The Four S7 Shorts
The $499 top-of-the-line Campionissimo features a woven fabric instead of the typical knit. Assos admits that the woven material is more susceptible to abrasions than the knit materials found in the other new models, but the company feels the advantages—10 percent lighter weight and 33 percent more compression—compensate for the drawbacks. In addition, Assos claims the woven fabric provides an asymmetric compression that improves their fit and feel. In this model, the foam pads are stitched to the body of the short, not to the chamois cover. Assos claims this takes the friction-reducing GoldenGate concept one step further. The Campionissimo, Visentin says is, “not a generous fit. It is not appealing to every body type out there.” Translation: You gotta be lean to wear this bib.
The second most expensive short is the $329 Cento, the most generously cut of the S7 line, with a less compression and a less restrictive fit on the waist and torso. The majority of the body material is the same as the lesser Equipe, but the Cento features a front panel made of an almost-mesh material that enhances breathability. It also has 10mm-thick chamois pads, 2mm thicker than the pads in the other shorts.
Next up is the $249 Equipe, the second-most compressive short in the line. The shorts body is made of a single material that Assos calls 439, which is more abrasion resistant than the material in the NeoPro short. Additionally, 439 has a dye treatment that reflects some sunlight to keep you cooler.
Finally, there’s the $179 NeoPro. The simplest of the line, its fit that falls between the Equipe and the Cento and has the most basic chamois. It shares bib strap and leg gripper materials and design with the Equipe and Cento, but uses a less abrasion-resistant body material Assos calls 429.
The S7 chamois is based on that of the S5, made out of a four-way stretch, a three-layer, cover sheet with waffled (lighter and more breathable, says Visentin) middle layer. Under the cover sheet are memory foam pads.
Except for the NeoPro, all of the S7 chamois have a batwing shape, instead of a traditional rounded shape, in the front. Visentin says this moves the front attachment points of the chamois outward, away from the groin, to reduce friction.
The S7 chamois from left to right: NeoPro, Equipe, Cento, Campionissimo. The black square in the front of the Cento and Campionissimo is the Kuku Penthouse. (Matt Phillips)
The two highest-end shorts—the Cento and Campionissimo—have a feature dubbed the Kuku Penthouse. Assos cuts a window out of the chamois, and then inserts a microfiber panel to improve breathability, says Visentin. The Equipe lacks the Kuku Penthouse, but is contoured to provide some ventilation, while the NeoPro chamois has a more traditional design.
The chamois insert in the Cento and Campionissimo share three additional features not found in the NeoPro or Equipe. The chamois cover material is cut away on the sides to reduce chafing from the saddle on the inner thigh, says Visentin. The second feature is dubbed Rear Terminal. Instead of stitching the rear part of the chamois directly to the body of the bib, it’s stitched to a microfiber panel. This panel is then attached to existing outer seams in the bib body. Visentin claims this construction method reduces abrasion on the rider’s body and reduces stress on the body of the short. Lastly, the lower layer of the chamois’s cover sheet is waffled like the mid layer for more breathability.