7MESH ASHLU MERINO MEN'S SHORT SLEEVE JERSEY
184g Large Plum (as tested) £110
Supremely comfortable merino rich blends are justifiably popular across the cycling fraternity. The 7Mesh Ashlu Merino Short-Sleeve Jersey is far from cheap, but a host of very nice features and well-thought out design make it hard to find fault with. In fact, it has been a challenge to keep everyone else’s grubby little mitts off it to give it a decent test 7Mesh say that the Ashlu should suit you whether on the red route or speeding down the road, and all points in between. We’ve taken it on leisure day rides, multi-day tours, aimed at personal bests, and commuted, and it is yet to disappoint.
Women’s version available, although only in one colour at the time of writing.
Pros: comfortable, multi-discipline, combines function and style.
Cons: well, we’d all rather pay less.
100% merino is great, but 89% combined with an 11% nylon is still very high, compared to many. The contrastingly coloured lower back and underarm panels are 78% and 22% Elastane, making for a, literally, more flexible garment without losing too many of the merits of merino kit. This is a light-weight late-spring, summer, balmy autumn day jersey, it has performed well as a base-layer on chillier mornings.
Cut is sporty, without skin-hugging raciness. Whilst not as kind as some specifically leisurely designs, it is not unflattering and doesn’t yell “Cyclist” when away from the bike.
The front zip runs the full-length. Though light-weight, it feels pretty robust and hasn’t, given heavy use, snagged. There is a string-type fob.
At the rear you’ll find three trad pockets and two zipped pockets – one on each end. Each has a fob. There’s a headphone port, too - if you like such things – allowing you to listen with your device securely zippered-up. The pockets have a special weave to prevent sag, but, though perfectly secure, I’d not overload anyway.
Back length is sensible, rather than extra-long. A light gripper runs around the rear hem of the jersey, but is far from aggressive, fitting the Ashlu’s relaxed persona. Likewise, neck and sleeve hems are well-finished, without being a race-tight fit.
Although internal stitching is obvious, this is a fabulously tactile top to wear next to the skin.
We can debate UPF protection, but 50 plus is pretty good. Mind you, even leathery skinned old lags such as I should take care even on those rare occasions when the sun is not shining brightly.
Some reflective detailing, with logo, complete the package.
Also available in Black, Stone, Ash, and Blue.
Suffice to say that this is spot on. Burly Dad and growing son, both Large, but in different places, found the Ashlu a perfect fit. The sizing guide seems to be pretty much spot on – although I could have gone larger for a slightly longer back.
Fundamentally, this is a super-comfortable top. Doubling up as a base-layer on chilly morning’s whilst on tour, things did not get clammy under my Light Blue Classic Jersey, or the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 Jacket when the rain came down. Hitting twenty mph on faster forays, challenged wicking properties under the same garments; but, in fairness, similar is true specific base-layers, such as Altura’s Thermocool. Mind you, that’s where Merino’s properties kick in to keep things warm and dry-feeling.
Of course, the Ashlu is not designed as a base-layer, but tourers like multi-function garments. On its own, a decent 15-18 mph in around 18-20C has not felt uncomfortable. Even when things have got sweaty, a full-length zip is a real boon. Having said that, I found adjustment on the fly was difficult.
Zip pockets very handy for valuables. Can be opened and closed on the fly un-gloved – with a bit of practice and care – though both testers tended to use them to store things needed only at stops. In that sense, any access problems when gloved up would be no deal-breaker. In any case, I don’t often wear gloves when a short-sleeve jersey is order of the day.
Easy, nothing fussy about the Ashlu. After a short rain shower, it has been dry in around thirty minutes on the bike. After a wash cycle it emerges almost dry after a short spin. Line drying, without a spin, has taken around an hour.
Primal’s Evo Jersey, available in both men’s and women’s versions, comes in at £65, but is more of a race fit, and is probably less adaptable to touring, off-roading, and so on. Likewise, Prenda’s Bordeaux Paris Jersey– also around the £65 mark. In fairness to both, they are more speed orientated.
Having said that, 100% Merino jerseys can be found sub £100, for example Jura’s retro range comes in at £85. Once again, however, there are distinct advantages to a merino rich blend as opposed to purity when taking adaptability into account.
One of my faves. I find it hard to fault – even in my stingiest moments. Multi-function always appeals to me, as does comfort. So, whilst the is top price, you are getting a top garment for touring, and any other sort of cycling you do.