The Assos proprietary Schloss Tex fabric that makes up this jacket is as thin and light as the competition but it has stretch. The unique fabric is a competitive advantage but the lack of pockets is a miss.
Excellent large tooth zipper
You can still find the "have a good ride" tagline
Reflective stripe down the back
Neck protection at the top of the zipper
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Hardshell jackets are the best way to deal with a day of rain. When the weather gets really bad, there’s just no substitute, and for a lot of brands, that means piggybacking on Gore innovation and using Shakedry fabrics. Assos goes its own way though and develops unique, proprietary, fabrics. For the Assos Equipe RS rain jacket, that means Schloss Tex.
We've spent time with not only the 2021 Equipe RS Rain Jacket Targa but also the other versions of the jacket. The previous version made our list of the best waterproof cycling jackets and now that we've got a good sense of the new version, it's there instead. After a lot of hours riding through the rain, we are ready to share our thoughts on the updated design, so keep reading to see what we think it does well and where we think it falls short.
Design and aesthetics
For a jacket this high-tech, the design is surprisingly simple. The star of the show is the fabric, Schloss Tex, which Assos has chosen as the only material for almost the entire jacket. The only places that you'll find a different fabric is a small piece of high-stretch material on the inside of each wrist and the elastic gripper at the bottom of the rear.
Schloss Tex is a three-layer fabric that competes with the Gore Shakedry used in jackets such as the Castelli Idro Pro 3. Although Shakedry is a two-layer fabric, the Assos solution isn't any thicker or heavier, and they both have similarly impressive waterproof properties too. The big difference is that Schloss Tex is less insulative, but it has more stretch and is less delicate.
Another big difference between Schloss Tex and Shakedry is colour. The addition of a facing layer makes it possible to add colour and Assos has done just that. Black is still available if that's your style but there is also a Propeller Orange option. Think of Propeller Orange as a sophisticated hi-viz orange. It's still very visible in low light but it's less primary than the older orange options of the same jacket. In both options, there's also a large reflective stripe bonded to the rear of the jacket which travels vertically from between the shoulder blades all the way to the tail.
Open the jacket up and take a look inside and the white interior shows off the taped seams. The bold black lines stand out against the white with a promise of waterproofness while showing off the simple textile pattern that Assos has used. It's easy to see that there's no complicated pattern but instead enough panels to make a great fit without adding unnecessary weight.
Zippers vs pockets
Previous generations of the Assos Equipe RS rain jacket featured two horizontal slits on the rear. The placement was over the area where'd you'd find pockets on a jersey and the idea was to allow access to the pockets below. In the latest generation, Assos has sealed up these access ports in favour of better water resistance. The access to pockets is now handled by the nice big double zipper, similar to the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Shakedry jacket. Unzip the jacket from the bottom, flip the low back up, and you can reach your pockets.
I'm a big proponent of real pockets on an outer shell and this arrangement does not satisfy that for me. I never experienced water ingress through those rear slits, but the previous solution didn't work any better for pocket access and having used both solutions, one is not a clear upgrade compared to the other. However, the quality of the zipper itself is a huge upgrade compared to the first-generation jacket and the competition. It's cam-locked, large enough to grab with winter gloves, and the large teeth provide smooth snag-free zipping action.
The lack of pockets is likely a reflection of Assos's vision for this jacket. If you pack the pockets on a jacket, you can't stash it easily. It's also added material that keeps it from folding up as tightly. Assos sees the Equipe RS rain jacket Targa as more of an emergency jacket but I think it is selling itself short.
I can't count the number of times I've left the house expecting to stash this jacket and instead left it on all day. The breathability is great and it's warmer than you'd expect, dress well underneath and it should keep you comfortable down near 55F/13C degrees. In autumn, spring, or anywhere with a mild winter, a thermal jersey underneath and a weather-appropriate base layer is a perfect pairing, or as the temperatures drop even further, pair it with one of the best winter cycling jackets and it performs dutifully as an emergency rain shell.
Whatever temperature range you end up using it for, the fit is a huge highlight. It's well-sized, it's got a great neckline, and the stretch makes everything feel better. The RS stands for Race Series so expect a race fit but if that works as well for you as it does for me, you'll be very happy with the way it hangs. Even with the tight fit, it’s not so tight that it’s uncomfortable off the bike.
The Assos Equipe RS Rain Jacket Targa is exactly the kind of jacket that can handle anything from hard rain to chilly weather. It's easily stowable if things warm up but it's far more capable than Assos gives it credit for being.
With an eye towards being more of an emergency jacket design, Assos opted to seal up the rear pocket access, but in exchange, you do get an incredible zipper and a lighter, less bulky design that improves the overall versatility of this impressive garment.
Tech Specifications: Assos Equipe RS Rain Jacket Targa
- Price: £290.00 / $400.00 / €330.00 / AU$485.00
- Available Colours: Black, Propeller Orange
- Material: Schloss Tex 3-layer waterproof textile
- Weight: 161g size small
- Size Availability: XS-XL and TIR (XL but wider)
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