Assos, of Switzerland has been making some of the highest quality cycling gear on the market since 1976 and has recently taken their expertise into the world of mountain biking with the H.Rally Cargo Shorts and H.Rally Boxer Shorts. In true Swiss fashion, the actual name of these is wildly confusing and written in different ways throughout their marketing materials so you may see them called the H.rallycargoShort_S7 and H.rallyBoxer_S7 in some places. The shorts and boxers were designed in conjunction with one another, with the boxers acting as a padded liner for the cargo shorts. These mountain bike shorts are baggier than race bibs to offer a more relaxed style geared towards the enduro and downhill crowd as well as those who don’t love the full spandex look. Although they are available separately, this will be a joint Assos H.rally Cargo Shorts and H.rally Boxer review, since they are meant to be worn together.
Premium Quality Materials and Fit
Everything I’ve ever owned or felt from Assos is of the utmost quality and design and their latest mountain bike shorts and liners are no different. The fabric is super comfortable and well made and fits superbly. Starting with the H.rallyBoxer, Assos used a very lightweight material that is highly stretchable and conforming. The waist is made of a slightly different material that is stretchy but heavier duty and utilizes small grip-gel strips around the inside to keep the boxers in place throughout a ride. Since the H.rallyBoxer is meant to be worn under shorts, the stitching is done on the outside so that it doesn’t irritate the skin. While this looks funny at first, it makes perfect sense and leads to a very smooth feel against the body.
The padded chamois is specifically designed for the more upright position of mountain biking and has a perfect amount of thickness for me. A super-soft covering keeps your sensitive areas comfy and air channels help with breathability. I really liked that Assos chose to keep the center part of the chamois pad unattached, which allows freer movement and helps prevent chafing. On a 3 hour ride in Moab’s Magnificent 7 trails, I never felt rubbing or anything else I wouldn’t want to. To keep the H.rallyBoxer in place on the thighs, there is a very sticky gel strip around the lowest part. These will not be riding up on you.
Moving on to the H.rallycargoShorts, Assos utilized a great combination of their best fabrics for ultimate performance in all mountain biking conditions. Assos Type 265 mesh is used strategically in panels at the front and rear of the shorts for great airflow and I definitely noticed this while riding when compared to the much less breathable shorts I normally wear. For durability on the rest of the shorts, hardwearing, water-repellent, and fast drying Type 498 fabric is used to minimize the chance of wear and tear on the higher impact areas. All of the material has four-way stretch and the H.rallycargoShorts moved with me and never pulled, regardless of my position.
Assos went in a novel direction for customizing the fit of the cargo shorts and incorporated zippers at the waist and lower legs. The idea is simple; open the zippers for more space and close them for less. If you are between sizes, opening up the zippers at the waist will give you a few more inches to get you there. I preferred this method to the velcro waistband approach of competitors I’ve used. On the other hand, I absolutely loved the ability to open up the thigh space with the long zippers down the side. When open, you get about two extra inches at the lower end and this is perfect for when I wear my G-Zone knee pads. In general, I appreciate the fitted cut of the H.rallycargoShorts but it is really great to have the ability to make them baggier on demand. While the heavy duty branded zipper pulls add to the premium feel of the shorts, I think that fabric pulls would have been better since they are less likely to cause any discomfort if hanging in a certain way. The only other feature worth mentioning is a small pocket on the front right thigh. Its uses are limited given its size and I threw an energy gel in there but couldn’t get my phone in while walking around town after a ride.
impactPads for Added Protection
It’s always great when an apparel maker can give you added protection without adding bulk, weight, or discomfort. Assos did an amazing job of this by adding pockets in the H.rallyBoxer for their custom impactPads, which are included with the liners. The impactPads are lightweight, flexible pads made with a material that adapts to the shape of your legs but hardens on impact. Assos stitched the pockets into an ideal position to sit over the bone that is the first to get hit in a fall that put you on your side. All I really have to say about these pads is that I never notice them on a ride and with that being the case, I’ll gladly keep them in at all times. At the end of the day, they probably won’t prevent any real injuries but if they can mean the difference between a bad bone bruise and not, that’s a great benefit.
Assos H.rallycargoShorts_S7 and H.rallyBoxer_S7 Review Conclusion
The H.rallycargoShorts and H.rallyBoxer are extremely well-made, comfortable, high-performing mountain bike shorts for all types of riders. A range of premium materials are used to allow the shorts to stretch and move with you while being durable and breathable. The sign of a great mountain bike short is not noticing them and that is exactly how I felt through my H.rallycargoShorts and H.rallyBoxer review. The zippers at the waist and legs are a standout feature for adjusting fit and the removable impactPads give a nice bit of added protection without any real sacrifice. At $119 for the H.rallyBoxer and $199 for the H.rallycargoShorts, you definitely pay a premium for Assos’s superior products. That said, if you spend a lot of time riding, the added comfort can really be worth it on a long ride and I definitely suggest adding them to your arsenal. See assos.com for more information.