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kit: Assos vs. Rapha

sancho_panzasancho_panza Posts: 183
edited January 2012 in Road buying advice
I've worn Assos for years and am replacing much loved bib and jersey wrecked in a crash last autumn.

The jersey's discontinued and the shorts were nearing the end of their life.

I really like the look of the Rapha pro kit jersey and shorts but can't compare them without buying them. It's a lot of cash too, but I'll (hopefully) get a lot of wear out of them.

What I like about my Assos jersey is the fit (very slim fit and comfortable);
-- it's been a trusty jersey and keeps me comfortable in all the conditions I ride in - from 8-10ºC to 30-34º;
-- it's tough and resistant - I have an old Uno from 2005 with many 1000s of hard km in it and it's still in great shape
-- stylish, looks great

Rapha kit seems to be equally well thought-out and stylish. Prices are similar, fit and cut seems spot on for me - is it as versatile as the Assos Uno/Uni? And are the shorts, while super-stylish, as comfy and durable?

I get the feeling Rapha kit is annoyingly ubiquitous in some parts which might put people off; I've never seen anyone wearing it where I ride, so that's not an issue for me.

Thanks in anticipation

Sancho (Steve B)

Posts

  • Sammyw23Sammyw23 Posts: 627
    The pads in Rapha's classic bibs and Assos Uno/Mille are both made by Cytech/Elastic interface and are almost identical in shape. The pad in the rapha shorts is slightly larger. Both super comfy.

    The new Rapha pro team bibs have a different pad (still Cytech) but it is supposedly set slight forward for a racier fit.

    Jerseywise, I prefer Rapha solely because I find the zips on Assos jerseys to be really fragile and delicate. Other than that there's not much in it (apart from the merino/synthetic debate!). My favourite for summer is the lime lightweight jersey which is just lovely to wear.
    Cervelo P3
    Bianchi Infinito
    Cannondale CAAD10
  • ScrumpleScrumple Posts: 2,665
    You wont get a sensible reply.... each has its own fanboys. Just buy what you like best.

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  • galatzogalatzo Posts: 1,295
    This is could turn into a Campag or Shimano type debate !
    I'm soon to post a similar question !
    25th August 2013 12hrs 37mins 52.3 seconds 238km 5500mtrs FYRM Never again.
  • Sammyw23Sammyw23 Posts: 627
    thought my answer was pretty sensible. I wear both Assos and Rapha and love both, that was sort of my point. They are both quality manufacturers so it comes down to personal preference.
    Cervelo P3
    Bianchi Infinito
    Cannondale CAAD10
  • Sammyw23 wrote:
    The pads in Rapha's classic bibs and Assos Uno/Mille are both made by Cytech/Elastic interface and are almost identical in shape. The pad in the rapha shorts is slightly larger. Both super comfy.

    The new Rapha pro team bibs have a different pad (still Cytech) but it is supposedly set slight forward for a racier fit.

    Jerseywise, I prefer Rapha solely because I find the zips on Assos jerseys to be really fragile and delicate. Other than that there's not much in it (apart from the merino/synthetic debate!). My favourite for summer is the lime lightweight jersey which is just lovely to wear.

    that's helpful - I'd heard the Rapha pro jersey and shorts were a little fragile. If I get the same versatility and quality then I'll be happy.
  • Omar LittleOmar Little Posts: 2,010
    Both are good quality. Generally Assos are a bit more technical/performance orientated and Rapha a bit more fashion although I have never tried the Rapha pro tops so i cant judge that - their sportwool tops though are very comfortable to wear, lovely soft feel to them but i suspect the Assos tops might be a bit better when it gets really hot at 30 degree+

    Rapha sizing is slightly larger than Assos.

    btw if the Assos kit is crash damaged might be worth sending it off to them for a free repair
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412

    btw if the Assos kit is crash damaged might be worth sending it off to them for a free repair

    Well worth a shot!

    Rapha also do a repair service (http://www.rapha.cc/repair-service )

    I've luckily never had to use either Assos or Rapha repair services (I seem to only be able to fall off bikes when I am going slowly!), but friends have and report good results.

    They're both quality brands - it's a bit like having to choose between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini! (Rapha being the Lambo, maybe Assos is more McLaren with it's scientific approach?)

