Lightweight, Wind-and Water-Resistant
– Reviewed by Laurel-Lea Shannon
Gearing up for spring cycling can be tricky. Is it windy or calm? Cloudy or sunny? Could there be an April shower? Or might the temperature plummet, turning a light rain into snowflakes? Anything can happen.
Figuring out the best combination of gear for the erratic weather goes something like this: “I’ll need arm warmers, a short-sleeved jersey and a jacket to keep the wind and rain off. My jacket with the removable sleeves would be good but it’s quite light. If it clouds in, it could get cold. Perhaps it’s better to wear the heavier jacket without the removable sleeves and put the arm warmers in the back pocket just in case. But is that jacket breathable?” In other words, it’s complicated.
If this sounds like you, 7Mesh just made life a whole lot easier. Run by a group of friends, who are also passionate about cycling, 7Mesh has rolled arm warmers and wind shell into one lightweight, water-resistant jersey.
Test Riding 7Mesh’s Synergy Long-Sleeved Jersey
Spring has crawled into Ontario this year so my first outdoor ride of the season was April 2nd, the day after the last snow storm. It was sunny, but windy and cool about 5°C (42°F), the perfect time to test 7Mesh’s Synergy Long-Sleeved Jersey. I dressed as I usually would for the temperature: a base layer, the Synergy jersey and a light jacket.
It didn’t take me too long to figure out that this was no ordinary cycling garment, and that I needed to revise my dress plans. After flinging clothes off throughout the ride, I finished soaked in sweat because of the base layer and jacket I’d worn.
On my next ride I wore only the Synergy. Ah, pure joy! Riding in cool temperatures unencumbered by multiple layers of gear but completely comfortable, I couldn’t help feeling a bit smug as I cycled past other jacketed cyclists.
Jersey Design: The 7Mesh Way
The designers at 7Mesh Inc. are no strangers to changeable weather conditions. They’re located in Squamish, BC, where the fickle skies and quickly changing altitudes are an ongoing challenge of Rocky Mountain cycling (not to mention grinding up those steep mountain passes). So they’ve designed a versatile jersey that covers a variety of temperatures and conditions.
The front of the torso and arms are made of a softshell called Windstopper.® It’s light, windproof, water-resistant, and breathable. I found it as effective as my light cycling jacket at keeping the wind out. I managed to get home before the rain started but if you did happen to get caught in a light storm, this material would keep you dry.
The Synergy jersey is form-fitting, designed for what 7Mesh calls “ride articulation:” that is, on the bike the jersey is completely comfortable, covering the back with no bunching at the front. But when you’re not on the bike the jersey feels short-waisted. Walking into a coffee shop for my post-ride espresso, I have to tug the waist down. But I’d rather do that than ride for hours with an uncomfortable roll of material bundled up at my abdomen (no, not my belly!).
Five pockets, three vertical with two horizontal zipped compartments, provide plenty of storage space for a phone, ID, money and food. The zipped pockets have buttonhole passthroughs for cables. A full-length waterproof zipper keeps bad weather out but allows for easy venting on warmer days.
With the Synergy long-sleeved jersey 7Mesh has covered all the bases for the variety of weather you encounter in spring and fall cycling. You can forego the arm warmers and leave the light cycling jacket at home. This versatile jersey is robust enough to go it alone.
The 7 Mesh Synergy Long-Sleeved Jersey LS comes in two colours: emerald and ash, sizes x-small to x-large. Price $200 CND or $175 US