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Assos Chamois Creme Woman is a non-perfumey, non-oily concoction that, mostly, does a good job of keeping sores at bay. It doesn't always totally succeed, but I'd certainly rather have it than nothing.
My not-quite-daily round-trip commute of 13 miles doesn't really necessitate chamois cream, but having to up my weekend mileage considerably while training for the Ride Across Britain (969 miles in nine consecutive days!) has meant trying a variety of products, with varying success.
This Assos cream is a new women-specific version – though I'm not sure what it is that makes it so, or not suitable for men... Testing a sample pot, there was no list of ingredients on the side, so I asked Assos and was told that the women's has a 'slightly lower pH' than the men's, resulting in less 'tingle'. (I was also given a list of ingredients, which I've included in the test report section, below.)
Most other chamois creams I've tried have a distinct menthol type smell and a tingly feel; a kind of cool mint effect on your skin, a bit like rubbing Vicks into your chest. The unisex (suitable for men and women, says Assos, but listed on the website as 'men's') version has this menthol tingle factor and scent, the women's doesn't.
One other difference is that the women's version costs £11 for a 75ml pot, while the men's is £13 for 140ml. So, expensive even compared with Assos's own, and much more so when compared with many others out there: Udderly Smooth is £9.99 for a 227g pot, and even Rapha's is 'only' £15 for 150ml. When I asked about the price difference between the women's and unisex/men's, I was told: "This is a new additional product designed just for women so is not a like for like product."
Some chamois creams can be quite oily too, but not the Assos. It's a bit like Nivea (the white tub Nivea Soft, not the thicker blue pot stuff); more like a light moisturiser than some thicker, oilier types. Assos does say that with its natural ingredients the Chamois Creme not only protects against chafing but also "rehydrates and replenishes the skin", so more similarities to moisturiser.
As for results... Well, as far as I can pinpoint it to the cream rather than the saddle, shorts, or riding conditions, I'd say it does a fair job. Without going into too much detail, if I do suffer on occasion it tends to be on my right, and I haven't for a while, using the Assos but also some other products.
The other day I tried the Assos on the right and a roll-on product on the left, on a three-hour ride, and am currently suffering slightly on the left and not the right. Rather than declare it an outright success, though, in the couple of months I've been testing it I have had the occasional soreness, albeit nothing major. Maybe I'm just not using enough...
One benefit that the roll-on (the 2Toms Buttshield, which Vecchiojo reviewed a while back) has over a 'normal' chamois cream like the Assos is that it doesn't come off on your shorts or a loo seat. As a woman, trying to make last-minute use of a loo before a sportive, for example, unless you hover you're in danger of leaving some of your chamois cream behind rather than keeping it on your behind.
That's the case here, although the little sample pot on test is ideal for carrying and reapplying mid-ride. And as it mostly seems to do the job, that's probably well worth doing. If you can afford to...
Traditional cream-type concoction that does what it's meant to, most of the time
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Chamois Creme Woman
Size tested: 30ml sample pot
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Assos says: "An ultra-luxe essential for every pre-ride ritual
Since we developed our ASSOS Chamois Crème over 10 years ago (after intensive research and multiple prototypes), there's been an air of mystery surrounding this ultra-luxe cycling essential. Now in its fifth iteration, the ASSOS Chamois Crème relies on natural extracts to protect your skin from irritation due to friction and the build-up of bacteria. With 10,000s of pots sold each year, this sensitive lotion for cycling also rehydrates and replenishes the skin in this sensitive area, meaning a reduced chance of rubbing and inflammation from hours spent in the saddle.
For optimum results, we'd recommend applying a light layer directly onto the skin where the chamois sits, or onto the chamois itself. It works superbly with any ASSOS bib shorts and ASSOS inserts. By eliminating the risk of saddle sores and discomfort, our ASSOS Chamois Créme ensures that at least one comfort factor won't suffer whilst riding – we'll leave the other comfort elements of pace and power in your hands.
highly sensitive formula
increases comfort in the saddle"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
GLYCERYL STEARATE SE
HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL
RIBES NIGRUM SEED OIL
HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA WATER
HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL UNSAPONIFIABLES
CARDIOSPERMUM HALICACABUM FLOWER/LEAF/VINE EXTRACT
HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL
ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT
Lasts quite well on the bike, three or four hours I'd say. Tub lasts 12 months once opened.
Expensive compared with the men's, silly expensive compared with many others (Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream is £9.99 for a 227g tub). It is, though, not far off Castelli's £15 for 100ml Chamois Dry Lube.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Mostly, the results. Plus the lack of minty tingle and smell.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact that, like others of this type, it comes off on loo seats – or you have to hover.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
It's a bit pricey (especially compared with the men's!) but soreness prevention is worth paying for. It hasn't been a totally soreness-free experience, though, which is why I'm going with 7 rather than 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.