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In the Drops: Assos Equipe kit, Garmin Epix watch and DMT KRO shoes

James Spender
6 May 2022

The cycling stuff that's piqued, rattled and rolled us this week

I’m Friday, it’s James Spender and we are In the Drops. Or something like that, because phew, what a week it’s been.

I’m writing this from Denmark, Copenhagen to be precise, the home of the soon to be Tour de France 2022 Grand Depart – for the men at least. Less fun if you are Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who is from here but whose female racing comrades will kick off their first ever (well, since 1989) Tour de France Femmes in, er, France, on 24th July, the day after the men roll into Paris. 

This week it’s been all about the Giro, which begins today. Don’t miss our full guide to the 2022 Giro d’Italia, our TV and livestream coverage guide, our pick of the favourites to win the maglia rosa and our handy, if jingoistic, guide to the Brits at this year’s race.

Speaking of pink, we revisited the history of the Giro leader’s jersey, while Giro boss Paolo Bellini promised us heaving crowds and a women’s Milan-San Remo for 2023.

Meanwhile Robyn gave us her weekly rundown of peloton shenanigans and an insight into Elisa Longo Borghini’s win at Paris-Roubaix Femmes and we marvelled at the bike capo di tutti capi Pete built with his own fair hands.

 

Emma talked to ultracyclist Mark Beaumont and took a hard look at plant-based diets for cyclists and finally, we delved into the best crank length for your bike – are yours too long?


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Assos Equipe RSR Bib Shorts S9 Targa and RS Jersey S9 Targa

Assos has long been the purveyor of what might best be described as insanely expensive kit with incredibly long names designed only for the racingest of snakes, and at £410 for this kit (OK, you got me, £427, because you have to get the matching £17 Monogram socks), the Equipe RSR Bib Shorts S9 Targa and Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa show no signs of slowing the charge.

However, I pray thee kneel, forgot your preconceptions and disregard the pricetags and gaze up instead with misty eyes at just how brilliant this kit is.

The headline is the RSR S9 bibshorts, which stand as Assos’s flagship aerodynamic ‘hyperlight’ numbers.

True to that form they feel smooth and hugging – Assos reckons the compression element helps reduce muscle fatigue – but the standout feature are the straps.

Instead of attaching at the effective waist or thereabouts like braces, as per regular bibshorts, they attach much lower down, almost at the bottom of the buttock.

That means the shorts have this curious pulling feeling from much lower down, which feels like no other bib I’ve ever ridden in, and while slightly odd at first, wound up feeling amazing. Together with the very light pad, which is perforated at the edges to save weight and aid airflow, this construction makes for the best bibs I’ve ridden in, period. Usurping my previous faves from those notable UK and Aussie brands.

The jersey complements in every way, it’s light, breathable and tight-aero feeling, but comfy too, albeit it does have a racy fit, borderline too racy for me in this size large (I’m 81kg in kit at the mo, and 5’ 11”).

But it feels superb, light, airy, great laser-cut sleeves, and I count four different fabrics – light stretch on the arms, faster wicking mesh (that doubles as a heat trap if it’s colder) honeycomb type on the torso and back, more stretchy side panels and slicker and slightly thicker shoulders.

Fit is great too – sizing now congruent with what I wear in other brands and in civvie clothes. Once upon a when I’d be XL bibs, large of even XL jersey in Assos. Now in this kit I’m large bottoms, medium tops. Good work Assos. Now, if you could just make this all much cheaper.

DMT KR0 cycling shoes


There are few things I love more than new shoes for that ‘I want to get out and use this thing’ feeling. Yes, I know we shouldn’t need that kind of encouragement and if we truly loved bikes we’d be happy with a Raleigh Shopper and plimsoles from lost property. But new shoes, you can’t deny it. And these DMT KR0 (that’s Zeros folks), just look at them. How pretty.

They are knitted because all shoes are knitted now. Well, a lot. And that means they are so, so supple. Light too, a seriously feathery at a mere 210g (claimed, 42g), and yes that means they aren’t precisely warm.

But they have proven to be perfectly acceptable beyond 12 degrees, and I absolutely love the fit. From a life wearing too-tight footie boots, and then cycling shoes in the early days when I didn’t know better – and probably genetics, let’s throw that in there too – I have some nice pronounced bunions, and the KR0s are coping with them like no other shoe. It’s all down to that knitted fit, which allows them to stretch and flex with my feet, but yet doesn’t feel sloppy. These aren’t socks stuck to carbon soles.

That’s the other thing too. The soles. They are stiff, they have vents which I’m sure I’ll love in the height of summer (remember that season?), and that is about it. But that’s all they need to be.

They mate brilliantly with those uppers, the footbed of the insole and contour of the outer sole do the job, and throw in those Boa dials and the overall feeling is one of ahhhhh. 

Superb fit, super comfy, great to ride in. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, perhaps they could be cheaper. Just saying. I dunno, everything is so expensive these days.



Garmin Epix Gen 2 multisport watch

You might think I’m back again with the same Garmin Fenix 7 Solar, but you’d be sorely wrong my friend, for this is the Garmin Epix Gen 2. It has worse battery life, it has a much better screen, it is superb. Read on.

It looks very similar I agree, and it feels and weighs the same on, too. And the functionality is ostensibly the same, it’ll track every activity you can throw at it, it uses GPS (obvs), it has 16GB of storage capacity for maps, data and music, it will give you all manner of extracurricular metrics from VO2-max approximate assessment and approximated blood oxygen levels, heart rate (courtesy of Garmin’s ‘most accurate heart rate sensor ever’), hydration tracking and goals (you have to tell it you’ve been a good little athlete and have drunk the water, it doesn’t actually know).

It does this thing called ‘Body battery’ where it amalgamates sleep, training, stress etc. and tells you how recharged or detuned you are. If you play golf it can show you nice golf maps, or ski trails.

But – and this is the kicker as to why you’d choose the Epix not the Fenix, it is more expensive by £110 but lacks the solar Power Glass, which charges the Fenix on the go (but never fully – it just prolongs battery life).

As such, the Epix runs for a claimed 16 days in Smartwatch mode, that is, used as regular Smartwatch for time-telling, notifications and the odd activity recorded. This is compared to the Fenix 7 Solar, which will do 22 days. GPS recording time maximums are Fenix 7 Solar up to 289 hours, Epix Gen 2 up to 42 hours.


Hang on, the battery is not nearly as good here then? But here’s the thing – I still find I go for five days between charging the Epix, and I do activities of a few hours length, with GPS, most days and the screen is just loads nicer to use.

It has a touchscreen like the Fenix 7, though it is auto-disabled for activities, which is especially good if you intend on getting wet, but crucially it is AMOLED, so the resolution is vastly superior and brighter, making the Epix a class above for navigation on the loaded maps.

In the broadest strokes for those deciding between the Epix and Fenix, there is little in it in terms of functionality, but given the choice I’d choose the Epix Gen 2 for its screen. It makes the whole user experience better, and the watch overall more capable for mapping and general readability.

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a week, I’d love to write more but I have to jump on one of Denmark’s beautifully run trains that has space for bikes, even on the underground ones. Like loads of space.

And there is loads of space to park bikes everywhere. And loads of bike lanes. And the cars are nice. And no-one jumps red lights. And nurses’ locks are fine to secure your commuter. And the architecture. And Peter Schmeichel. And the cured fish. And the beer. OK, actually the beer is better in the UK. But the rest.

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