The Assos Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket C2 is targeted squarely at gravel riders looking for a versatile softshell. The jacket is a snug fit without being ‘roadie tight’, meaning this outer layer shouldn’t catch too many unwanted stares and not snatch at the wind.
- Brand: Assos
- Product: Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket C2
- From: assos.com
- Price: £290
- Tested: By Dean Hersey
A quick punch into a search engine reveals Löwenkralle translates to lion’s claw, in case you were wondering.
Three things I loved
- Premium fabric feel
- Perfect fit on my slim build
- Versatility for 3 seasons (rain dependant)
Three things I’d change
- Warmer wind blocking arm material
- Twin pockets for hand warming
- Some colour options would be welcomed
Attention to Detail
This jacket bolsters the Assos Mille GTC gravel range adding some much needed warmth to their lineup. It has been badged as a versatile windproof soft shell engineered for rides beyond the tarmac but is ideally suited for commuter duties. The Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket C2 uses a cocktail of fabrics across the garment. The brand’s latest PAVE rip-stop woven textile fabric is found on the front of the torso of the jacket. This is designed as a barrier against the wind and rain yet will also be durable enough to withstand brushes with trailside flora and the general rigours of gravel riding.
The other key ingredient on the front torso panel is the new micro 3D structured BREATH fabric designed to let moisture from the body escape and is used only in strategic positions on the jacket, not compromising the thermal properties. The rear of the body benefits from Type.OF11 material with its high stretch properties ensures a perfect fit. The arms have been designed to be more breathable with an RX EVO light to offer riders form fitted fabric that provides insulation from the elements.
A single pocket on the left-hand side bucks this gravel tren; of more storage options the better. Other gravel specific garments are littered with places to stache items, including the handy large thigh pockets found on my highly coveted Assos GTC Kiespanzer bib shorts. The lone pocket is zipped to keep any valuable contents secure and is of a decent size. As a winter jacket riders might expect a pair of pockets for those moments off the bike to utilise trapped body heat to warm their mitts.
The only other ‘pocket’ is the one on the rear. This is not for storage as such. Instead, this is a water repellent pouch that the jacket rolls into to stash it away for when the conditions change to stop you losing any hard earned warmth. Complete with a pair of snap lock buckles it can be stowed on your bars, ready to deploy when needed.
The styling is subtly classy, with the pair of rubber labels denoting the brand, one on the rear pouch and the second left shoulder. Otherwise, the only deviation from the all black colourway is the reflective flashes on the rear of the sleeves, the front of the shoulders and the rear elastic. These help you to remain visible in low light, valuable when your find yourself on sections of the road.
It comes in six male sizes from XS to XLG. I opted for my usual size small. At 180cm tall and 65kg, my fit is comfortably tight and just enough on my slim build to avoid undesirable draggy flaps snatching in the wind. The streamlined fit is far from roadie levels of skin tight but walks the fine line. The versatility of the Löwenkralle jacket won’t look out of place on the road, during commuting duties, or on gravel adventures. The tail is extended to offer much needed coverage, commonly found on cycling specific jackets.
From the moment I pulled my arms through the soft lined sleeves, I noticed the exceptional quality and chosen premium fabrics. The main zip might be small but pulls smoothly for ease of use and adjustments during full flight. Both the collar and cuffs are soft on the skin and remain comfortable even on long days in the saddle with no rubbing or chafing to report.
The quality and premium materials are reflected in the price of this Assos jacket. In return, Assos offer a two year warranty on defects and is backed up further with a crash replacement scheme. A nice touch and one that would be welcomed should you happen to come a cropper, lessening the substantial hit on your wallet.
Riding in the Assos Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket
I have worn the Assos Mille GTC Löwenkralle jacket for the past eight weeks once the mercury eventually plummeted for the Winter. It has been my companion on gravel adventures, and shorter (and colder) commutes during this period. I first combined it with the Assos Summer no sleeve base layer before switching it up for a warmer full sleeved option with natural fibres.
It is comfortable down to 5℃ with a merino long sleeve base layer beneath for up to 90 mins when you apply effort. With rides with a slower pace or a more extended period, I would say it is comfortable with a temperature around double figures. The main body of the jacket blocks out a fair bit of the wind, but whilst the arms feel soft and fleecy, it is lacking in that windproof barrier.
The sleeves also lack any real waterproofing, as I learnt to full effect through much of the wet month of November. A short and heavy squally shower on an early morning commute seemed to catch me and the Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket C2 entirely off guard, soaking my arms and through my base layer. Even though the water penetrated through to my skin, it was only my extremities that suffered from the cold. The body remained warm by locking in the blanket of warmth I had generated at the start of that particular commute. I would go as far as to say that this jacket is resistant to the odd light sprinkling and trail spray but will struggle to fend off more persistently heavy downpours. I tried combining it with a thin shell and had much better success fending off moisture. The breathability around the neckline and arms did a good job ensuring that I didn’t boil and I found it paired well in this configuration.
The Assos Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket C2 is beautifully made with high end materials that are noticeable right from the initial touch. Still, I feel Assos have punted for versatility rather than a full winter focus. The lack of actual waterproofing leaves it feeling more of a ‘jack of all trades’ as a true winter outer layer for UK gravel and commuting, but sadly a master of none. With a proper rain barrier, particularly on the extremities, I would advise you to carry a thin shell waterproof layer to wear over this garment for more substantial protection in the worst of changeable conditions. Realistically the Mille GTC Löwenkralle Jacket is best used in late autumn and early spring with just a base layer and reached for only warmer rides in the winter when you are confident that there is no heavy precipitation on the forecast.
That said, it would be best held in reserve as an additional layer than the one you should rely on to keep you warm, especially during a cold snap around the freezing point. Alternatively, the Assos jacket would be a perfect extra layer trapped to the bike you could pull on as you reach higher altitudes, for adventures that extend beyond sunset or be donned once you’ve stopped for a drink mid ride. However, in that instance, £290 is a considerable amount of money to spend for this privilege.
I like the fit and feel of this jacket; it feels expensive. I would change it by adding a pocket to balance out on the right hand side, gifting it some colour options and offering it in a fit for the female “gravelista” out there.
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