The new domestique on Assos' block.
Believe it or not, it's been six years since Assos released its revered _s5 collection. For all who've ridden in them, these bib shorts have been touted as simply the best fitting and supportive on the market. Well, in true fanaticism that dominates the mindset in their Centro Studio, Assos' engineers took to improving what many called perfect. The new collection of bib shorts to emerge is aptly titled _s7. There are four new "mission-specific" variations of bib shorts within this technical-feature-laden lineup, with T.neoPro_s7 standing as the Swiss-based brand's dependable, do-everything, daily workhorse model.
The main Assos-specific textile that makes up the paneling of the T.neoPro_s7 bib shorts is called Type.429. This durable fabric is used for the low-volume panels of the T.neoPro_s7, as it's incredibly supportive, hard-wearing, and comfortable. The ripstop-like material provides exceptional breathability, and it rapidly transfers moisture to its quick-drying outer surface. Additionally, this smooth fabric provides a moderately compressive hold, which, in turn, supports the muscle groups of the legs. As a result, these muscles are partially shielded from the fatigue-inducing effects of muscle oscillation that are derivative of road vibration. Countless prototypes tested by Assos' very own Werksmannschaft (the Assos factory team) riders proved to Assos engineers that this exclusive textile provides the ideal blend of compressive support and low weight.
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.
And now for the core of the T.neoPro's technological dominance: the chamois. 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 one of the top-end chamois within the _s7 line, it received the bulk of Assos' technical innovations to emerge from its 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 extended the chamois' thinly-padded sides over this short-to-chamois junction, making the transition against your skin as smooth as possible.
The Assos T.neoPro_s7 comes in a claimed weight of 169g, which is one of 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 Assos logos accent the shorts throughout. They are available in seven sizes from X-Small to TIR and in the color Black Volkanga.