Squamish-based 7mesh have been growing their ‘all-road’ offering since starting out as a MTB clothing brand with great success, and invited us to take a closer look at their new spring/summer offerings this year. Super lightweight tees and slim-fit baggies are on the menu, as well as some padded briefs.
Our review comes at the same time that 7mesh announce their new distribution capability in the UK, countering the difficulties of Brexit. They might not have been on your radar until now, but read on and you’ll find out that maybe they should be.
7mesh Elevate Short Sleeve Bike T-Shirt
Let’s start at the top: both in terms of garment and rating. I’d give the all-new Elevate short sleeve tee a banging 10/10, and here’s why.
Every now and then, something comes along that just works so well you barely want to go without it. This super lightweight pale blue tee has either been on my body or in the washing basket since it arrived in March, being a layer of choice both on the bikes for hotter spring days and cosily lounging around home on office days.
I started with the highly scientific sniff test… AKA how long can I wear it before it starts to stink. The polyester and lyocell blend (which is derived from wood pulp) was surprisingly odour resistant, going a good few days of light home wear without the faintest sniff. On the bike, the material is so thin – yet without feeling revealing – that any sweat wicks away so quickly that it doesn’t get that smelly either. I have a Patagonia Capilene tee in the same blue shade which is a bit thicker but much stinkier: this new Elevate tee completely out-classes it.
The fit of the Elevate tee is loose, which gives a very relaxed feel and is super cooling rippling through the breeze. This tee really is designed for the hottest days, but with some really subtle design touches like the central back seam, wouldn’t look all that out of place in a café or pub either. Of course it’s super versatile for all different sports, and not just limited to cycling. Branding is really minimal on the hem, which is a major plus.
Price-wise I think it’s mega value for the money, and I’ll be investing in the Elevate long sleeve too to compliment it (£45), although I’m not much of a fan of the tangerine colour option, which 7mesh sent a tank tee (women’s only, £30). The men’s tees are available in a slightly steelier blue, ‘pebble grey’ or ‘lichen’.
7mesh Farside Short
Designed for gravel, bikepacking and casual riding in mind, the Farside is a shorter, slimmer-cut option that 7mesh’s more kneepad-orientated baggies at a 9.5″ (23cm) inseam. I teamed them up with the 7mesh Foundation Bib Short, a mesh liner bib with a chamois for more pedally rides. Apart from their slightly shorter length, the Farside shorts have many of the features that you’d expect from mountain biking baggies: an adjustable waist band, multiple pockets and a good deal of stretch.
The sizing was a tight on the Farside Shorts: I had to swap out the medium pair for a large to get them up over my thighs! Even with this larger size I was maxxed out with the adjustable waist band, yet the darts across the bum showed there was ample space there. For someone with wide hips and a large rear, the small waist/big bum fit combo was a strange one, but no less comfortable on the ride once I sized up. 7mesh acknowledge that the fit is a bit different for the Farside Short, and say that this will be revised for future production, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you may need to size up for these to fit well.
The Nylon/Elastane blend fabric of the Farside short is thin, very stretchy and treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) to aid any splashes or trail dirt bead off the surface. At the knee, the hem is laminated rather than sewn for a clean, irritation-free finish. For even more comfort, the shorts feature a fleecy waist band lining.
The number, size and position of the pockets are spot on: a single large, zipped pocket on the outside of the right thigh which is large enough for a phone and doesn’t interfere with pedalling, and two deep open top jeans-style hand pockets for off the bike. The zipped pocket also has a large contrast toggle and is cut in a way that makes it really easy to access while pedalling, so photos on the go is really easy, and you don’t need to rely on a top with pockets either.
The hand pockets are really spacious and work super well off the bike for any bits and bobs. With things like face masks and hand gel these days it seems like we really need bigger pockets!
Although there is no gusset to reduce seams on the seat area, I found these super comfy for long days in the saddle when teamed with a chamois underneath. The thin, technical fabric means that they wick sweat super well too, so no soggy, sweaty feeling down there.
Just like the tee, branding is minimal and these are a pair of shorts that I’d be just as happy wearing at the beach or in a pub as on the bike: a real win for me in the pursuit of causal styled technical cycling gear.
The one thing I can’t get over is the price: even with perfect pockets and some neat adjustability, £100 is a lot for a pair of shorts: you’d really hope they last! On the plus side, 7mesh do offer crash repair services (free for the first 30 days from purchase).
7mesh Women’s Foundation Bike Briefs
- £35 €40 $50
- Sizes XS-XL
New for 2021, 7mesh have added a pair of padded pants to their range, as well as padded boxers for men. Designed more for a little cushion when running errands or short rides, there’s a very low profile pad in half of these bikini-style pants. They’re essentially a pair of period pants but with much less VPL.
I persisted with the padded Foundation Briefs for a few rides but can’t admit that I got on well with them. I can see how they might prevent ‘flap mash’ – but my concern is more about support for my sit bones rather than anything too female-specific. With this in mind, I tend to favour either a proper chamois which is much wider to cover these, or no chamois at all, as on a few different bikes I’ve found saddle nirvana (the Fizik Argo X3, in case you’re interested) which means I can pretty much ride chamois-free.
For women that appreciate a little extra cushion around delicate areas for short rides around town or perhaps don’t want the bulk of a chamois for less pedally MTB riding these could work, but alas for me personally they did not.
7mesh Summer 2021 Verdict
A mixed bag, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the brilliant Elevate tee (more colours soon please 7mesh), like the Farside short and will give the Foundation briefs a pass. For technical gear that’s easy to wear, lightweight and wicking but also feels comfortable off the bike, 7mesh have really nailed the brief. I also tried some of their socks, including the Ashlu 85% merino option, and the tall 7″ cuffs are a real winner.
What could be better? While there are very few faults with the gear itself, I’d love to see the inclusion of recycled materials in manufacture, although acknowledge that this is something that often takes time and a lot of trialling, and something I’m reassured that 7mesh are working on. This pod with Broomwagon is well worth a listen:
‘For us sustainability is all about durability. Buy less, buy better. In principle you don’t want to recycle. You want to keep using it. If our products lasts 4x longer than the one with a recycled fabric, which one is more sustainable? You also want to repair it easily. So, buy less, buy better and repair when needed.’
- John Zopfi, 7mesh
7mesh 2021 Summer Collection
Last modified: 12th May 2021