The Assos Equipe RS (or SchlossHund, to give it its full name) is a lightweight waterproof jacket that will keep you dry in the heaviest downpours with impressive breathability, and decent packability for those changeable days. It's very expensive, though, and inevitably draws comparison with Gore's Shakedry jacket, which is lighter, more breathable and much more packable, and saves you £15.
Hands up who likes cycling in the rain? Not many of you, I bet, but sometimes it's hard to avoid, especially if the alternative is the indoor trainer or no riding at all. And sometimes you're going to get caught out with some changeable weather. Being prepared with a suitable rain jacket is essential at this time of year.
This Assos Equipe RS is the Swiss company's newest waterproof jacket and was developed and tested with the now-defunct BMC Racing Team. There's no beating having products tested in the white heat of professional racing to find faults and fast-forward their evolution.
Assos has a history of developing its own fabrics, and that's true here. The jacket is made from Schloss Tex, which is light – a size medium weighs 187g on our scales – but not quite in the truly lightweight realm of Gore Shakedry. It is a big step forward compared with the SturmPrinz jacket that's been in the Assos range for a while, though.
Schloss Tex employs a three-layer construction with a hydrophilic membrane and DWR (durable water repellent) treatment. The fabric has some stretch, which helps with the fit, and it's claimed to offer excellent abrasion resistance as well, something that can't be said of Gore's über-thin two-layer Shakedry. That holds up with my testing: its durability is impressive, whether brushing against overgrown hedgerows on a cyclo-cross bike or commuting with a backpack (something Gore doesn't recommend with Shakedry).
The seams are all taped internally, the zipper is waterproof and it has a large puller tab to make it easy to use when you've got gloves on. The waistband is silicone lined with an elastic band to prevent the jacket riding up.
You don't get pockets but you can access rear pockets on the layer underneath via two large flaps that also double up as vents. With some practice it's fairly easy to get at the energy bar in your jersey pocket, and a wee bit easier than the usual hoicking up of the jacket.
I found the fit, intended to be on the figure-hugging side, good. I started out with a medium but found it a little baggy, so stepped down to a size small. Much better. It compares well to others I've used, with enough space underneath to accommodate a couple of layers. The fit is aided by the shaping of the various panels, and pulling on and removing the jacket is made easier by stretchy panels at the cuffs.
If you've been put off by the black or drab colours of some waterproof jackets, you'll love this bright orange. It's an unusual colour, for sure, but does stand out well on the road. There is a plain black option as well if you're not digging it. But the best feature ensuring visibility in low light and at night is the huge vertical reflective stripe up the back. Granted, it'll be obscured if you're commuting with a backpack, but for training rides it's a big bonus.
Wearing the jacket, it's a very comfortable protective barrier from cold wind and heavy rain. As well as the shaping of the panels and the stretchy fabric, the sleeves are a good length and the dropped tail provides added protection. It's also a quiet jacket: no rustling in the wind, thank goodness.
In terms of keeping you dry, the Equipe RS stands up to the most horrible weather. It's totally waterproof; I found no ingress of water anywhere, and my long-sleeve jersey underneath remained totally dry during several particularly sodden rides.
Making a jacket waterproof is easy, but making one that is breathable as well – that is the ultimate challenge for a cycling jacket. The Equipe RS is one of the best in the category. Provided you get your layering right for the temperatures, you can ride for several hours in sustained rain and not be reduced to a sweaty mess.
When you don't need the jacket's protective qualities, it can be rolled up and slotted into a spare jersey pocket. It's not the most packable jacket – it's not in the same league as the Gore Shakedry – but it's good.
It's hard not to make comparisons with Gore's Shakedry, but if you're considering such a sizeable investment in a new waterproof jacket then it's inevitable.
Both jackets meet the same level in pure waterproof performance, but the Shakedry is more packable and much lighter because of its two-layer construction, plus, in my experience, it bests the Equipe RS in the breathability tests. The Assos does get the nod for the bright colour and huge reflective stripe for visibility, and it's a touch more durable, which will appeal if you're hard on your equipment.
To conclude, the Assos Equipe RS is a very impressive waterproof jacket that will shelter you from the most horrible rain and be breathable at the same time. It's highly visible and fits very well, but it's not as packable or lightweight as the similarly priced Gore Shakedry.
