In this review I’ll be looking at two of Assos’ bibshorts. The Tiburu, which are the go-to spring/autumn/winter thermal bibshorts and the Mille which are the ‘replacement’ for the ‘entry level’ Neo Pro.
You may know from my previous review that the Assos tk.607 were one of my favourite things. They existed in both winter short and bib knicker form. And, a few years ago, Assos replaced them with the Tiburu short and bib knicker. Given my love for the tk.607, I ordered some of the new Tiburu from Wiggle, tried them on, hated them and sent them back. Consider that a kneejerk reaction on an epic scale. The reason was a simple one or, perhaps, two. Assos lowered the belly line and moved the straps outwards. That was quite the revolution at the time. The experience taught me two things; the first was to try something and decide then if it works (though that’s quite hard if you need to send it back) and the second is that what felt great before can colour how you feel about something new. I’m still not awfully convinced about that lowered waistline, it’s better when you lose a few pounds, but I am coming round to the conclusion now that the straps are perfection. And the thing is, those are pretty minor things overall. What’s important is fit, feel, construction and comfort. Assos always understood this and they continue to excel.
Assos S7 Tiburu bibshorts
The Tiburu bibshorts are quite remarkable things. They are properly usable all year round and that’s not just testament to how dull UK weather is, it’s testament to how properly good the Tiburu bibshorts are. Now, you have to choose what to do with them. Clearly, they won’t work all that well at subzero temps without, at the very least, some knee warmers. But that’s a given with all thermal bibshorts. If you pick up some decent knee warmer and leg warmer combos then you have something very versatile indeed.
The Tiburu shorts are, once again, an exercise in high tech proprietary features, as you’d naturally expect from Assos. So, there’s a combination here of the 610.RX fabric (the waffly stuff we’ll get to later), a windproof front section and some water repellency. What’s immediately apparent is they are lighter than the previous version, so achieving something warm becomes even more of a challenge.
Let’s deal with pad first. The Tiburu carries the Equipe pad found in the, well, Equipe version of the S7 bibshort range. So, it’s the second pad up in the range and designed for all day comfort. All the new tech is present such as the Golden Gate pad attachment which separates the pad from being sewn into the shorts all the way round so that it moves around with you. It’s a supremely comfortable pad that should suit a wide range of body shapes. There’s no fancy kuku penthouse present here but, in practice, that makes no appreciable difference. It’s also a good choice for 4 season wear when you might go that bit slower, spend more time in the saddle, less time out of it.
You can quite clearly see the 610.RX fabric above. It’s very warm indeed and seems to trap the warmth in very effectively. As such, with suitable knee or leg warmers, I’ve been able to use these below freezing and remain comfortable. Indeed, they pass that most important of tests, not thinking at all about the clothing you are wearing.
The 610.RX fabric is much less pronounced on the outside but still visibly waffly. There are some reflective trim inserts at the back as well. It’s put together with the quality that you expect from Assos.
But it’s the front section that’s most interesting. That ‘cod piece’ effect that you see there is an entirely separate windproof panel. So, all your important bits benefit from additional shielding. And it really works. The rest of you is kept warm, but breathable. The bits that need protecting are given the benefit of extra shielding. The construction of this section is double shielded as well, so windproof on the outside, soft material inside and then, of course, the chamois section. It all adds up to something like winter armour for your groin.
The termination of the leg sections remains utterly traditional with silicone grippers. Not too tight and a perfect fit. The Tiburu are, compared the the Mille, compressive in nature.
The water repellency is superb. Water beads, runs off and keeps you relatively dry. It will eventually get through, of course, but it is a very useful addition to have. So far, after many many washes (about 20 in all) it still seems to be present and working.
It’s the wide range of temperatures though that mark these out as being special. Despite being able to wear them at sub zero you can also happily wear them at 20 degrees as well. That makes them a proper 4 seasons piece. Assos claim that they’re also designed for the Nordic summer. Well, yes. But I’d wager Nordic summers in the Tundra region are often better than the UK. So, if you’re in a temperamental climate, you will get use from these all year round.
