While precise technicality is common for bike equipment, apparel makers have been missing the mark for years when it comes to bike clothing and coastal weather. The Lycra apparel most associated with the sport is more suited to California than anything north of Oregon. Freeride-focused clothing in the past 15 years has been better, but it hasn’t allowed for the long, wet, windy rides of a Pacific Northwest winter. Simply put, bike clothing has sucked for wet-weather riders.
Cycling apparel company 7mesh has thankfully rectified things since launching a line in spring 2015. Located off the Sea to Sky Highway in the logging and climbing Mecca of Squamish, British Columbia, 7mesh is creating ultra-technical, weather-embattled gear that cycling has been waiting for. Every 7mesh piece is meticulously designed, tested and beat down on Squamish trails before going to market, a fact evident in the myriad details of the Revelation Jacket , an articulated, Gore-Tex Pro fabric garment, which was years in development.
The company’s name comes from the Coast Salish name for Squamish, Skwxwú7mesh. “ [The word] ‘mesh’ is Coast Salish for ‘people,’” says Brian Goldstone, director of marketing at 7mesh. “We named our company for the people, community, and the road that inspired us.” This approach means the jackets, shorts and jerseys they create for both road and mountain riding come from a community well acquainted with the rain, wind and snow that has shaped its unique landscape.
So how does the product stand up to Cascadia’s unique weather? Incredible. I spent a full autumn and winter testing the Revelation Jacket in the soggy woods of Cumberland, B.C. It rarely stops raining here in the thick of winter, and when it does the mist still hangs around like a wet blanket. There is simply no better place to test winter riding in B.C.
First, the pros: This jacket is proper waterproof, as expected. It will keep you dry as long as a mountain biker can reasonably expect to be kept dry when it’s blowing sideways and you’re smashing puddles every 10 feet. The Gore-Tex Pro fabric does its job in keeping you dry, but also–and this is a big concern for the internet commenters–in being tough as f@#*. I’ve fallen several times in this jacket and hit the ground hard. The jacket stood up to all my crashes without ripping or even scuffing, even when I took a tremendous digger and rode the point of my elbow along a gravel road’s rugged surface on Hornby Island. The jacket is damn tough.
The conflicting: Everyone I have spoke to with the Revelation, or the reviews I have read, have stated the fit to be either amazing or downright weird. I have to admit the fit felt strange when off the bike, but once I was in stretched out riding position it was a natural fit. The articulation in the cut seems brilliantly designed when you’re head down grinding up an access road. It seems wonky when you’re standing under a cedar tree fixing a flat in the rain. Here’s the rub though; it’s meant to fit you while riding, not sinking pints on the patio of your favourite brewpub. And speaking of beer, my beer gut definitely feels some resistance in the Revelation. As with most cycling gear, the Revelation’s fit leans towards the svelte. I’m a big man and I wear an XL. It’s tight in the gut. 7Mesh visionary Brian Goldstone told me that the jackets do fit on the small size, so perhaps an XXL (!) would be my next purchase.
The price seems to be an obstacle for most people. Not me. When I was younger, I bought the cheap deals and suffered in idealistic glory for some vain idea that I was tougher. I’m old and weak now, and I want gear that works. And, gear that works costs more. The Revelation is $500, about the same as a decent ski jacket. Amortize that over three seasons or more of riding and try and convince me it’s not worth it.
The bad: The hood is bizarre. It’s meant to be worn under the helmet, and is ultralight to save weight, but I just found it annoying in how easily it became detached, and didn’t enjoy the pull of the hood when used under the helmet, but that could be a size thing again.
All in all, the Revelation has become an indispensable part of my riding kit. With the first heavy rains of autumn starting to beat down on my window this morning, I am happy to have it in my pack or on my back for the months to come. More than anything, I am happy that the bike industry (led by 7mesh) is starting to pull their heads out of their asses and create gear meant for people who don’t hang their bikes up a soon as it gets wet.
Revelation Details From the 7Mesh Site:
Based on an athletic fit with riding articulation, this jacket is patterned to accommodate additional lightweight layering and work for off-the-bike time during extended trips.
- GORE-TEX® 3L Pro – 40d Nylon Plain Weave / RGR Backer
- Watertight #3 Vislon Front Zip
- DR-Snap Removable Under Helmet Hood
- Watertight Zippered Hand Pockets
- Watertight Zippered Side Vents/Jersey Access
- Watertight Zippered Forearm Intake Vents
- SmoothLock Hem & Hood Adjustment
- Adjustable Velcro Cuffs
- Soft Brushed Collar and Chin Guard
- 8mm Seam Tape
- Reflective Details