The story of how Assos’s founder, Toni Maier, discovered more than 40 years ago that Lycra was faster in the wind tunnel than both wool and naked skin (that’s another story) is well known.
So it’s surprising that Assos does not claim any wind-tunnel testing for the RS Aero jersey particularly when its competitors and fellow WorldTour team sponsors Rapha and Endura, brands which also sponsor WorldTour teams, lead their marketing with theirs.
OK, so you don’t need a wind tunnel to tell you that tighter is faster, and the Assos Equipe RS Aero uses the Swiss brand’s new aeroFit, which it says is its trimmest, most speed focused cut. As with Assos garments past and present, this jersey is designed to fit best when in the bike position, so although the front may seem short and the shoulders appear to pull when standing up, everything feels right once tucked over the bars. Obviously it depends on your body shape but I’ve generally found Assos jerseys to fit better than most brands and to look flattering at the same time – not always easy – and the Equipe RS Aero is no different.
Some aero jerseys have gone further down the half-skinsuit route than Assos’s, with pockets so small they’re almost redundant in order to save a few watts, but it’s good to see the Equipe RS Aero has three rear pockets of normal road jersey proportions with internal textile ‘lids’ to ensure nothing jumps. These are relatively high and well supported and don’t suffer from the dreaded pocket sag, even though the jersey back is made from an extremely light mesh-like fabric. (Assos claims UPF30 protection for this.)
It helps that the pockets themselves are made from an almost compressive stretchy warp knit textile that Assos calls Push Pull – the same fabric as the sleeves – with a vertical reflective strip bonded to the middle one.
The front is made from yet another fabric – a textured knit with 3D pattern of tiny cells that Assos says has been developed with breathability and moisture transfer in mind, and that tops out with a yoke skinsuit-style collar.
Finally, the Assos Equipe RS Aero is incredibly light at 128g for the size medium – so light you can hardly tell you’re wearing it.
Textiles is, after all, Assos’s forte and the performance of the Assos Equipe RS Aero jersey in the very hot weather this July can’t be faulted. It looks great, it feels great and it just all works great. You know the zip will work with one hand if you need it to. It has the premium look and feel that we’ve come to expect of Assos – which is even more impressive considering these days the top aero jerseys from Rapha, Endura and Gore are more expensive than this one, which is Assos’s range topper.
My only niggle – I’m not that bothered about lack of wind tunnel data – is that the reflective strip on the middle rear pocket started to peel after only one wash cycle, but not enough that it can be peeled off completely (yet) so currently looks just a bit scruffy. Having visited Assos HQ at San Pietro di Stabio a few years back and seen the ‘laundry room’ where Assos prototypes are subjected to sustained abuse by washing machine to find out how colourfast their dyes are, whether they shrink or bag, how many rub cycles they can withstand before the material bobbles, abrades or disintegrates and various other destruction tests, I have to say it’s not what I expected.
However this is just a small thing in what is otherwise a great jersey and is not in my opinion a deal breaker, especially considering the Assos Equipe RS Aero is priced lower than the top aero jerseys from Assos’s competitors.