition returns to its original position, "filling the gap," every time pedaling position is changed in the saddle through the shift of weight. The memoryFoam features multiple layers, with its superAir and waffle composition making up the first two. This perforated design works to increase breathability and to shed weight. Additionally, this dimpling, combined with the ultra-soft microfiber top sheet, effectively pulls moisture from within the layers below, which allows it to dry much quicker than the previous _s5 chamois. Once Assos got the chamois layup to their standards, the engineers began rethinking the way a traditional chamois is attached to the shorts. This led them to what they are calling the "goldenGate," which involves interrupting the stitching along both of the chamois' side panels, allowing a more "three-dimensional" freedom of movement in this sensitive, rotational area. Additionally, because the seams are eliminated, friction is minimized even further. But if that weren't enough, Assos went ahead and bonded its lightly-padded anatomical side flaps over this short-to-chamois junction, making the transition against your skin as smooth as possible.
And while the aforementioned is impressive, the true magic of this chamois is located at the front, as Assos removed the section of padding where a male cyclist's genitals would normally contact the chamois. In place of the padding is a soft, brushed microfiber layer, which creates a "nest," or cradle into which the genitals are comfortably supported, free of the chamois' foam padding. This is where the kuKuPenthouse name is derived, which is truly a first in chamois construction. Pressure is thus eliminated in this area, and ventilation is increased substantially compared to a traditional chamois. The overall chamois design was then finished off with a "rearTerminal" at the back — where the chamois' rear portion meets the lower back fabric panel — by fitting a smooth layer of durable and wicking microfiber in this high-stress moisture collection zone.
The Assos T.campionissimo_s7 comes in a claimed weight of 162g, which is the lightest of the four new shorts in the _s7 collection. The leg panels were finished off with new low-volume, calibrated-stretch superFlat grippers to keep the cuffs securely in place, and small gold Assos logos accent the shorts throughout. They are available in seven sizes from X-Small to TIR and in the color Black Volkanga.