The Assos Mille GT Winter Bib Tights GTO C2 are so good that it's a shame the price isn't lower so that more people could experience them.
- - Osmos Heavy fabric is dense and warm
- - Geoprene lower keeps water out of your shoes
- - Optional hip padding
- - Comfortable shoulder straps
- - Plenty of chamois under the sit bones even with the pelvis rotated forward
- - Expensive
We included the Assos Equipe RS winter bib tights in our list of the best winter bib tights for cycling in the cold. They also made it into one of the gear of the year articles that capped off 2021. To be sure, they are well-loved around here but not everyone focuses on racing.
For those who spend their time on a bike focused on riding long distances, Assos has the Mille GT lineup. There is still plenty of focus on performance but with the added considerations for what it takes to spend all day, or even days, on a bike. If you feel like that focus makes more sense to you but you like the features of the Equipe RS winter bib tights then Assos has another option. The Assos Mille GT Winter Bib Tights GTO C2 feature similar innovations to the Equipe RS version but with a distinct personality. Keep reading to see if this option might be the right choice for your winter riding.
Design and aesthetics
One thing Assos does well is build on every success. If there's a design or feature that works well in one garment you'll see it pop up across a wide range of other garments. It's smart for any business and when it's a company known for using unique textiles for the best performance, it's even better. The Assos Mille GTO C2 Winter Bib Tights exhibit this same pattern and use a mix of fabrics and features you can find in other garments we've reviewed.
The chamois is the heart of any bib and in this case, the same design is in use in the Assos Mille GT C2 bib shorts. The light blue fabric topper gets a multi-layer, highly ventilated, and ultra-thick pad that moves with the body. Only the front and rear have stitching to anchor them to the rest of the tights. This is the goldenGate design that Assos is well known for and there's nothing different here.
What is different is the implementation of the sunDeck superlight that sits at the front of the chamois. The description says it's "made using an ultrasoft foam-free textile to form a preshaped cup that both supports the male anatomy and promotes maximum ventilation." It's a design that is new but recalls the kukuPenthouse introduced on the S7 bib shorts way back in 2013 and that description reads the same for the summer version. When looking at the two side by side, the winter version here uses ever-so-slightly thicker fabric, and the front seam connecting it to the rest of the tights lacks ventilation openings.
Above, and behind, the sunDeck is the blasenShutz front panel. From the outside, this shows up as a unique fabric that covers the cup area. What you can see is a two-layer softshell called SPHERE Ultra Hole that's backed by a membrane. Behind that sits a second layer of fleecy Osmos light fabric against the skin. The idea here is to try and walk the line of better ventilation while also adding road spray protection and excellent against the skin feel for the low abdomen.
Another change for this cold weather implementation of the chamois is at the back. The rear edge connects to a panel of light fleece. It wraps around the whole rear edge and extends upward to the low back. From the outside, it's not visible as it sits over the top of the fabric used for the exterior. It's part of the goldenGate design and the only seams that would be visible externally are the outer edges and those share a seam with external panelling.
Move away from the chamois area and over to the hips and you'll see a pocket on each side. This is a feature pulled from the Assos off-road designs and it's where the impactPads sit if you decide to use them. Each pad is a lightweight, highly flexible, series of interconnected cells roughly 10mm thick and hollow. In the event of a slip while covering icy roads, the TPU will flex and crush to soften the blow against the hip while the durable ripstop dyneRope exterior minimizes damage to the tights.
The fabric that Assos uses for the bulk of the Mille GTO C2 Winter Bib Tights is Osmos Heavy: a warp-knit brushed fabric with a density of 290g/m2 that also serves as the primary fabric for the Equipe RS Winter Long Sleeve Mid Layer. On the outside, the warp-knit design is dense, almost hardshell, and helps to protect against the elements. On the inside, it's a soft fleece although not as soft as the inside of the RX heavy that makes up the bulk of the Mille GT winter bib tights.
Move down to the bottom of each leg and you'll find the Geoprene that is perhaps the most important feature Assos includes. Instead of any kind of zippered closure, Geoprene is a light and flexible neoprene that has enough length to perfectly seal out the top of whatever shoe covers you choose to use. It's this detail that allows these tights to work so well when paired with the Mille GT Thermo Rain Shell pants.
When the Mille GTO C2 Winter Bib Tights arrived,I already had my doubts about them. Much of the technology, including the design of the straps and the unique way they connect, the chamois design, and even the fabrics were familiar, but other details worried me. The Geoprene lower seemed over-engineered and I considered the hip pads an odd inclusion on a road garment. The pre-curved legs didn't help to immediately change my mind, either. Instead, that happened on the first ride.
The Geoprene lower is indeed over-engineered. It's a solution to a problem that others have long since solved successfully but once you try the Assos solution you can see the need for improvement. It covers the top of shoe covers, or winter boots, far better than a zippered lower leg and it's not just hydrophobic it's actually waterproof. It's very much a case where you don't realize how much room there is to improve until you try it.
As for the hip pads, I never had a reason to be thankful for them. After actually seeing them, I did understand their potential value but I thought I'd be fine. It had been a long time since I last fell on a road bike and it took the experience of a riding partner to change my mind. After discussing the pads during a long ride, we split and rode about 40 miles separately to get home. The next day I got a picture of a nasty purple bruise across my friend's hip. He explained, it happened as the night set in, the road got icy, and he slipped crossing train tracks. The spot he hit was exactly where the Assos pads would have made a difference and since then I've kept them in just in case.
The rest of the Mille GTO C2 Winter Bib Tights are, perhaps, less revolutionary. The Osmos Heavy fabric is a good choice but it's not the only choice that will work. What I do like about it is that it breathes well while also presenting a face to the elements that does a good job at providing protection when it's less severe. When you know the weather is going to require a pair of hardshell trousers, it's a fabric that sits underneath a second layer without issue.
These bibs have kept me warm in some of the worst weather I've ever ridden in. Multiple times I've taken them out and spent sunrise to sunset in the rain right at, or right below, freezing. If the rain is constant then they do an excellent job when paired with the matching Mille GT Thermo Rain Shell pants. They also stand on their own though if you find yourself braving dry but very cold days.
The only thing that takes away from the features and performance is the price. Assos has these priced at a level that makes them hard to compare to the competition. They are better but are they that much better? On the upside, if you find yourself willing to take the plunge, the performance is definitely there.
Tech Specs: Assos Mille GTO C2 Winter Bib Tights
- Price: £395 / $550 / €450 / $820 AUS
- Materials: 81% nylon, 15% elastane, 4% polyester / Osmos heavy main body
- Weight: 346g size small without included hip pads
- Available Colours: Flamme D'Ore (a bit of orange on the straps, blackSeries
- Size availability: XS-XLG and TIR (XLG but wider)
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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.
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx
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