We were excited to hear about Assos' announcement of a partnership with USA Cycling starting this year, which sees the brand becoming the official supplier of team kit in a mutual attempt by both organizations to promote a more inclusive message going forward. As such, Assos has released its USA Cycling kit for the rest of us to train and race in, adding some US of A embellishment to its T.equipe_S7 USA Cycling Bib Short.
Assos spent the last six years working closely with its Weksmannshcaft factory team to develop the T.equipe_S7's, fine-tuning and reworking the design until it was something the fastidious Swiss brand could be satisfied with releasing into the world. Continuing the legacy of Assos' legendary FI.13's, the T.equipe_S7's occupy the low-volume race-fit option among Assos' clearly defined _S7 line, crafted with a streamlined, precise fit applied specifically to a riding position. Assos trusts its proprietary Type.439 fabric to construct the main body of the shorts, a supportive synthetic designed to ferry moisture quickly away from your skin as you ride, while stabilizing your muscles with a moderately compressive five-panel design. Some degree of compression has become a standard amongst top-end kit, and Assos is no stranger to its ability to limit the effects of fatigue-inducing road vibrations when you're riding for hours. Bearing in mind the fatigue that can come from riding through summer heat, Assos also chose to finish Type.439 with an iceColor treatment, which aims to reduce surface temperature in dark fabrics prone to absorbing heat from the sun.
The five-panel design Assos chose for the T.equipe_S7's is notably more minimal than the standard eight-panel construction adopted by most bib shorts. As expected, Assos had their own reasoning for this, choosing a five-panel design that would allow for a slightly asymmetrical compressive hold that stretches more laterally than in a linear direction. This closely-tuned stretch works to firmly secure the short in-place while you're stretched out in your drops or aero bars, but might feel slightly restrictive while standing. Devout Assos fans know this signature "click on" fit well, and know that slight discomfort out of the saddle is a small price to pay for the incredibly precise fit that the short achieves once you're riding. Assos also introduced a new Y7 bib strap design for the short this year, moving the straps outward toward the obliques for better support and to eliminate the gap that often forms along the torso between the collarbone and upper hips, mimicking the body's movements without any gaps.
And for the core of the T.equipe's technological dominance: the chamois. First, as with all of the _S7 collection, it's designed in Assos' 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." Though we don't necessarily like to acknowledge it, the US hasn't quite moved away from being a generational aristocracy, and these shorts are worthy of the Phinneys of our national cycling scene.
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 a development they have proudly decided to refer to as "goldenGate," which essentially interrupts the stitching along both of the chamois' side panels, allowing for 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.equipe_S7 comes in a claimed weight of 168g, which is the second lightest of the four new shorts in the _S7 collection, with leg panels finished with new low-volume, calibrated-stretch superFlat grippers to keep the cuffs securely in place.