The Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket is a highly breathable long sleeve jersey-cum-softshell that protects your core well. The quilted fabric on the chest feels very luxurious and does a great job of regulating your temperature. It's a fabulous fit, too, although the mesh back and lack of insulation on the arms do mean it's best saved for the milder spring and autumn days.
- Pros: Brilliant fit on the bike; luxurious feel; great breathability; perfect for hard efforts
- Cons: Price; limited use
If you're looking for a long-sleeve thermal top that is highly breathable and protective where it needs to be, then the Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket is pretty good, provided you have deep enough pockets. The dual-layer front works very well to keep the trunk comfortable, and everything else is highly breathable, with a nod to aero from the ridged sleeve material. That said, it leaves quite a bit to be desired in terms of versatility.
Assos says that it has "blurred the lines" between a thermal LS jersey and low-volume softshell, creating a 'jacket' that is designed for racing in challenging spring and autumn conditions. Effectively, what it has done is take the torso section of a softshell and bolt it onto a slim-fitting, aero, long sleeve jersey. There are clever touches like the shoulder air valves that aid breathability, but its lack of versatility left me very few rides to enjoy what is a beautifully fitting cycling top.
Assos says it designed the jacket for "colder conditions when a thermal SS jersey, arm warmers, and vest combo isn't cutting it" and has, it says, "created a warmer option". Get out on the road and the Spring Fall jacket is certainly more comfortable than the jersey, gilet and arm warmers combo – there's no bunching around the shoulders where three garments meet – but it's far less versatile and I can't say that it's a whole lot warmer.
The good point about the classic gilet, jersey and arm warmers combination is that you can remove the gilet and arm warmers, easily stowing them in pockets. For racing in changeable weather, that ability to change layers quickly is brilliant as it allows you to stay warm during the steady race start and then remove them for the fast finish.
I found that even for fast rides and cyclo-cross training that has big intense efforts, my arms would get quite cold if the weather was anything lower than 12°C. The fabric used for the sleeves, while very close fitting and comfortable, has no thermal properties.
And heading downhill towards the start of a ride made the mesh back very noticeable. You can feel the cold air rushing down your back when you get in the drops.
This might be a jacket that is more usable in spring when race training ramps up and the weather improves slightly. There's no waterproofing to speak of, but that's not really an issue. A rain shell rolls up and tucks into one of the rear pockets easily.
While the jacket can feel a little chilly at times, the flip side is that breathability is fabulous and you can go really hard without overheating. I found that my temperature remained comfortable while doing my cyclo-cross intervals, a nasty 40/20 session up the local hills.
The fit, like all good race jerseys, feels awful when you first put it on. You need to get on the bike for this to feel good, and once riding, the shoulders are perfectly cut for an aggressive position. There is a good amount of stretch in the fabric, too, helping to keep the tight fit aero yet comfortable.
A high cut to the front hem stops material from bunching up, but you still get a low cut at the back and the easy access to the three rear pockets that come with it.
These pockets all feature a small piece of fabric that acts as a security tab to keep the contents safe. Though these work well – no items were jettisoned during testing – I'd have liked to see one of these pockets feature a hidden zipper pocket for my phone.
Many long sleeve jerseys have the issue of the sleeves riding up the wrists. Not only does this look a little odd, it also doesn't play well with gloves, leaving wrists exposed and very chilly. Assos has used silicone grippers to keep the sleeves in place and it works very well, even if it is slightly more difficult to get your hands through. The hem at the rear is also kept in place with some small silicone grippers.
You get a full-length zipper that is easy to operate on the move. It's a two-way design, allowing you to unzip the waist portion of the jacket to access jersey pockets underneath.
At £260 it is pretty pricey – you could get a gilet and arm warmers with some rain resistance for quite a bit less. Even sticking with Assos, for spring and autumn racing I'd be more tempted by the Mille GT Spring/Fall Airblock Vest (£130) and Evo7 arm warmers (£35). If you prefer a long sleeve jersey, Rapha's Pro Team LS Aero Jersey is significantly cheaper at £150, though it doesn't have the same core protection from the wind.
Overall, the Equipe RS Spring Fall is a very comfortable jersey/jacket with a fabulous fit, but a combination of a gilet and arm warmers is cheaper and more versatile.
Great fit and very comfortable, but not that versatile and very expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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?
"Blurring the lines between thermal LS jersey and low-volume softshell, the Spring Fall Jacket launches a new category of race equipment tuned for demanding spring and fall conditions. For colder conditions when a thermal SS jersey, arm warmers, and vest combo isn't cutting it, we developed a warmer option. Our EQUIPE RS Spring Fall Jacket locks out the cold and creates a pocket of insulating air between the layers, while remaining extremely breathable even when riding full-gas on race day. With the two 'valves' on the fronts of the shoulders, this jacket prevents overheating without the need to unzip."
For fast riding in mild conditions, it is very good.
As a skinny racer I loved it. The sleeves have generous length and the front of the jersey is nice and high.
Oh so soft and perfectly cut.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Wash at 30/40 and don't tumble dry. Pretty standard these days.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When the weather was right, this was brilliant.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The on-bike fit is absolute perfection and shows the quality of Assos' manufacturing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The jacket is quite limited in its usage range, especially for the price.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Rapha's Pro Team LS Aero Jersey is significantly cheaper at £150.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes, when the temperature was right.
Would you consider buying the jacket? No, the gilet/arm warmers combo is still more useful to me.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, but only if this is specifically what they were looking for.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a jersey/jacket that is trying to improve on the gilet/arm warmers combo. While it is very comfortable and is cut perfectly, it's less versatile than the gilet/arm warmers combo and it's not much warmer. Overall, taking price into account as well, it's good rather than very good.
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.