Quality weather resistant mountain bike shorts for riding in cool temps and inclement weather
Price: $150 ListPros: Water-resistant, quality of materials and construction, good pocket design, work great with knee pads Cons: Sizing is different than other brands, somewhat noisy material, a little expensive Manufacturer: 7Mesh
The 7Mesh Glidepath are quality mountain bike shorts that stand out for their features and weather resistance. These shorts are constructed with a tough water-resistant fabric that sheds light rain and splashes from puddles. The waist adjustment system is low-profile and intuitive, and the shorts have well-designed pockets that include internal sleeves to keep the contents from bouncing around. They have 7Mesh's relaxed all-surface fit with a 15-inch inseam that plays very well with knee pads. The quality of materials, craftsmanship, and attention to detail is apparent, and they seem to be highly durable. We found them to be quite comfortable, but it should be noted that 7Mesh's sizing is currently a little different than other brands.
7Mesh has updated the Glidepath short we tested this version. Updates include reworked pockets, a reshaped gusset, and a tapered, articulated leg shape. -November 2022
Our Analysis and Test Results
7Mesh is a Squamish, BC-based apparel brand that has been crafting quality outerwear since 2013. The Glidepath is one of their most popular models of shorts with construction and features that speak to the company's British Columbian roots. These shorts are constructed from a tough but lightweight Soma 2-way stretch woven fabric that has been treated with a water-repellant coating. The relaxed fit provides a high level of comfort and mobility on the bike with a great pocket layout and well-executed waist adjustment system. We feel they are a great option for riding in cooler temperatures or damp conditions.
Overall, we found the Glidepath shorts to be quite comfortable. The relaxed fit is easy to get along with, and despite its toughness, the Soma woven fabric is reasonably comfortable against the skin. They aren't the airiest shorts around, but the material is quick-drying and resists moisture should you get caught out in a light rain shower.
To ensure your comfort in the Glidepath shorts, it's important that you get the correct size. We explain it in more detail below, but 7Mesh's sizing is slightly different than other brands. Once you have the right size, the shorts are secured at the front of the waist with a burly metal snap and a zipper fly. On both sides of the waistband, two webbing straps with locking clips allow you to fine-tune the fit of the waist. These adjustment straps are quite easy to use, and the adjustment can even be made one-handed, plus they are low-profile and don't dig into the waist or interfere with hip pack straps. These shorts also have belt loops if that's your preference, but they seem a little redundant to us.
The 2-way stretch Soma woven fabric is treated with a water-repellant coating and it has a tough feel for how lightweight it is. It repels water impressively well and will help to keep you dry in light rain showers, mist, and sloppy conditions. We did find, however, that this material also feels pretty wind resistant. This is certainly a benefit on cool spring and fall rides, but we found them to feel a bit clammy in warmer temperatures. That said, we also found the material to dry quickly, so even if the shorts get soaked with sweat, they don't stay that way for too long.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The Glidepath shorts have a relatively relaxed fit when compared to some of the slimmer-fitting models we've tested. The 15-inch inseam rises just above the knee while pedaling, and we didn't find them to be restrictive of the pedal stroke in any way. While ordering these shorts we did notice that 7Mesh's sizing is a bit different than other brands, and getting the proper fit is critical.
If you're planning to order a pair of Glidepath shorts, we strongly urge you to look at 7Mesh's size guide because it can be easy to get the wrong size. These shorts come in 6 sizes, XS-XXL, but instead of using waist sizes, their size guide references the circumference of the widest part of your hips and thigh. Our six-foot-tall tester with a 32-inch waist is accustomed to wearing size medium shorts but ended up with a small. He hasn't worn anything in a size small for over 20 years, so we found this to be a little confusing, but the shorts fit him perfectly. They fit relatively trim through the hips and butt, with a looser fit around the thigh and down to the knee.
The Soma 2-way stretch woven fabric doesn't feel restrictive, although it does feel a touch rougher than softer fabrics. This presents itself as an audible swoosh while pedaling, but we found that we got used to it pretty quickly and it wasn't irritating to the skin. 7Mesh smartly used a 4-way stretch panel in the crotch gusset which we found to aid in mobility no matter how you move around on the bike. The seam around the knee opening is also taped, so it is nice and smooth and doesn't chafe the top of the knee. These shorts have 7Mesh's relaxed all-surface fit which is intended to be a touch baggier than the more tailored shorts around these days. When seated and pedaling, they rose just above the knee and the leg opening is quite spacious. This makes them compatible with pretty much any knee pads, but also results in a bit of fabric to flap around in the wind. We did notice that some material does tend to bunch across the crotch area while seated pedaling, though we didn't find it to be detrimental to the pedal stroke. The zippered thigh pockets are well-executed, and the internal phone sleeve helps to keep things from bouncing around while you pedal.
