You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out you could buy four Endura liners for the price of the Assos bibshorts, but before we get into value for money scores let’s look at the features.
The T FI.Mille uses a Type A.360 Spandex textile, which Assos claims optimises muscle compression, reduces fatigue and increases endurance. It also gets a Campionissimo AEPD (Advanced Ergonomic Pattern Design) insert, built using five different layers. This is anatomically formed, and gets some substantial padding. The surface is also dimpled, increasing airflow and wicking. The legs feature ‘Elastic Interface’ technology, meaning the grippers are part of the material, with a small amount of silicone stuck on the inside. A tub of chamois cream, a bottle of wash liquid and a mesh washbag to stop the shorts stretching in the wash are included in the box.
Endura’s 8-Panel liner gets a 400 series insert (or pad), which is better quality than the 200 series insert stitched into their stock liners. It’s a 3D-moulded Coolmax material with a slightly stretchy micro-fibre covering that conforms to your body shape. Channels are embossed into the surface to increase airflow and reduce abrasion. The body of the liner gets several 260g Coolmax panels for breathability and a thicker Coolmax material on the seat and front for better wear. The legs have silicone grippers, and the waistband features ‘Clickfast’ studs to clip into a set of Endura baggies.
It’s hard to describe how the Assos shorts felt when we put them on. It was almost as if we weren’t wearing any shorts; they were unbelievably comfortable. The padding is quite thick around the sit bones, but you can’t feel this when riding. Unlike the Endura liners they didn’t move around when riding and the Spandex material is so light and breathable it’s unnoticeable even under a pair of thick baggies. The Assos shorts come up a bit short in the leg, but this will only be an issue when wearing them on their own — something you can’t do with the Endura liners.
We’d recommend the Endura liners if you only ride for a couple of hours at a time, because the insert isn’t that comfortable and gets clammy quite quickly. They’d make a good choice for Polaris events because they also dry quickly if washed. Downhillers should consider them because there’s less bulk under a thick DH short, you’re only seated for limited periods, and if they get ripped in a crash they’re cheap to replace.
Assos shorts cost an arm and a leg to replace but the reason we’re giving them top marks is because they can be worn under baggies or on their own, are superbly made and, in this bib version, don’t dig in around the waist — which can be an issue if you’re an older rider with a beer gut. But, most of all, the T FI.Mille bibs are some of the best shorts we’ve ever worn and we think everyone should try this pleasure for themselves.