If you think you've tried every jacket and they aren't warm enough, then it's time to try the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Evo winter softshell jacket. It's designed for all-day riding in temperatures just above freezing. When most people stay home, this is the jacket you need to grab.
- Excellent at wicking away sweat
- Quality pockets work as well as a summer jersey
- The right fabrics in the right places
- Short-drop tail
- Small tooth zipper can degrade over time
Most cyclists have a certain threshold for cold temperatures where they choose not to ride, and as summer comes to its close and the colder months approach, this is something many of us will be planning for.
With more and more people taking to training indoors throughout the winter, it's fair to say that within the best winter cycling jackets market, while there are plenty of options on offer, finding a good quality jacket that actually keeps you warm on an all-day ride in freezing temperatures can be a challenge.
We can say with confidence, however, that the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Evo winter softshell jacket is an excellent option for those days. Having tested it in all weathers, including temperatures just above freezing, we think this jacket could be the key to delaying the onset of the indoor cycling season, even when you've got one of the best turbo trainers at home.
Keep reading to find out why.
Design and aesthetics
Assos is a brand that has no problem making a very specific product for a very specific use. It frequently has options for temperature ranges that are very close but not the same, and with its winter jackets that's definitely the case. If you are shopping for a jacket, the Mille GT EVO winter jacket looks almost the same as the Mille GT Ultraz EVO winter jacket. The price is close and they are both rated as a 3/3 according to the Assos climacode designation. So what sets them apart?
The Ultraz version is for riding in temperatures between -4 and 8 degrees C (~25-46 degrees F): among the lowest ratings available for cycling jackets. It takes a focused design to get there and that's what you'll find with the Mille GT Ultraz EVO winter jacket.
Making a jacket warm is all about figuring out the best way to trap the air that your body warms. In the case of performance cycling gear, that goal is further complicated by the need to expel moisture, whilst also keeping bulk at a minimum. Assos rises to the challenge with a double-layer construction it calls twinDeck.
The front and upper-back panels feature a combination of Neos Light fabric exterior and 652.RX interior. Neos Light is a three-layer softshell with a thickness of 300 g/m² developed in-house. Instead of a DWR coating, there's a bonded PU membrane paired with a tight weave. The water resistance rating is greater than 10,000 mm with a breathability rating of 27,000 g/m²/24h.
Those specs probably don't mean a whole lot to most people, so let's break it down a little. The Neos Light fabric's three-layer construction means the layer responsible for breathability and waterproofing sits in the middle with a facing fabric on both sides. Compared to a two-layer construction, it feels better and it can actually be thinner. In this case, it's so thin that a business card is typically thicker.
Being that thin doesn't mean there's a sacrifice of protection. The water resistance rating puts it in the range considered rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. With a technical garment designed for high effort cycling, you also need breathability. In that regard, the rating is actually off the chart in comparison to what you'll typically find. Most ratings top out at 20,000g/m²/24h with the Assos Ultraz Neo sitting well above that.
All those details are only one layer in the twinDeck construction. Essentially that's the part that keeps you dry. The interior layer uses 652.RX, which is an ultra-soft fleece material. This material holds air on its own and Assos has added to that property by allowing it to float free of the outer shell. The two pieces connect at the edges but remain separate otherwise.
The 652.RX interior continues down the inside of both sleeves but the exterior shell changes to Neos Ultra. Neos Ultra differs from the Light version used in the front panel by upping the breathability. To the touch, it feels a little softer and the breathability rating is close to double at 44,500 gr/m²/24h.
You can start to see the strategy of using specific fabrics where they make sense and finding ways to trap air in different ways. The core is better protected than the arms and they both use the warmest insulator Assos has. Then at the rear, there are three distinct panels and two different construction methods. The outer two panels use the Neos Medium that has the lowest breathability of the Neos materials but features an integrated insulating layer. This same material makes up the warmest panels of the non-Ultraz Winter jacket. Then the centre panel uses Neos Light again but pairs it with a lightweight insulating mesh.
There are a lot of technical details to cover, but just in terms of aesthetics, you've got three colour options. Two high visibility options cover the front, top of the rear, and sleeves with visibilityGreen or lollyRed that are better described as high-vis green and orange. There's also a blackSeries option that dials down the brightness but keeps the reflective strips down the rear pockets. The only place that the logo pattern Assos often uses shows up is on the interior of the centre rear panel.
I've used the Assos Mille GT Ultraz winter jackets for years. Last year the whole system got an update with the addition of the Mille GT EVO winter jacket and the Mille GT Ultraz morphed into the EVO model. The change meant more softshell temperature options but the Ultraz continues to be the jacket I grab more than any other.
The climate I ride in is wet and cold and I'm consistently colder than most people. While I don't mind riding inside, the reality is I prefer to ride outside to reach my fitness goals. When I know I'm going to be spending most of the short daylight riding in rain and temperatures near freezing, there's nothing else I trust to keep me warm.
One of the reasons that the Assos Mille GT Ultraz EVO jacket works for me is the pockets. I ride long distances and I use my jersey pockets a lot. Frequently pockets on jackets become an afterthought but not here. Assos pockets sit low on the back meaning there's no contortion required to reach them. They are also large and in the same configuration as a summer jersey. If you've got a system for how you pack your pockets you can continue to use it in the winter. It is worth noting that there's no zippered pocket but there are fabric flaps to help keep items secure and keep rain at bay.
The other reason the Mille GT Ultraz EVO jackets sees so much use in my winter riding is the warmth. The way that the fleece interior fabric floats against the shell is warmer, and more comfortable, than so much of what's out there. I pair it with an Assos Long Sleeve Winter base layer and it keeps me feeling comfortable even after six hours in hard rain at temperatures around four degrees C (40 degrees F). I've even used it when foolishly riding a gravel bike in the snow.
The fit for the Mille GT Ultraz EVO jacket is what Assos describes as regularFit. It's looser than their second skin racingFit but it's still optimized for aggressive riding. If you are replacing an older Ultraz jacket the EVO is a tighter fit even though the two jackets have the same fit description. In general, Assos winter garments tend to be tighter than the summer equivalent. It comes down to the amount of stretch built in, but the Mille GT Ultraz EVO jacket has enough stretch that I don’t have to size up. The same size I ride in summer works for this jacket but if you like a relaxed fit, size up.
There's very little out there that's as warm and capable as the Assos Mille GT Ultraz EVO jacket. Along with the warmth you've got pockets that work for long rides and a comfortable yet still performance-oriented fit. If you like high visibility, that's available, and if you prefer black, that's an option as well.
Downsides are a zipper that while high quality uses small metal teeth that can degrade over the years and inherent proneness to staining that comes with a softshell construction. Ride without mudguards for long enough, and the rear will start to show the miles of road grime, despite the drop tail not being as low as other jackets on the market.
Tech Specs: Assos Mille GT Ultraz EVO Winter Jacket
- Materials front and upper back: NEOS Light and 652.RX insulating layer
- Materials sleeves: NEOS Ultra and 652.RX Centre
- Materials back: NEOS Medium and NEOS Light
- Size availability: XS-XLG and TIR (XLG but wider)
- Colour Options: blackSeries (black), lollyRed (vis orange), visibilityGreen (vis green)
- Price: £290 / $369 / €330 / AU$488
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