Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Assos F1.Mille bibshort review


The Assos Mille shorts have been around in various iterations for years. It is the workhorse of the pricy Assos line. At first glance inside and out the shorts look deceptively simple. No trendy white stitching, no brazen logos or contrasting panels. Even the chamois looks plain in comparison to the space age look of other multi layered chamois. For us old school riders, we love the classic lines and understated look that says these shorts are all business to those in the know.

Despite elaborate packaging and the typical European purchase reinforcement (congratulations on purchasing the finest ______ money can buy...) when you drop them on the floor you think, "A little Lycra and a fancy potholder in the crotch. I paid how much for these? I've been robbed!" These shorts remind me of what goes through my mind when I see a frame stripped down. "Hey, this thing is just a bunch of tubes joined together!" When those tubes get built up into a bicycle a miracle occurs. In the same way, when you put these on and magic happens.

The fabric is stretchy and thin. I loved it on long hot days in the saddle. While it doesn't top the charts in muscle compression; they disappear once on, and don't bind or restrict in any way. There wasn't any creep so the fit and leg grippers do their jobs.

An oddity, is the number of labels these bibs have. On the plus side, they are all small, but a button with the Assos "A" on it sits on my right cheek, another tiny Assos label in the middle of my butt, supplement a size label in the center of the back and another label on one of the bib straps. I like the two small reflective strips that make me visible at night, but the abundance of these small bits and bobbles is tolerable only because they are small.

The fit is perfect and the pad is right where it needs to be, not too far forward or too far aft. They aren't for standing around in, and when you aren't on the bike you will notice the straps bite, but these shorts aren't for standing around, so the fit reminds you to get back on the road.

The chamois is where the rubber meets the road, or to state it bluntly, where your butt meets its destiny. The chamois looks like a powder blue pot holder that has been loosely stitched in place. Compared to my Pactimo summit bib shorts these are worryingly devoid of seams and complex looking foams and fabrics. Although I would seriously question the color choice, the chamois is outstanding. Perhaps I should have used a phrase that didn't contain the word standing. The chamois is excellent. I wore a single pair for six straight days on my France trip when KLM lost my clothing. No problems with my netherregions and they washed and dried every evening (just take care to wring out the sponge-like chamois) after being washed in the shower and hung on a hanger to air dry.

The real test for any short is how we rank them once we own them. Do they end up at the back of the drawer, or do we smile when we get to wear them? Do we wear them in the rain, or save them for the epic days? I can tell you that last year when I did RAMROD I looked around and took note of how many riders chose the Assos Mille as their weapon of choice for the 240k ride that climbs over 3,000 meters. I saw more of those than any other short. I can wear anything for sixty k or less, once you get longer than a hundred k, you had better have made a wise choice. the Assos fit the bill.

These give a deserving five of five Evos.


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