Assos is a cycling clothing manufacturer based in Ticino, Switzerland. The company produces high-performance clothing and accessories.
The company was founded in 1976 by Toni Maier, an aspiring pro turned bike shop owner. Maier became Shimano’s first Swiss distributor in 1967 before starting Assos almost a decade later.
Assos launched in 1976 with its groundbreaking Lycra shorts, the first of their kind within cycling. Unsurprisingly for a Swiss native, Maier had a keen interest in skiing and saw the potential that the material had within cycling.
By the early 1980s, Lycra shorts had rendered wool shorts obsolete in the pro peloton. In the years that followed, Assos skinsuits were being used to win the Grand Prix des Nations time trial, clean sweep the podium at the World Championships, and win the 1984 Tour de France. The company’s products became so popular within the professional peloton that even teams not sponsored by Assos were using its kit with the logos rubbed off.
The company also produced wheels and carbon fibre frames during the 1980s. However, Assos arguably became too successful, too quickly. The demand for products from top teams and riders put too much pressure on Assos, still working out of its small Swiss factory. It was at this point that the company turned its back on components and focused solely on high-performance, aerodynamic clothing.
The company then moved to a larger factory in the south of Switzerland and became obsessed with textile research and development. It pioneered several new products and concepts, from the first bibshorts and the first elastic interface cycling short insert to, in more recent years, elastic leg grippers, goldengate seamless inserts and a rollbar stability platform.
In its 47-year existence, Assos’ products have helped pro cyclists to win more than 400 Olympic and World Championship medals. The company has also created over 25 patents as it constantly aims to merge total comfort and technical performance.
During its fledgling years, Assos also made a range of components used by the likes of Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault. However, because Maier didn't have the funds to actually sponsor the riders, the parts were re-badged.
Current sponsorships: Tudor Pro Cycling, Swiss National Team
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