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Road Gear

Review: Assos Equipe RS Winter Jacket Johdah

This cold-weather cycling jacket is the most of everything — adaptable, aerodynamic, comfortable... and expensive.

Review Rating


Basics

Robust construction, high-tech fabrics, layering system for a wide temperature range; super-premium price


Pros

great breathability; modular construction with thermal liners for various temperatures; two robust front zippers; snug fit

Cons

rear pockets prevent easy access; price is exceptionally high


Our Thoughts

The Assos Johdah jacket is luxurious to be sure. This is the only jacket of which I’m aware that comes with a two-year warranty and a crash replacement policy. It’s comfortable in the coldest weather thanks to multiple thermal liners, interior zippered wind blocking panels, ingenious venting, and a form-fitting race cut.


Size Reviewed

M

Price

$725

Brand

Assos


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Initially donning this Assos jacket, my first thought was, ‘This thing is so expensive.’ My second thought was, ‘This jacket is really snug when I’m standing around.’ So when I threw a leg over my Trek and rolled out, I immediately discovered that when I was in a forward-leaning position the Assos Johdah jacket was way more comfortable than when standing around. The cut and shape are meant for a cycling position, not standing around having pre-ride coffees.

The jacket is well built, and includes multiple zip-in liners for different temperature ranges.

Related:

 

The label describing all the technologies which Assos has incorporated into the design of the Johdah jacket. Photo: Greg Kaplan
On such a high-end garment, the exterior-facing stitching of an interior-facing label stands out as unfinished. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Aesthetics

Assos went big on labels on the jacket, both inside and out. Rubber labels embossed with Assos technology names are scattered around the jacket near the exterior pockets, vents, and other elements, both internally and externally. As shown above, the stitching from one interior label is clearly visible on the exterior, which is odd for such an expensive piece.

On the inside, the back panel is printed with bright graphics, again calling attention to different fabrics and designs that Assos has used in the jacket.

Construction

The Assos Johdah is a very well constructed winter cycling jacket. The zippers are robust, the cuffs are durable, the seams are reinforced and well assembled. And the panels look and feel almost like they tailored just for me.

The main zipper on the front of the Johdah jacket does not snag material, and feels quite durable, as well as being easy to use. Photo: Greg Kaplan

The zippers on the Johdah are plentiful and robust.

The main front closure of the Johdah jacket has two zippers: A primary zip to close the jacket, and a secondary zip on the same track to allow for easy nature breaks or heat management by pulling the secondary zipper up from the waistband. At the neck, the zipper is slightly offset for optimal comfort — a noticeable and appreciated feature.

There’s also a zipper on the chest warmer on the inside front top of the jacket that is easy to manipulate and works reliably.

The small zippered pocket on the left rear of the jacket is, like all the other zippers, well-constructed, feels durable, and just does not get tangled nor “eat” the surrounding jacket material.

Each one of the thermal jacket liners (more on these, below) has a single front zip, which like the front zip of the jacket, slides easily, does not tangle in the liner material, and though small, does not feel flimsy.

The seams and laser-cut cuffs all but disappear into one’s gloves. The finishing on them is simple and effective. Photo: Greg Kaplan

The cuffs and seams throughout the Assos Johdah jacket are finished as one would expect from such an expensive piece of kit. The seams are exact without hanging or extraneous threads or rough edges, panels are joined with precision, and there is no bucking or kinking of material anywhere on this garment. The wrist cuffs are comfortable, and are finished with a triple seam to the sleeve on one side, and are laser cut on the other, which is about as minimalistic as I’ve seen on any sports outerwear.

The Assos Johdah jacket has a built-in zip-up chest warmer. Photo: Greg Kaplan
The balaclava is included in the long sleeve liner for extra cold days. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Layers on layers on layers

The jacket comes with two thermal liners: a short-sleeve version, and a long-sleeve thermal liner that includes a balaclava. Both liners have a very snug fit, and in a moment of initial confusion, I tried the long sleeve liner over the short sleeve liner, with the Johdah shell on top. Wearing all the layers at once is ill-advised; the fit is way too tight. And even when correctly wearing a single liner under the shell, the fit is still very snug, so if you’re between sizes, go up.

