The annual Eurobike trade show fills 12 halls, each the size of an aircraft hanger, with the latest products from every facet of the cycle industry.
So it takes something special to stand out from the crowd and Assos’ new bib short platform – dubbed the Game Changer _s7 – certainly did that.
The new shorts took pride of place on the Assos stand but it was a case of “look, don’t touch” and we were forbidden from taking photographs of the shorts’ patent-pending features.
We can describe them to you, though, with the aid of the Swiss brand’s enthusiastic marketing blurb.
A chamois is typically sewn into a short in its entirety, however on the _s7, Assos have interrupted the sewing in the area between the legs, a feature they call “Golden Gate” and which is said to improve freedom of movement and reduce friction “in the most sensitive area of the shorts”.
The side of the chamois is also finished with “anatomical side flaps” designed to reduce chafing on the side of the saddle. At the front of the short there’s the “Kuku Penthouse” – a feature best described by Assos.
“The front part of the insert features a round-shaped pattern insert made of skin contact textile, with no foam,” reads their marketing literature. “Not only does it create a ‘nest’ into which the male’s genitals are properly ‘stored’, but it also keeps them ‘cooler’. You’ve only got three, protect them!”
Swiftly moving on and other features include a “rear terminal”, where the back of the insert is incorporated with the lower section of the shorts. As for the insert itself, that’s made from a memory foam developed with Elastic Interface, designed to compress under load and to return to its original position when weight is shifted on the saddle. Assos have also used a perforated foam which they claim reduces weight and increases breathability.
As a result, Assos say the _s7 short is 14 per cent lighter and provides 23 per cent less genital pressure than their previous flagship short, the highly-rated _s5 reviewed on RoadCyclingUK last summer.
Forty seven per cent fewer seams also results in less friction, say Assos, while the shorts are claimed to offer 17 per cent more compression and 21 per cent more breathability.
The _s7 range will be made up of four “mission-specific” shorts. “Frequent riders need more than one pair of shorts,” say Assos, “but there is little reason to own several pairs of the expensive T.Campionissimo. Why? The same reason there is no need for champagne, foie gras and Beluga caviar every day.
“Just like our werksmannschaft [the Assos factory team], you might ride every day, and while one day might be an important race, another might be a leisurely rider with friends. Different needs mean different shorts.”
The four shorts are called the T.Neopro, T.Equipe, T.100 and T.Campionissimo and are designed to offer a regular fit, racing fit, comfort fit and compressive racing fit. The shorts get lighter, more feature-laden and more expensive as you move up the range, starting at €137 and rising to €179, €239 and €339 respectively. UK prices are to confirmed and the shorts will be officially launched in December.