The S7 Équipe bib short is a very good – but, frustratingly, not great – product from the company that’s made a name for itself with gold-standard bib shorts.
The Équipe is one of four models in Assos' new S7 line, and like its siblings it has a few unique features – such as a chamois pad that isn’t stitched into the short material all the way around.
The chamois itself is a thin, lightweight, breathable, waffled synthetic with two duckhead-shaped memory foam inserts attached underneath to support the sit bones without restricting blood flow. The chamois material is soft and pliable, and the 8mm memory foam inserts are placed perfectly. It always surprises us how many bib shorts arrive with the thick padding either fore or way aft of where the sitbones contact the saddle. In any event, all our US and UK testers loved the feel of the memory foam and the chamois.
The partially free-floating chamois is a defining feature of the S7 line
However, on two testers, the free, non-stitched edges of the chamois rubbed the inside of a tester’s leg during the first few wears, because the short and the chamois moved separately while cranking. Other riders, it should be noted, did not experience this at all. The issue could just be a particular perfect storm of rider anatomy and saddle shape, but frankly, it doesn’t matter – Assos bib shorts at this price should not chafe. Trying a smaller size or washing the shorts eliminated the issue, but again, why is there an issue at all? Frankly we are unsure why the stitching needs to be eliminated, apart from to have a talking point.
One test rider also noticed the front side portions of the unstitched chamois moving slightly when out of the saddle. Nothing chafing or irritating, just… noticeable.
The bib strap orientation is different on the S7 line, too: the straps are moved towards the hips with little to no rounded yoke in between. Compared with the soft mesh of most bibs, the S7 has thick, fairly elastic bands. The end result in look and feel is more akin to shorts with suspenders than bib shorts with a mesh upper.
Assos says this was done to reduce pressure on the diaphagram, which it does. But when combined with the straight-cut front waist, it also concentrates the remaining pressure on the top hem of the short. Occassionally we would notice this hem rubbing lightly on our stomach when out of the saddle. Again, nothing really uncomfortable, but still… noticeable. In our opinion, the best bib shorts are the ones that you never think about once you're on a ride of any duration.
The Équipe is a five-panel short with IceColor treatment, which is similar to the better known Coldblack technology that reduces the surface temperature of dark fabrics by a few degrees.
The memory foam inserts are well placed, and the purple chamois itself is quite thin, wicking and breathable
The wide compression bands around the thighs do their jobs well without overly constricting, and the little strips of silicone are unobtrusive.
One test rider felt the change in exterior fabric at the crotch called undo attention to that area, but others weren’t bothered. Most appreciated the relatively high rise of the thin chamois in the front, for modesty and the elimination of any seam/penile friction.
We weighted a Medium pair at 181g, comparable to a Rapha Lightweight bib short at 179g.
The four models in the S7 line are Neopro (US$199/£129), the Équipe (US$260/£165), the Cento (US$369/£219) and the Campionissimo (US$519/£309). The latter weighs a claimed 162g and features Assos’ new ‘Ku Ku Penthouse’, a soft pouch for the male genitals that sits in a cut-out of the chamois.
Fit and construction are largely top quality, as we have come to expect from Assos over the years