I recently ordered my second pair of 7Mesh Inc’s Glidepath shorts. I was so impressed with my first pair I ordered last year, I decided I had to have another since they were always in the wash! I can’t speak highly enough about this piece of kit but first a little back story about how I came to be wearing these shorts… I got my first mountain bike around 1989 or 1990. I saved up for a good summer and then some… Mowing my fair share of lawns and shoveling my fair share of walkways. Ironically I still didn’t have enough. My Dad being the good Dad that he is on the way over to T-Town cycles said: “Kris, if you end up being short, I’ll split it with you.” Which he did and that first mountain bike was a Trek Antelope 830. Neon yellow with black paint splatter. And of course I needed a helmet (I had been riding my Dad’s orange Peugeot with nothing but a cycling cap..). And of course I need a jersey (Christmas present). And I needed a new set of shorts. At the time, it was all about looking the part. So race ready was the ticket. We ordered a pair of 6 panel something or others from Campmor of all places. I wore those things out (and the drivetrain – 7 speed Biopace chainrings and all). But they took me everywhere and yes, I made a number plate (Number 0) which was a replica of a GRUNDIG plate. John Tomac, Ned Overend, Tinker Juarez, Juliana Furtado, Greg Herbold… I kept up with all of them and then imagined I was pitted next to them each ride. John Tomac was always in the lead of course and I was chasing him down. I think I may have beat him on a few rides? Can’t tell. My imagination is foggy. But I digress.. Over the years as the bike changed beneath me, so did what I was wearing. Originally, I was decked out in lycra. Race ready. Then about 1998, I wanted a pair of baggies. I had moved away from water bottles and was wearing a hydration pack (The first Camelback Mule). I was carrying more gear too and I could drive… So I had things in my pockets. Funny what having a drivers license does. I wasn’t riding around the lake as often either where I’d leave from my front door to ride out to my Grandmom’s to ride the red or blue trails that circles the reservoir. I was driving to trails, mostly to South Mountain in Emmaus, PA. My first set of baggies was made by Fox. Two off seam pockets, an integrated liner and a small zippered pocket off the right leg (I put my keys here). Maybe the 2nd or 3rd ride I cut the liner out as I noticed being integrated / sewn into the hem line of the short that the darn things kept riding down on me. I found by separating the two and just using my road cycling 6 or 8 panel shorts beneath the Fox baggies, things sat “right” and I had more freedom of movement. When I was living in Providence some years after in the early 2000’s and Lynn and I had just met, Sugoi introduced their Gustav short which caught my fancy so much that I order not just one pair but 3. These had jean style pockets so they faced forward and you couldn’t catch your hands or objects on the pockets. They had adjustable hip webbing akin to military fatigues. The backs were a bit higher cut so when you bent over, your butt wasn’t catching a chill. And two zippered vents on the legs to let in air flow when things got too hot. So someone who mountain biked actually had put some thought into these. Go figure. I’ve ridden these 3 pairs of shorts to death and they’re still in relatively good shape. The only trouble with these is they tend to be on the hot side during the warmer months. The material’s on the thick end and some times I just have to go full race mode and run bibs/jersey only. So about 2 years ago, I was on the market for a replacement. I had ditched the hydration pack for a pair of water bottles and have not looked back. I needed something I could also take along bare essentials without fear of losing them say in a back jersey pocket. Keys, wallet and maybe a device. I have to say… pickin’s were slim. Disappointingly so. But I wasn’t happy so I kept looking and biding my time. Now you’re probably thinking “That’s hogwash Kris! There’s a TON of options!” True, but I’m particular. Some have joked I’m a tad OCD or anal. Now I know some who are anal and maybe 1 or 2 who actually do have OCD. I’m not that. I’m particular. I have a discerning eye for details. Some things I am willing to wait for the “right” option to come around (I couldn’t find the right mountain bike, so I made my own for example). But it boils down to details, doesn’t it? Life is about the little things. The things that are simple. And simple is pretty hard to wrangle some times. Our worlds pretty complex. And one of them’s my mountain bike shorts. All the options out there were either too long, too short, too many buckles, too many pockets, too many adjustments, too thin, too tight, too baggy… TOO much of everything or not enough of something. I was reading a blog post over on the Radavist one afternoon, I believe it was a ride photo essay and one of the riders had this pair of shorts on I had never seen before. Clean lines, hip adjustments like my Sugoi’s, jean style pockets and heck if they didn’t look to be well made. I could see the logo but no name on them… Shit. So I emailed John. He emailed the rider and we got the answer: 7MESH. Never heard of those guys before, so on to the website and starting pouring over all the details. There was a strange similarity to Arcteryx too in there with overall cleanliness of line choice, attention to detail construction wise and there was definitely a fit story going too which I’d say Arcteryx has