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photo: Leah Barber

7mesh is a cycling apparel brand based in Squamish, BC that’s focused on crafting high performance, technical clothing for use in the backcountry. I’ve been wearing their Glidepath baggy mountain bike shorts most of the summer, and here’s what I’ve found.

Materials and construction

The folks at 7mesh have a lot of experience working with technical fabrics, having spent many years in the outdoor apparel industry before striking out on their own. In fact, they spent almost 2 years just researching and designing their first products before the official launch in 2015.

The Glidepath short is constructed with Soma 2-way stretch fabric in the legs and a 4-way stretch fabric in the crotch. Soma fabric is surprisingly thin and lightweight, and as you might be able to tell from the photos, it’s sorta crinkly and stiff. It’s unlike any other material I’ve seen used in a pair of mountain bike shorts, but I have to say it works. It’s not hot or stuffy, and while the material isn’t super soft, it’s not abrasive either. My size medium shorts weigh 211g, which is pretty lightweight for a pair of shorts this length.

While the Soma material seems to be quite durable, it’s also quick to dry. A water-repellant coating shrugs off drops of rain and sweat which prevents soggy shorts.

These pockets got pockets.

Two generous hand pockets up front are convenient for stashing gear temporarily, and there are two zippered pockets on the left and right side for even more space. Even the pockets have pockets to keep gear organized.

 

A lot of companies skip real pockets on mountain bike shorts because they figure riders won’t want pocket contents slapping their thighs during the ride. Pockets aren’t a great choice for fragile goods either; I once broke my iPhone in a crash because the phone was in my pocket.

Still, I use the pockets on these shorts all the time because they’re just so darn convenient. I stash gloves, warm hands, pick up trash, and yes, sometimes I even put my phone in a pocket so it’s easy to whip out for photos.

Fit and movement

For me, the waist is the most important feature on any pair of mountain bike shorts, and in this department the Glidepath shorts do not disappoint. The built-in webbing waist adjusters have easy-to-use plastic buckles that cinch the shorts tight. Belt loops add another option for those who prefer even more security. A zippered fly with a snap button closure rounds out the non-elastic waist features.

These plastic buckles work great and are easy to use. But they can be uncomfortable when paired with a tight hip pack belt.

While I really like the waist cinchers, the plastic buckles can be a little uncomfortable when paired with a hip pack. I tend to tighten my hip pack belt a good bit to keep the pack stable, which causes the buckles on the shorts to dig into my waist.

Based on my 33-inch waist, I went with the medium shorts (34 waist) instead of the small shorts (32 waist). With the cincher, I never found the need to hike the shorts up during a ride.

photo: Leah Barber

7mesh has done a great job dialing in the fit on the Glidepath shorts. The 15-inch inseam falls just below the knees for me, and the fairly wide cuff should work well with most knee pads. Movement is completely natural and it’s clear 7mesh really considered how riders move on the bike when they designed these shorts and chose the materials for each piece.

photo: Leah Barber

One unexpected tradeoff to the excellent on-bike fit is that, in my opinion, these shorts don’t look great when I’m just standing around. Pretty much every marketing description and review you’ll read about a piece of mountain bike clothing says that the product works great on the trail AND looks good at the bar. I have to say, the Glidepath shorts work really, really well on the trail but look a little goofy at the bar.

Of course these are baggy shorts, so it’s not like they’re going to draw stares like tight lycra does. But compared to some of the other shorts on the market today, these just aren’t as tapered, and the obviously technical fabric won’t blend into a sea of khaki and denim. The Glidepaths are unabashedly technical shorts, meant for mountain biking and not for chilling at a music festival. Based on my understanding of the 7mesh mission, I suspect they are just fine with that.

Available in multiple colors. MSRP: $140 USD.

Thanks to 7mesh for providing these shorts for review.

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