Spring Clothing Roundup: Reggie, Assos, Castelli- by Grannygear
Well, we are enjoying an actual spring in Southern California with a good amount of green grass remaining, flowers even, with bits of rain here and there. Cloudy and cool has been the norm punctuated with mild, sunny days. Glorious. Last year we were well into the upper 90s by May. That was less than glorious.
So as the days get longer and the rides to the coffee shop become less of a thermal wrapper type of experience, it is time to be looking at some spring/summer duds.
I have in hand several pieces of high end kit from three companies. Castelli and Assos need no introduction, both being well known for premium riding clothing. The third company is a newbie to the game, but has a delightful vibe and so far has been excellent to use. Say hello to Reggie.
We will be reporting back on these one at a time after we get enough saddle hours, but first let’s take a quick look at what we have. In the order they came in to the Grannygear closet, we begin with:
Reggie: All that and a rivet too.
From the website:https://reggie.bike/
The spirit of REGGIE is simply based in the pure fun of riding a bike. We’ll try to capture that in all of our gear. We have pretty strong ideas for what works for REGGIE. Awesome designs are a given. We ask ourselves, ‘does it look FAST?’ We need to look better and go places other brands can’t. If REGGIE looks like he’s poking fun at others, he is. The visual heritage of cycling will always be recognizable. We understand the beauty of cycling and suffering but other brands have it covered. We want to get to the other side of suffering with REGGIE because after we’ve pushed through a tough patch, we know it’s going to be good. When REGGIE uses ‘FULL GAS’ on the sole of a sock or an Rg Rivet on a jersey, we hope it not only makes you grin but encourages your next effort on the bike. We want non-cyclists to want to start riding so they can use REGGIE gear.
REGGIE has been super fun for us so far. We’ve created something from scratch. Plus, Jeff gets some cool gear for riding. We hope you like it too. Ride lots. Rivet on.
I have no idea how to start your own cycling clothing company, but I were going to, I would want to have a reason to do so -a vision perhaps, a mantra even, that defined who we were and why we existed. Reggie seems to want to have a great deal of fun while still offering a high end clothing experience. From the name ‘Reggie’ and it’s origin, to the actual rivet that is placed onto each piece of kit (well, not the socks) you get a very neat vibe from the moment you open the unique packaging (each piece comes in a wash sack) to the “I love to ride my bike” message on the jersey. One has to smile.
I have two sample jerseys, one in the ‘Fast’ cut and one in the ‘Faster’ cut. I have a vest, or gilet, if you prefer, and a set of bibs. More on Fast and Faster when we unpack this in the next post, but the Faster cut is a slimmer, closer fitting garment.
The materials look and feel great, there are nice touches like long and non-offending leg gripper areas on the shorts, zipped security pockets on the jerseys, and reflective touches here and there. I also appreciate the bright colors…better to be seen by…and I happen to wear a lot of bright orange, high vis yellow, and bright pink, so I am riding in tall cotton with that vest alone.
Assos XC Bib Shorts and XC Jersey: My bib shorts can beat up your bib shorts
Also new to my experience is Assos, but the name is not unfamiliar. It is one of the brands at the tippy top of the technical cycling clothing mountain. Expensive? Yes. But revered and desired none the less because it seems like those who try Assos become passionate, ardent fans. We shall see.
I have a set of the XC MTB focused bibs and jersey, but their technical details just might make sense for gravel rides. The material of the shorts is constructed partially with a very durable fabric so as to better survive crashes and the chamois pad has been shifted a bit towards the front to help with ‘perched on the nose of the saddle’ climbs.
Mountain bikers need clothing solutions too, so we set about extending our premium, mountain bike-specific OFFROAD collection. Our apparel engineering team were tasked with the challenge of creating a breathable yet durable short that has signature ASSOS performance yet doesn’t break the bank. The result of their hard work is these XC-specific bib shorts, for which we just can’t find enough superlatives.
Employing the ripstop, high abrasion resistant and breathable dyneRope fabric (which is stronger than steel), these shorts have been put through their paces by the BMC MTB Racing Team’s best riders. And with such stringent world class testers giving their approval, it’s clear that the pedigree of these shorts has already been confirmed. The result is a tough, lightweight and highly breathable pair of shorts that are perfect for the toughest XC trails. According to the team, the dyneRope on the outside of the legs wicks sweat like no other, delivering a seriously world-class performance that saw the riders sweep the team standings at the 2017 UCI MTB World Cup series.
But no matter how hard you’re pushing while riding off-road, there’s always a need for superior ASSOS comfort in the saddle so we’ve opted for our opulent MTB-specific insert. Placed a little further forward than its road counterpart, it is tuned for the steepest climbs and sickest flow trails with memory foam. From the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to your home trails, it’s time to hit the dirt.
There is not a big difference between XC racing (especially endurance type events) and gravel racing except perhaps the amount of time spent static in the saddle and the extreme technicality of the trails. So having a tough but close fitting lycra short that can survive dirt sampling or even just busting through the brush with your bike in hand does not sound like a bad idea so long as we don’t lose too much in the process.
I have been in these just for a bit and although I am still sorting things out, so far the fit of these bibs is remarkable. The jersey in that muted green is nice looking in an understated way with long sleeves (for a short sleeve, that is). I am expecting great things, but already there are a couple of oddities in the bibs that have me wondering and the fit is typical Euro snug. Size up.
If you wore bib shorts while driving a Ferrari, they would be a pair of Castelli Free Aero Race 4s.
Getting feedback from Team Ineos this year has meant trips to Belgium, Nice, Manchester and all around Italy, as well as Skype calls based around racing and training schedules. The recurring feedback from the riders is that their Free Bibshort (the same one you could buy in 2018) is really, really good. The only requested changes were a loop in the bib to hold the microphone for the race radio and one rider who wanted his seat pad moved back a bit. And it’s not only Team Ineos that likes it. The 2018 Free Aero Race Bibshort is the best-selling Castelli short of all time.
So for 2019 we’ve made some dramatic changes. Not because Team Ineos or you were asking for it, but because we’ve been riding in it a ton and thinking constantly about how we could make it better.There’s a new leg gripper that still features a lie-flat raw-cut edge but now has vertical silicone stripes to keep it in place without restricting stretch.
The new fabric allows for better print quality for your custom team production, the same as Team Ineos will use in 2019.We’ve updated the seams to improve the fit and make the short look even better on the body. We’ve re-engineered the bib straps with new fabrics and construction so they stay cooler, lie flatter and are more durable. The revised Free 3 Aero Race Bibshort also receives the updated Progetto X2 Air seamless seat pad featuring the softest surface fabric you’ve ever felt in a seat pad. You’ll be glad we ignore the old saying, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
These have technical features aplenty. The fabric on the sides of the thighs is dimpled like a golf ball or something. Makes you more aero. I need that. Free speed rocks. The Progetto X2 Air chamois looks like NASA designed it…it’s as far from a simple piece of foam under your butt as you can get. Impressive piece of kit.
I have had very good luck with the winter Castelli gear we reviewed (besides the too-tight shoulder straps) and so I am expecting these to be pretty sweet. We shall see as I just got these in and unwrapped and I am waiting for the Ferrari to be delivered. Andiamo!
Spring is in the air and will be getting out there in some swanky gear for sure. Ah, the life of a test monkey. Be back soon.
Note- Riding Gravel was sent the clothing used in the Spring Clothing Round-Up by Castelli, Assos, and Reggie for no charge to test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
About The Author: Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.