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Assos Summer NS Skin Layer



Very absorbent, with a comfortable soft feel next to the skin
Highly absorbent
Soft and comfortable
Durable construction
Holds sweat that can cool quickly after you stop riding

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Assos Summer NS Skin Layer is a light, very breathable and very absorbent baselayer that helps make indoor riding a little more comfortable. It's very well made, too, though it is quite expensive.

With indoor cycling becoming increasingly popular, the humble summer baselayer can be a year-round, multi-purpose garment. The benefits it brings on a hot summer day – helping to wick away sweat from your skin and to regulate your body and skin temperature – are also valuable when riding indoors.

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As it's the middle of winter, I have only used the Summer NS (no sleeves) baselayer while training and racing on a bike indoors. In some respects this is a tougher ask for the garment, as it has to deal with more perspiration than on even the hottest of summer days.

The fabric feels a little thicker than some of the very lightest almost see-through mesh baselayers that are available, although Assos claims this new version is 30 per cent lighter than the previous Skinfoil one. The fabric is very soft and comfortable, the seams unnoticeable, and nothing caused any itching or irritation.

2020 Assos Summer SS Skin Layer - shoulders.jpg

Although a little thicker, it doesn't feel any hotter than minimal mesh baselayers, even on milder days inside and at maximum effort. The benefit of the thicker material is that it seems to wick away and absorb more sweat, and after longer, tougher sessions I seemed to have less sweat to mop up off the floor than when wearing other baselayers.

I don't think it provides better heat management, though, and whether the extra sweat-holding capacity is a good thing might depend on how you train or ride. I certainly found myself getting cold very quickly after stopping if I didn't remove it straight away. Outside, in the summer, the effect is likely to be similar but less pronounced, as the air temperature will be higher than the unheated environment where I ride indoors.

The fit is typical for Assos – it's reasonably slim, although there is plenty of stretch in the fabric. It sizes up exactly as suggested on the website using the fit calculator.

2020 Assos Summer SS Skin Layer - back.jpg

The baselayer is available in four sizes, which Assos labels as 0 through to III on the website, although in the garment itself the sizes are written out in words, with the Medium tested translating to size I.

The construction is very good – as you would hope for the price – with stitching that seems very durable, and there are no signs of fraying or any small rips forming, which can happen with mesh layers. For anyone who trains indoors frequently, it will likely be washed repeatedly, but the quality of the construction will withstand it.

2020 Assos Summer SS Skin Layer - hem.jpg

As well as this sleeveless option, Assos also produces a short sleeved (SS) version, which is priced at £60. If I were only using it indoors, that would be my preference, but for year-round use, outdoors in summer and indoors for winter training, the sleeveless is probably more versatile.

2020 Assos Summer SS Skin Layer - chest.jpg

Fifty quid for a lightweight sleeveless baselayer isn't cheap, but there are a few that'll make a bigger dent in your savings: Velocio's Radiator has gone down slightly since Jamie tested it last year but it's still £53, while Alé's Summer Mesh baselayer is £55, and Castelli's Pro Mesh is now £60. 

You can get some very good options for less, though, such as a favourite of mine, Morvelo's Definitive SS, which is £35. Chapeau's Mesh baselayer and Stolen Goat's Voltage are also both £35.

An increasing number of companies are producing indoor-specific clothing now, such as Castelli's Insider range and the Le Col x Wahoo garments, and if you only ride indoors then these might be worth a look.

> Everything you need for the ultimate indoor training setup

While it's not cheap, the Assos Summer NS is very well made and high quality, and I have no doubt that even with constant heavy use, so long as it is cared for and washed as recommended, it'll last.

Go back a few years and a sleeveless base layer would never have been classed as a year-round item of clothing, but the Assos Summer NS is one that should keep you as comfortable as possible both indoors and out when things get sweaty.


