The Mk3 bib shorts have been designed by 7Mesh as a long-distance gravel and road bib short, built to help you ride longer and in more comfort.
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7Mesh is a relatively small and new (to the UK, at least) clothing company hailing from Squamish, Canada. Their range of MTB clothing, including the 7Mesh Glidepath shorts, has already been making waves for its construction, longevity, and performance. But how do these gravel and road bib shorts compare to the best gravel bike shorts, and can 7Mesh carve a name for itself outside the MTB world?
Design and specifications
The Mk3 bib shorts are constructed from an elastane/nylon mix using what 7Mesh calls ‘Clean Finish’ tailoring, the aim of which is to move seams and stitching away from active parts of the body in an attempt to reduce discomfort or irritation. At the legs, seamless raw edges have been printed with silicone grippers for a secure fit while allowing the shorts to fit smoothly and evenly over the skin.
Elastic Interface, the Italian chamois specialists, provide the pad which features its Hybrid Cell System which is designed to enhance breathability and improve durability. Two wide straps prevent the shorts from slipping down while cycling, and these join at the rear with a soft brushed knit junction, again to avoid any discomfort or irritation.
Before even putting the bibs on, I was impressed with the level of detailing. The seams and sewing lines were faultless, and there was not a single stray thread to be found. This meticulousness is hardly surprising given that several of 7Mesh’s founders were previously employed by Arc’teryx, a seriously high-end clothing company known for its climbing and skiing outwear. Equipping adventure seekers with advanced bike apparel is at the very heart of 7Mesh, it would seem.
I’m a big fan of the branding 7Mesh has opted for on these shorts. One small logo sits atop the right knee, and that’s it! No large fonts, no gaudy colors, just understated style that is sure to work with any other cycle clothing you already own. One criticism, however, is that some may find their aesthetic a little too plain and, if spending such money on bib shorts, some more branding would be nice. It would be a fair point, although personally, I feel 7Mesh has shown great restraint when branding these shorts which sets them apart from other alternatives. I tested the Mk3 bib shorts in black but they are also available in thyme, a pleasant shade of green if you like to add a bit of color to your wardrobe.
Putting on the Mk3 bib shorts I was initially surprised by just how ‘Skin Fit’ they felt. So much so, in fact, I thought I may have to return them for the size up. I needn’t of worried, however, as once the straps were up over my shoulders it became clear that the medium was a perfect fit for me. The main body of the bibs has a compression-like fit, aimed at helping blood circulation during activity. It feels almost as though the bibs would stay put without the straps and the straps are only there for extra security. Either way, they felt incredibly secure without any restriction. Being quite tall, bib shorts sometimes feel quite restrictive when stood up straight. This is not the case with the Mk3 bib shorts as the straps feel tight enough that I won’t worry about the bib shorts slipping down while riding, but not so tight that I hunch my shoulders when off the bike.
When on the bike I was very impressed with the levels of comfort. The pad is attached to what 7Mesh calls a hammock, which is then in turn attached to the shorts. This allows the chamois a certain amount of movement which prevents discomfort when putting in the big miles and the pad seems very comfortable indeed, even on my lightly padded saddle. The silicone leg grippers performed their duty well and kept the shorts in place. One thing to note is that the bib shorts extend quite a way up the torso. This isn’t a criticism, it just feels a bit different from my Rapha Cargo bib shorts, for example.
The weight of the fabric seems to be a good balance between durability and temperature regulation. I didn’t feel chilly in these on a Scottish October 200km ride, nor did I feel any hotter than in similar bibs on intense turbo sessions.
The 7Mesh Mk3 bib shorts are extremely well crafted and designed shorts that inspire the confidence to go big, be it on an epic gravel adventure or a road ride. They say that the mark of a good pair of bibs is that you forget that you’re wearing them while riding and this is especially true of the 7Mesh Mk3 bib shorts. On long rides, the bib shorts stayed comfortable without the need for adjustment, mile after mile. It’s also great to see a company offer a crash replacement/repair service meaning your investment can last season after season, and avoid going to landfill that little bit longer if not all together!
At a $200 / £150 price point, 7Mesh has priced themselves alongside the likes of Rapha and Assos (but not quite up there with the likes of MAAP and Pas Normal Studios). However, with such high levels of comfort, not to mention the technical detailing and understated style, I feel the Mk3 bib shorts are great value for money and are my new go-to bib shorts for all types of riding.
For $30 / $50 more the MK3 are also available with cargo pockets if you are looking for some additional bikepacking or long-haul storage.
Tech Specs: 7Mesh Mk3 Bib Shorts
- Price: $200 / £150
- Materials: 62% nylon, 38% elastane
- Colors: Black, Thyme
- Size availability: XS to XXL