Pros: The warmest in this roundup, perfectly placed pockets, windproof, aggressive fit
Cons: Not very packable, insanely expensive
If you’re planning on wearing a vest all day, and you have the cash, this is the one.
The falken.Zahn has the most aggressive fit of any vest here, perfectly tailored for athletic body types and, as a result, not particularly forgiving to bodies that fall outside that classification. The four-way stretch fabrics, primarily Assos’ proprietary RXQ series, allowed the Swiss to build the vest with a fit that’s similar to a race-cut jersey; there’s no flapping, no wrinkles, nothing but tailored perfection.
Though it’s the warmest vest here, sewn from a medium-weight Roubaix-like wind- and water-resistant fabric, the Assos vest breathes impressively well, extending its useable temperature range considerably — from the mid 60s Fahrenheit down to the high 30s, at least with a good set of arm warmers. A panel of two-way stretch fabric on the back keeps vertical stretch to a minimum and allows the rider to stuff the three medium-sized rear pockets to the brim without getting any rear-end drooping.
Speaking of pockets, the falkenZahn’s are excellent. Though they seem small at first glance, the impressive stretch of the fabric created plenty of space, while maintaining a secure hold on anything we shoved in there. The pockets are placed in just the right spot, too, for easy access when on the bike.
Our only real complaint is the falkenZahn’s relative lack of packability. We could roll it up and forcefully stuff it into a jersey pocket, but it was the only thing we could fit in there. As the full-sized pockets and thermal weight of the garment suggest, this vest is really intended to be worn for an entire ride, rather than thrown on and off to keep chills at bay.
With a spine-tingling price of $320, the falkenZahn needs to be perfect. The good news is that for the right body type, and the right ride, it is unbelievably good; as close to perfect as anything we’ve ridden in. It’s the most comfortable and the warmest vest we reviewed, with perfect pockets and impressive temperature versatility. Just look elsewhere if you want something more packable.