The Assos Mille GTC C2 Jersey is designed for gravel riding and slots in between the road-orientated Mille GT and off-road Trail equipment ranges. Compared to a traditional road jersey, it has a relaxed fit and feels durable but still delivers a performance-orientated experience as it’s lightweight and dries quickly. The breathable material means that I didn’t find the quarter zip design limiting but I wasn’t convinced by the placement of the single side pocket. Quality and comfort are excellent but, at £110, it’s significantly more expensive than much of the competition.
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Unlike some of Assos’ GTC gravel range, the C2 jersey seems to have quite relaxed intentions; pulling on the jersey for the first time and you’ll notice that the material is less elasticated than on a typical road jersey and more like a mountain bike jersey, so it hangs like a well-fitted t-shirt. Assos has used a traditional shape with minimal difference in length from the front to the rear which means that it suits a more upright riding style. At the café, or when standing off the bike, this is brilliant as it means you don’t have to wander around with your belly button out. However, it does also mean that there is a fair bit of material to bunch when hunched over the bars. The C2 jersey appears more suited to adventure riding than all-out gravel efforts on the aero bars.
I was happy to find that the back never felt too short, regardless of whether I was riding in bib shorts or baggies. However, if you ride with a backpack or hydration pack then you can expect the jersey to bunch up due to a lack of silicone grippers (the hem can be likened to that of a technical t-shirt). This allows for more movement which does make it very comfortable on relaxed rides and provides a sense of mobility off the bike or when it comes time to pitch a tent.
The fit of the jersey shows some influence from the Assos road range with unnecessary fabric removed around the shoulders and chest - just not to the extent that the relaxed elements are lost. If an aero jersey is a skinny fit, a road jersey a slim fit and a mountain bike jersey a standard fit then the GTC jersey is most definitely a tailored fit, with a design that’s clearly aimed for cycling and not just a general sports t-shirt. At no point did I feel constrained as I would with an aero jersey so if you aren’t racing then Assos has struck the perfect balance between fit and function.
The relaxed fit follows round to the sleeves, which are finished off with a band of material called Sans ST, which adds a soft finish with great moisture-management properties. This material can also be found around the collar and side panels. The sleeves are relatively short which does mean particularly long “short-sleeved" base layers can occasionally poke out.
The main body of the jersey shares the same Triangle fabric used by Assos throughout the Trail range which allows for more lateral stretch. The result is an ultra-soft-yet-stable fabric that is more comfortable and softer on the skin than most casual tops. It’s clear to see why Assos named the fabric “Triangle” as it’s made up of hundreds of tessellating triangular shapes. I personally like the subtle pattern this creates but this is of course a subjective assessment. None of the seams are scratchy nor did they cause any discomfort and the collar label has a rubberised finish that I didn’t notice while riding. Assos has clearly worked on all the small details including maintaining the opacity of the jersey when it’s stretched tight - useful if you ride without a base layer.
Storage options in the jersey are limited, to say the least, with just one pocket located on the lower front left side. While the pocket can be zipped shut and is a good enough size for some nutrition or even your phone, it disrupts the fit of the jersey when carrying anything of any substantial weight. As the jersey is relaxed and relatively un-elasticated, any additional weight added to one side causes the jersey to rotate on your body which, can get a little annoying. Over bumpy terrain, I also found that a bar or gel for example, would bounce in the pocket so tended to leave it empty while riding. That said, you can store a bit of cash in the pocket, which is especially useful if you’re wearing standard bibs with no pockets.
The quarter zip allows for added ventilation while on the move and is finished to a high standard, eliminating the irritation that plagues some jerseys. Being a quarter zip rather than full-length also helps to make the jersey look a bit more casual.
While the Assos Mille GTC C2 is remarkably good at doing its thing it is also remarkably expensive at £110. Other relaxed-fitting jerseys such as the Gore Explore Cycling Shirt or Rapha Explore Zip Neck Technical T-shirt are both £80.00 and very good, and the significant saving is hard to ignore. There are also more fitted gravel jerseys out there if performance is a priority, the Santini Gravel Jersey for example was one that we rated highly and now costs £85.00.
Overall, the Assos Mille GTC C2 jersey is extremely comfortable, offers a great relaxed fit and is constructed to very high quality. The pocket isn’t the most functional but I’d rather have it than nothing at all. If you’re not interested in racing everywhere then the Assos Mille GTC C2 jersey performs extremely well but the price is quite a big drawback considering its cheaper and just-as-excellent rivals. Whether the price is justifiable will depend on how much of a premium you’re prepared to pay for the Assos brand and how much use it’s going to get.