7MESH MEN'S MK3 BIB SHORTS
218g Large Black (as tested) £150
These 7Mesh MK3 bib-shorts have proved popular with both our testers for all sorts of rides, from multi-day tours to Sunday morning blasts, both on road and mixed surfaces. Although definitely “cycling” gear, it’s been surprisingly comfortable away from the bike, too. In short, these shorts have become a summertime favourite, though there have been a few arguments about who is going to wear them. Frankly, there’s loads to like and little to fault.
Pros: comfort, comfort, comfort.
OK, let’s deal with the futuristic terminology. The materials are “Miti Gravity Interpower” and “Elastic Interface Performance Space 2 Chamois.” The former is a 32%/68% elastane/nylon warp knit. The latter, the chamois padding, is designed to reduce numbness by aiding circulation and reducing vibration in the more sensitive areas, courtesy of high-density foam and cunning construction. Frankly, they seem to do an excellent job for a summer weight garment.
Seams have been kept to a minimum – for sensible construction – the legs, for example, are a single piece of material. The bib front doesn’t preclude roadside emergency comfort breaks, whilst the 45mm wide straps are comfortable over a jersey or against the skin.
Similarly, the leg-grippers are broad. No nasty red marks to be seen. Mind you, they cope well with different thigh sizes, proving equally adept at maintaining grip on slim thighs of large teenage tester, Ed, and chunkier thighs of middle-aged tester, Steve. Likewise, there was no sagging fabric, in spite of the significantly different physical challenges the shorts faced. Ingeniously, the grippers are printed on, so there’s no obvious hem.
Quality design is matched by some nice touches, for example the brushed pad at the shoulder strap junction.
There’s nothing much in the way of reflective detail, despite the logo. However, that is not much of an issue for me, especially when comfort feels so good.
So, to the chamois with the space age moniker. Well, it has a contoured effect, thickest at the ischial tuberosities – the bony bits what you sit on. Although it looks like a two-part pad, it isn’t. A textured surface numbs vibration, encourages blood flow, and helps keen t. You can see the join with the outer fabric, but you can’t feel I things fresh.
Sizing and fit 5/5
From XS to XXL offers a very good range. Our large were spot on with the sizing chart. Mind you, they dealt with significantly different body shapes within the Large size.
These are summer-weight shorts and they have no water-resistance. So expect best performance when the weather is dray and tending to warm. We’ve found them comfortable at 14C and above. Mind you, on humid, damp, 20C plus days, they have not overheated or felt unpleasantly unhygienic, even when pushing along at 20mph for a couple of hours. Generally, I eschew the bib when temperatures get above 20C, but I’m not sure I’ll abandon these. I especially enjoyed them when paired with the 7Mesh Ashlu Merino Jersey.
The light, tactile feel, is matched by firm but fair grip. There’s absolutely no riding up – which, of course, you’d hope for from bib-shorts. Although this is fundamentally road gear, stability bodes well for livelier gravel jaunts. On that front, I’ve not deliberately jumped into the brambles, but I suspect I’d avoid too much in the way of contact with abrasive surfaces – if only to preserve my wallet.
Steady drizzle will eventually bring that damp feeling, but when the clouds pass things will dry in half an hour or so.
Mind you, five minutes in a real belter of stair-rod rain and we were looking at two hours to dry out. On the other hand, even water-resistant garment such as Showers Pass Cross Country DWR Shorts suffered a similar fate in the same storm, although the latter dried significantly more quickly.
There’s no doubt that the sophisticate chamois makes a difference on long rides. I have not noticed any discomfort, nor have tenderer buttocks. Effectiveness does not mean bulk, so they do not suggest incontinence when away from the bike.
There’s no suggested UPF protection, but that whole subject is surrounded by debate, and is not, for me a deal-breaker.
Could not really be easier. Cold wash and hang out to dry. They are not waterproof or water resistant so no fussy membranes. Having used these for a five-day tour, I did wonder how well a cold wash would freshen up the inevitably clammy pad. No problem, and with a spin, fully dry in half an hour of sunshine.
Tenn Global Eurosport GC Bib Shorts come in at less than half the price. They may not have all strengths of the 7Mesh MK3, but did well over five hundred miles of testing. The Tenn bib-shorts are similarly priced to Ribble’s Nuovo Bib Shorts. They may well have the edge over the 7Mesh MK3 if you regularly head for the rough stuff – if only in terms of protecting your investment.
The MK3 have more of the stretchy stuff in the weave, which is a definite plus. Grippers are subtler than many and, at least, equally effective. Much will depend how much you value your comfort. There’s genuinely tough competition from cheaper shorts that will do a very good job, even if not quite so elegantly or with such absolute aplomb.
There is no doubt that these are top-notch shorts that offer comfort and function at a very high level for all sorts of road riding, and potential for other disciplines. They are well thought out and executed in every way. Some might like some level of water resistance and/or UPF in the fabric, but both are a matter of debate. Frankly, at this price point you’d expect an excellent garment, and you’d get it. Much will come down to how deep your pockets are and how much you value comfort.