Tested: 7Mesh women’s road cycling kit

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Basics

Best for: Spring, fall and mild winter days, especially long windy rides.


Advantages

Synergy jersey: clever use of windproof materials, double-zip pockets

WK3 mud flaps: Easy to remove

WK3 Cargo Bibs: Strong pockets, ease of use

The inconvenients

Synergy Jersey: Bulky shape, only available in one color

WK3 bibs: the seams were not anatomically adapted

WK3 Cargo Overalls: Seam Placement


Our thoughts

Innovative use of fabric is key here; the Synergy Gore Tex windproof jersey is a rarity with a wide range of use. The WK3 bibs go the right way, but got this writer’s fit wrong – the seam is straight where the human body curves.


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7Mesh Synergy Jersey ($180)

7Mesh may not get enough credit for thinking outside the box, as evidenced by Synergy’s trademark windproof fabrics and 7Mesh’s pocket design. The jersey is touted as eliminating the need for a windbreaker, jacket or arm warmers for cooler days, and I agree. It’s the perfect heavyweight jersey for windy days, ideal for the type of day where you want to wear a long sleeve but need something to keep the gusts of wind from slicing through you like a sharp knife. I have never seen a “heavy” jersey like this before.

The 7Mesh Synergy jersey made me smile in low 50°F temperatures. (Photo: James Brosnan)
The 7Mesh Synergy jersey has a back zip pocket on each side and performs as advertised. (Photo: James Brosnan)

The arms and front panels are made of Gore-Tex Infinium softshell fabric, which is slightly stretchy and windproof, almost like a Gabba. The main back panel is a softer stretch-poly blend, so heat can escape and avoid turning the rider’s back into a river of sweat. When the rides heat up, a large rope-like zipper pull allows for easy opening with long-fingered gloves: note that it doesn’t have a double zipper, which would add weight and push it tight in the “jacket” category. It does, however, have two zipped side pockets (one zipped pocket on the right back pocket and one on the left), a rarity among jerseys, but common with 7mesh. I consider this a plus: two zippered pockets add to my secure carrying capacity for long trips. Symmetrical reflective detailing on the pockets, as well as reflective branding to the chest and top of the back panel, aren’t unusual features, but they’re welcome.

There are other garments similar to the Synergy, but they’re either a bit heavier and looser, making them jersey jackets as I mentioned, or they fall into the stretchier “soft-shell” category. and lighter and use thermal lining instead of really windproof material.

Riding in the Synergy on a night with 25 mph wind gusts and low 50 degree temps, with a mid-weight sleeveless base layer; while my heart and my arms feel the wind against them (which is horrifying), I am not cold. If I had worn my usual “windproof” stretch thermal, I would have needed a vest or windbreaker over it. Once the temps drop into the 40s I need a heavier long sleeve base layer or tights for my legs, but that’s another story.

That’s the only real problem with the Synergy: the Gore-Tex material may never be as close to the body as jerseys made of more elastic material. It’s rated by 7Mesh as “Trim fit”, designed with a bit of room for layering – layer it over an insulating base layer and it would work well in winter temps, so I can see why it has a “roomy” fit , but he doesn’t deny the frumpy impression. If the size is reduced to reduce this volume, it may not fit in the chest, shoulders or sleeves.

Despite my preference for a racing cut, I really like the Synergy; it fills an untouched niche in my huge collection. There is no single jersey that I have come across in my research or testing that balances jersey fit and windproofness as well as synergy. It’s like those blocky Gore-Tex cycling jackets with zipped arms, only cute, lighter and without annoying shoulder zips. Wish it came in more colors than aqua, I’ll take another one. The man is black and he looks elegant. The Synergy is a solid five out of five rating: it does exactly what it says “on the box”.

7Mesh WK3 Bibs ($175)

In my never-ending quest to find drop tail bibs, the WK3 design caught my eye for the 7Mesh brand. All of its women’s bibs share a similar cross-back strap design, where two straps run straight up from the front of the hip and cross over the shoulder blades to attach to the shorts on opposite sides of the back. This means they are easy to use for people with mobility issues since riders don’t need to be able to bend an arm between their shoulder blades to reach any open bib strap, like with a backpack design. swimmer.

The 7Mesh WK3 bib shorts have some great features and a few that could be improved. (Photo: James Brosnan)

The bibs look fantastic, but I found them bunched up around my hip on short trips. Not only do creases look awful, but it’s also a bad sign and means the garment is moving around, which defeats the purpose of a bib. These bibs are also advertised as lacking compression and the material is smooth to the touch which is a bit disappointing. I might be able to size down, but then it would become uncomfortably short on my leg and shorter in the straps.

The straps feel good; they’re smooth and seamless, and I give them top marks, independently, as well as a five out of five for ease of use. Unfortunately for me, these bibs may favor shorter people. The back, which makes the drop tail work so well, exposes my skin when wearing my jersey unzipped, for example on a hot climb, or when wearing a jersey with a shorter torso. I’m taller than other runners, so it would make sense that I’m more likely to have a rear gap when wearing these bibs with a shorter chest jersey. It may just be a case of adjustment favoring a different body type. To be honest, I ride a road bike where my sizable drop from saddle to bar causes me to stretch forward. Plus, these bibs also hit me a bit higher on the leg than I would like.

When I keep the zipper closed or wear something with a longer torso, it still leaves the less forgivable issues of dangling threads on leg panels without a gripper and “cameltoe” at the lunch break. The chamois does not cause chafing and is not the densest cushion I have had the pleasure of riding, which may be the cause of the “cameltoe”; or it could be that the pad is a bit too far back for my personal preference. I gave it a three on the chamois rating scale: “Good; Century acceptable. Visually, however, the short was unappealing.

The first thing I did after putting these bibs on was cut the dangling threads (one is fine; two or more is worrying), so even though the seams are well done around the chamois and cause no chafing, unsightly creases at the hip weren’t helped – and possibly created – by the straight seam pattern, and combined with the loose threads, which knocked the seam rating down to three: “Normal, faux flatlock, loose threads.”

Leg darts, on the other hand, are five in number: “One smooth leg panel, no separate dart strip. I feel like it’s not there, but it is. 7Mesh uses a printed silicone for its leg grippers, which means there is no need to have a separate gripper panel sewn in.

In general, the WK3 bibs aren’t bad – I’d rate them a three for “good” – but I’d probably prefer the 7Mesh Foundation Bib Shorts which offer the same design but are designed as a base layer to go under something else.

7Mesh WK3 Cargo Shorts ($200)

I prefer the cargo shorts to the WK3 pocketless shorts. The pockets are a sturdy material, which I prefer to mesh pockets – not everyone needs to see my empty Skratch Labs wrappers, so that’s a plus. They are also neatly folded into an actual pocket in the corner rather than just a fabric flap sewn into the side of the bib. There are also lower back pockets which feel substantial in this area. I like how these felt in a size medium (I’m 5’11 140 lbs for reference), but I should have gone down in size as these bibs had the same climbing issues as the WK3s. It also felt like the chamois was positioned a bit too far back, leaving soft areas unattended. This is to be expected, as there is a slight variation as to where a chamois is positioned in a shorts, and just like saddle position, a millimeter or two can make all the difference.

While I don’t like the 7mesh bibs, they do have some great things going for them and it might just be a personal issue with the fit. I love the Synergy jersey – it blocks the wind exactly as it claims and it’s a unique piece. The Synergy jersey is a truly standout piece, and I recommend taking a look at the 7Mesh range, which includes trail and mountain gear.

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