7mesh Recon shorts review£130.00

Super tech, super clean, super expensive

BikeRadar score4/5

7mesh is the brand you get when some of the brightest minds in the high-end outdoor industry decide to pursue their passion for riding and get into bike wear. Hailing from the riding mecca of Squamish, British Columbia, 7mesh makes purpose-built clothing for their demanding environment. The Recons are billed as their off-season shorts, and I'll get into what that means below.

7mesh specs

Getting approval from American textile giant Gore-Tex to use its materials is reason to celebrate for even the most established of brands. Being able to use Gore-Tex as a new company, well, that's almost unheard of. But that's the level of expertise 7mesh brings to the game.

The aesthetics are subtle with no loud colors or huge logo splashes. It's a very clean and purposeful appearance, and very easy to pick up on the styling cues from their Arcteryx clothing roots.

7mesh's recon shorts are windproof, water resistant, and subtle
7mesh's recon shorts are windproof, water resistant, and subtle

The WindStopper softshell fabric features taped seams for less bulk but all the weather protection the Gore-Tex brand demands. There's a front zip and a snap closure, and much to my appreciation, two front hand pockets. 

It's a dead giveaway that the leg length was designed by riders as it tapers drastically towards the back of the knee, which makes seated pedaling a hassle- and chafe-free experience. The rear is also tailored to prevent plumber's crack, no need for a stretchy panel back there. Nice work.   

A fitted rise in the rear takes place instead of a stretchy rear panel
A fitted rise in the rear takes place instead of a stretchy rear panel

The waist adjusters are a thing of beauty. They're external, hold fast, are low profile, and just like the rest of the shorts, impeccably crafted. Belt loops are present as well, if that's more your thing.

The expertise runs deep. 7mesh say: "using an old trick learned from designing mountaineering jackets, 7mesh used a non-membrane (meaning not windproof), porous fabric in the pockets which creates a natural vent point given the taped seams and Windstopper body. This way the pockets themselves act as vents given the porous fabric used to line them."

Built for the rain and cold, aka: off-season

Rarely do I look forward to heading out for a ride in the rain, but wearing 7mesh's Recon shorts have me changing my tune. Gore-Tex's Windstopper material is the reason why. The fabric definitely blocks the wind, but also shrugs off rain and moisture; from blasting through puddles, streams, and ripping through wet grass and trees. 

The Recon's leg length is indicative of the terrain and weather conditions these shorts are made for. They're properly long, easily falling over my knees, and work well with knee pads. I appreciated the length, especially when dropping huge descents. On lesser shorts my thighs and middle region can get cold. 

And while I'm quickly warming to the bright neon colors trendy in mountain biking, the classy gray colorway reminds me that one need not shout to make a statement. Just like the best bikers let their riding do the talking, 7mesh is content to let the garment's performance draw the attention.

First-rate protection

Shorts such as the Recons open up more riding opportunities. How can something as simple as shorts do that? The weather protection is the answer. When taking on huge rides in the mountains or at altitude, the weather can and does change drastically in mere moments. Since your thighs are the major power source for pedaling, having your hips and upper legs protected goes a long way in those circumstances.

Seams are taped to reduce bulk and weight and maximize weather resistance
Seams are taped to reduce bulk and weight and maximize weather resistance

On lesser adventures closer to home, extending the riding season through the wet, cold winter is possible with shorts like these. 

Either way, seeing the impeccable build quality goes a long way to never even having to think about the Recons. It's blatantly obvious they're built to withstand actual riding and the associated abuse. And subtracting even one thing off your list of worries when battling the elements is huge. 

Minor notes

Like any weather-resistant gear you've likely worn, it's pretty obvious that the material is loud when moving. This aural intrusion happens when pedaling the Recons as well.

It's definitely noticeable, especially when seated and at slower speeds. That said, and I'm going to be Captain Obvious here, when going downhill, or at a good pace, it's not really a bother as my focus is on the trail and bike as well as tire placement. 

Also, to preserve the windproof qualities, the Recons are practically devoid of any venting. There are supposedly vents inside the front pockets, but I didn't feel much breeze coming through. Long story short, they're pretty warm, but again these shorts aren't built for the desert, they're built for the dank, wet, cool British Columbia mountains and for off-season shredding. 

7mesh Recon pricing

High-end material and manufacturing doesn't come cheap, luckily the Recons look and function exactly as they did on the first ride. 

£130 / US$200 / Australian pricing not available
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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