The price? Well, yes, that’s expensive, as you might expect. £175 rrp. For context that’s only £30 more than the summer version of the Equipe and given how durable and useable they are it is a good investment bearing in mind Assos’ legendary quality and their repair policy. I won’t upset you too much with how much I paid as I stumbled on two pairs in a clearance store but they were only £’s more than some of the more budget brands offering thermal bibshorts. But, yes, I would buy them at full price and be very happy with my purchase. There’s a longevity to them, so I know I’m going to be wearing them for an awful long time to come.
Funny thing first impressions. If I’d have stuck with them I never would have tried these again. My second and ongoing impression are that these are better than what they replaced. Given how fond I was of the 607 range, that’s high praise indeed.
Assos S7 Mille Bibshorts
The ‘old’ Mille S5 were my favourite of Assos’ bibshort range despite being ‘only’ the second model up and not the most expensive one. The Uno were good but always felt a little less special than the Mille overall. Still great, just not quite as nice.
But with the introduction of the S7 range the name Mille fell by the wayside for a little while. It’s been making a bit of a comeback with the Mille S7 Intermediate jersey and the like and now makes its triumphant return to the bibshort range.
Assos describe the Mille as an evolution of the S7 Neo Pro bibshorts, which was the previous entry level model. Replacement or evolution? I don’t suppose it really matters all that much. But that evolution is our gain for a variety of reasons and not least the price. The RRP of the Neo Pro was around £120 and the new Mille £100. Leverage in a discount voucher or a platinum discount at Wiggle and you’re looking at something under £90. That’s a hell of a saving on the old ones assuming there’s been no cost cutting.
I’m happy to confirm that not much has really changed. You’re still looking at some damn silky lycra, the pad is the same, the straps the same. So, apart from the price the only other headline is the fit, and that’s the really good news for some of us. There’s a bit more ‘width’ to accommodate the more athletic or robust physique. Assos generally sell on height. So, at 5ft 10 I usually opt for a large in all their shorts. With the Tiburu there’s a bit of an art to getting them on, a bit of a routine, but the fit is sublime. With the Mille they are noticeably easier to pull on at the same size. There’s still some compression, fit is still superb, the straps still sit where they should. It all just works. For your average day out, coffee stop ride or 100 mile sportive, you won’t know you’re wearing them. They disappear.
While the Mille pad is also ‘entry level’ it still incorporates a variety of different density pads underneath and retains the Golden Gate technology. Obviously, like the Equipe pad, there’s no Kuku Penthouse. It’s a massively comfy thing on which to sit. Indeed, I gave it a bit of a baptism of fire alternating between some daily commutes, 50+ milers and then using them off road for Battle on the Beach. That’s a great test of a bib as it turns out. 2 hours of in and out of the saddle, bouncing up and down, getting hammered by poor surfaces. And they handled every discipline with aplomb. Just like the Equipe and Tiburu there’s also no sign whatsoever of any abrasions or wear.
There’s nothing shouty about the Mille bibshort, even the contrast leg trim colour is missing here. A simple, non fussy, black bibshort that you can match to anything.
Once again the grippers are traditional, as in the Tiburu, and none the worse for it. Sizing on the thigh, despite the ‘up sizing’ of the rest of the short remains perfect.
There’s a lot to love about the Mille bibshorts. Stick them next to the more expensive Equipe and you’d be very hard pushed to perceive any real difference. I’ve already said that for every day riding I considered the Equipe level to be more than enough bibshort finding it hard to justify, personally, moving up to the Cento let alone the Campionissimo. And given that bit more width in the Mille I wonder if it might be slightly hard to justify the Equipe too. But, they do have that nice pink line. And I do like the colour pink so very much. That aside, Assos’ more expensive bibshorts, while the may be that bit better, could see themselves being a real target of the Mille.
The Mille are, yet again, a pretty good example of Assos subtly altering the price points that their products are appearing at and giving a bit more choice to the more robust rider. £100 is still an awful lot of money for bits of sewn together lycra, but there’s an awful lot going on here with which to justify that investment and, as I’ve already said, with a bit of discount, these also offer excellent value in addition to performance, quality and durability. It’s pretty easy therefore to give them my unequivocal recommendation.