Very absorbent, with a comfortable soft feel next to the skin

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Make and model: Assos Summer NS Skin Layer

Size tested: 1

Tell us what the product is for

Assos says: 'The Summer NS Skin Layer serves as your first line of defense during the hottest days of the year, managing moisture, regulating temperature, and keeping your body cool with its ultralight yarns and seamless design.

'Unassuming, hidden from view, and working overtime to keep your core temperature regulated at all times. The humble summer first layer is often an afterthought, but we take it seriously, constantly refining its composition and silhouette to ensure it keeps you comfortable during the balmiest days of the year.

'Starting with the numbers, The NS Skin Layer is nearly 30% lighter than its Skinfoil predecessor. The Circular Seamless construction is free of any irritating side seams, creating a uniform tubular knit that's ultrasoft against the skin. A new blend of carbon and polypropylene yarns are now used, managing moisture much better than previous iterations. The result is an ultralight, breathable, antibacterial first layer that keeps your core as cool and dry as possible.'

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Assos lists:

Circular Seamless: A tubular knit technology that's free of side seams, creating an ultrasoft, comfortable feel against the body.

Composition: 97% polypropylene, 3% carbon fiber

Composition: 97%PP 3%CF

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Excellent seams, a little thicker than a mesh style but should prove more wear resistant.

Rate the product for performance:

Wicks sweat away well and manages heat on a par with other good summer baselayers. The extra moisture holding I found did make it colder very quickly after stopping.

Rate the product for durability:

Early days, but no problems so far and quality is good, so I think it will last.

Rate the product for sizing:

Comfortable and in keeping with the fit calculator that Assos has on the website. The difference in sizes is a little confusing though: 0-III on the website, but lettering on garments.

Rate the product for weight:

Sub-50g is light, but mesh baselayers are often a few grams lighter.

Rate the product for comfort:

Very good. No itching or any irritating bits that protrude.

Rate the product for value:

It's at the expensive end of the market, but it's not alone.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

No problems at all, despite being washed at least 20 times. Washed at 30 degrees, as with most other cycling garments: no shrinkage, no rips, wear or fading.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It wicks away sweat from the skin really well. Used indoors it works well. The only issue I found was after stopping: when cooling down, the extra moisture retained made it feel cold very quickly.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The soft feel and comfort are better than any mesh style baselayer I have used.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It gets cold quickly after stopping.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

You can find a number of very good sleeveless baselayers for around £35, including the Chapeau Mesh and Stolen Goat Voltage, but you can also pay more – Castelli's Pro Mesh is £60.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I'd probably go for the short sleeved version.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It works well for indoor riding – there seemed to be less sweat to mop up after use than with other baselayers I have used, suggesting it holds more moisture – but it does get cold soon after stopping. The quality is high – almost every mesh-style baselayer I have has small tears or rips, whereas the Assos seems more durable – but so is the price. Overall, I'd say it's good.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 168  Weight: 62

I usually ride:   My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding

Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.

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Chris Hayes | 3 years ago

As the thermonitor nudges 3'C outside, I wonder why this advert is here at all?  Is it aspirational? Is it here to remind me of warmer climes to come?  Could you review something snuggly and warm please? My winter base layers (the 3/3 in this range) are rubbish...either that or I'm not working hard enough.

Tass Whitby replied to Chris Hayes | 3 years ago
1 like

Chris Hayes wrote:

As the thermonitor nudges 3'C outside, I wonder why this advert is here at all?  

Why don't you try reading it, then you'd find out.

Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
1 like

I dont get sleeveless base layers that are aimed at turbo's.  On a turbo you need maximum wicking at minimum airflow.  Therefore surely you need at least short sleeves too?  Or am I the only one whose arms get sweaty too?

I have a couple of SS base layers when turbo'ing - Im still unconvinced that they work.   Im tempted to get an indoor jersey or climbers jersey, but my suspicions are that I'll be paying twice the price for some as (in)effective as a base layer.

Matt Page replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

Pretty much what I have written and my preference would be a very thin SS indoors, but there will be many people I am sure who would rather have a garment that can work year round, rather than purchase two that are the same except for having short sleeves.

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