Assos are more commonly associated with road cycling, but the Swiss company has been expanding their lineup over the last few years to welcome the knobby-tired crowd into the mix. Of course, the $426 USD price tag of the Stenbeisser Trail rain jacket is going to limit the number of riders who end up with this particular piece in their closet...
I'm sure at this point someone is already banging out a diatribe about that price, maybe with some semi-funny remark referencing the company name, and a line about how garbage bags cost next to nothing. That may be true, but it's worth putting the price on the back burner for a few minutes to dig into the details and performance of this Lithuanian-made rain coat.
Assos Steinbeisser Jacket Details
• Schloss Tex waterproof / breathable fabric
• 2 zippered side pockets
• Fully taped seams
• Under-helmet hood
• 7 sizes
• Weight: 257 grams (size M)
• MSRP: $426 USD
• More info: assos.com
The Stenbeisser (Google tells me that means 'wolf fish' in German) is constructed from Schloss Tex, Assos' own 3-layer waterproof fabric, with fully taped seams. The jacket falls into the minimalist category – there are just two zippered side pockets, and that's it. There aren't any pit zips, hood adjustments, or pockets that the jacket could be stuffed into to be seen. The hood does have a clever feature, though; there are slits in the stretchy fabric that let you run your helmet straps through them, preventing the fabric from bunching up underneath your chin. FIT
The Steinbeisser has a very cycling-specific fit, with longer arms and a drop tail to help ensure it covers as much real estate as possible. A size medium worked well for my 5'11” height and skinny build, but there's not a ton of room for layering underneath, and bigger riders may find the cut to be overly snug, especially around the chest and elbows.
That cycling-specific fit also mean that this probably isn't a jacket that you'd wear out around town, or use for any other activity except bike riding. That's not the end of the world, but it does make the price tag a little harder to stomach knowing that it has such a narrow range of usage.FUNCTION
I was a little worried about the Steinbeisser's lack of pit zips, since I tend to run hot, and I can't stand the feeling of overheating while grinding up a long climb. As it turns out, that Schloss Tex fabric is very breathable, and I never found myself feeling like I was trapped in a sauna, even when pedaling slowly on wet, humid days. If I did need more ventilation, I typically unzipped the lower portion of the jacket to let some more air flow through. If anything, this jacket runs cooler than most rain coats – it's really good at keeping the rain out, but not the layer to grab if staying warm is higher on your list of priorities.
Speaking of keeping the rain out, the Steinbeisser does that very, very well – precipitation beads off quickly, and the fabric never soaked through. The performance is right in line with other high-end waterproof / breathable fabrics, and I have zero complaints when it comes to the level of waterproofing.
One features that I would have liked to see is the ability to stuff the jacket into its own pocket. There are a few jackets out there, like POC's Signal jacket, that stuff into their pocket and then have straps that can be used to attach it to a handlebar. DURABILITY
There aren't any rips or tears to be seen, and I've bashed my way through plenty of wet branches and blackberry bushes while wearing this coat. Assos does have a crash policy where they'll repair or replace the jacket for the first 30 days free of charge; after that, they can repair most issues for around
$25. On top of all that, they offer a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
The fabric has held up well, but it has developed a mottled look from all the mud that's been rubbed into it. I've soaked and scrubbed it a few times to try and remove the dirt stains with no luck, although I should also mention that my laundry skills aren't the best.
Impressive level of breathability +
Excellent hood / helmet compatibility +
Relatively light and packable
Snug fit means there's not much room for layering -
Fabric doesn't hide stains very well