By Brandon Bilyeu
Equipe RS Rain Jacket
- Highly breathable fabric limits internal moisture buildup
- Excellent protection – waterproof and windproof
- LollyRed color and large reflective stripe down back for visibility
- Rear vents allow air circulation and access to jersey pockets underneath
- Tight wrist openings make it tough to get jacket on/off
- No zipper garage at neck
Mille GT Winter Jacket
- Excellent warmth that is not bulky
- Perfect on the bike fit
- Rear pockets make this jacket as versatile as a jersey
- Lack of true high-viz color options, small reflective tabs
Cost: Rain Jacket: $329; Winter Jacket: $299
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail, ASSOS website
Colors: RS: lollyRed, Black; GT: Black, Blue, Red (highlights only)
Website: www.assos.com, Rain Jacket, Winter Jacket
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 30+ hours
Sizing: Rain Jacket: XS-2XL; Winter Jacket: XS-2XL+TIR (Wide)
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. I choose size medium based on the ASSOS sizing chart and found the sizing to be accurate.
ASSOS Offers Good Options for the Wet and Cold
With Winter just starting in the Northern Hemisphere there is a tough decision to be made before every ride (unless you live in Florida): inside or outside? For the brave that choose to ride outside in inclement weather there are continuously improving technologies incorporated in cycling kit to keep us comfortable out on the road.
ASSOS offers a full range of gear for wet and cold weather and for the last couple months I’ve been testing out two different jackets in progressively worse weather conditions. The Equipe RS Rain Jacket is a waterproof option while the Mille GT Winter Jacket is designed for cold rides. The RS is built with a snug race-fit, while the GT offers a bit more relaxed comfort-fit, but both offer excellent protection.
A Rain Jacket That’s Not A Sweat Box
In my experience choosing what to wear in the rain has generally been a lose-lose situation. Without a waterproof shell the rain soaks me and with a shell my sweat soaks me, either way the end result is getting cold. Venting helps but for a heavy sweater like me getting wet was inevitable.
The ASSOS Equipe RS Rain Jacket has raised the bar on wet ride comfort. The jacket’s Schloss Tex fabric is a three-layer waterproof textile that has been able to keep me drier than any rain jacket I have used. It keeps the rain out and breathes quite well. Certainly, everyone’s experience will be different based on individual physiologies, but for me rain shells of old were impossible to stay dry in due to poor breathability. I could never go slow enough (especially if there was any incline involved) to avoid overheating, but the Equipe RS has allowed me to ride in comfort at reasonable cruising paces with minimal venting required. Finally, I can ride cold and wet base miles in “comfort”.
The Equipe RS is designed as a minimalist shell that can be stored in a jersey pocket, though don’t expect to fit anything else into that pocket. All seams are robustly taped for full waterproofness and there is a large reflective stripe down the back. Double front zippers and two rear vents allow for good ventilation control. The vents double as access points to your jersey pockets beneath, but is a tricky maneuver to actually get anything in or out.
Throughout my testing the jacket has proven very durable, still looking like new after numerous washings and tough days in the saddle. As an additional torture test I’ve bike commuted wearing a backpack over the RS many times and I see no ill effects from the abrasive backpack straps on appearance or waterproof performance.
I do have a few critiques, but they all fall into the nit-pick category, not deal breakers. The sleeve cuffs are super tight which is great for fitting gloves over, but this can funnel water into said gloves in heavy rain, allows no venting air up the sleeves, and makes it hard to get the jacket off. The dual zips offer another option for venting, but I found getting the zipper started difficult. And there is no zipper garage at the neck which would be appreciated as the high collar makes the zipper dig into the throat.
Mille GT Winter Jacket Just Needs Some Color
This jacket really shines on cold and dry rides. With insulation, wind protection, and breathability built into a jacket that feels more like a jersey I can see the Mille GT Winter Jacket becoming a staple of my winter wardrobe. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed wearing this jacket, keeping me warm and cozy without feeling like I’m strapped into a straightjacket of heavy, bulky, and stiff layers.
The soft, jersey like construction of this jacket makes it comfortable to wear on bare skin or with just a base layer underneath. While still a snug ASSOS fit, the cut is slightly relaxed for a little more all-day comfort and perfectly shaped for the riding position (expect some pulling in the shoulders when standing upright). The waist, wrist, and neck openings all hug the body nicely to seal out the cold. The zipper has top and bottom garages for comfort and a storm flap extends behind the length of the zipper to block any wind from getting through.
Windproof, water resistant, and fleece insulated front panels keep the core protected and warm while the jacket construction transitions to lighter weight materials in the rear for breathability and temperature control. I’ve been comfortable down to the low 40’s F (5 C) before I needed to add another layer. The snug fit and low bulk make layering over the jacket very easy. Three generously sized and stretchy rear pockets make carrying the essentials easy with plenty of room for an emergency shell or vest, food, repair kit, and cell phone.
The only real fault I can find in the Mille GT Winter Jacket is its lack of high visibility color options, especially for a piece designed for the dark winter months. For ASSOS, black is a traditional color that doesn’t show the grime from winter roads. The only concessions to visibility are minimal colored highlights and the standard small reflective tabs at the rear pockets. That said, with bike lights and other high visibility accessories the safety drawbacks of this jacket can be overcome.
Bottom Line – A Full Winter Wardrobe in Two Pieces
While undeniably pricey, it’s hard to put a price on comfort during cold and wet winter rides and these pieces excel in those conditions. I’ve layered these two jackets and been comfortable down to the low 20’s F (-5 C) and then peeled of the RS as the temperature went up. Both offer excellent performance and durability, which in the long run could offset the initial price versus cheaper options, and are definitely cheaper than moving to Florida.
A J&G breathable rainjacket ($80) shootout would be nice to hear.! See how a more affordable rain jacket stacks up. I like mine.