Never one to rest on its laurels, Assos put in six years of research and development, creating the Equipe RS Bib Shorts S9, a very worthy successor to its popular S7 shorts. Using its most advanced race insert to date, and a host of new features throughout, the S9 promises to be a comfortable pair of bibs that will keep you feeling great on your longest, most difficult rides. This all-new design was honed and tested not only by its in-house riders, but the BMC World Tour team also had a heavy influence in its design.
Perhaps the most scrutinized component of any cycling shorts is the chamois and Assos paid careful attention when designing this race-specific insert constructed of 3D Basalt. First up, it's now grey instead of the previous amethyst. One big goal was reducing its bulk by shedding excess volume and grams over the previous S7 chamois. It now feels much thinner between the fingers versus the S7 insert, yet it somehow improves comfort and remains so even after many hours in the saddle. The padding consists of superAir microShock foam helping to absorb road vibrations thanks to its ultralight open cell foam. Up front, kraterCooler ventilation holes help to increase airflow and offer much-needed cooling while the 3D Waffle three-layer composition further aids in breathability. The middle section of the insert receives Assos' much-lauded GoldenGate technology which essentially eliminates stitching the chamois to the short allowing it to more easily move with you for more comfortable pedaling. Final chamois details include its Horizontal Stabilizer that locks the insert to the outer textile with a reinforced central stitch. Bottom line, the S7 insert was already one of our favorites and these new updates take the S9 over the top.
Up top, the shorts see a total redesign there as well and now feature a detail that Assos is calling A-Lock Engineering. It’s a totally new way of attaching the Carbon Xbib straps to the shorts using advanced textiles and bracing technologies that aim to better stabilize and secure the insert as you pedal. The straps themselves are a single section of elastic material which is folded over on itself and forms a supportive A-frame with its tuned vertical elasticity. Furthermore, the straps crisscross at the back and anchor in place while in the front they're placed in a wide stance to sit comfortably and help minimize irritation.
The construction of the lowers consists of just two panels, one for the lower back and one for the legs. It connects using a butterfly panel that wraps the legs and meets at the rear ergoBox, a square pattern construction that frames the insert at the back, boxing it in for added stability. This yields a consistent and uniform hold while dropping the overall weight. Furthermore, it allows for 30% fewer seams creating a very lightweight short that simply fits better.
Lastly, there are two versions of the S9, the more affordable RS we have here, placing an emphasis on total comfort and support and uses its rollBar technology of bib strap bracing to secure the insert, ensuring it stays in place in or out of the saddle, and the RSR for the more weight conscious that foregoes the rollBar to keep weight to a minimum. Additionally, the RS uses Assos' Type.441 material offering a moderately compressive warp knit for support, second-skin fit, and ultimate durability, where the RSR uses its superlight woven with high elasticity Type.701kompressor for higher compression, better aerodynamics, and a snug fit.