I appreciate the chest warmer. Extending from the shoulders across the top of my chest with a front zip to allow for temperature regulation, this panel allows some protection from cold air on my upper chest and lower neck, even when slightly unzipped.

The breathability is key; too little and one winds up soggy. Too much, and one never stays warm. Photo: Greg Kaplan
Vents on the top front of the shoulders allow heat exchange. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Vents like a Formula One race car

The most noticeable feature of the Assos Johdah jacket is the two forward-facing vents at the tops of the shoulders. There is no closure for these vents which Assos calls “Diffusor” and they allow air exchange all the time. The Diffusor vents function like air intakes on the front of a Formula One car to channel cooling air where it’s needed without a massive drag penalty. Unlike on a race car that has exhaust ports, the vents on this jacket do dual duty in allowing some heat to escape These air circulation ports also function to allow some heat and moisture to escape without any chilling air penetration. When in a position on the bike, the Diffusor vents lay flat, allowing just enough air to enter the jacket without buckling and causing a drag-inducing parachute effect. While these were not road-tested in rain or sleet, the materials are water repellant.

The zipper on the rear left vertical pocket is robust and easy to manipulate. Photo: Greg Kaplan
The rear pockets are excellent for stashing whatever you need during a ride. Be prepared to stop, however, to fish out a gel or a cookie. Photo: Greg Kaplan

Pockets from which nothing escape

The Johdah jacket has three main pockets across the lower back, and a single zippered pocket along the side of the left pocket. The main pockets across the lower back provide enough room for a mobile phone, some nutrition, and other various items. The only issue with this jacket that once something goes into one of the pockets, it does not come out, without great effort. While wearing thin glove liners, it’s a struggle to extract a gel from any of the rear pockets. When wearing heavier-weight gloves, it’s most efficient — if not a bit cold — to take the gloves off to get items out of these pockets. While a minor annoyance and not optimal functionality, it’s not a complete showstopper for this jacket.

Assos includes a bonus pocket — the ‘Thermobooster Pod’ — that spans one’s shoulder blades which can be used to store larger items like one of the Assos Thermobooster insulating liners. Accessing this pocket is not a while-riding activity; to get things in or out of it requires stopping.

Riding in the Assos Johdah jacket

While this jacket is overkill when temperatures are much above 45 F (7 C), it is fine for cool weather rides with the zipper down.

Thermobooster Pod
The Thermobooster Pod pocket can be used to store one of the insulating layers when not needed. Photo: Greg Kaplan

When blasting through melted snow runoff, I stayed dry as water sheds from the shell quickly. Getting snacks from one of the rear pockets was a bit of a chore, and so I started to use the zippered pocket on the left side to have gels and such at ready access without shedding gloves.

Verdict

The Assos Johdah is a bit much for rides when temperatures are near 50 F, but for any weather colder, it’s now the one jacket I reach for. I feel fast in this jacket. I’m comfortable, I like the aesthetic and the protection from the weather.

Warming up quickly in the first minutes of rides — even in freezing temperatures — while wearing the Jodah jacket I’m warm, dry, and feel as though I can move easily on the bike. The wind-blocking breathability coupled with a water-resistant shell makes for weatherproof comfort. Even after hard, sweat-inducing efforts and hours of riding, the Johdah jacket keeps me dry, warm, and comfortable. When using the thermal liner, I’m initially aware of how snug the liner feels (especially the long sleeve liner) for the first few minutes of a ride, and then my thoughts move on to other things.

And to be certain, it’s hard to get past the $750 price tag, even for a super-premium jacket with as many features as the Assos Johdah offers.