Assos Mille Jersey, budget Assos?

Yeah, shoot me, I know. Describing something that’s circa £100 as budget is a ridiculous proposition. But that rather depends on your point of view. If you look around you can certainly get this jersey cheaper. It’s currently £83.60 at Wiggle if you have platinum discount. It’s been down as low as about £73 on there recently. If you google effectively you should be able to find it quite easily at a more reasonable price. Anyhow, everything is relative. And in terms of relativity to the rest of the Assos range then this is pretty much the cheapest that they do.

This is the second iteration of the Mille jersey. It’s very different from the old one in many ways but the same in one very important area. The Mille jersey is the only jersey in the Assos range which is capable of making you feel better about yourself. That’s because it’s the only one that’s correctly sized or, at least, correctly described. I have a 39″ chest and take a large in quite a lot of cycle clothing. I’m a medium in most real world clothes. So, to be told that I’m an XL in cycle clothing can be a bit annoying. It’s not world ending, as long as it fits it doesn’t really matter. But I remember needing (at the same size I am now) a 2XL in a Sportful top once. Come on. In the Mille jersey, unlike the rest of the Assos (top half) range, I’m a large. And not only does the large fit me it’s also quite relaxed overall. So, if you do take a fancy to it after my review not only is it relaxed fit, you also need to size down (if you have an Assos jersey already).

The Mille jersey is available in 5 different colours. Mine is the red version, but you also get to choose between white, yellow, blue or green. Save that you don’t. They are for all intents and purposes exactly the same other than their sleeve colour. The fronts are always black and the rears are always white. That’s it. Choose your sleeve colour. That’s a bit different to the old one as well where you at least got to choose a colour that embraced the entire front of the jersey. It’s fair to say, as well, that the asymmetric design may not be for everyone. You might not like black either, more of that later. But it’s actually a fairly subtle jersey. And for Assos, it’s practically undercover.

The entire jersey is, once again, made from Assos proprietary materials. Or, if you like, their own mix of polyester, polyamide and elastane.

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Let’s deal with this up front. There is nothing special about this jersey at all really. There are no clever arm grippers, the material is simply terminated and stitched. There aren’t really any clever inserts for ventilation. The amount of panels is kept to the absolute minimum. The waist gripper, at least at the front, is the same as that of the sleeves. There are, at least, some rubber inserts at the rear to keep the jersey from moving. The fabric is heavily perforated which creates a substantially airy feel.

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The sleeves are sublimated so that print will always look as good as the day you bought it. It is fairly subtle I guess. The black and white pattern is replicated across the range. Only the main colour of the sleeve changes.

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Round the back and you have your standard three pockets plus one zipped. There are reflective trims at both sides. There’s a nice giant Assos badge to remind anyone cycling behind you that you’re wearing Assos. The central area is all white. It’s still exactly the same fabric as the rest of the jersey. That’s another departure from the old version which was resplendent with all sorts of weird tech and some very dodgy looking side panels made of a material which I can’t even begin to describe.

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The waistband at the back is a bit more techy and is one of those very effective rubber band things. It’s a very comfortable set up. Once in place the jersey sits well, doesn’t sag at the back or balloon at the front.

The pockets are notable in their ability to store quite a lot of kit before there’s an discernable pulling. That’s impressive in such a lightweight jersey. There’s a central strip running across the top of the pockets which aids stability and strength.

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So, are feeling the love yet? No? That’s a shame. The Mille is, in my view, the best jersey that Assos sell. It may not be as advanced as the Rally jersey (but what is?), it’s not as technical as the Cape Epic either (that is more expensive). It has virtually none of the features that you’d see on the Campionissimo or Mangusta etc. It’s subtle to the point of being unrecognisable as Assos. Take the logos off and it could be anything at all.

And yet. For years I’ve always thought that the Mille jersey was just perfect at being a jersey that you put on, that fits well, that just gets on with being a jersey with no fuss and no drama. In terms of that brief it’s unassailable. And although there are no obviously tangible reasons why it might be better than a £40, £50 or £60 jersey it just is. Much of that is due to the way it fits. It’s easy to size up or size down a particular jersey to make it tighter or looser. But the Mille just feels right. There’s a close fit without it feeling like body paint. But despite the comfort there’s little or no flapping at speed.

It’s a very lightweight jersey as well. Not perhaps shaving as many grammes off as a climber’s jersey but this is a jersey for high summer and the mountains. Yeah, I know, that black front and arm isn’t the best choice overall but that’s why the rear, the most exposed to the direct sun, is white. It wicks very well indeed. I’ve never once regretted wearing this jersey in the hottest of conditions.

There’s nothing really difficult in making a good jersey. And you can do it very cheaply actually. A lot of the more expensive cycle gear such as bibshorts, jackets and shoes are a bit more expensive because they need to be. A jersey is generally just some good material sewn together so that it fits. Above that everything else is gravy. But I do think that this is the best jersey that Assos makes and, such is its overall quality, it’s actually well priced. Indeed, it’s not only budget Assos, it’s arguably budget premium as well, if there is a such a thing.

The previous Mille was a good jersey with a load of tech going on. The replacement is more old school in its approach but a better jersey which I think speaks volumes in relation to some of the so claimed gains that we’re seeing in relation to a lot of cycling clothing. That’s not to diminish this jersey. The proprietary material, despite being a seemingly straightforward poly mix, is nicer than many others, it is more comfortable and it’s just nicer next to the skin. If you’re in the market for something that just does the job you could do an awful lot worse than this. If I were pushed I’d say it’s one of my favourite jerseys ever. It’s not quite the best though, more on that soon.

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