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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa review

Does the higher price bring a better product along with it?

Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa
(Image: © Josh Ross)

Our Verdict

A fast, aero optimised jersey, that looks great but is also exceptionally usable. The pockets are some of the best available on any jersey.

For

  • - Aero optimised
  • - Headphone routing in the pocket
  • - The zipper is comfortable at the neck without the need for a flap of fabric
  • - Excellent pull zipper pull

Against

  • - Lacks the bold style of the competition

There's nothing quite so wonderful as breaking out the summer cycling kit after a long winter. Summer jerseys are light and airy, with designs that are a joy to wear. They also tend to be the most visible flagship products for many brands. Summer cycling jerseys are where every brand competes to bring you the most comfortable, and the fastest designs. 

In fact, there's so much competition in the summer cycling jersey space we have two different categories in our list of the best cycling jerseys. Not only do we have the best summer cycling jerseys but we've also put in a section for the best aero cycling jerseys. It's in that second category that we've featured the flagship Assos race-focused jersey. For Spring/Summer 2022, Assos has updated its flagship model and given it a new name too. If you are looking for a summer jersey that's focused on all-out speed, keep reading to see our thoughts on the Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa. 

Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa rear view

Stylistically the design is simple without much to catch the eye (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Design and aesthetics 

Right off the bat it's important to understand that Assos is a brand that's all business, or at the very least, it defaults to all business. You can find more playful designs in the endurance-focused Mille GT lineup but this is an Equipe RS jersey. You can pick from one of four colours but they are all very conservative. There's a fade to black in the Wulf Grey or Cyber Blue options but the Black and White are solid. Every colour features a repeating Assos stylized "A" covering the left arm below the shoulder. 

Despite the somewhat staid style, there are a ton of very technical and detailed design decisions. This is an aero jersey so everything is smooth and optimised. The front panels use a 3D knit miniCheck Tex fabric, which sounds technical but Assos doesn't go into much detail at all as to what the nomenclature entails. What we can say is that the dimpled texture helps keep the air attached for better aero efficiency. A side effect is that the raised and lowered texture helps promote air movement under the fabric which helps with sweat-wicking. It's also UPF 25 for sun protection, which is a bonus for bluebird days. 

Also in that front panel is the zipper, which is a small tooth affair with a surprisingly large plastic pull tab. The pull is stiff to operate so that it stays exactly where you place it. While a large tab doesn't sound overly aero, the pull tab clasp keeps it lying flush with the jersey, rather than dangling. 

What you won't find at the top of the zipper is a zipper garage. This makes sense, again, with aero considerations in mind since a zipper garage could catch the wind and cause drag. The design doesn't just leave the wearer to deal with a rough zipper top though. The backside of the collar carefully encapsulates the upper edges of the zipper. Although the metal zipper sits directly against the skin, it's only that piece that has smooth edges. The corners of the zipper reinforcement have protection. 

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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of zipped up zipper

There's no zipper garage but there is careful consideration to keep the neckline comfortable (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of zipper pull

The zipper pull is stiff enough so that it will hold its position and never flap in the wind. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of the upper zipper protection

The fabric surrounding the zipper against the skin covers anything that would be noticeable while riding (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Moving over to the arms, the cut is typical for modern aero cycling jerseys. Some brands seem to be competing for the longest short sleeve designs but Assos keeps it above the elbow and far enough away it won't roll over as you bend your arm. The fabric used is the heaviest on the jersey and along with that comes the strongest UPF rating of 50. The end of the arms is raw cut and sits perfectly flat against the skin. 

The same fabric sees another use at the shoulder and upper back. This is a departure from other brands. Castelli, for example, tends to limit the number of seams in this area on their, visible on their Aero Race 6.0 jersey. Assos differs by not shying away from seams that might impact aero performance in an effort to keep the shoulder highly mobile. 

As you move lower on the back you see the aero considerations give way to heat management. The dimpled fabric used on the front panels comes around the sides and over the shoulder blades but the centre uses a more ventilated Push-Pull Warp knit fabric, a fabric which is also used in the Equipe RS Spring Fall jacket Targa. As you move lower down the back, it expands farther to the sides and it also continues under the pockets. 

