Conditions in both Spring and Autumn are notoriously hard to dress for. The unpredictability of temperatures that aren’t quite cold enough for full winter kit and aren’t quite warm enough for summer outfits mean that savvy kit choices are the key to a successful ride.
Assos has cleverly tried to solve this conundrum by creating a new layering system for its 2021 Autumn collection, providing customers with a plethora of modular dressing options.
A bike ride beginning at over 2,000m above sea level and ending back down in the valley seemed like the perfect opportunity to put this innovative collection to the test. While we would start with a chilly 7km descent, the ride included a couple of long ascents later on which would require a more breathable kit. As is common in September, a few showers were on the forecast too, making the 100km ride the ideal stage to test Assos’ new kit across all conditions.
As we emerged from the mountain hut where we’d spent the night, the air was fresh and there was a cold breeze. Aware of the long downhill section to come, I wrapped up warm, wearing the full Assos accompaniment: RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9, RS Spring Fall Jacket and the Spring Fall Aero Gilet. Having a cold core is one of my main fears on the bike as being chilly completely takes the fun out of the ride. Assos’ Dyora layering system did a great job at keeping out the cold, while ensuring I didn't overheat as the road went up ahead.
RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9
The Spring Fall Bib shorts are lined with a fleecy interior that was highly insulating on my legs – a crucial muscle to keep warm to avoid a decline in performance. While they were thicker than what I’m used to, the material was still extremely breathable. Later in the ride, when we began to climb, I was concerned that the bib shorts would feel too warm and I’d wish for a pair of normal bibs. However, I barely noticed the difference between them and some of my lighter shorts when I was riding. I felt the benefit of the insulating layer on the descents, but it certainly wasn’t a hindrance when climbing.
In terms of chamois, the shorts were very comfortable. Assos’ famed Goldengate technology means that there is no stitching on either side of the central part of the pad, allowing the shorts to move with you. I found that this avoided any unwanted friction or rubbing throughout the duration of my ride. The antibacterial microfibre fabric was fast drying and didn’t hold moisture even on the most difficult (and sweaty) sections of steep climbs.
The A-lock strap design of the bibs helps to keep them in place even further, I never felt the need to adjust them or sensed any form of abrasion, despite changing position quite frequently on the ride as I got out of the saddle for tough climbs and in to the drops for long descents. Compared to other bib shorts I’ve worn, the front of the Assos Spring Fall Bib shorts does sit relatively low on the body. If you prefer a higher, more compressive fit at the front of the shorts then I’d say that these wouldn’t suit, but for me, the lower cut helped to regulate temperature and minimised overheating. It also wasn’t low enough that there was a gap between the top of the shorts and jacket.
The short length was slightly longer than I’m used to, but this is going to depend on the wearer’s height and it wasn’t an issue for me. In a pair of bibs that are designed for colder weather, the longer length was actually a helpful feature. I paired them with leg warmers earlier on in the ride and they stayed up perfectly underneath the shorts thanks to the Dyora Spring Fall Bib Shorts’ compressive nature.
RS Spring Fall Jacket
The Spring Fall jacket was the garment I was most excited about when I first heard of Assos’ new collection. Finding a jacket that strikes the perfect balance between being warm but not too insulating has been a wish of mine for years as I’ve struggled up climbs overheating when the weather wasn’t cold enough for a full winter kit. It’s fair to say that Assos’ new jacket is a game changer in this department.
The combination of fabrics works especially well – Assos has used a highly elastic ribbed fabric on the sleeves which delivers light insulation, but a much warmer fabric on the front and upper back panels, where the wind hits most. The underarm and lower back section is much thinner, an ideal combination that optimises the jacket for autumnal riding. It keeps you warm on the downhill but is breathable enough that I didn’t even have the desire to unzip it when climbing back up.
Raw cut hems and and pre-shaped panels tick all the boxes when it comes down to aerodynamics, keeping the jacket looking sleek and simple despite the innovative fabric combination. It’s worth noting that the Dyora collection is race-focussed, so the jacket is close fitting and it would be wise to size up for a more forgiving fit (I wore a size Medium in the test).
Despite a focus on the jacket being aerodynamic and suited to racing, Assos has not compromised on practicality. A reflective silver panel on the rear pocket is a handy safety feature for when rides are heading into the later hours and all of the pockets feature a small extra layer of fabric along the top to give full protection to any valuables.
Silicone grippers at the end of each sleeve keep the jacket firmly in place and a dual zipper means it can be unzipped from both the top and the bottom if extra airflow is required. The attention to detail was very impressive, but also what you would hope for as the jacket comes at a premium price of £265. I can see this becoming a staple in my kit collection though and would argue that it is worth the investment.
Spring Fall Aero Gilet
The gilet was a real lifesaver after stopping at the top of climbs before long descents. The terrain was predictably undulating in Switzerland so there were plenty of occasions where I appreciated the extra layer going downhill. The gilet is a simple garment, but it’s effective in its aim: keeping the core temperature stable and protected while maintaining the aero profile of the kit.
The gilet fit perfectly over the Spring Fall jacket, blending quite seamlessly to create what almost looked like just one layer. It avoided the bulky feeling that you can get sometimes when wearing multiple layers, and really fit Assos’ claim that the collection is “sharp and drag-free”. The three-layer softshell for the front did a great job at fighting the wind while a lighter, more breathable textile in the back meant I was able to move without overheating. The high cut collar was also crucial when descending as it helped block out all cold air.
As with the Spring Fall jacket, the gilet is very tight fitting and is a different proposition to usual gilets that can often have a looser cut to fit over winter layers. The gilet is not something that you could put over a jacket that is much thicker than the Assos Spring Fall Jacket mentioned above, meaning it isn’t the most versatile of garments for a price of £200. Still, it packs small and is really a handy addition to have in your pocket to pop on when the temperature drops.
Dyora RS Rain Jacket
Assos' rain jacket is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating an outfit that can be suitable for any weather conditions. It's designed for the wettest of weather. Admittedly we didn't have too much of this on our ride so couldn't put the jacket fully through its paces.
On the small downpours we faced, the rain jacket performed exceptionally well. Virtually no moisture got through the waterproof softshell outer while the openings on the lower rear panel meant the jacket was still breathable. The extension of the back panel also kept me protected from any unwanted spray and dirt from the road, as did watertight tapered seams.
As with all of the Dyora collection, the rain jacket has clearly been tried and tested by those who cycle day in, day out. Every detail has been thought of: the zip has a double slider meaning you can ventilate from the top or bottom, there is a gap so you can access rear pockets and the reflective strip boosts visibility. Unlike the rest of the collection, the rain jacket comes in an eye-catching purple colour, perfect for being seen in low light.
The fit is close to the body, but not as tight as the aforementioned Spring Fall jacket or gilet, meaning this is a waterproof that would fit over winter layers and serve you well all year round. It has stretch, too, meaning it's comfortable to wear and isn't restrictive on movement.
Overall, Spring Fall additions to the Assos Dyora range are crucial in bridging the gap between Summer and Winter kit. The layering system solves some age-old predicaments about kit choice and gives riders plenty more options for keeping the wheels turning throughout the year. It's not cheap, but such quality comes at a price and you really do get what you pay for – durable, practical, comfortable, high-performance kit.