Looking around the office there is definitely a lot of 7mesh in my life. Over the past year I've put a lot of miles and thought into reviewing their lineup of cycling apparel. So far I've reviewed both the S2S and Synergy Jerseys, the Strategy Jacket, and the MK1 bib shorts. Although each of these previous reviews has been comprehensive, none has been harder to write than this one. That's because each time I've thought about sitting down to write a review of the new 7mesh G2 Jersey I've drawn a blank. Never knowing how to properly cover and communicate the attributes of this jersey.
Before we start, an admission must be made. I had strong preconceived notions about what the G2 Jersey was going to be. My expectations were that the G2 Jersey would be 7mesh's take on a light weight highly breathable jersey suited for climbing and extreme temperature conditions. If that were true then it would sit at the opposite end of the lineup from their Strategy jacket. In some ways I was right and in some ways I was very wrong. I've been reminded to never judge a book by its cover.
Ok so what is the 7mesh G2 Jersey then? High level, it's a highly versatile piece of kit that has some incredibly interesting traits. Yes the G2 Jersey is highly breathable and well suited for warm temperatures but it is also remarkably insulated for cooler conditions too. A perplexing and potentially contradicting statement I know. The range of temperatures in which the G2 can play is quite broad which can even be extended by adding and or removing base layers. The 7mesh G2 Jersey could easily cover the functional use case of 2 or 3 pieces hanging in your closet and this is exactly what 7mesh was trying create.
In the previous 7mesh reviews I've covered much about who 7mesh are, their design ethos, and the differentiated approaches they employ in their construction methods. So rather than rehashing all of that I'm going to focus on what I think is the defining feature of the G2 Jersey, the fabric, and exactly what's going on with it. This review will go into detail on particular design elements, material selection, and my impressions of the 7mesh G2 Jersey's performance on the road.
As soon as the shipping box arrived I carefully cut it open. The very first thing to grab my attention was the beaming color inside. The G2 Jersey that I received is officially named 'lime' but I'd describe it more as a dusty lime. There is a sort of muted tone to it. No matter what the color definitely stands out in a world filled with primes and basics. From previous conversations with 7mesh I know that when it comes to colors they are quite comfortable with being on the fringe. Their color palettes are influenced by the mountains, oceans, and forest surrounding their offices in Squamish BC. When I look at the G2 Jersey hanging in the closet I'm left wondering if this shade is inspired by mosses found in the forest below the Stawamus Chief.
Up close the visual appearance of the G2 fabric is quite remarkable with its intricate texture. It could be likened to a jersey mesh. In hand the feeling is of a subtle softness and sliding it on only affirms that fact. True story, one friend verified its alluring softness by rubbing their cheek up and down my jersey. If they are reading this, they know who I'm talking about.
I'm a size large (42" chest, 33" waist) and my first impressions were that the fit of the G2 matches very well to the other 7mesh apparel I wear. The moderate weight makes it quite comfortable and the jersey has a pleasant hang which is hard to describe. The G2 Jersey wraps and around and hugs the figure nicely without unnecessary compression. It just works.
Heading out on the road for my first ride the G2 Jersey was comfortable. Especially in the riding position. My initial fears were that the pockets would bag and sag since the jersey fabric contains no elastane (more on that later). Fears were unwarranted and confidence for long rides was inspired.
Design & Construction
A lot went into planning for, testing, and production of the G2 Jersey. In the research and development phase the 7mesh designers once again worked closely with their in-house staff and local ambassadors to iterate and refine the final pattern. Each new discovery and learning resulted in adaptations to the pattern. But progress is never a smooth and linear path. Ian Martin, VP of Research and Design for 7mesh, explained that along the way they had to navigate their way through challenges with consistency in color tolerances as well as fabric elongation.
This intensive hands on design approach is only really possible with the in-house expertise and tailoring most often seen with much larger manufacturers.
During a Q&A with 7mesh about the G2 Jersey the first question I asked was "What was the intended purpose and goal behind designing this jersey?" From the outset the design objective was to build an all-purpose 'go to' jersey. You may ask but what makes a 'go to' jersey? That definition has to be more about how the jersey stretches the limits of when and where it can be functional. A complete combination of both form and performance.