There's a lot to recommend the Equipe RS, but if it was my money it would be going on the Shakedry, accepting the compromised visibility and durability.
Very good waterproof jacket with good visibility and durability
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Assos Equipe RS jacket
Size tested: Small
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?
Assos says, "The Equipe RS Rain Jacket insulates, protects, and keeps the chill away with its waterproof construction and race-focused cut. At just 170g, it's half the weight of our legendary sturmPrinz, which means this is the jacket to grab when you need something slightly more everyday, and slightly less heavy-duty.
"The jacket is crafted with the latest development from the ASSOS Textile Laboratory, our Schloss Tex, which is lightweight, flexible, and waterproof. This riding jacket borrows numerous cues from the race-proven sturmPrinz, such as the taped wrists and neck to minimize friction, the silicon elastic waistband, and the appreciated slot pockets that allow access to your regular jersey pockets beneath. We've also applied a double zip to give the rider the liberty to open from the bottom and increase breathability.
"Along with its 3-layer waterproof textile, this rain jacket applies minimal seams and panels. Providing necessary water-repellent and windproof properties, the Equipe is an all-year riding jacket that has been stringently engineered to provide pro-level performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Schloss Tex : This purpose-created textile is our most lightweight and waterproof soft-shell. Stretchy, extremely comfortable and highly packable, this 3-layer construction has excellent abrasion resistance and relies on a hydrophilic membrane. Waterproof >10 MT. High breathability MVP 27.100 gr/m2/24h JIS L 1099 B-1:2006
Aero Racing: The SCHLOSSHUND exemplifies the ASSOS competence of tailoring cycling-specific, high performance apparel, using custom-made, avant-garde fabrics that have been engineered with the sole purpose of performance cycling in mind. Ergonomically shaped to fit your body in the cycling position, it 'clicks on' then follows your movements thanks to the Aero Racing body-mapped performance.
Taped seams: Deployed across the whole design, these increase the watertight properties of the jacket.
Internal and external silicon on the rear lower elastic hem: Added for stability and fit, these silicon grips ensure that this rain jacket fits ergonomically without ballooning.
Cuff construction: Lightweight, water-repellent stretch inserts that make it easier to pull on and off while riding.
Rustle-free: This piece of apparel has been designed to be as quiet as possible with a rustle-free fabric.
'Pocket slots': There are two cleverly positioned openings on the lower rear panel that allow access to your jersey or jacket pockets. They serve a double purpose as ventilation slots, as well as allowing maneuver-free access to the contents of your pocket.
DWR: As not every day comes with unbroken sunshine, we've treated this product to our DWR (Durable Water Repellency) to protect you from rainfall.
Full-length zip: Slim, light zip for individually adjusting to the conditions.
ultra lightweight, ultra packable: As cyclists we understand the needs and restrictions that you face on every ride. With limited pocket space and a need to accommodate the essentials, we have diligently worked to create products with the lowest possible weight and great packability. As no one wants to feel like a packhorse on rides in changeable conditions, we've strived to strike the balance between weight, volume and performance. Our approach is always to craft pieces that will exceed expectations as your back-pocket insurance policy. This approach involves minimal volume and minimal seams.
Very high standard of construction, as you'd expect from Assos and hope for at this price.
It keeps you dry in the rain and does so without massive overheating.
Durability has been impressive and it feels tougher than Gore's Shakedry fabric.
Assessing breathability is a tricky business but in my testing it proved to be very effective at preventing overheating.
It fits well provided you get the sizing right; I started with a medium but then went down to a small for a better fit.
It's a lightweight jacket but it's not as light as the Gore Shakedry.
It's expensive, but it does offer excellent rain protection with very good breathability. But it's hard not to compare it to the Gore Shakedry, which is more breathable and packable and £15 cheaper. That said, it's £15 cheaper than the Stretch version of the Shakedry, which it's closer to in terms of weight.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I found it easy to wash and look after.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works really well in the rain and generally bad weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Good fit and comfort, and keeps you dry.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Not as packable as Shakedry and I'm not sold on the curious colour.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's about the same price as Gore Shakedry jackets and offers similar levels of performance in most key areas, but lags behind in some.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Not sure.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a really good jacket, but it's hard at this price not to consider the excellent Gore Shakedry jacket, which bests the Assos in breathability, packability and weight.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.