The Assos RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9 work perfectly on cool to cold rides, the fit is sublime and the pad is excellent. The soft fabrics make these very comfortable to wear, and with very good breathability they'll be great for racing too.
- Pros: Fit is excellent; super-comfortable; work well between about 12 and 5°C
- Cons: Errrr...
Assos' latest thermal bib shorts are an excellent option for cool weather rides. I found them to work very well across a good range of temperatures, protecting the larger cycling muscles from the cold. The superb fit and comfort, combined with the versatility of the shorts, make these thermal bib shorts well worth the money.
Autumn and spring can be awkward when dressing for cycling. The weather is often between thermal bib tights and summer bib shorts and this is where thermal bib shorts reign supreme. Assos designed the RS Spring Fall S9 shorts for both racing in colder weather and training when the air is cool.
I seem to have found myself reaching for these in all but the harshest autumnal conditions. They're just comfortable to wear and the ability to pair thermal shorts with leg or knee warmers has covered me for a range of conditions. As part of the Race Series line, the shorts also feature a good amount of breathability, allowing you to ride really hard without overheating. That has made them ideal for faster training rides and cyclo-cross, and come the spring I expect them to be great for early season road racing too.
The RS, as mentioned above, is Assos code for Race Series. As a result, the bib shorts are very close fitting and designed for racers and more performance-minded riders. I would say that the fit is still comfortable though. There are no parts of the shorts that are restrictive.
As they're aimed at the cooler weather, I'm pleased to see a little extra length in the shorts and coverage of the quads is very good. For me, my regular size medium was perfect, but if you've got particularly skinny thighs, especially around the knee, then you might want to size down to avoid baggy material here.
The Equipe RS insert is made by Elastic Interface and while the pad itself is very good, with a dense sit bone area and soft fabric covering, it's the way that it's attached to the shorts that is the interesting bit.
Assos uses its 'Golden Gate' technology. Essentially, this is a method of stitching just the front and rear of the pad to the shorts, leaving a gap on both sides that is easily big enough to get your hand into. The intention is to let the pad move with you, instead of with the shorts. It seems to work as these are some of the comfiest shorts I've worn, something that is more noticeable the longer the ride lasts.
Tied into this system is the construction of the bib straps. Like the S9 summer bibs, you get the A-lock strap design which is anchored to the shorts at specific points to help keep the shorts locked in place.
Putting the shorts on for the first time, especially if you've not worn Assos bibs before, this can feel a little strange. But this soon becomes unnoticeable and you're simply left with shorts that stay firmly put.
The main part of the shorts is constructed using Osmos Heavy, a 290g/m2 brushed fabric that is soft, stretchy and breathable. It is slightly compressive and feels lovely against the skin. The upper hem of the material is finished with elastic tape to protect the raw cut hem.
The only deviation from this material is a small panel of Sphere Ultra fabric that is used for the crotch. This material is a dual-layer softshell with the outer fabric being windproof and waterproof. The added insulation and protection is designed to keep your crotch warmer and it was a most welcome addition on colder rides.
Construction is as you'd expect from Assos. This is a very well made pair of bib shorts with neat touches like the tidy stitching and the carbon Xbib system, which uses materials with different amounts of stretch to make up the bib straps.
Assos offers a three-month warranty on the shorts. In this time, any manufacturing defects like loose threads will be fixed, or the shorts replaced. After that, Assos will still try to repair your garment and it'll even try to fix it if you've crashed.
At £200 they're certainly not cheap, but you'd pay exactly the same for a pair of Rapha's Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts II .
If your budget isn't that big, there are other options: the Sportful Fiandre NoRain 2 bib shorts are £100 and excellent, if slightly more basic.
The RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9s are almost faultless. In fact, I can't really find anything bad to say about them. Even the price seems relatively reasonable given the quality of construction, excellent performance and amount of use that they'll get.
