Cycling is something we do for enjoyment; it’s a pastime that can deliver great pleasure—the physicality of it, performing at your best, the adrenaline, serotonin and endorphins coursing through your body. Having your bike well-tuned, your gears not missing a beat, your position balanced and efficient, fresh tyres gripping bitumen curves as you power forward is vital too. Many rides don’t achieve these heights for one reason or another; maybe adverse weather or a mechanical glitch or you’re feeling less than 100% takes the shine off. But when the stars are aligned, a good ride with your mates, or just you, your bike and the road… it can be almost sublime.
Clothing can contribute significantly to a great ride, especially when considering contact points with the bike. Ill-fitting shoes or bulky bunching gloves can be annoying, frustrating and painful. Likewise, and probably in the mind of many even more importantly, fit and comfort is just not negotiable when it comes to clothing for the third touch point between you and your bike—your knicks. Assuming comfortable and appropriate saddle selection, your knicks can make or break your riding experience. You just don’t want to skimp on quality down there! The repercussions of a dodgy chamois on a long ride hardly bear thinking about, though it does bring to mind a 24 hour mountain bike event in 2005. Thousands of revolutions of the cranks, chafing, abrading, grinding, the likelihood of irritation, raw, weeping wounds in hot and sweaty shorts will bring you to a standstill. And more than a tear to your eye. Thankfully most knicks won’t result in such horror but a comfortable pair with a quality chamois, well designed, well stitched quality fabric panels and broad shoulder straps that don’t bunch or slide will definitely contribute to a more pleasant ride and potentially improve your performance.
Enter the game changer from Assos. T Equipe bibknicks are their mid-range training and racing line, which sits above the Neopro, and just below the Cento and the top of the line Campionissimo. Both the Cento and Campionissimo feature the amusingly named ‘Kuku Penthouse’ an extra level of comfort in the front of the chamois.
The T Equipes are a special pair of shorts. They look the goods with an Assos signature purple coloured band on the left leg cuff, and silicone grippers inside both. The shoulder straps are wide 47mm elasticated fabric and carry a ‘bib stabilizator’ a small rubber bar across each strap to keep the straps from curling. Importantly the shorts fit well when you’re in a riding position for a comfortable ride. The stitching is impeccable, with no loose threads throughout. The knicks are a snug, comfortable racing fit, made from a firm polyamide /elastane/ polyester (i.e. spandex or lycra) fabric. They have a ‘racer back’ design and low cut front so you’ll keep cool on hot days. The chamois or pad is an interesting waffle design that has a soft comfortable feel. It’s not fully sewn into the bibs around the perimeter as some are, but rather ‘tacked on’ securely and effectively in just a couple of spots, leaving the area between the legs free of seams. Assos call this their ‘Golden Gate’ and claim it allows a small amount of movement for the pad and results in a more comfortable fit. It’s easy to be sceptical about some of the marketing features that accompany new products, but I must concede I did notice the ‘golden gate’ working as claimed! I wonder about the longevity of this design though. Will the pad being stitched in just a few spots remain intact for the life for the shorts? There are a couple of firm foam inserts under the pad positioned to cushion your sit bones on the saddle that work really well. There’s no doubt Assos have produced a very comfortable pair of shorts here.
Assos claim some impressive stats for the T Equipe knicks including 14% reduction in weight, 23% less genital pressure, 17% more soft compression and 21% better breathability and dryness compared to their previous designs.
The Assos T Equipe bibknicks are pro- level racing apparel. They’re comfortable, well-made and look good. They carry the Assos logo and deliver on the weight of expectation that it brings. If you are looking to buy a comfortable pair of top quality knicks you should consider Assos and the T Equipes.
Distributed by Echelon Sports