iJ.bonkaCENTO.6 Prof Black Jacket
If we were to grossly generalize, we might divide the Competitive office into two broad groups. The first group consists of discerning cyclists who self-identify as "roadies" and exhibit an occasional penchant for sartorial excess; the second, cyclists who insist on function over form, mismatching kit in a kaleidoscope of clash that might be referred to as get-the-damn-job-done chic. One group is particular about the style of what they wear on the bike; the other just wants to get out the door. The key area of overlap is that both groups insist on gear that is effective at its intended purpose, so the Assos iJ.bonkaCENTO.6 profBlack Men's Jacket—which blends style with fit and winter-grade protection—represents the rare instance where everyone in the office is in accord.
Many of us in the first group (sartorial excess) tend to take a lot of friendly flak for our very particular, exacting approach to all things cycling—especially from the second group (kaleidoscope clash). For example, the first group refers to the act of propelling a bicycle on the road as "cycling"—not "biking"—and we take pride in making conscious decisions about what we wear on every ride, an impulse that requires us to tailor our laundry schedule to accommodate our weekly training plan. When they can even be bothered to comment on it, the second group might refer to this behavior dismissively as elitist or even pretentious. We think it's just good manners. But even the most ardently function-only partisans (who we're convinced do take some pride in never matching) can find something to appreciate in Assos' profBlack line.
Among other things, Assos' new profBlack line is a nod to professional cyclists who will sometimes run afoul of sponsorship obligations to clandestinely train in the most comfortable, well-fitting, and highly functioning gear available. If you read "comfortable, well-fitting, and high-functioning" as, simply, "Assos," then you know what we mean. After all, winter cycling can be the most punishing time of year on the bike. It can also be an invigorating experience of cathartic, solitary exertion. Regardless of whether you’re a clandestine pro or an aspiring CAT 3, Assos' profBlack line provides the signature fit and foul-weather protection that help ensure your experience is better described by the latter.
That philosophy of luxurious functionality is, in typical Assos fashion, translated to the profBlack aesthetics, too, which eschew the brand's signature block sleeve pattern and black-and-white logo in favor of a sleek all-black look. Even the sleeves are dyed instead of sublimated, which produces a more saturated hue that will maintain its rich depth in the face of the long-term solar abuse of winter base miles.
The jacket's smooth, matte black face is only interrupted by reflective details, two zippers, some very subtle branding at the nape of the neck, and a bright blue zipper garage that references Assos' winter climaRange color. That final embellishment is mirrored by a few internal instances of the same blue, including the inner cuffs and the under placket, which add the kind of subtle style to the iJ.bonka profBlack that we'd expect to see in well-tailored menswear. Given the quality of construction and absurdly meticulous attention to minutiae, those details feel at home here, too.
The changes aren't just about looks, though, as the profBlack iJ.bonka is only available in the race-cut CENTO slimFit while—at the time of launch—the standard iJ.bonka was available in both the CENTO and regularFit MILLE cuts. (Though we should note that the standard model has since followed suit and is now only available in the Cento cut.) If you've got a more traditional athletic build (read: upper body musculature developed beyond the skeletal Euro climber's physique), you should expect a very slim, race-able fit that doesn’t leave room for thick thermal layers. Dedicated baselayers (like Assos' own skinfoil line) won't be an issue, but trying to squeeze a thermal jersey underneath the CENTO fit may present some logistical difficulties.
We should note here that layering is not a must. In fact, the iJ.bonkaCENTO6 is equal to intervals and training rides in most moderate winter conditions with nothing but a light baselayer underneath because it's partially windproof and partially not. The chest and arm panels that face the wind take advantage of Assos' TwinDeckFoiling to keep the cold at bay. It has two layers, one windproof and one insulating.
The outer layer is the strataGonUltra airBlock, a water- and wind-resistant membrane that breathes less when it's cold and more when it's warm, helping the material adapt on the fly to your work/rest cycles and the changing conditions of a day in the saddle. That means strataGonUltra airBlock retains more heat when you're cold dispels perspiration better as you heat up. The inner layer is Assos' RXQ fabric, a lightweight stretch fabric that is smooth on one side and fleecy on the other. The inner arms and side panels are strataGonMedium, a lighter, stretchier, more vapor-permeable version of the Ultra, which adds more stretch to better accommodate the slim fit. The back panel is RX fabric, a heavyweight stretch fabric that is alternately smooth and fleecy, and it terminates in stabilizing gel print to keep the rear hem in place.
The sleeves are equally focused on maintaining coverage with lie-flat, raw-cut cuffs whose low profile rests unobtrusively under gloves—a feature that's unique to the profBlack line. The zipper's large, ovalized pull tab is also a profBlack exclusive, and its expanded body is easier to grab when your sense of touch is impeded by windproof, winter-weight gloves. The profBlack iJ.bonka is finished with three standard rear pockets and the now-requisite zippered security pocket for carrying IDs and a key. In a final touch of Assos exceptionalism, the iJ.bonkaCENTO is finished with an attached gaiter that can be stowed inside the jacket or pulled on in times of extreme winter duress.
