Assos Bibknickers : Tiburu S7 v Tiburu Mille S7

Long time readers will know how much I rate Assos kit. But as brilliant as their summer bibs are, for me Assos really do come into their own in the winter. Not really surprising for a Swiss company. I wrote a love letter some time back to the Tk.607 bibknickers and I didn’t really know how they could ever be bettered. Then, along came the Tiburu bibshorts which were even more comfortable than the 607 bibshorts which they replaced. So, back in the summer, when the Tiburu S7 bibknickers were on sale I bagged some. Then they got discontinued, it seems, though you can still find them if you look around. They’ve been replaced by the new Tiburu Mille bibknickers. In this review I’ll be looking at what the differences are.

I’ve said it a few times now that Assos are, for my money, carrying out a subtle repositioning of their products. The uber premium stuff remains, but some of the staple go to kit has been re-engineered and positioned at a lower price point. We’ve seen that with the Intermediate Jersey, and it’s also the case with the new Tiburu Jersey and Gilet. The former is a direct replacement for the old chequer arm version, the latter a replacement for the venerable Falkenzahn. Now, this repositioning hasn’t resulted in a cheap product, it’s not even really gone for a Rapha Core entry level, but it has knocked £50 or so off the RRP with little or no effect on performance or quality.

And it’s pretty much the same story, more or less, with the new Tiburu Mille bibknicker v the old Tiburu. So, let’s have a look at what we have.

The key product features of the ‘old’ Tiburu are:

  • Warm but not bulky
  • Water resistant
  • Ideal for spring, autumn and winter
  • Inspired by the legendary T.tiburuShort s7
  • Material: RX Medium Fabric with water resistant treatment
  • Front: Integrated Pad Protection (IPP) – extended layer of protection without seams
  • blasenSchutz (bladder protection) for more comfort in cooler conditions (Stratagon windblock fabric between the crotch and abdomen panel)
  • S7 insert: goldenGate, memory foam and an anatomical cut

And, in relation to the new Mille:

  • RX Heavy fabric with water-repellent treatment
  • Integrated Pad Protection (IPP) a patent-pending technology
  • goldenGate – S7-generation insert giving you industry-leading comfort
  • Mille Fit range is more relaxed and comfortable.
  • The perfect balance between warmth and comfort without excess bulk

You can see how they fare, side to side, here, the old version on the left and the new Mille on the right.

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The key differences are essentially in the fabric, groin protection (!) and pad. So, you can see the waffly nature on the main section of the old Tiburu. It was that waffly section, which was fleece lined, which provided the main warmth factor. The new version loses that which makes it a little easier (and no doubt cheaper) to construct. But the new version is slightly thicker in construction and comes out slightly warmer overall. That’s a good thing, but you can still wear these comfortably up into the high teens and not overheat. In terms of the water repellent features of the respective products, I fancy that the newer version sheds water a little better, but there’s not much in it. That repellency will, no doubt, wear off in the end but, for now these are much better, IMO, than the equivalent Castelli nanoflex. They are certainly much warmer too, as I’ve noted above.

The older version had a windstopper ‘groinal cover’. It’s fairly reminiscent of a codpiece but doesn’t look ridiculous when on. It was hugely effective and really kept the chill from coming through. The Mille loses that but, arguably, becomes a little less constricted in that area as a result. Practically, your position on a road bike should minimise intrusion into that area. So, given the increased comfort, I’m ok with that. The slight increase in warmth across the board also mitigates the loss of that section. In the wet, the absence of it, does make itself felt slightly more. But, by and large, we’re talking about small differences.

Finally, the pads are slightly different as you can see below. Both have that golden gate detachment, which I find works very very well. The Mille is built for a bit more comfort overall but there’s little in it really. I find the Mille pad quite excellent. In fact, for my posterior, I’d say that I prefer the Mille pad to that found in the older model. And that may well be why the Mille summer bibs are my go to pair over the Equipe. None of this should lead you to think that the non Mille pads are in any way uncomfortable, it’s simply about personal choice.

20171021_124434

Leg gripper duties are essentially the same, a semi circumference elastic band with silicone inside and a softer stitched section at the rear. I’ve read some reviews where the knee section has ridden up, but most people don’t seem to note this at all. My size large stay absolutely where they should and there is no irritation behind the knee at all.

20171021_124258

Round the back and it’s all pretty similar with a smattering of reflectives. In terms of longevity I’ve never seen any rubbing on any Assos kit I own in combination with MY saddles (so, Charge Spoon and Cannondale ‘stock’ saddle on the CX). Indeed, I’ve been using the Tiburu bibshorts as my CX shorts, so they get covered in ‘stuff’ and come up clean every time. It’s worth remembering that ‘fix it policy’ too. When I came off in an older pair of S5 Mille shorts in CX, Assos repaired them free of charge. That kind of back up is one of the reasons you pay that premium. And it’s justified.

20171021_124316

The mesh brace section is identical, both of them are therefore outstanding. It took me an awful long time to get used to Assos’ new method of arranging the strap and belly section. The cut is, once again, low at the front and, to be honest, anything with a high cut now feels unnatural to me. The braces sit offset to your nipples but it all works and the strap, which is utterly flat, causes no irritation. The mesh around the back takes care of wicking sweat away. As usual you need to size taking into account sitting on the bike, any pulling while you’re standing up melts away.

20171021_124454

Size wise they are absolutely normal. I take a size large for my 36″ waist and 5ft 10 inches of height. There’s sufficient compression without any comfort issues. The older version are slightly more compressive. If I could give each of them a label it would be that the older version feels ‘armoured’ but the new version feels ‘cosseting’. In use they are (both) quite lovely. But they do feel slightly different. The Mille is definitely more relaxed, particularly around the groin area. There’s a little more give. They are, as stated, that little bit warmer. I’ve been using them in temps of about 2 degrees and they still feel utterly comfortable.

So, changes then. For the better or worse? Well, just a bit different really. The material doesn’t scream R&D but works just as well. They are that bit warmer. The loss of the windstopper panel is to be mourned, but it’s not a huge omission. The fit is slightly better overall. And they are cheaper. That being, of course, a relative term. RRP, we’re talking about £185 v £150. Those figures are often discounted but relative to each other, so the Mille will always come out cheaper. Of course, the original Tiburu are discontinued now so it may well be possible to pick up a good deal.

So, there you have it. Another win for Assos. If you do yearn for the older ones, you can still get something similar because the S7 Tiburu bibshort has not (yet) been discontinued. Pair those with some S7 knee warmers and you’ve got something pretty similar to the old offering.

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