And the Gear Review Winter Rap Up final is…
Assos iJ.bonKa.6 Jacket
I have no idea what the name means, but the jacket made my would be miserably frigid winter days actually quite pleasant. With about 2000 winter kilometers on the bike in this jacket, I have come to know it well. Features include the usual Assos unparalleled quality, performance fit, and a few little design features thrown in that make it all add up to a perfect winter cycling jacket.
When talking about Assos products, inevitably the subject of price comes up. Yes, Assos quality comes at a high cost, but so too does the product. With the exception of some gloves, Assos won’t manufacture in Asia. Production is kept in Europe, much of which is done by little, old, Italian women in Switzerland. Just the way cyclists like to imagine and romanticize about, yet rarely understand the cost involved.
What do you get? Real engineering as a result of very real “real world” testing. Assos does not fit like clothing, it fits like cycling clothing – there is a difference. Clothing is designed for standing up and walking around, Assos is designed for being in a hunched over position on a bike. Try it on and stand up straight and you’ll immediately notice something isn’t right. The shoulders will be tight and the front panels will be short, but bend over into an on the bike position and everything falls right into place, suddenly you have clothing designed for one thing, and for any real cyclist, it feels exactly right.
So what about the iJ.Bonka.6 ? – which I’ll now call the Bonka… Beyond the perfect fit is the mix of materials that offer complete wind proofing while retaining a fully breathable fabric. Beneath the jacket, and throughout an enormous temperature range (-2 to 5 celsius), I only wore a thin synthetic baselayer, I regulated my temperature by unzipping and always stayed dry. Pleasantly, I found at the tops of climbs, when I would normally be soaked, I was still dry and didn’t suffer a teeth chattering descent. I simply zipped up, put on the neck and head gasket, and down I went.
Best of all, I got out and rode when I otherwise may have been discouraged by the temperatures.
For all things Assos, head over to their website.