Luckily, Zack Vestal from Velonews has recently visited Assos’s new clothing concept showroom and prototype factory on the behalf of the XmasEpic.
Located in Ticino on the shores of Lake Lugano, I can do no better than let Zack explain:
“The store is called ‘manga.Yio’, which is a made-up word that means nothing in any language. But in Assos-speak, it refers to Level 13, ‘the ultimate dimension of inner balance.’ The Assos catalogue refers to birth as level zero, knowledge as level four, wisdom as five, and so on up to level 13. Manga.Yio is like nirvana for cyclists, a state of being in which a perfect ride melds with life to create a sort of ultimate fulfillment in pedaling.”
(I’m thinking “Epic” is about level 10)
Assos is known as an innovative company. They were the first to build a carbon fibre bike in Europe, they pioneered the use of Lycra in cycling clothing and they introduced cow themes into elite sport.
It is difficult to imagine a world without any of these developments. So looking at the Assos showrooms is a bit like peering into the bicycle future.
“The Swiss company has built a brand around ultra-premium, highly tailored cycling clothing with distinctively Spartan but timeless styling. The showrooms are spacious, clean, well-lit, and angular, with Assos logos and design themes everywhere. It’s not unlike an Apple store, if not an art gallery, in execution. All the clothing is displayed so attractively and artfully that before you know it, you’ve swallowed gallons of Kool-Aid. Suddenly $360 for a pair of bib shorts sounds perfectly reasonable, even a bargain.
It’s not a bargain, far from it. In the cold light of day, Assos clothing is among the most expensive on Earth. On the other hand, it feels very fine to wear.”
How do they do it? Well, it’s not all marketing, as at their design and prototyping studio one can see some of the secrets.