Based in Squamish and formed from a bunch of outdoor-wear industry veterans, 7mesh has been pushing the boundaries of quality cycling clothing for the last few years, at the forefront of development in a rapidly changing game. Always challenging old ideas and developing their own new ones, this past season they came out with their new fabric 'WTV', and it's probably one of their best products yet.
On the face of it, a new fabric doesn't sound all that exciting unless you're a major clothing nerd, but it really is. It's all about what that new fabric has allowed 7mesh to do with it, and subsequently what that allows you, the end user to do with it. WTV stands for "Wind, Thermal, Ventilation", and that really tells us almost all we need to know about it. This new fabric perfectly balances their three key elements of wind resistance, thermal insulation and ventilation.
The brief was simple, to develop a fabric that works amazingly across a whole range of temperatures to keep body temperature regulated and stable without constantly stopping to add or remove layers. Following several years of research, prototyping and testing the designers at 7mesh arrived at what we have here. That is a fabric that has a breathable wind-resistant outer and a brushed loft interior that captures just the right amount of warmth, letting out the excess. The result is a single layer that keeps the rider just warm enough from the shoulder seasons into some properly chilly winter rides.
7mesh took this ground-breaking fabric and turned it into five different garments to cover all the bases. The Seton Jersey and Vest cover the road and gravel bases with a trim fit, full length zipper and pockets on the back for a snug aero type garment. The Chilco Anorak and Vest have a slightly more relaxed fit perfect for mountain biking, with a large front pocket and half-length zip on the anorak and full length on the vest. Finally the Chilco Neck Warmer does just what it says on the tin.
With several of the staff at the shop having been using several of the new WTV garments over the last few months, we can report that they work incredibly well at regulating temperature and keeping the wind off. For high-intensity rides, especially when temperatures are close to zero the WTV fabric works incredibly well at keeping the rider warm yet ventilated. The vests make a great layer for those that typically run hot and don't often need much in the way of insulation. The long-sleeved versions working well for slower paced rides and folk that tend to feel the cold. The Seton in particular makes a great crossover piece for those that like to keep things less baggy on the mountain bike, minimizing the risk of snagging it on a seat or a handlebar.