What exactly did 7mesh do to make the G2 a 'go to' jersey? Much of the secret sauce is in the fabric itself. While so many in the cycling industry, including 7mesh, source their fabrics from MITI this one originates from a different Italian mill. Proving again that 7mesh is looking in all directions for further innovation. But what's so special about this particular fabric? The answer starts with the knit itself. Constructed with a crepe (or crape) knit, the G2 Jersey fabric has a distinctive texture and volume. While Crêpe interlock knits are traditionally done with silk, here the mill has used a 100% polyester synthetic based yarn. This is an interesting choice because it means that the fabric will retain very little moisture in the yarn. How does that make it more ideal for cycling apparel? Polyester will typically hold about 0.05% of its weight in moisture and when you compare this to the ~1% moisture retention of elastane you've got what makes for a much drier jersey fabric. This aids in the evaporation of perspiration to keep you cool when it's hot as well as drier and warmer when it's cold. The absence of elastane (aka lycra) that is so prevalent in cycling apparel also means that the G2 Jersey has a reduced sheer appearance. But it's not all so obviously easy. The lack of elastane means the fit is absolutely reliant on the patterning.
Let's go into a bit more detail on that pattern. At a high level the pattern shares key traits with other 7mesh apparel. It is pre-articulated to the ideal riding position and there are a very minimal number of panels. To be specific there are only 5 panels without including the collar or rear pockets. With so few panels the pre-articulated shape of the jersey must be further aided by sewn through darts. This is most evident in the back and shoulders. The general G2 Jersey pattern is not dissimilar to that of the S2S or the Synergy SS but 7mesh said that fine details had to be tweaked to account for the lack of elastane and increased volume of the knit.
Following in the footsteps of the 7mesh jerseys that have come before it, the G2 Jersey has all the bells and whistles features. There are a total of 5 pockets including 3 traditional top entry and two zipper secured side entry pockets. While I never advocate for using headphones while riding, there are button holes for cable routing inside the zippered pockets. There is plenty of generous volume to store all your food, tools, and valuables for the ride. The 3 top loading pockets are reinforced with elastic along the top hem. This provides some structure and prevents bagging out when they are loaded down. It appears that this elastic is the same as what 7mesh have used for the bottom hem of the G2 Jersey. That bottom hem which helps to keep the jersey held in place is reinforced by small dabs of silicone along the inside of the hem.
Breaking away from progressive trends, the sleeve length on the G2 Jersey is more traditional (shorter) and has a folded hem with a flatlock stitch. The front of the jersey and the secured pockets are closed with 3C sized YKK zippers. That's a small sized plastic coil closure type zipper and the same as those used on their S2S Jersey. The front has a metal slider but the secured pockets have a corded pull. Unlike the YKK Vislon zippers of the Strategy and Synergy the tape (sides of the zipper) on the G2 are not laminated for weather protection.
Since the G2 Jersey is a summer season piece of kit there are some sun protection considerations built into its construction. The rear of the collar has been extended to offer increased protection for the back of the neck and the fabric itself provides a total UV protection Factor (UPF) of 50. That means it allows just 1/50th of the suns radiation to pass through and onto your skin.
Any discussion of visual and graphic design aesthetics is entirely subjective. So much of it is about what works for you and me. I'll preface this section by openly admitting that I'm aware of my very particular and opposing tastes when it comes to graphic design treatments. I am either drawn to the very minimal or to the very bold. Not much in between. What I'm never into is overly logo reliant graphics and for me this is a strong point of appreciation for 7mesh. The G2 Jersey has the usual two 7mesh logo placements with one on the upper left chest and one in the center back. On previous 7mesh apparel these logos were done in high vis reflective graphics applied through heat transfer but the G2 features rubberized logos. On the lime green colorway this is done in a very discreet tone on tone. A big bonus in my books. There are also two additional logo placements contained within the new high vis reflective spots on the back pockets. The designers have forgone the former reflective dab below the pockets and replaced it with the larger application higher up. This affords for greater visibility on the road.
But there's more to the story of those reflective patches. These high vis reflective treatments are typically done in a bright silver color because it afford the most luminance (measured in equivalent candle power) and any other color dramatically reduces the luminance level. For the G2 Jersey 7mesh worked with a new vendor to source a reflective material in a darker gun metal finish. While the overall color tone is far more subdued it only slightly reduces the reflective luminance. They say it's about 75% compared to the usual silver. On the lime and white jerseys this is quite contrasting but on the charcoal jersey it blends well.
The inside of the jersey has a logo and article information on the inside. This is much preferred over a sewn in tag which always ends up fraying and then being cut out.
Fit & Function
Trust me that in this section I'll get into some specifics to the fit of the 7mesh G2 jersey but what you should take away is that it fits as well as it is designed to function. If you like any of the other 7mesh jerseys or jackets then you're going to like the G2. What’s different is that the added volume of the knit fabric helps with some subtle body shaping and gives it less of that stuffed in a sausage casing look. I would compare the tactile feel as being something similar to a natural bamboo fiber but remember it is 100% polyester. It has the best next to skin feeling of any jersey I've got in the closet.