- A winter cycling jacket that redefines functional luxury
- Wind- and water-resistant leading edge fends off the elements
- Maintains breathability, especially during hard exertions
- Cut in a CENTO slimFit that rides tight for reduced flapping
- Stowable, integrated neck gaiter and lie-flat cuffs
- Oversized zipper pull for ease of use with winter gloves
- Assos' profBlack line features understated aesthetics to fly under the radar
- Item #AAS006V
What do you think about this product?
February 8, 2019
careful layerings & hard workouts
Have to pinch myself on the price but I ride in the North East where a 20F swing in a winter day happens, a lot. I have other Assos kits; I expect and get $uperlative. So I read these reviews and went out with 2 thin baslayers, winter cycling boots, neck gaitor, ok gloves and head/ear band. The day was scheduled to start @ 44F and swing to low 30s. This is a strange jacket as you can tell from others reviews who say I was chilly but not cold. The temp regulation keeps you in a chilled state (I prefer that to over heated) no matter what the temp is. Solid at 44F but as the temp dropped trouble started. Anyway, by the end of the 3 hour ride I was hypethermic. Sore joints, headache, slowed brain functioning ( more than normal?) & flu symptoms. I know this state as I ice climbed for 20 years. A couple of possible reason: clearly baselayer was insufficient, no helmet cover(this can make or break you in these conditions) warmer tights? and the last 1/2 of the ride there was light freezing rain. 32F in a wet/humid overcast condition is a whole different game than 33 and sunny. Overall impression: clearly I need to take another ride but this jacket needs careful layering. I’d opt for thicker but you have to deal with the Centro fit (I went up a size) 6’-0”, 168lbs. Small shoulders big chest - size 40 jacket. Settled on an XLRG. For The reviewer who says he doesn’t wear it unless it’s 30F or lower - I want what he’s taking. I don’t think this is a sub 32F jacket unless you are pumping your BPM/watts, hill climbing, intervals etc or layered. I’m sorry but right now the Castillo Aliph Ross is 1/2 the price and will keep you WARM to 30-35F and temp controls are huge. This may change with more use. About 1/2 through winter so I will come back with more ride time, conditions and thoughts. Ok, rode in every winter condition. I’m sorry but this jacket is NOT waterproof!! You get caught in a downpour and it’s sub 40f you will be wet & cold. Nothing works in all conditions and I still feel this jacket is meant for 30F and above. Below 40f you need to layer up and you will be cold on those long descents. I did find that the upper chest got cold first, suggest a wind block base layer. I also bring a rain shell if it’s close or below freezing, this solves the long descent issues and if temp drops below 30F keeps things warm on the flats. The guy below who wears this in 15-25 with medium base layer is the anomaly. I also think his Habu zones are off. 40(cold) - 55F is more like it. I do agree that winter riding is more than temp range but if you are off by 10F with this jacket you will pay a price. Pro: great for hard ascents, interval and pushing the watts/HR. Light weight for winter jacket. Quality + Cons: price, size small and needs careful layering = narrow temp range- bring Lt wight shell.
February 9, 2019
LOL im the guy who only wears this 30 and below 🙂 ...i am doing hard efforts, climbing and intervals and i wear just a rapha merino base layer! If am doing low zone work I wear a heavier base or add my thermal vest underneath!
February 11, 2019
I agree with you about careful layering but in a diffent way. I have 3 Cento jackets, and I find them to be too warm if you are not careful with the layering and/or intensity of the ride. I think there are way too many variable when it comes to dressing up for winter ride - temp, sunny or cloudy, wind direction/speed as last but not least, body fat %/blood ciculation/tolerance level. I personally don’t wear this jacket unless the temp dips below 30 degrees. At about 30 degrees, I wear it with a medium baselayer and I find it comfy. Any temp close begween 15 and 25, I’ll put on a heavier duty baselayer. For me, I have a hard time keeping other extremities warm any temp below 15, so I keep the ride short. I like this jacket but the temp range for me is only about 15-30 degrees. Habu jackets take care anything above 30 to about 45, and Intermediate jackets is good for between 45 and 60 for me.
February 7, 2019
Tremendous comfort range
I've ridden in everything from 20F to the low 40s and this jacket finds a way to remain comfortable over the entire range utilizing different weight base layers underneath. The arms breath very well so may feel slightly cool, but never cold. The chest area seems to block wind great and while not hot, I never seem to feel any air movement in this area. Well worth the price as are most ASSOS items.
February 5, 2019
simply the best
This jacket is just awesome, its low key, looks great, has a zip pocket and performs amazing. I could prolly go with a small but found medium very acceptable as im kind big in the chest area....with just a merino base layer I can wear it easily into the 20's ..honestly i dont even break this out unless its 30 or below out...its breathes amazing while still retaining warmth...how it does that is beyond me but that is the magic of the bonka...u can do super hard efforts while not overheating..on the rare occasion u get a bit hot...one quick flip of the zip and you'll be right back to baseline in a jiff! highly recommended...you'll will never feel like wrapped in saran wrap.
