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Winter solved with ASSOS

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18 Nov 2020
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ASSOS brings a new level of technology to the world of winter training 

There’s a unique joy to a winter training ride on a crisp, misty morning through quiet lanes. Yet changeable temperatures and the threat of rain can make for a tricky balancing act of staying warm and dry while not overheating during training efforts. 

ASSOS believes it has the best solution yet with its Equipe RS Winter collection. The ASSOS Equipe RS Jacket, also named the johDah (pronounced ‘yoda’), is the most advanced jacket ASSOS has ever unveiled, and is the keystone in its Equipe Winter collection.

At £575 it’s also the most expensive piece of kit the brand has ever made. Much like its Jedi Master namesake, however, there’s a lot of firepower beneath this jacket’s rather understated exterior.

‘The johDah spent three years in development,’ says Luca Zanasca, head engineering officer at ASSOS and a former professional cyclist. ‘The Equipe line is oriented toward cyclists who compete – weekend warriors and racers who like to ride through the winter, and we wanted to create one central jacket to cover all scenarios,’ he explains.

The ‘diffuser’ is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the engineering story behind the johDah, and offers a type of ventilation activated by effort and exertion. ‘It’s a kind of controlled inflow of air,’ says Zanasca. The theory is that a rider is likely to be riding head down when riding hard, so this is when the diffuser valves on the shoulders open. For that to work, the dynamics of the cut are key.

Making the cut

‘We spent a lot of time on prototypes to check the cut on the diffuser,’ says Zanasca, adding that an aerodynamic fit was equally important in the development of the overall cut. ‘We also spent time on the cut on the forearms, on the back and on the Thermobooster Pod to make sure it all works perfectly together.’

Each segment of material has been carefully selected to work as part of an overall system on the johDah. For instance, the jacket uses an insulated short mid-layer that covers just the chest, so the cool air coming in either from the valves or from unzipping the top of the jacket can circulate without chilling the upper chest.

The front section, upper back and forearms use ASSOS’s Sphere material, which offers a thin but robust layer of wind and water-resistance. The lower back, meanwhile, uses a material called Osmos Heavy that offers ample warmth but total permeability for sweat during big efforts, while the upper arms use an insulating zigzagged fabric that ASSOS endearingly calls ZigZaggy.

ThermoBoost

Key to the Equipe RS 3.3 collection is the supplementary use of an external windshield called the Clima Capsule and an intermediate layer called the Thermobooster Mid Layer, either of which can be stored in the johDah’s Thermobooster Pod, a fabric pocket that sits on the upper back.

‘When you start in the morning and it’s a little cold, just wear the Clima Capsule over your winter jacket for the first 20 to 30 minutes,’ says Zanasca. ‘Then when you reach the right temperature you can take it off and store it in the lower back pockets. The Clima Capsule also works well in light rain offering just the right amount of protection and permeability.’

The Winter Mid Layer, meanwhile, sits below the johDah and can be removed when the weather really changes or a rider is undertaking a serious effort mid-ride. ‘For instance, when you climb a long pass,’ says Zanasca. ‘It’s something that you might take off and put in the Pod. Then when you reach the top of a pass you can put it back on for the rest of the ride.’

Complementing the Equipe RS Jacket is the Equipe RS Winter Bib Tights S9. These are the first to use ASSOS’s S9 bibshort technology, which uses external braces to offer more support for the chamois.

Working in unison, the Equipe RS collection makes a good case for battling through the winter. Perhaps we’re lucky – if it weren’t for these chilly months of riding, who would have dreamt of inventing all of this ingenious kit?

For more information on the ASSOS Equipe RS 3.3 Collection, visit assos.com