When the miles go long and the gravel tests your conditioning and will, the best best equipment offers assistance that can only be measured by your comfort level. Gravel, touring, and bikepacking require more robust equipment so while your frame, wheels and tires all have to deliver, every single item of a rider’s gear is crucial to getting across the line, even if that line is your driveway. It is for this reason Assos developed their gravel-specific equipment line, so the Kiespanzer (“Gravel Tank”)Bib Short provides the requisite durability and padding level for the inevitable abuse of cycling beyond the tarmac. It’s also equipped with storage solutions for day-trip supplies or to supplement pack space and keep ride essentials readily accessible. Four pockets of high-stretch, extremely breathable 3-Mesh panels not only get the job done, the return of the limited stretch is consistent and long lasting. Reflective stripes help ensure visibility on early departures, late returns, or those long dusks while pushing through the final miles to the next hotel or campsite.
The foundation of most Assos pieces is the dominant fabric utilized to ensure the garment truly meets the essential requirements. In the Kiespanzer bib, the company's Type.429 fabric is flexible enough for streamlined, compressive fit and great support; with high breathability, despite being durable to everyday rides that add up to serious annual mileage. A reimagined waistband with a stabilizing elastic layer that anchors the fit and an additional top band of mesh that extends coverage, independent of the elastic band, for comfort, moisture management, and to eliminate gaps between shorts and jersey while in the saddle. This highly functional fabric delivers a snug flexible fit to ensure you slip through the air with ease. It's also highly breathable, perfect for high summer rides and durable to resist the abuse of countless miles in the saddle. And with moderate compression, the textile helps push back fatigue as your rides get longer, matching the longer days of summer.
Finding the perfect harmony of long-ride comfort and smooth, flexible fit can be challenge for the best designers. The Assos AEPD Regular Fit is based upon Assos race-level equipment, but it is more accommodating of different shapes and sizes for a less restrictive fit. The X-Frame bib design is used to stabilize the seat pad and lower section perfectly in place, with wide, flat straps that are built with controlled stretch and a full X in the rear for maximum air flow on the skin and with ideal interaction with any jersey. On the compressive and supportive short section, the aforementioned pockets are located in two zones- two on the outer quadriceps area (one each leg), and two on the mid-back, which are accessible under jersey, but sit high enough for comfort. These two pockets also have large loop pull tabs for faster identification and interaction with the contents when you can't see what you are doing and your mental focus needs to be on the sub-optimal surface you are navigating. The back pockets can definitely hold a decent amount of gear and supplies, and are best left for those items you may not need during the ride, but certainly need to have on-board. The thigh pockets are ideal for small snacks, a section reference map, lip balm, etc. The items are held securely and move with your body without restriction.
From pockets to the pad insert, the Kiespanzer is built to meet your needs while you grind along, and on the backside you need a pad that offers serious protection and comfort. Padding is not just about softness or lift, but more importantly about targeting the key support areas with a foam that reduces pressure at points of contact, mitigates greater impact energy, and reduces the effect of wheel chatter and surface vibrations. The Mille GTC C2 was developed for optimal cushion and protection on rough gravel surfaces in semi to aggressive riding postures, and carries a shock absorbing combination of Microshock and FilterFoam in dual layers that add up to 19mm of highly effective padding. Somehow, it doesn't feel like a super thick chamois pad, as it has a lighter effect and compresses properly to deliver the support you need. The insert has been shaped properly for anatomic reference and has been through Assos Thermoform process, which reduces irritation and potential friction. To finish off the short section, the updated Silicone Leg Grippers offer a more robust, gravel-ready version of the Mille Assos Lycra leg and design that grips the thigh without bulky grip.
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