The gravel movement is in full swing, and Swiss apparel giants Assos have joined the fun with the Mille GTC Kiespanzer C2 bib shorts, which promise the firm’s all-day comfort with a bevy of gravel-derivative innovations and fabrics.
Let’s start with chewing through the full mouthful: Mille refers to Assos’ comfort range – no less high-tech than the firm’s racing stuff, just built for long-term comfort rather than short-term blitz. GTC is Assos’ dedicated gravel collection. Kiespanzer is German for (roughly) Gravel Shell. C2 refers to the padded insert, chamois, buttsaver. All together, a pair of bib-shorts designed from the ground up to cater for the unique needs of riders hitting long, rough routes far from the madding crowd.
It’s all about pockets
The Mille range runs with a multi-panel, multi-material pattern that offers a slightly more relaxed fit for those longer rides. While it isn’t as snug and sculpted as the Equipe racing range, it certainly isn’t lacking in the performance stakes. The hip panels use the firm’s new Bunny Hop textile – yup, Bunny Hop – a durable woven material that creates a barrier against abrasion and compresses your muscles (slightly) for maximum hold and fatigue reduction. The rest of the panels are lgihter and more breathable (a boon in our climate) and the smooth-wrap waist construction ensures 360-degree comfort and a secure hold, eliminating pressure points and pinching. All around the Bib Shorts reflective stripes aid visibility and the shorts make use of ASSOS’s silicone leg grippers that have been adapted to be more robust.
And then we get to the fun stuff! Storage. The Kiespanzer has two triple-ramp thigh pockets to securely stow ride essentials and two discreet zippered rear pockets to secure small items. Pull tabs—a solution assos developed in response to rider feedback—facilitate easy access to the upper pockets. Can you carry the kitchen sink? Nope. But the cargo capacity will see you fed for many hours on the trail, and is easily-accessible on the fly. Finally, some zippered ventilation spaces, for those hot, hot days.
It’s also all about the pad
The Kiespanzer comes with the brand new MILLE GTC C2 insert , a re-imagined pad setup that has the interaction between the cracking Karoo roads and your butt in mind. Again, there’s some marketing-speak overload: Shock-Aborb Damping Twin with microShock, 3D Waffle, Filter Foam, irritation-reducing Thermoformed shaping and an Odor Control Top Sheet Tex. Translated, that means Assos’ first gravel-tuned insert, featuring a 2-layer, dual-density memory foam construction. An ultra-plush 19mm platform tuned to absorb micro-vibrations and cushion large shocks alike, that won’t get as stinky as other shorts a few days into your adventure.
We have a pair on the way, just in time for our own big adventures… it might (hopefully will) take a little longer than normal to bring you a full review.
The Kiepanzer details
The Assos Mille GTC Kiespanzer C2 bib shorts are available from most reputable bike shops, and retail at R5 999