Great fit, comfort and performance – if you've got the cash, buy them
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
From Assos: "It happens when we least expect it: The sting of cold air on our thighs, crotch, and glutes cuts into us on the road, distracting us from the race at hand. It marks the beginning of when our summer bibs are no longer warm enough, but we're not quite ready to reach for our knickers. Enter the EQUIPE RS Spring Fall Bib Shorts S9''tuned for cool fall and spring racing conditions where shorts are still in order, but now with a dose of thigh-warming comfort and protection.
"Based on the EQUIPE RS S9, these shorts include our A-Lock Engineering framework to brace the shorts and ensure they remain stabilized in the toughest racing environments. The shorts' thigh panels are constructed with our brushed-back Osmos Heavy textile, which adds to this stable platform. This is the latest member to join our brushed family of fabrics, and its technical two-in-one composition provides us with several advantages.
"The first is that the brushed interior is highly insulating, breathable, and super soft against our skin. The warp-knit outer acts as the 'shell' of the shorts, further supporting your leg muscles with its compressive structure. Together, these two components of the textile create a nice compressive hold on our legs, encouraging positive circulation and uniform warmth throughout. Knowing that the wind-facing front panel takes the brunt of the elements, we applied our Sphere Ultra textile in our double-layer twinDeck construction to lock out the icy cold air around the crotch, while still remaining breathable.
"For the insert, we incorporated the race-proven EQUIPE RS Insert - minus the kraterCooler ventilation holes - in our signature basalt colorway, equipped with superAir microShock foam, 3D waffle topsheet, along with the ASSOS-exclusive goldenGate technology and horizontal stabilizer in the rear."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A-Lock Engineering: S9 system of textiles and technologies working in harmony to stabilize the shorts and secure the insert in place.
Osmos Heavy: This warp-knit is the main bib short textile and the heaviest in our brushed Osmos family (290g/m2), featuring asymmetrical stretch and a soft, durable construction. High levels of insulation are derived from the brushed skin-facing side.
Sphere Ultra: Applied in our twinDeck double-layer construction on the front crotch panel for added thermal insulation. A patented 2L windproof, waterproof, and highly breathable softshell constructed with a PU bonded membrane for added water-repellency''maximizing insulation while minimizing bulk. Weight: 150g/m2; Elasticity: Bistretch.
rollBar: A patented bracing design that mimics a race car's anti-sway bar by using the bib straps to stabilize the insert and lock it in place as your weight transfers from left to right while cornering.
ergoBox: A square pattern construction that effectively frames the insert in the back, boxing it in for added stability.
Butterfly Pattern: The primary textile panel fully wrapping the lower back and legs, coming together in the rear. Fewer seams leads to a more uniform hold, less weight, and greater comfort.
Carbon Xbib: A single section of elastic material''folded over on itself''forming a supportive A-frame that delivers limited vertical stretch in the rear. Above the 'X' junction, a more flexible material is employed, incorporating an antibacterial carbon weave, to wick moisture and lay flat in the front.
Ultralight Leg Grippers: New Lycra leg band structure naturally grips the thigh''free of silicon treatment''to deliver a smooth, ultralight hold.
EQUIPE RS Insert (no krater): Race-spec elastic interface insert in 3D basalt colorway, minus the kraterCooler ventilation holes in the front.
superAir microShock foam: A lightweight open cell foam with a shock absorbing composition that returns to its original position, filling the gap every time pedaling position is changed in the saddle through the shift of weight.
3D waffle: A patented, three-layer perforated foam that increases breathability and eliminates excess weight.
goldenGate: A patented technology that interrupts the stitching along both of the insert's side panels, allowing a more three-dimensional freedom of movement in this sensitive, rotational area.
Horizontal Stabilizer: A patented central stitch that secures the rear of the insert to the outer textile, eliminating shifting while pedaling out of the saddle."
They're the same price as Rapha's Pro Team Thermal Bibs but double the price of the Sportful Fiandre NoRain 2.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Wash at 30 and keep away from the tumble drier.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. They're great for fast rides in the autumn, combining just enough thermal protection with great breathability.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The performance on long cool rides is brilliant. They stay comfortable with good breathability and are versatile enough to wear with leg warmers on colder rides.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they have the cash.
Use this box to explain your overall score
When fit, performance, construction and comfort are all spot on, it's hard to fault them.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.