Assos LL.habuTights_s7 - review

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Legwear

Assos LL.habuTights_s7 – review

Yes, these Assos bib tights will cost you, but the performance is fantastic

Once you strip back Assos’ excessive marketing terminology and look past the undeniably high price tag, the Swiss brand’s LL.habuTights_s7 really are rather brilliant. In fact, they are near-faultless – if you want an exceptionally comfortable set of bib tights and have £250 to spend, then these should be right at the top of your wish list.

The tights are primarily cut from an ‘RX Medium’ fabric, placing the LL.habuTights_s7 in Assos’ early winter range. The more expensive (£320) and fantastically-named LL.bonkaTights_s7 use the thicker ‘RX Heavy’ fabric but I’ve worn the habuTights right down to freezing and stayed toasty. For typical UK conditions (that is to say, variable), these provide plenty of warmth, without being limited to the coldest days.

Unlike most tights with a conventional brushed lining, RX Medium has a waffle-like texture on the inside – take a look at the photo below. It’s reasonably thick and sits comfortably next to the skin, while still providing an obvious escape route for excess heat and moisture. The fabric has also been exposed to a water repellent treatment, so light rain and road spray beads up on the surface. Anything much heavier or persistent and the tights are quickly saturated.

The LL.habuTights_s7 bib tights primarily uses Assos’ RX Medium fabric (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

The folk at Assos have used a double layer of RX Medium on the front of the knee to boost insulation without restricting range of movement. Windproof tights often feel restrictive and while Assos’ fabric won’t completely block out the wind, it does offer plentiful protection across a significant portion of the leg, while still maintaining plenty of stretch.

That’s further improved by the use of an ‘RX Light’ fabric on the back of the knee. Needless to say, it’s lighter than the RX Medium material and has a plain-old fleece lining. It adds a little extra stretch and improved breathability on a part of the leg not exposed to the wind. All things considered, Assos’ fabric selection, combined with an anatomical, multi-panel design, means the habuTights are exceptionally comfortable.

There’s more, too. A windproof fabric called ‘Stratagon’ has been used on the crotch and abdominal panel, ensuring, in Assos’ words, ‘this cold-sensitive area is protected from wind chill, reducing the need to urinate on those cooler rides’. Assos call this blasenSchutz, apparently. I’ve got no idea why, but the extra windproof protection is welcome.

The abdominal panel is cut low, too, so when you do need to pee, it’s a breeze. One criticism, however: I found the cut a touch loose around the very top of the abdominal panel, particularly when combined with the wide-sitting bib straps. The cut could be nipped in a bit here, but it’s not perceptible when riding.

A double-layer of fabric over the knee adds extra insulation (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

The tights are finished with silicone-lined elastic around the ankle. The cut tapers towards the foot so you need to take care when pulling the tights on, but once in place they hold firm. About six inches further up each leg there’s a generous reflective panel, sewn in only across the top so it doesn’t affect the fit and flexibility of the RX Light fabric beneath.

Assos LL.habuTights_s7 bib tights (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Assos LL.habuTights_s7 bib tights (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Assos LL.habuTights_s7 bib tights (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

Assos has long been renowned for the quality of its inserts and that’s the case here, too. The chamois shares the same design as the pad used on Assos’ s7 bib shorts and utilises the company’s goldenGate technology. Golden what? In simple terms, the pad is sewn into the front and back of the tights, while the middle is allowed to ‘float’ freely.

The chamois itself has a three-layer construction with up to 8mm of foam and a dimpled design to aid ventilation, though there’s no tangible difference over most pads out on the road. Meanwhile, the front of the pad extends significantly further up the front of the tights than normal, in an effort to add a little more comfort. The flip side is this creates a fair bit of a… bulge. Ahem.

The fact of the matter, however, is Assos remains one of the best in the business when it comes to chamois design. The pad is plush but not uncomfortably thick, the dimpled cover sits softly against the skin, and the multi-layered foam offers well-placed support in all the right areas. These tights, combined with my preferred saddle, make for many happy winter miles.

On to the straps; broad elasticated affairs which evenly distribute pressure across the chest and shoulders. Assos never misses an opportunity to name one of its technical features and the small insert above the mesh back panel is called, perhaps unsurprisingly, the bibStabilizer. I mean, we’ve never had too many problems in the past, but the habuTights’ straps are, well, stable and lie flat from back to front.

The wide bib straps provide ample support and sit flat over the shoulders (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

More interestingly, there’s an external pocket on the back of the tights, roughly where the right kidney is, which provides a useful spot to store an energy bar or couple of gels on a long winter rider, when your jersey pockets might otherwise be occupied by extra layers/inner tubes etc. Finally, if you want to take your glasses off mid-ride and don’t want to slot them into your helmet, there’s small tab on the straps to hang one of the arms over.

Verdict

Sometimes it’s difficult to decipher Assos’ – what’s important and what’s not – but this is the bottom line: the LL.habuTights_s7 are fantastic winter bib tights. There’s a lot of attention to detail here and while you can clearly get yourself a set of excellent set of bib tights for less than Assos’ £250 asking price, there is genuine quality and design consideration here. These are undoubtedly some of the best winter tights out there.

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Smart use of insulating and water resistant fabrics
  • Quality construction and excellent attention to detail

Cons

  • A little loose around the front
  • Fantastic performance comes at a cost

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