7mesh is a relatively new brand in the cycling apparel world at almost five years old, but they’ve really come out swinging. Based in the mountain biking mecca of Squamish, BC, with a lead designer who has a long history working for Arc’teryx, and being a true “by riders, for riders” brand, they’re coming from a good place, and their product reflects that.
I’m a big fan of the design ethos over at 7Mesh. Their apparel is very modern in that it’s un-fussy and clean in design, with no unnecessary embellishment. It’s designed simply with attractive colors. The brand places great importance on the use of high quality materials and quality workmanship with a cut that works well for cycling and smart features that do what they need to, rather than superfluous ones that don’t.
The Revo short (MSRP $225, on sale currently at Backcountry.com) is a recent addition to their lineup, designed to pair with their flagship Revelation jacket ($475 MSRP, currently on sale at REI). Using the ubiquitous Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane throughout and fully taped seams, there is no doubt about the waterproof-ness of these shorts.
Low on needless features and high on quality, these shorts are here to do one job — keep you dry. They feature integrated waist adjusters that snap closed with a durable plastic buckle, a zippered fly, hand pockets with a drain hole, belt loops, and a construction and fit optimized for mountain biking in the wet. The small details such as the neat laser-cut drain holes in the pockets and relative lack of stitching on the seat area make a really nicely thought out short.
My initial impressions of the Revo shorts were that they’re quite long and baggy, however waist adjustments were good. Since the Gore-Tex material has no inherent stretch, the cut whilst off the bike does feel a bit strange and unlike a regular short. However, once on the bike it feels great and fits well.
The shorts are a little baggy which makes space for knee pads, and the overall length is sufficiently long to get really good coverage. I did worry that they might snag on the seat but that has never been an issue with these since the cut works so well on the bike.
I’ve owned shorts that are of the type that simply have a waterproof panel on the back, and with those I’ve found they leave a lot to be desired. The Revo short is not a cheap option, but they work, and work well. On a short ride of maybe an hour with a good amount of rain, I’m usually 100% dry at the end. Yes, mountain biking is an outdoor sport, but when it’s wet and miserable out any extra motivation helps, and having a dry bum goes a long way to having a more enjoyable ride.
In terms of breathability, the Gore-Tex really does its job. I worried about insulation at first, but found that the Revos do a great job of keeping warmth in but allowing skin to breathe. Quite often through winter I will wear just these shorts and a chamois. Admittedly Vancouver winters are pretty mild, and even so, my temperature was better moderated than expected.
I’ve been running these shorts for a few months now, and have been wearing them almost exclusively since the rain has really set in here in North Vancouver. The dirt here is pretty sandy and isn’t the kindest, but the Revos are still in good shape. The bum area is starting to soak through from the wear on the seat and I’m not surprised by this, but re-proofing with Nikwax or similar should fix it. The rest of the garment has held up well and despite a small tear where I crashed and landed on my knees. My knee pads have worn the inside facing fabric out a bit over the winter, however they still seem to keep the water out, which is what matters.
The 7Mesh Revo short is priced at $225 USD. At that price, it’s one of those items that can be a little hard to justify. Could I do without it? Certainly. Would I want to go without, particularly riding regularly in a wet climate? Probably not. If you ride regularly in the rain, quality waterproof gear can make your ride much more pleasant, as you already know. 7mesh foul weather gear is something you can have confidence in to keep the misery at bay.