Friday, 8 May 2009

Assos elementZero Review

Assos elementZero - collar detail

Early Winter Sleeveless Shell / Gilet

If there's one item of clothing a cyclist must own in addition to the staple shorts and jersey, it's a gilet. Easily the most versatile piece of apparel and for myself at least, the most used. The beauty of a gilet is that it keeps warm the body parts that need warmth and allows cooling to those that require cooling. A cycling specific gilet is a very tailored design that does everything up front and virtually nothing behind. That is to say the front is almost always a windproof material with a high collar and the back is only really there to keep the front in place. Mesh or other lightweight fabric is all that is required. As all the wind is coming from the front due to the cyclist's direction there is no need for the back to provide any protection.

The elementZero takes this principal and expands on it. The front is mostly Airblock 799, the thinner, yet almost as functional weight of the two Airblock fabrics. The back has a mesh panel, the collar a thick foam padding, identical to that of the winter Fugu uber-jacket, and cut low at the back and high at the front so close fitting when in the riding position. The rest of the material is X-Zero a water-repellant, breathable textile.

My elementZero has accompanied me on every ride since it's acquisition. Used as an extra layer on sub-zero winter excursions to a temporary wind chill shield when descending after a sweaty climb it packs small enough to stuff in a jersey pocket and when paired with arm warmers makes an almost-a-jacket combination that can be donned or removed in parts to suit the current conditions.

Although not claimed to do so, the Airblock material is more water resistant than expected and having got caught out a number of times the elementZero has kept me warm and sheltered for the 30 minutes ride from work to home. I can't comment on the effectiveness of the back panel's fold down flap, as I always wear waterproof Gore shorts when commuting.

I really can't fault the elementZero. It may be a bit more substantial around the collar and therefore bulkier than some other manufacturer's offerings, but this is a small price to pay for the extra warmth. Whilst on the subject of price, much debate is made over the cost of Assos products. The elementZero is no different, when paying this price for a gilet you expect performance to match and I can honestly say it does not disappoint. Swiss perfection supplied in a stylish, grey zipped bag.

Windproof, quite water resistant, warm, great fit, very comfortable collar


Photos - Click for full size or view more on flickr

Assos elementZero - front, unzipped

Assos elementZero - back

Assos elementZero - flap open

No comments:

Post a Comment