As I was finishing this bit of writing another website ‘got there first.’ Their conclusion was that the Tiburu was great, but limited in the wind and rain, ergo 3 1/2 stars. And that got me thinking about how such things are reviewed. I’ve made no apologies for putting pieces of kit through more than they were designed for in the past. Where they pass, that’s to their credit. But, if they fail at something they were patently not designed to do, does that diminish them?
And if it seems that we’re all reaching for our Alpha jerseys, Gabba jackets, rain repellent wear or water resistant summer jerseys because, well, they do everything, does that mean that the place for the traditional piece of kit that does one thing is under threat? Should our cycling wardrobe essentially be 3 season with a few additions for the very hottest and coldest of days. I can see some merit in that. But it would also be oh so very boring.
Part of the ‘issue’ of reviewing Assos’ tiburu jacket is just that. Jacket. But Assos are not alone in declaring that a winter weight jersey is a jacket. So that preconception of heft should be jettisoned. The Tiburu is simply, if one can call Assos kit simple, a roubaix jersey. And I like those things so very much.
It’s worth adding that I’m testing the ‘old’ model. But the new one differs very little other than ditching the arm patterns and, crucially, coming in at a much more reasonable price. For where this tested version has historically sold in the region of £180 despite having a £145 rrp (I paid £90 in the sales) the new one starts at £145 rrp and is available for quite a bit less. Obviously, that’s not cheap, but it’s worth noting that it’s high quality and Assos will try and fix it if you try too hard and end up breaking it.
It is a striking thing. I actually own two. The python green above and a black front version. The new model adds orange, yellow and an all black version, profblack even, but the new model ditches the asymmetric sleeve design.
It’s made of proprietary fabrics much like its ‘matching’ Tiburu bibshort. In this case the tech is Assos’ RX607 low volume, high permeability, thermal fabric, flat on some parts and raised/patterned on others. The idea is that you get something warmer than a regular thermal jersey, hence the jacket moniker. But also something that won’t overheat you. For something that weighs so very little, that’s a huge challenge.
The collar is mid height and also made from the waffly RX fabric. For me the height is spot on with just the right amount of protection awarded. The zip is high quality and the grabber makes it easy to operate with even a decently thick winter glove.
The sleeves consist of two types of material. The outward facing section is the waffly type and the inner facing a smoother fleece type. The theory here is that what you ‘lose’ in windproofing you gain in warmth. It’s not just theory, it does just that. Like the Bonka jacket this older design, with it’s geometric shapes, is very useful for catching the eye when moving and, crucially, when indicating.
The back is the usual setup. So you get Assos’ structural support down the back which makes sure that things don’t sag. There are three open pockets. The middle one is slightly thinner than the other two so that makes a good mobile phone pocket. They’re all sufficiently deep. There’s a zipped valuable pocket which is fairly easy to access on the go. It’s not waterproof, but it’s still an effective ‘filter’ for your goodies if wet. There is a lack of reflective material, the only concessions being two small tabs at the side.
Like a lot of Assos gear, the Tiburu is very versatile. Because Assos take great strides with their ALS approach (Assos layering system) you can be sure that the other bits of kit that Assos offer will integrate. So, chuck this under a Falkenzahn or a Team Vest and you can be sure that it will fit and operate seamlessly. Alternatively, on those very cold days, you could wear a Tiburu under the Habu jacket turning the ensemble into something very warm indeed, though perhaps that’s overkill. The lengths of the arms, collar and waist sections will always mesh.
But, in general, you’ll be wearing this with a long sleeve base layer in spring and autumn or, at the most, with a gilet in winter. And in the absence of windproofing, is it realistic to recommend the Tiburu when something like the Mille jacket with a heavy base layer could do a similar job? Well, that’s a question.
It’s nice to have a choice. It’s nice to be able to put this on when it’s chilly and get warmth. And in that respect it’s very effective indeed. When do I wear it? Well, overcast days, chilly days, breezy days. Much like the Castelli Potenza Long Sleeve Jersey it’s useable in a wide variety of conditions providing it’s not wet or damp. The lack of windproofing isn’t an issue. In terms of value, is it worth more than the Castelli? Well, actually, it’s priced less at RRP, quite a lot less actually. It’s just that the Castelli ended up at around the £100 mark, similar to what I paid for the Assos. It’s not quite as warm because it’s much less bulky. But there’s only a few degrees in it.
One of the great features is just how comfortable it is. There’s a little bit of pulling when standing upright but, that usual but true cliche, on the bike it snaps into position. No bulging, just a bang on fit.
It’s another great piece from Assos. It’s not quite a jacket on a figurative construction but pretty much there on any literal one. Sure, if it’s cold, windy or damp, get the Habu. If it’s freezing, get the Bonka. But for all those other days this and the Mille are nice things to swap around. It does the job that it’s intended to, no point moaning about the stuff it’s not intended to do.