The Glidepath shorts are loaded with features. The majority of these features function very well. 7Mesh didn't try to reinvent the wheel with these shorts, but they did add some clever details.
These shorts are constructed with what 7Mesh calls Soma 2-way stretch woven fabric that has been treated with a water-repellant coating. While they may not be as soft and comfortable as other shorts, this material is undoubtedly a nice touch. Riders in wetter climates where you are frequently splashing through puddles on the trail or often ride on misty mornings will appreciate the water-resistant construction. We tested this material with the mist feature on a garden hose. We stood downwind of the hose, not in its direct path. The misty water beaded up and didn't penetrate the material easily. If you're riding in a downpour, you will still probably get wet, but with the occasional shot of water from a puddle, stream crossing, or rain shower, they do their job well.
The pocket layout is quite good and there is ample room to carry plenty with you on rides. Two front hand pockets are open at the top and quite deep. We don't really trust open pockets while we're riding, but they work great off the bike and add to the short's casual appearance. On the outside of each thigh, there is a large zippered backloading pocket. These side pockets are spacious, and each one has an internal sleeve that holds a smartphone (it can be tricky to get your phone in the sleeve depending on the size or material of your phone cover) or other items securely inside. These sleeves not only keep your stuff organized but also keep it from bouncing around while you ride. The orientation of the zippers and the backloading design make it pretty easy to access these pockets and their contents on the fly.
The waistband adjustment system is simple and effective. External webbing straps on both sides of the waistband feed through small locking plastic tabs. They are easy to use, low-profile, and work quite well. The Glidepath shorts also have belt loops, so you get to choose how you want to hold your shorts up.
The Glidepath showed no signs of premature wear throughout our test period. The material has a durable and tough feel, and while it is lightweight, it feels like it should stand up to some serious abuse. We rode through plenty of slightly overgrown trails with pricker bushes and sharp branches, and they look no worse for the wear. It feels like these shorts should also be able to handle the occasional slide out on the hip without getting shredded. The stitching is all in perfect shape, and not a single thread looks out of place. The quality of craftsmanship is high, and we expect these shorts to have a long lifespan. Additionally, the shorts have a lifetime guarantee that covers materials and craftsmanship, and 7Mesh also has a 30-day crash replacement policy and a repair service.
One concern we have with the Glidepath shorts is the water repellant coating used on the fabric. In general, these types of coatings break down over time and end up being less effective. We haven't worn our test shorts for long enough for this to happen, nor do we know if it will happen at all. That said, we doubt that these shorts will retain their water repellency forever. Regardless, they shed water very well at the moment.
The Glidepath shorts have a straightforward and understated, casual style. They certainly don't scream bike shorts like some other models that are bright colors or littered with logos. They could easily pass as hiking shorts or just an everyday pair of shorts.
The whole piece is a solid color, except for the adjustment straps and a small reflective 7Mesh logo down on the outside of the right knee. They come in several colors, and we feel it is worth mentioning that the "shark" color we ordered looked grey on the website, but turned out to be a grey/lavender in real life. The Glidepath shorts have a 15-inch inseam with a relaxed fit. They are somewhat form-fitting through the butt and hips but have relatively loose legs. They look good on and off the bike, and you could easily wear them out for food or drinks after a ride and nobody would know that you're still in your riding gear, except for the smell of course.
For a lightweight pair of trail riding shorts, the Glidepath feel pretty protective. They don't have any overt protective features worked into the design, but they are certainly knee pad friendly, constructed from a robust material, and provide some protection from the elements when mother nature gets nasty.
The 15-inch inseam of the Glidepath shorts provides plenty of leg coverage and protection from the sun. The light Soma woven material feels surprisingly tough and it shrugs off encounters with trailside bushes and feels like it should be able to stand up to the occasional crash. The opening at the knee provides ample space to allow plenty of clearance for any size or style of pads, and there is plenty of length to prevent the dreaded and unsightly pad gap between the short and pad. We tried them with multiple pairs of knee pads of various styles and they worked well with all of them.
While this isn't a traditional element of protection in a pair of mountain bike shorts, the water-resistant fabric offers a barrier for the occasional interaction with moisture. They protect you from light rain, mist, splashes from puddles, and mud quite effectively. This can be important on a cool spring or fall day if the weather turns or you're just going for it on a drizzly day because the dirt is perfect.
The Glidepath don't come cheap, but we feel you get what you pay for with these shorts. They are made from high-quality materials and are built to last with excellent craftsmanship. Additionally, 7Mesh has great warranty, "crash replacement", and repair programs, so you can be sure to get your money's worth.
The Glidepath are a quality pair of trail riding shorts that are perfect for cooler temps or mixed weather conditions when a little wind and weather resistance is needed. These shorts blend a casual style and relaxed fit with high-end materials and construction. They aren't cheap, but if you're looking for shorts for the shoulder seasons or riding in inclement weather, they might be just what you need.
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