For 2019, Assos has launched a full-on XC kit aimed at both off-road and gravel riding. The construction is unique and durable and has been combined with typical Assos quality to deliver the increased durability needed for dirt adventures.
Assos XC Jersey and Bib Shorts Features:
- Full XC kit built for MTB or gravel riding
- Jersey features Type.157 Stripe Tex fabric
- Three triple-ramp pockets with single zippered pocket
- Bib shorts feature offload-specific chamois
- Aerodynamic design
- Uses dyneRope tex fabric for added abrasion resistance
- Wide, elastic bib straps
- MSRP: $169 (XC Jersey) and $239 (XC Bib Shorts)
Primo XC (or gravel) Kit
In typical Swiss fashion, Assos commonly throws out lots of acronyms and catchy names for their kits and kit components. So, it was a nice breath of fresh air when Assos introduced their XC Kit. That’s it. Nothing tricky to remember, just XC Kit (Jersey and Bib Shorts). But, the simplicity of the name doesn’t mean Assos skimped on features — no sir. The XC Kit is a fantastic XC/Trail/Gravel kit with unique features to keep you comfortable and protected in case you go down on that loose corner.
At the core, the XC Kit bib shorts are the real story. Built with dyneRope tex side panels, these bib shorts are built to take trail abuse (branches or rocks) without tearing. It’s kind of like wearing light body armor and offers a ton more protection than standard fabrics. So, don’t worry yourself over the scrub oak extending into the singletrack because it won’t do a thing to this super fabric.
On the road or trail, the bibs do feel a little more restrictive than standard bib shorts (compared to the Assos Equipe RS S9’s). They do offer muscle compression to keep things tight, but will feel a little tight during extreme movements (standing sprints on a climb). Honestly, it doesn’t inhibit motion or performance, but it is noticeable compared to standard bib shorts.
As with the Equipe RS S9, the XC Bib Shorts feature wide, comfortable straps that stay wide on the chest. This is key because not only are the straps ultra-comfortable, but they are positioned outward on the chest and don’t cause chaffing in any way. The criss-cross on the back ensures they stay put and remain snug. The front is a good height and offers the proper balance of comfort and stretch for nature breaks. The leg cuffs are comfortable and simply stay put. As far as color, these are offered in a single black/grey color and not a solid black.
I’ll add that Assos has the chamois nailed and these feature a front pocket for your junk. Talk about a revelation! No longer do you have to decide right or left since the pocket provides perfect support for your anatomy.
Now, the matching XC Jersey is also built using Assos’ hallmark construction. The collar is a modern, mid-height and the zipper is easily pulled up/down as needed. With simple silicone grip on the rear hem, the jersey stays put and carries stuff well. For my 5’11” 170 lb. body, I need the large bib shorts, but can honestly wear either the medium (green one in photos) or large (blue one in photos). I certainly I prefer the medium jersey for a more streamlined fit. And, the added tightness helps keep the contents of the jersey pockets from bouncing around, which was a problem with the large.
Those same pockets are easily-reached in the saddle and the single zippered pocket is a nice addition just for the sake of security. And, the pockets are perfectly-aligned to work with the Assos Millet GT Vest when temperatures start dropping.
The XC Jersey’s fabric is soft and comfortable next-to-skin. It also features a variety of fabrics to help aid breathability, but this still isn’t a summer-weight jersey in my book. The arm cuff length is modern and long, so it sits near the elbow.
For SBT GRVL, I had the option of wearing the Assos XC kit or the Assos Equipe RS kits on the 100-mile course. As I studied things out, I opted for the Equipe RS instead — primarily due to the added breathability. If there’s any real weakness, I’d point to that as the XC Kit’s fabrics don’t lend themselves to having best-in-class breathability. I quite liked wearing the XC Kit for morning mountain bike and gravel training rides for that purpose.
- That chamois and front pocket are primo
- Bomber bib shorts can take serious trail abuse
- Bib short straps sit perfectly without chafing one iota
- Easily-reached jersey pockets
- Zips up/down easy
- Tags were easily-removed without scissors
- Breathability is lacking on hot days
- Bib shorts do feel extra-compressive
The Bottom Line: Assos XC Kit
Durable and road kits don’t usually go hand-in-hand. Well, the Assos XC Kit is a roadie-inspired gravel or MTB kit with enough durability to handle the falls that come with the territory. The bib shorts offer excellent compression with an outstanding chamois while the jersey feels comfortable and looks nice, but does get a touch toasty on the warmest of days.