December 8, 2018
Incredible Winter Cycling Jacket
I recently purchased the GT Mille Winter Jacket here at CC (which I absolutely love), but needed a deeper winter jacket for riding here in NJ. Since I had the older version of the Bonka jacket, I decided to pick up the newer ProfBlack version. The fit is simply amazing when riding, so typical Assos. I'm very slender, 5-7, weigh approx 135 lbs and the size Small just clicked into place while riding. I only wear Assos and I'm a size Small in pretty much everything I have, so this is pretty true to size. I've used it twice now, and on a recent ride where the starting temp was around 34, all that was required was a winter skinfoil. I never felt cold during the 2 hour ride. I love the understated styling of this jacket over the older version. The improved zipper also makes it much easier to operate with thicker winter gloves. All in all, extremely happy with the jacket and thanks to Todd as usual for all the help.
November 18, 2018
I visited the Assos shop here in Seoul because this jacket was sold out here at CC for a few weeks. I tried on both the Bonka and the Ultraz jackets. I ended up walking out the Bonka for several reasons. The most important reason that I chose the Bonka was for the fit. I am 193 cm and 85 kgs and I tried on an XL (everything that I have from Assos is XL). I do not have massive biceps (15 in), but the Ultraz was way too tight around my arms. I have fairly long arms. This is the first jacket of any brand that fit my arms well. Next, the Assos webiste says that the Bonka is more breathable and that the Ultraz is more water resistant. I put a premium on breathability. I hate feeling clammy, and I already have a Shakedry jacket for the rain. Also, the Bonka was lighter than the Ultraz. The materials on the Bonka felt much nicer to me YMMV. However, what isn't subjective is the zipper. The zipper on the Bonka is so easy to find and use with a gloved hand. This morning I went on a 150+K ride with 1500ish vertical meters from Seoul up near the DMZ. I road past many frozen rice patties. I wore Tiburu gloves with the lobster claw over glove for the 1st part of the ride, Assos legwarmers, Mille bibs, Fugu (or is it Fugi) shoe covers, Equip SS summer jersey, the Fall 2.4 Skinfoil, and the Bonka jacket. The first few hours of the ride the temperature was about 23F and it was 44F when I arrived home. I was cool, but not cold in the early part of the ride. However, even at 23F I unzipped a bit on the 17% climb. I unzipped and zipped the jacket throughout the ride. The zipper is so easy to work one handed. By the end of the ride all of my layers were soaked through. Even the outer shell of the jacket was damp, but it didn't feel clammy. I never felt cold or uncomfortable due to the sweat. I probably should have worn the 3.4 Skinfoil, but the 2.4 was acceptable. This was by far the best jacket that I have ever worn. I am glad that I chose the Bonka over the Ultraz.
November 20, 2018
Great review, I don't have the luxury of having a shop near me with either jacket. I'm right now deciding between these 2 jackets and want to pull the trigger very shortly. I'm the opposite in that I'm mainly either a S or M in everything Assos, depending on garment, but virtually all S. I'm extremely slender, 5 ft 7 in and weigh about 140. And i don't have very long arms, i find that most jackets sleeves are a bit on the long side for me. Do you find the Bonka jacket quite slim fitting as well?
January 2, 2019
Charles, I am sorry that I missed your question. Yes, the Bonka jacket is quite slim with long arms. This works well for me, but may need to cuff the sleeves if you have short arms.
November 14, 2018
Yes, Assos produces a $500 jacket. How on earth, you ask, could a cycling jacket be worth half a grand? How on earth, I would counter, could a cycling jacket cost $100? Making a warm jacket isn't difficult. If you involve a thick enough fabric and basic windbreaking materials, your jacket will be warm. For the cyclist, who's needs, I would argue are uniquely challenging, you can't get by on warm alone. Cycling involves intense cardiovascular effort, and high speeds. In cold climates, the result is typically that the rider either overheats, or freezes. Arm and leg warmers provide an excellent solution to the aforementioned problem, but once the temperature dips into the low 30s and 40s, arm and leg warmers just won't cut it on the way down. Once you're up against these temperatures, a highly technical jacket becomes necessary. This is where the $500 jacket conundrum is resolved. The Bonka jacket is remarkably warm, but it won't stifle you on the climbs. The textile wizards at Assos HQ have managed to create a piece that will simply be warm when it needs to be, without stifling you! Additionally, the materials are absolutely unmatched at any price point, and the tech features are very well thought you. The pockets are perfectly positioned, and will hold your cargo up, instead of dropping down. The fit is typical to the rest of Assos's 'Cento' range, which is to say, briefly, tight. I typically wear a small Equipe jersey, and I liked the medium in this jacket. Shoot me an email or give me a call if you'd like to speak in more detail! firstname.lastname@example.org 801-204-4684