Saturday, 24 October 2009

Assos BMC squadraMondo Jersey Review

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Jersey Sleeve

Limited Collection Team Jersey, Cap and Socks

The problem with replica team kit is that it is almost always sold on looks rather than performance or quality. This creates a decision as to whether to show one's allegiance to a team, or enjoy the benefits of unbranded but higher quality items. The other caveat with team kit is that the colour schemes vary from a little bright to certifiably garish - a mutual agreement in style may not always be present.

As you'd expect from both Assos and BMC - two Swiss companies founded on both quality and beautiful design - things are a little different. For a start the recently formed BMC racing team's kit is minimal and attractive in its design, partly to the small number of sponsors but mostly because whomever was responsible excelled at their craft. Secondly the team is the envy of the entire peloton as they are fitted out with complete wardrobes of Assos gear. Most of this, like the airJack and intermediateEvo seen in various photos around the web are not available to the public but happily a version of the jersey based upon the 2008 season design is.

The squadraMondo pack had been on my radar since it's release although it wasn't until a few months ago that I had legitimate ownership rights, having built myself an immodestly awesome example of a 2009 SLC01 Pro Machine.

Getting hold of the pack in the UK proved impossible - no retailer stocks it, but fortunately a European connection was made and a package from Switzerland arrived at my workplace literally days later (thanks again Nicola!)

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Open Box

Like the sixDays, the squadraMondo pack consists of a jersey, cap and socks. The cap is a regular cloth model identical in material and construction to the sixDays items, albeit BMC branded. The socks are Assos standard summer skinweb items sized 39-42 in my medium pack so those like myself who take a medium jersey but have slightly larger than average feet may find the socks do not fit. That said, the skinweb is quite a stretchy design and the socks and cap are mere accessories however as the key focus of this package is the jersey.

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Ltd Collection

I had expected the jersey to be of the same fabric and cut as the Swiss Federation one I already owned, but upon receiving it I was delighted to discover it is based on the much superior SS.Uno. Aside from the obvious branding I did notice a few other differences - the label on the right side reads "Assos Limited Collection" and the zip garage is of a more flexible design and therefore easier to use. Such details suggest that the squadraMondo jersey is not merely an Uno that has gone through the printers but a specifically produced item.

Assos don't offer matching shorts but the FI.Uno S5 logo is very close, the only difference being an Assos rather than BMC logo on the left leg. Interestingly, the silver leg gripper on the shorts of some of the team riders suggests they are now using the FI.13 rather than the Uno.

As performance, fit and comfort are naturally identical to the Uno, there isn't really anything additional to report back on here. So in conclusion the squadraMondo is possibly the finest replica team jersey available, its attractive presentation makes it a fantastic gift for the BMC owner whose taste in apparel is as discerning as their choice of bicycle.

Attractive design and presentation, improved SS.Uno based jersey

Availability in the UK, no choice on sock sizing

Photos - Click for full size or view more on flickr

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Box

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Jersey Front

Assos BMC squadraMondo - Sponsor Yourself