Early Fall Jersey
On first glance at the range of Assos garments one could be forgiven for thinking that no-one could possibly make use of so many similar items. Certainly it is possible to cycle in most conditions with only a limited selection of clothing, but for maximum enjoyment and performance there's no substitute for having an outfit perfect for any given meteorological or climatic situation.
After a series of judicious, not to say fiscally taxing, purchases this past winter I am in no need of substitution, and as Winter has morphed to spring and now hints at Summer, the upper half of my outfit has thinned out from the heavyweight air blocking fleece of the airJack 851 to the lighter elementOne and now to the item I'm reviewing here - the intermediateEvo, an item Assos list as a jacket but is really closer to a long sleeve jersey, and so I will be describing it as such.
Rather than just lengthen the sleeves of a standard jersey and perhaps use material a touch thicker, Assos have put a bit more thought in and arrived at the sensible conclusion that if it's cold enough to merit long sleeves, then chances are that you're probably going to need a bit of wind protection too. To this end the front of the jersey is the thinner of Assos' two Airblock fabrics - 799. This lacks the fleecy backing of the winter-weight 851, so is lighter but only marginally less effective. The rest of the material is the same Micro Cell used on the short sleeve jerseys in the range (except for the SS.Uno and SS.13, which use the newer Plasma fabric).
The standard features are all present and correct - three sizeable rear pockets, plus an ever useful smaller, zipped pocket ideal for keys, money and cards - an addition often annoyingly omitted by other manufacturers.
Fit is up to the usual spot-on AEPD standards - tight around the chest when stood up, but in position on the bike just right, with no bagginess or ruffling of the front. My only real criticism here is the sleeves seem unusually long for the size, my medium being an inch or so lengthier in this area than the same size elementOne. My jersey featured the silver zip garage seen sporadically on other Assos garments, I have not yet worked out what the pattern is to whether an item will have this or not. My airJack and elementOne are both missing it, yet photos on Assos' site clearly show the garage on both jackets. I am unsure if it is something that has been added since mine were produced, or removed since the photos were taken. Either way, this doesn't seem to serve any purpose except to make zipping and unzipping the jersey trickier than it needs to be. Still, it can be folded out of the way if need be.
As with most outer layers, the usable temperature range can be extended by varying the thickness of base layer worn. I started off wearing the intermediateEvo around six weeks ago with the earlyFall base layer underneath. This was fine for the 8-12˚c range, and now the mercury has risen to between 12 and 18 the short sleeve summer layer is more appropriate.
Performance of the jersey is excellent, with the Airblock providing noticeable wind protection without being too stuffy. The Micro Cell fabric is comfortable and just the right weight yet, although hardly a criticism, is a little too similar to other manufacturer's material and doesn't score high on the Assos tech scale. A new version of the intermediateEvo with the super smooth and stretchy Plasma from the SS jerseys would be fantastic.
Excellent wind protection, very good fit
Sleeves seem excessively long, zip garage is fiddly
Photos - Click for full size or view more on flickr