In this post, staff rider Rob Jarman takes a look at the innovative new brand 7mesh. Founded by the creators of Arteryx, this is technical cycling apparel like you have never seen it before...
7mesh Ashlu Merino Short Sleeve Jersey
Slipping the 7mesh Ashlu Merino Short Sleeve Jersey out of its tactile premium packaging, you immediately get the feeling that you're part of an exclusive club. The garment is delicately folded, and the merino has a soft hand, with a lightweight feel to it.
A tailored fit
The fit of the Ashlu jersey is tailored in a way that you don't normally see in cycle apparel.
The cut is considered for being sat in the saddle; and you'll notice numerous stitch details that only begin to make sense when you're in the ride position.
7mesh has taken this 'attention to fit' across their range, and used all their knowledge and history creating technical apparel in the cycling and climbing world to create garments that are truly unrestrictive.
At first, it is an unusual feeling to not have the fabric pulling; or that slightly compressive feeling that you usually get from performance cycle clothing. Once you have tried it though, you will wonder why other riding garments aren't constructed in this way.
I think this is the mastery 7mesh have: the craft that goes into the fit is their first defining masterstroke.
The Ashlu jersey has been created using a fine merino and nylon knit, mixed with nylon/elastane four-way stretch fibre. The result is a jersey that is sublimely comfortable.
We all know the magic properties of Merino: with its ability to keep you warm when it's cool or wet, and also to breathe fantastically well, making it perfect for a summer jersey.
7mesh haven't just used Merino wool though; that is where the fabric mastery is evident...
The designers have used a completely different fabric for the 5 rear pockets (3 main compartments and 2 zipped); this has been designed to easily recover from being stretched when you've loaded them up with all your ride essentials.
Finally, it's worth noting that the fabrics deliver a UPF50 sun protection level, as well as featuing reflective tabs for added safety.
On the road
In early spring rides it was a real surprise to remain at optimal temperature, given how lightweight this fabric of the 7mesh Ashlu Jersey is. Paired with a Merino baselayer, you can ride this jersey in low digit temperature conditions.
The look is classic and understated, and the tonal blue is subtle and stylish. The size medium fitted exactly as I anticipated a medium to fit.
I'll be reaching for this jersey whenever I'm not on a on a high intensity session.
View the 7Mesh Ashlu Merino Short Sleeve Jersey at Wiggle
7mesh MK2 Bib Shorts
Bib shorts are often overlooked for their ability to enhance your ride; but the truth is, they are the most important foundation for comfort, protection and performance.
Given the body's contact with the materials, while it is in constant motion, it seems logical that finding ways of minimising friction and keeping everything in place, are more important here than anywhere.
The 7mesh MK2 bib shorts have clearly had the same thought process put in to their development, as in the Ashlu jersey; these are exceptional.
The chamois used in the 7mesh MK2 Bib Shorts is a comfortable pad. It's not so think that it removes your connection with the bike; but it is supportive and protective enough to eliminate road buzz, and protect the vulnerable contact point.
The seatpad has a large fleece backed front panel, which does an excellent job of protecting your package from the early season wind chill.
The chamois is laminated to an inner liner; a suspended knit liner that allows the chamois to fit independently to the body. This design also allows 7mesh to remove exposed seams from the saddle area, so there is less chance of uncomfortable friction.
The seatpad technology works. The fit is like a second skin, and the protection is second to none.
Bib strap design
The strap is again a well thought through feature. It is a wide elasticated band that sits in the centre of back, and it only becomes loaded with pressure when in the riding position.
It has a high Y shaped split on the straps, so it feels as close to a backless system as I have experienced. My only gripe is that I occasionally 'noticed' the fact there was a strap sitting on my spine – it was never uncomfortable, but in a product that has eliminated all the usual feelings of fabrics restricting you, it was strange to actually feel some element of compression.
The leg length follows the current Pro trend of being slightly longer, and I'm very happy about that.
Riding bikes in mid-thigh shorts is never something that should be seen, and they're kept in place with a wide 40mm elastic leg gripper.
View the 7Mesh MK2 Bib Shorts at Wiggle
Some see the early season as their favourite time of riding; flowers begin to bloom, the skies are brighter for longer, and the 'going as fast as you possibly can' ethos hasn't fully clicked in, yet.
I think this is where I feel 7mesh are, they see their range as 'all about the journey' and that fits.
Their clothing is tailored to be unrestrictive, yet incredibly technical. The range has a beautiful colour palette; yet the designs are understated, simple and uncluttered.
You are equipped to explore your local lanes and bridleways, yet protected sufficiently that the elements are insignificant.
Of course, when you want to go deep, the collection is more than up for the task; it's just I don't see it is my all out race kit, and that's in no way a bad thing. In fact, it is the collection I reach for 9 times out of 10, and the Ashlu jersey and MK2 bib shorts are all I seem to be talking about at the moment!