    I've never tried Rapha bibs though (I know that Assos Mille bibs work for me, so why risk anything else?).
  • tmgtmg Posts: 651
    In my experience I would go with:
    Bibs - Assos (for me they are a better cut and fit, am 6ft1)
    Arm/Leg Warmers - Both great, I find the Assos warmers are better at keeping me warmer, Rapha ones are more stylish (IMO anyway)
    Jerseys - Both great, prefer Rapha for style (some of them anyway), Rapha pockets are also better as they have one with zip
    Baselayers - Assos, I wouldn't pay Rapha prices for Merino baselayers when brands such as endura are just as good IMO
    Jackets - Rapha all they way, the classic softshell is the best bit of kit I have, I also have the gilet which is also great (no experience of Assos)
    Caps - Assos skullcap is great in winter, Rapha cap for summer or an Assos headband keeps the sweat from my eyes
  • on-yer-bikeon-yer-bike Posts: 2,974
    Buy the brand you like the look of. I dont like the look of Assos much, its a bit sci-fi. I also prefer Sportwool. I have shorts from both companies and they are both comfortable. I think the Rapha team shorts are fragile and shiny.
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    Colnago
    Cervelo
    Campagnolo
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    I'm a big fan of Rapha gear, but when it comes to shorts I choose Assos every time. I have owned Rapha classic bibs and they are fine, but for whatever reason I never found the fit or pad to be as spot on as my Assos Uno's. The fabric also feels less robust, although never actually had a problem.

    It's a different story for the jerseys though. I had an Assos uno jersey but sold it in favour of a Rapha Pro Team jersey earlier in the year. I love the pro team jersey, superb fit and very technical fabric, superior to the Uno I believe. I quite like the understated look too
  • markmodmarkmod Posts: 501
    I have a pair of Assos bib shorts, and also winter longs, a winter air lock jacket which are fantastic.

    But for most other things I am really stuck on Rapha, yes it's pricey. I only get it in the sales where it's only eye wateringly expensive rather than knut busting expensive...

    When I see the Assos stuff now I can't get the words 'pet shop boys video extra' :shock: out of my head... Shame, both Assos and Rapha are top notch and a match in the technical dept, but Rapha stuff is more understated and works better for me. I like Shutt very much as well for same reasons, but it has the added benefit of being great value to boot!

    You pays your (lots of) money and makes your choice I spose :?
  • Sent you a PM Sancho.
  • I would echo the comments of others - Assos shorts have the edge, but Rapha jackets and jerseys are a pleasure to wear.

    There is definitely a fashion element to Rapha - it looks good on and off the bike. Assos tends to make you looked like the only gay in the village if you have a body fat above 8%.

    From experience, Assos is better made. But Rapha has an excellent repair service - which is like an insurance against this.

    Agreed - avoid the baselayers. Completely overpriced (ok, it all is...but you can buy the same elsewhere for less). PlanetX/On one are just as good for 15 quid a pop.
    Never mistake motion for action
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  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 652
    I'd say there's less in it for bibs - some of the mile eating audax guys I know have been very impressed with how durable the standard rapha bibs are, whereas the assos need to be looked after and, as the company themselves say, they're not intended to last and last.
    For jerseys though, there are two issues in my mind: the sizing and the material. Sportswool may work great for you, it does for us in the UK, but after coming through the Schweiss on tour during the 2010 heatwave, I've a sneaking suspicion it may not be so useful in your summers, maybe I'm wrong. :?: In terms of sizing, there's just too much of a gap between sizes in Rapha that means the fit can vary depending on where you sit on that scale. E.g. I'm a large according the size chart (at the low-middle end of their scale), but I've had to send stuff back because it's so baggy around the waist - the medium is then prohibitively tight around the arms/shoulders/chest. Assos have more sizes to cover the full range and even different fits (mille, uno etc.) so you're guaranteed to get one that works for you.
  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 652
    Oh and regarding base layers - I've not used rapha but can safely say after comparison that Endura and Planet X are totally inferior in terms of quality of the fabric versus the likes of Howies, Embers, Icebreaker etc. If Rapha are as good quality as the latter then it goes a little way to justify the price. All merino is not made the same.
  • Graham G wrote:
    For jerseys though, there are two issues in my mind: the sizing and the material. Sportswool may work great for you, it does for us in the UK, but after coming through the Schweiss on tour during the 2010 heatwave, I've a sneaking suspicion it may not be so useful in your summers, maybe I'm wrong. In terms of sizing, there's just too much of a gap between sizes in Rapha that means the fit can vary depending on where you sit on that scale.


    Thanks for that. Re sizing, I'm small in Assos and have a small Rapha hooded top which fits perfectly. Am thinking of the Pro team jersey and bib from Rapha, which seems to be sized on the slim side.

    For material, the Rapha pro team kit is lycra; I'm not tempted by merino for cycling, and we get proper summers here, and I spend much of my summer further south as well. What I like about the Assos jerseys is that they seem to be a little heavier on the front panels and this gives a bit of extra insulation when descending.
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    Rapha pro team kit comes up very similar in sizing to Assos Uno. I am XL in jerseys and shorts in both, whereas the regular Rapha jerseys I am a large.
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