As the seasons change from winter to spring, or from summer to fall, the weather becomes much more difficult to plan. Constant temperatures are a thing of the past and now you have to deal with large temperature variations and unpredictable weather conditions. A long sleeve jersey from our list of best cycling jerseys is a great base to build on and Assos has a potential new addition.
We’ve been riding the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Targa jacket since the first fake spring in January. We were lucky enough to put it through its paces in unexpected downpours, temperatures far too cold for spring or fall wear, and even managed to find the perfect setup once or twice. If you’re looking for a foundational piece for high-intensity spring or fall, keep reading to see our thoughts on the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket Targa.
Design and aesthetics
In the same way that spring riding is a lot like summer riding, until it isn’t, the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket Targa is a lot like an Assos summer jersey , until it is not. The base model is that of the Equipe RS S9 Targa jersey but with material swaps and additions to add warmth.
The back panel is the best example of this adaptation of a summer jersey as it is almost a copy of the summer pattern. If you start at the top of the neckline, the panel looks exactly the same when viewed from the back. While the Summer Jersey is a simple piece with just a small crease at the hem, the Spring/Fall Targa Jacket has a full inner panel of the same lightweight material.
Continue down and the top of the shoulders again look like an exact copy of the summer jersey from the outside. This time the interior is a new fabric that Assos calls the “Rhombus lining”. The Rhombus liner is a series of diamonds in a three-dimensional pattern and creates loft and air space for insulation, while the outer layer is the same lightweight fabric as the summer jersey.
Below the top of the shoulders, the pattern continues to match the summer jersey. The center panel is the same ultralight mesh as the summer jersey, but the two designs diverge at the edges, where the summer jersey uses a lightweight, aerodynamically textured fabric while the spring-fall jacket transitions to a dense fleece. Below these panels are the pockets.
Assos is very good with pockets and there are no surprises here. The design is a bit different from the summer jersey but each works equally well, in this case the back fabric remains the same mesh from above but the outer fabric is slightly water resistant. At the base of each pocket there is a puffy design that allows for expansion when full, and at the top is a lightweight mesh stretch flap that acts as a blanket. Under the pockets is an elastic band with an anti-slip silicone material inside.
Flip the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket Targa to the front and you can see some of the more unique design features. the main front panels are made of the same materials and design as the upper shoulders, with a two-layer design and the Rhombus insulation liner inside. The panels are intentionally separate layers and this comes into play at each shoulder.
At the edge of the shoulder is a vent carried over from the design of the Johdah Jacket. Sit on the bike and it stays closed showing a reflective detail to oncoming traffic, but lean forward in an aero position and it catches the wind. When it opens, the wind rushes between the two layers of the front panels, so when you’re working hard it cools you down and if you’re riding more relaxed it keeps you warm.
The other thing the vent does is create a unique visual signature. It’s a design found in a variety of Assos gear, but in this piece the look of the sleeves might actually overshadow it. Certainly when you wear it, the most distinctive feature is the design of the sleeves, which use an Assos fabric called SONIC-SN.
SONIC-SN is a light and dense fleece. Assos calls the interior “brushed and micro-sanded”, but it is inherently a very short pile fleece. Each sleeve is incredibly soft inside and highly compressive. They feel great next to the skin, and on the wrist is a band of silicone material. The sleeves are worn like a pair of cuffs.
What is this room? Assos calls it a jacket but I wouldn’t go that far. It is insulating, but not protective, so it will help insulate your skin against the temperature but it does not have the ability to protect you from wind or rain and I would consider this a thermal jersey. Look at it that way and it’s very good at what it does.
Assos’ playbook is all about taking a well-known product and applying a series of proprietary materials and clever design features, and that same technique is at play here. It’s an incredibly comfortable thermal jersey and in some ways that’s a plus. Keep in mind, though, that it really does need extra layers to work, and that’s already pricey.
I recently grabbed the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Targa Jacket one day when I felt like it was perfect. Leaving the house the temperature was hovering around 36F/2C which is a wintery ride in my book and only a few degrees above some December rides. However, where this ride differed was in the expected temperature swing up to 36F/13C. It’s a huge range and very difficult to manage.
I started with the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket Targa, the Assos Spring Fall Skin Layer, the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Vest and a Sportful Hotpack No Rain Jacket. The day was dry but I wore these extra layers because I needed to stop the wind, and there is no Windstopper either in the arms or on the front of the Equipe RS Spring Fall Targa Jacket and at these temperatures, the wind is violent. As the day got warmer, I took off the Sportful jacket first. Letting the wind cool my arms kept me comfortable until the hottest part of the day and by then I lost the vest as well. With temperatures around 36F/13C and full sun in the sky, only the Spring Fall Skin Layer and the Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket were very comfortable.
I also had great success on colder days when I layered windbreaker options under the Spring/Fall jacket. On warmer days when you’d rather skip a vest, something like the Gore Windstopper base layer is shiny and really lets the shoulder vents shine. On colder days I have found it to be very good when paired with the Rapha Deep Winter Windblock base. The long sleeves are a bit difficult to layer under the high compression sleeves of the Spring Fall jacket, but the high collar is a pleasure. Anything you want to bring to the table to add a windbreaker to the front will greatly extend the use of this piece.
However it works for you, it not only shines in its technical details, but also in its fit. When you feel good in your clothes, your time on the bike will always be a little better and the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Targa Jacket is comfortable to wear. Assos manages to strike the right balance between form and comfort. It’s not uncomfortable to stand on and it only works when you’re riding hard.
Assos might call it a jacket, but don’t make the mistake of thinking of it that way. Without any ability to stop the wind, the Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Jacket Targa will not perform as a jacket. Think of it more like a really good thermal jersey.
Frame it like a thermal jersey and you see how it shines. Assos sticks to the fundamentals like the excellent zipper and premium pockets. It also does a great job pulling from the typical Assos playbook and using a collection of unique textiles to do exactly what it needs in each panel, and on top of that it looks and feels amazing to wear. The price is high but so is the performance. If you can rock it, you won’t regret the purchase.
Technical Specifications: Assos Equipe RS Spring Fall Targa Jacket
- Price: £275 / $380 / €310 / AU$520
- Materials: Rhombus, SONIC-SN and Push Pull Warp Knit lining (featured fabric names)
- Weight: 284g grams in small size
- Size Availability: XS-XLG
- Color Options: Black