Sunday, 3 May 2015

[Review] Why I returned my Assos T.neoPro_s7 Bib Shorts

Assos T.neoPro_s7 Bib Shorts shoulder straps
I think most cyclists reach a point where spending £100+ for a pair of high end bib shorts is a worthwhile investment. I had just reached this point and, being aware of Assos' outstanding reputation, when I saw the newly released T.neoPro_s7 had great reviews on Wiggle I thought it was time to give them a go.

As you might have gathered from the title, all did not quite go to plan, read on to find out why...

Summary
I feel like these bib shorts are a tale of two halves (literally, read the review). In some aspects the high quality is clear to see, but they seem to get several very big things wrong, which made the decision to return them an easy one. A disappointing purchase after reading all of the Assos hype online and another reminder that individual fit is much more important than price tag or brand.

The good The bad 
  • Wide, comfortable shoulder straps
  • Understated design
  • Short leg inseam length
  • Chamois design

Initial impressions
Assos are great at marketing and the initial product packaging presentation is excellent which gives that nice excitement factor. First impressions of these £129 bib shorts were good.

The bib shorts are packaged with a booklet containing some gritty cycling photos of hardy looking men and marketing spiel about how awesome Assos are and how to take care of them.

Looks
I went with the T.neoPro_s7 because they have an under-stated, all black look. Great to match with all jerseys and not too flashy and in your face (a criticism of the Rapha bib shorts I agree with is the huge white Rapha text on the leg).

The black "Volkanga" finish is somewhere between matte and shiny. Not much else to say really.

Comfort & Fit
The main reason for investing in a decent pair of high end bib shorts is the comfort and fit. In exchange for quite a lot of money, cyclists expect a better designed product made from higher quality materials which will allow us to ride further and in more comfort. Freeing us from discomfort and letting us focus on more productive things in our training and just "enjoy the ride".

Starting from the top - the shoulder straps are wide and made from a lovely soft material - very comfortable, however I did get some irritation between my shoulder blades where the shoulder straps meet. I wasn't sure if this was just some stitching or something, but it was still an annoyance.

My main issue with the T.neoPro_s7 is the chamois design. Unlike any other bib shorts I have owned previously, the rear of the chamois seems to be made up of two separate pads (left and right), when sat in the normal riding position this is not an issue because the pads spread to support your sit bones as they should. However, when standing to ride out of the saddle these two pads seem to be pushed together and invert on themselves which gives the wholly unpleasant feeling that they are being pushed between your bum cheeks.

I don't think this was a fit issue as I tried a few different sizes and they all seemed to do the same thing. This is a real shame as the other elements of the chamois seemed to work very well, the padding feels lovely and the ultra-soft microfiber material which covers it feels glorious.

As far as I know, the shape of my ass is not freakishly abnormal so I'm quite surprised no-one else has experienced similar discomfort with the chamois as it seems like a design flaw which would affect everyone rather than just an individual fit issue.

I would say the leg inseam length of the Assos T.neoPro_s7 is medium to short. I am 6' 4" (193cm) so all bib shorts are shorter than I would like in the leg but these are noticeably shorter than my Morvelo and Santini bib shorts. For me, they're almost approaching hot pant territory which I don't quite have the physique (or the tan!) for. If you are a tall rider it is definitely worth bearing this in mind.

After reading so much hype about Assos online, I was left feeling quite disappointed with the fit and for me, at least, they were considerably less comfortable than bib shorts half the price. Although the quality could be seen and felt in several areas of the shorts, the most important factor I judge a pair of bib shorts on - comfort, had much to be desired.

Do you own these shorts or another pair of Assos bib shorts? Leave your comments below or tweet us @velocorner.

Photos

Assos packaging

T.neoPro_s7 box


T.neoPro_s7 chamois padding

Assos T.neoPro_s7 chamois side view

1 comment :

  1. I am 6'2", about 210 lbs, and the XLG fit me very well. The leg length, as the review indicates, is a bit shorter than I would like but not alarmingly so. But the chamois is, for me, the most comfortable I have ever used. In particular, when sitting on the saddle, I experience a much greater sense of connection to the bike and road compared to any other cycling pants I have used. When standing to pedal, I do not experience anything unusual

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