Assos makes what I consider luxury cycling garments. It is the company that claims credit for moving the cycling kit industry away from wool, and while I like my merino jerseys, I am eternally grateful not to wear wool shorts. With its newest women’s bib, Assos continues its traditions of excellent kit with indecipherable acronyms.
UMA GTV Bib Shorts C2 – $270
Pros: “Biciclick” straps are secure, comfortable waist
Cons: Leg grippers don’t match the quality of the bib
At long last Assos has given us a drop tail bib. Keeping with their seamless X-frame lay flat straps and in the traditional suspender format, Assos added two magnetic clips to connect the straps to the panel above the chamois. I’ve seen dual clips on other bibs, but not dual magnets. The closures, dubbed “Biciclick,” are a magnet and a hook combined, so are easy to attach without looking, and feel very secure once on. And to be fair, the bib construction is such that even if both straps somehow opened during a ride, the light elastic at the waist would keep the bibs from showing off anything untoward. The straps still utilize the same wide, seamless material that is familiar from other bib models, down to the white stripes. It’s a signature Assos look; the look of the partner who wears suspenders with his suits.
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The visuals are debatable but the downside to the straps for me is that they sit at the top of the rear panel rather than at the waist, so when they are clasped closed under tension, they stick out from the lower back. This can result in an awkward fit off the bike, if the chosen jersey doesn’t hit the straps at the right spot or isn’t tight enough. On the bike, a shorter, non-Assos jersey was dangerously close to showing off a little skin. This is a common problem with any racer back clasp system, but it isn’t as noticeable with only one clip at the center.
Luckily, the matching Assos UMA GTV C2 jersey fit me well. In the drops, nothing was exposed, even though I’m taller than average and thus the jersey fits a little shorter. As an added bonus, when sitting up the cool breeze up my back was welcome.
The main bib material echoes that feeling of security – it’s more supportive than the 20% elastic in the makeup of its knitted polyester fabric would imply. Its UPF+50 rating and odor control are the other benefits of the “Ossidia” main fabric — these aren’t separate membranes or post-production sprays that can wear off or break down. And while the waistline is straight, the triangular top front panel of fabric is stretchier so that it doesn’t cut into your gut while riding; apparently that’s thanks to a “Tech Sheen Mesh” insert across the stomach.
The only functional downside to these bibs are the grippers. I know the material is supposed to be great, but they are borderline too narrow for anyone who has any fears of sausage-leg. What’s worse, the seam on one of them tore on the third wear. To be fair, I’ve never had that happen on a pair of Assos bibs before, and I’m sure customer service would fix it if I complained. I simply stitched it back together rather than ask for a replacement or mail the bibs back and forth. Still, I took it as a confirmation of my thoughts that this particular design aspect could use updating.
With Assos, it always comes down to the straps (already addressed), and the floating chamois: the chamois isn’t stitched down on the long edges, as in every other Assos bib I’ve ever worn. Either people love those features, or they hate them. I personally like the chamois, and find the straps ok, depending on the kit I’m trying to build. They’re exceptionally functional so if that is your only concern have no fear, but they’re also white-striped and visible, which makes them more than a simple black bib.
The chamois is up to Assos’ typical high standard of excellence: It is wide and dense, and topped with smooth, antimicrobial fabric, and the compressive material and simple cut of the bibs keep everything in place nicely.
Overall, despite the manufacturing default at the gripper seam, they’re good bibs; Assos did well with their first pair of drop tails out.
UMA GTV Jersey C2 – $190
Pros: pocket security, metal zipper pull
Cons: external plastic tag
The jersey is wonderfully functional and still flattering. The sleeves are buttery soft, as is the collar, which I’ll only complain about to say that this jersey is considered part of Assos’ Comfort Series, as opposed to their Race series like the Dyora. If you’re looking for a low collar, this is not that. The UMA collar is high and protective, indicating a jersey for the vast majority of ride days, not the hottest summer rides.
My other concern, that is a little less subjective, is the plastic Assos tag on the outside of the jersey. It feels like the kind of thing that should tear away, but it doesn’t. It’s hard plastic so anytime I encounter it, I wonder why it’s there, other than to verify that this is an authentic Assos product. The bibs also have one but it is placed unobtrusively on the strap, whereas the jersey tag is on the torso side seam.
The zipper pull is large and metal, so easy to grab wearing full finger gloves. But what Assos does best is pockets, in my opinion. Like other Assos jerseys, the UMA jersey uses a piece of stretch accent fabric at the top of the jersey pockets that acts like a flap to keep things from bouncing out. Efficient, low fuss pocket security is welcome.
Assos has given us a comfortable, multi-fabric jersey for long rides. It has the breathable back panel, and quick dry front panel in a current colorway, doing away with their Assos herringbone for the moment and… do I detect a lengthening of the sleeves? Visually, the gold accent to match the bibs is a nice touch. And while Assos bills this as a “comfort series” jersey, the pattern and materials combine to produce a fit that lays like a race cut jersey. It is far more racy than the club cut comfort jerseys of old — and of other comparably priced brands. Assos has struck a good balance of comfort and style, of course with the usual high Assos quality. I expect this jersey will outlive me.
A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet. The UMA GTV C2 kit is such a rose — I’m still not sure what the acronym stands for. With uniquely secure bib magnets, Assos has done a great job with the bib, and the jersey keeps the signature features that are helpful on rides. Assos’ familiar conservative style is on full display. I’d choose this pairing over the other Assos offerings, since it has all the fit of the other pieces, but with more flexibility in the drop tail and comfort jersey.