7mesh Desperado Merino Henley MTB Jersey Review

The 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley is lightweight and breathable, plus it feels great for mountain biking.

photo: Leah Barber

The 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley jersey blends classic styling with technical materials and a design that puts bike performance front and center. I’ve been wearing the Desperado jersey this summer, and here’s what I’ve learned.

Design and materials

The Desperado Merino jersey isn’t made from 100% Merino wool; the fabric is actually a blend of 47% Merino and 53% polyester. The result is a fairly thin, lightweight jersey that flows and ventilates really well.

Thanks to its Merino wool content, the Desperado jersey provides a bit of insulation against cool morning mountain starts. This was actually the perfect jersey for my trip earlier this summer to Sun Valley, where morning temperatures start chilly and peak in the 80s by the afternoon. Merino wool is known for its stink-resisting abilities, and I can report that despite tossing the sweat-soaked jersey in the dirty clothes bin several times this summer, a deep whiff reveals zero residual stench.

The fabric is surprisingly lightweight and airy. photo: Jeff Barber

Traditional, 3-pocket cycling jerseys are usually made from 100% polyester because it’s stretchy, lightweight, and dries quickly. However, it can also feel sticky against the skin, and tends to trap heat against the body. By using a fabric that blends Merino wool with polyester, 7mesh is able to create a jersey that breathes well but also dries quickly and doesn’t feel sticky. I’ve found it to be comfortable even here in Georgia this summer, where conditions are notoriously hot and humid.

I haven’t noticed any issues with random snags on the trail, but with wool this is definitely something to keep an eye on.

On the surface, the Desperado Merino Henley looks like a fairly simple design, almost like your standard t-shirt. But look more closely and you’ll see multiple panels are used to construct the jersey to allow better movement on the bike. Cutting and stitching these panels together obviously adds complexity to the manufacturing process, but mountain bikers will no doubt appreciate how the jersey feels on the trail.

Multiple panels converge at the side, shoulder, and sleeve. photo: Jeff Barber

7mesh uses sleek button snaps on the neckline closure which makes it super easy to open up on steamy climbs. Closing the snaps is also pretty easy, even when wearing gloves, which isn’t always the case with tiny zipper pulls or buttons.

photo: Jeff Barber

The look and fit

photo: Leah Barber

Wikipedia describes the henley design as resembling a polo shirt, but without the collar. It’s a classic style, and one that we don’t see enough in MTB jerseys IMO. Enduro-style, flat, and flowy jerseys are pretty popular these days, but few offer the ability to open the collar, even a little bit. The 7mesh Desperado keeps the popular styling many of us prefer today, but adds a little bit of practicality for good measure.

I’ve been wearing a size medium jersey, though technically I’m on the line between a small and medium according to the size chart. 7mesh offers sizes ranging from extra-small to extra, extra-large.

photo: Jeff Barber

Thanks to the classic styling and durable construction of the 7mesh Desperado Merino Henley jersey, this is a piece that I can see as a solid part of my MTB wardrobe for years to come.

MSRP: $80 USD.

7mesh provided the Desperado jersey for testing and review.