The pockets themselves are low enough and wide enough for easy reaching. Being an aero jersey, they don't have gussets and they stay close to the body. The top edge of elastic is heavier than what most brands use and there's a doubled over piece of mesh in the top section which forms a cover for the pocket to keep items from falling out but it also adds stability. In the centre, there's a strip of reflective material, too. 

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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of fabric

The textured fabric on the front panels helps promote moisture management while keeping the air attached for better aero dynamics. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of inside of waist

The front lacks any silicone but sits perfectly flat and doesn't ride up. The rear uses elastic with silicone grip. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of extra seams at the shoulder

There are more seams at the shoulders than competing aero jerseys but it does help to keep the shoulders mobile. (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Performance

Assos has a reputation for their chamois design being among the best. I am a fan of items like the Assos Mille GTO C2 bib shorts but it's the summer aero jerseys that I think the brand deserves a reputation for. Over the years I've been using them, at least five, and these are always the jerseys I grab when given the choice. They've been with me across states and on my longest rides but they've also been with me for the short, fast mid-week rides.

What I care about when it comes to jerseys is the performance of the pockets. With the Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa, Assos once again nails this. What they get right is not only placement but also stability. There are a lot of brands that put the pockets too high on the back. It tends to be a symptom of a torso that's shorter than it should be but Assos gets both pieces right. Put your arm back naturally and the pockets are right where you expect them to be. 

The other piece to creating quality pockets is stability. Even when a brand gets the placement correct, they sometimes don't have enough stability so while you can reach the pockets, the whole jersey will bounce when they're filled. The way Assos handles this is with the extra fabric at the back of the top. Assos calls this feature out as a cover to keep items in the pocket but more important than that is the way it adds weight right where it's needed. The outer fabric is also the same heavy fabric you can find on the sleeves and every line of stitching has two duplicates. Paired with the extra heavy elastic at the top edge there's a lot of extra strength that keeps even heavy loads from moving around. 

The other piece of this puzzle is that Assos has an understanding that going fast and carrying a load are not exclusive. Yes, the pockets are wonderful but this is still a fast and aggressively fit jersey. Every seam and edge is flat and smooth. As you bend over on the bike the length of the front is just right so that there's no extra bulging or ripples in the zipper. 

Despite the right length when bent over, the jersey continues to look good off the bike. It's not short when you stand up and all that effort to smooth the body for aerodynamic efficiency has the side effect of looking good. Black is a good look in this regard as well and the dimples have a visual smoothing effect also. It ends up being a jersey that fits great and looks good. 

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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of pockets

These are some of the best pockets available on any jersey. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of rear pocket additional structure

This cover keeps things from falling out but it also adds structure so heavy loads don't bounce. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of bottom of rear pockets

There's no gusset at the bottom but there is room for the pocket to expand when in use. (Image credit: Josh Ross)
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Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa detail of headphone port

The inside of the right pocket has a hole for headphones. (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Verdict

A cycling jersey like the Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa, is both a performance item and also a fashion item. With the Equipe RS lineup, Assos tends to let the performance lead the design direction with a function over form result. Seemingly every detail of every stitch starts with a consideration for aero performance but it's not at the expense of looking good or useability. The same details that make for a fast jersey help make it look good. There is also an understanding that moving fast and staying aero doesn't mean you don't need a usable jersey. 

The only negative l can find are that it's a little basic, visually speaking. If you are looking for a wild and fun design you'll have to look elsewhere. It's also worth noting that this is an expensive jersey. It's not the most expensive jersey Assos sells and it's only a little more than some of the competition but it's not inexpensive. Price isn't listed as a negative though because it's not wildly out of line and the performance backs up the price.

 Tech Specs: Assos Equipe RS Jersey S9 Targa   

  • Price: £155 / $200 / €180 / AU$300
  • Materials: miniCheck Tex, Push Pull warp knit
  • Weight: 120 grams in size small
  • Size availability: XS-XLG
  • Colour Options: Black, Holy White, Wulf Grey, Cyber Blue

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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutia of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx