Prepared to pay a lot for a pair of the best mountain bike shorts with a fantastic tailored fit and tough, but light fabric? Don’t need as many pockets as you get on 7mesh’s Glidepath shorts? The 7mesh Slabs could be perfect for you.
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Design and specifications
The 7mesh Slab shorts might look simple at first but there’s some subtle leg tapering and diagonal darts over each buttocks. All the seams apart from the double stitched center one are ultrasonically welded with a really narrow strip too, maximising breathability and slick aesthetics.
The deep, doubled-over waistband doesn’t stretch nearly as much as the rest of the four-way stretch fabric. There’s no additional yokes, vented or elasticated sections, either. There’s a metal hook and a 5-loop daisy chain to fine tune the waist fit though, and the Slabs also get a metal popper and full-length fly zip.
The long (37cm/14.5in inseam) legs have a doubled back hem. There’s only one zipped and welded pocket which is big enough for a large smartphone and sits on the back of the right leg. The 4-way stretch fabric is DWR treated for showerproofing and comes in black or ‘thyme’ green in a full range of sizes from XS to XXL.
Fit is the real strength of these shorts. I’ve got a 30in waist so I went for a small and didn’t need to cinch it in much on the ‘belt’ which seems like accurate sizing. Larger riders I asked confirmed 7mesh sizing is normally spot on too.
All the subtle little tailoring touches combine with easy stretch in the fabric for an awesome flap-free, but not weirdly tight, fit. They’ve even passed as ‘smart casual’ benchmark for summer functions a couple of times. More importantly, the firmer waistband means they don’t slip down or shuffle about when riding either and basically once they’re on, you forget about them completely.
The tapered cut still has room for knee pads and even carrying a heavy phone, the pocket is placed perfectly to remove it from your ride radar. It’s also relatively well placed to avoid crash damage too, although I’ve probably cursed myself saying that and will somehow wipe out sitting on my hamstring next time round.
Speaking of crashing, while the fabric is definitely light and thin I’ve been wearing the shorts in heavy rotation for months and sledged down the trail in them a few times without any signs of damage. They take a while to wet out though, but dry fast afterwards and they’re not that noisy either.
If you want more storage, the Glidepath shorts from 7mesh have ‘phone’ pockets both sides and two hand pockets. They’re only £10 more too, which certainly isn’t cheap but does make the minimalist Slabs seem even more expensive.
7mesh’s Slab shorts are very expensive for a minimalist single pocket design. It’s the detailing you might never even spot that makes them such a brilliant fit though, and they come with a no quibble lifetime guarantee against defects plus a crash replacement scheme – both or which make them much better value.
Despite being our go to shorts everywhere from fancy, family BBQs to flat-out shred sessions this summer, they’re not suffering from any obvious signs of wear either. If you might want more storage sometimes the Glidepath are the safer, better value bet.
Tech Specs: 7mesh Slab shorts
- Price: £120 / €140 / $140
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Thyme (tested), Black