All that sewn darting and minimal paneling I covered in the design section above is what achieves the pre-articulated shape. This means rather than lying flat the jersey is sewn to a shape that works best when in the typical riding position. At times it may feel slightly out of place or pull in places when off the bike but this all melts away when you reach for the bars. With the design pedigree at 7mesh and considering that this is not their first jersey it's no surprise that the pre-articulate fit is done to the highest standard. However, because the jersey contains no elastane the fit will rely on how well the pattern matches the shape of your individual body. For me it works well.
In the earlier sections I commented that the 7mesh G2 Jersey performs well across a broad range of temperatures but it's how that happens which makes it a 'go to'. If you like to nerd into the details like I do then you'll find this pretty cool. Once again it comes down to the crepe knit fabric. It's actually comprised up of two distinct layers and the way they work together is what drives the performance. The mesh like top layer creates an air gap over tighter knit inner layer allowing some air to move around inside. That buffer layer of air works for you in both hot and cool temperatures. When it's hot out this buffer zone allows for more air to move across your body to aid in moisture evaporation and keeping you cool. When the mercury drops that same buffer layer is warmed from the inside by your trapped body heat and helps to insulate you. This is working on a micro scale but is doing so quite effectively.
On The Road
7mesh sent me the G2 to review in the early part of the 2016 season and over the past few months I put the G2 Jersey through a lot. Much more than I expected to. I recognize that I made a few mistakes in the beginning. I thought of the G2 jersey as most appropriate for the warmest of temperatures when I should have been more open minded. Once I finally clued in the G2 went from being a niche player to a true all-rounder. But how far did I take it? In the brunt of summer I purposely headed out the door in a 40 Celcius heatwave for 120kms of salted suffering. I vividly remember moments of clear thanks for having the chosen the G2. Later in the season I was still calling on the jersey in fall temperatures near 10 degrees Celsius. These days had the G2 Jersey overlapping the S2S Jersey territory and creeping in on the domain of the Synergy Jersey.
Despite the lack of elastane the 5 rear pockets have ample room for storage. Even when loaded up they are held firmly in place with minimal travel. The nominal dabs of silicone on the lower hem work well to lock down the jersey and prevent it from swishing side to side or migrating up your back. The full length zip is easily managed one handed to aid in critical ventilation.
To be honest, lime green wouldn't have been my first instinctual choice but I quickly grew to really like it. It definitely gets noticed and helps aid in visibility to the inattentive drivers we share the road with. Don't worry, if you're not the type for a bit of color then there is always the available white or gray options too.
One thing I pride myself on with this blog is honesty. Especially in writing reviews. The G2 has some strong positives but it does have some drawbacks that you should be aware of. So far I've spent a lot of time covering the technical details and performance of the fabric used in the G2 Jersey and I'm going to maintain this focus a bit longer. The crepe knitted material feels delicate to the touch. Maybe too delicate? Mine arrived with a small snag on the front where it had caught the sharp corner of the garment tag during transit. Truthfully I could have done it myself when removing it from the packaging. Either way it was there and I only added to the battle scars. At this point I just wear them with pride. I'm not sure if a tighter knit would help to minimize this issue. All I can say is to just be careful!
The rear pockets have that previously noted reinforcing elastic strip along the top edge. While it does provide some rigidity and shape to the pockets it's not fully sewn to the pocket. The bottom edge of the elastic is unattached and the original design intention was that this open edge would help keep items in the pocket. I've found it to work almost too well. When reaching in for food or gels they tend to get caught on the lower edge and as I fumble around I would catch a corner against the jersey fabric…creating another pull. In a future revision I'd be happy to see the pockets lined and or the elastic be fully attached.
Trying to succinctly summarize my thoughts on the 7mesh G2 Jersey is not an easy objective. The G2 continues to challenge my preconceived notions for what it should be and when it should be called upon. What impresses me most about this jersey is how it expresses, better yet, reinforces that 7mesh is far from content with what they have already accomplished. They set out to build an incredibly versatile jersey that adapts and excels across a broad range of conditions. And for all intents, and purposes they have. Yes the 7mesh G2 Jersey is not without its flaws. But rest assured that none of these flaws could outweigh the positives. It is surprising how much you can throw at the G2 Jersey.
Who is the G2 Jersey right for? Any cyclist who is looking for a highly breathable jersey but more importantly for those that need a single 'go to' jersey which effectively extends its functionality beyond normal thresholds.
The 7mesh G2 Jersey can hold its own throughout the core season but more importantly it can definitely take the place of multiple pieces in the closet. For those looking for a master of many, the 7mesh G2 Jersey may be the right fit. Heed the warning that the fabric is delicate and keep your velcro far far away.