By Brandon Bilyeu
- Packs down to fit in a jersey pocket
- Good wind protection
- Warmth retention even when wet
- Rear vent provides access to jersey pockets underneath
- Fit and material minimize flapping at speed
- Minimal water resistance
- Low rear vent compromises heat rejection
Colors: Translucent black with visibility green accents
How Obtained: Review sample from company
Availability: Online and retail stores
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 40+ hours
Reviewer Measurements and Fit Comments: 5’10” (178cm), 150 lbs (68 kgs), 33″ (84cm) waist, 33″ (84cm) inseam, 37″ (94cm) chest. The Assos sizing chart uses three measurements to determine correct size: chest, height, and weight. I fell into the medium size for chest and height, small for weight. I went with size medium and found the fit to be good.
Shoulder Season Protection
Fast changing weather conditions are the norm for the spring and fall seasons, but even summer can throw some curveballs into your bike ride. Large temperature swings, wind, and the threat of precipitation are hallmarks of shoulder season riding and can make dressing for a ride difficult. Arm and leg warmers offer a lot of versatility in a small package, but if the weather gets really ugly protecting your core becomes very important.
For core protection many riders smartly carry ’emergency shells’ on rides where changing weather could be an issue. Assos’ Mille GT Clima Jacket falls into this category by providing inclement weather protection in a lightweight and easily portable package. The key to a great emergency shell jacket design requires both protection while being worn but also excellent portability so it is easy to take along on every ride. After many hours of both wearing and carrying the Clima Jacket I can say it is a pretty good companion on rides with variable weather.
Forgiving Fit and Minimal Flapping
The Mille GT line is Assos’ entry level kit designed less for racers and more for everyday riders. The Clima Jacket has a regular fit (sitting between Assos’ race fit and comfort fit) so it works on a wide range of body types and sizes without being overly baggy. The bulk of the jacket is made of NoFrost fabric that has minimal stretch, but a stretchy fabric is used on the sides and underarms for a more accommodating fit. Elastic hemmed waist and wrists along with a tall neck collar make for a snug fit that keeps the wind out. I found the fit to be a good compromise, not so tight that it feels like a straightjacket, but not so loose that it catches the wind like a parachute.
The NoFrost fabric is very thin and lightweight, but retains some stiffness that helps keep flapping to a minimum compared to other shells I have used. The fabric looks very dark in color, but is actually semitransparent such that the kit underneath is partially visible. For added visibility the side/underarm fabric is bright green and there are small reflector tabs front and rear. Wind blocking is excellent and while a DWR water resistant coating is used there is no waterproof membrane. The DWR does offer some rain protection but this is definitely not a rain jacket as water will start to get through fairly quickly in real rain. But even when wet the wind blocking ability of the shell helps retain your body heat.
For temperature control there is the more breathable side/underarm fabric, a rear vent, and a full length front zipper. For reduced bulk the jacket does not have rear pockets, but the rear vent was strategically placed to sit just above the rear jersey pockets of kit worn underneath. All you have to do is slide you hand though the vent and right into your pockets. While not as easy as having external pockets this is a welcome feature for pocket access without having to remove the jacket and lose precious heat. One side effect of this vent location versus the more traditional high back placement is that the jacket tends to hold more hot air up top as the vent is too low for great airflow, but generous use of the front zipper is pretty efficient at dumping heat.
Fits in a Jersey Pocket . . . Snugly
The lightweight fabrics and minimalist design allows the Clima Jacket to pack down and fit into a jersey pocket. While the jacket can be packed down to smaller than a jersey pocket, once placed in a pocket the jacket expands and completely fills the pocket. You can shove other small items in with the jacket but don’t expect them to be easy to get back out. It would be great if Assos included an integrated stuff sack sewn into the jacket to keep it more compact and free up a little bit of pocket space.
Durability is always a concern when constantly packing a lightweight technical garment into a tight ball but the Clima Jacket shows no signs of wear so far. Of the 40+ hours I tested this jacket the time spent wearing it versus carrying it packed in a jersey pocket was about 60/40. It has gone through many wash cycles with standard liquid detergent (specific DWR cleaners is probably better) and was only line dried. The DWR water repellency has diminished slightly after all the washings, but that can be fixed with specific DWR replacement products.
Assos’s Mille GT Clima Jacket scores well in the two most important emergency shell categories: weather protection and packability. Fit and durability is also great, though the price is a bit steep for a jacket that is not fully waterproof. Overall I found it to be a very versatile piece of kit during many hours of spring riding in weather ranging from cold and dry to wet and windy. And even on days when it stayed in my jersey pocket the whole ride it was nice to know that protection was right there if needed.