always been one I’ve admired for. So function first. So I plunked down my cash for a set of medium Glidepath shorts and they arrived a few short days there after. Upon first inspection it’s very clear: These are a well made piece of kit. Fabrics and construction are top notch. Patterning was true to fit. I’m typically a large but heck if I was a medium according to their sizing chart and I followed it putting trust in their guide – darn things fit exactly as expected. I’m a 33.75″ waist, and these were 34’s. Fit exactly. The inseam is about 14-15″ in length (depends where you take the measurement from) so they’re not super long but they’re not super short either. They sit just at the knee or just below/above the knee depending on how loose or tight you wear them with the hip adjustments. The shorts also sport belt loops so these can be “dressed up” or dressed down I guess! Fly is a zipper with a nice button snap closure. This is my favorite part of the short: how the pockets are designed, and executed and how the side pockets work with the garment. They’re simple and executed well. Being an Industrial Designer myself, this kind of stuff and the thought / process that goes into these small details are what makes good GREAT. This is the stuff I get jazzed about and 7Mesh clearly thinks about these things. So the pockets are jean style and forward facing. This one detail on a pair of mountain bike shorts is important for me I’ve found. Why? Well, on-seam or slightly off seam pockets are hard to get crap out of… You basically have to stick your hand in there at an angle and if you’re riding or on the fly, that’s not so easy. And you can catch things with them which I’ve done with other shorts in the past with on-seam pockets. Literally ripped me off my bike once… These are nice and deep. Forward facing and usable. They lay flat thanks to construction techniques utilizing seam tape. This not only reinforces the folded seam, but it creates an incredible flat and technically clean look. They are In some cases on the short where it’s applied, it eliminates a stitch line/seam. Fabric is a stretch woven. Technically their “Soma 2-way Stretch Woven”. It has a DWR finish which adds a layer of water resistance. Out on the trail? Water beads up and rolls right off keeping you dry. The fabric is lightweight but not thin. It’s incredibly breathable, lightweight so it really doesn’t feel like you’re wearing them but also has a bit of wind resistance too. In short: Stretch woven’s are an incredible fabric application and the Glidepath makes good use of these material choices. Two side pockets with zippered closures are well thought out. They’re just off seam and have a bit of a “slant” to them. There’s two pockets: One large and a smaller one inside for say a wallet, or iPhone type sized device. The zipper has a small leash to it for opening/closing which makes them low bulk. The zipper is one of those reversed types which lay nice and flat. No back pockets on these – those just get in the way honestly. Styling again is very clean and technical without being too Moto inspired. These are mountain bike shorts and they look the part without being too overly designed. Above is a view of the short from the side. You can see how the cut is generous without being too much. Back is slightly higher so when you’re seated, they don’t ride down. The pockets front to back have this sort of bucket pattern to them. And check out that little detail above the side zipper pocket where the zipper starts? Shit. They could have just made that a straight line.. Nope, it’s a nice crisp sharp 45° angle and up on the hip adjustment? Again, nice sharp and crisp design detailing. And the key piece of the puzzle that makes these work with a free range of motion? You can use whatever set of chamois you want. The liner is not integrated and they make their own or you can use your existing liner or favorite fitting set of cycling shorts (or tights). Me? I actually prefer bibs… That’s what I wear 4 seasons. The crotch has a gusset so it’s articulated for ease of movement. Last but not least, the logo is a reflective hit. “7” “M” to resemble a mountain range. And out on the trail you’re wondering? Well..these suckers work. Light with good airflow. The boys felt good and ventilated. They don’t ride up or ride down. They stay put. I’ve carried my phone on rides or my small iTouch and I don’t know it’s there. Keys sometimes ride in a front pocket and those don’t jangle all over the place. They’re there but I don’t notice them. Easy access if I need to get into one of the 4 pockets. I don’t feel all decked out in moto style craziness and their Bad Ash Gray color hooks up well with just about all my jersey’s and kits. Black of course looks tough next to these but my eye piercing Fat Chance jersey looks pretty good too! (Pink for the win kids.) In the future, it would be nice to see a black option FYI but I’m not complaining. The biggest part for me was that these are cool. Cool in look and aesthetic but also in fit and feel. I was getting terribly overheated in my other shorts from Sugoi and the 7Mesh Glidepath’s really answered that need for a well tailored, lightweight but rugged set of mountain bike shorts. They’re extremely well made. The construction is highly considered. And the fit and finish are top rate. Overall I’m extremely impressed. These were designed to be ridden and it shows in every detail. And the gals have an option too! …in some ways I actually kind of like the cleaner look of the women’s style but the newer Recon Short has a bit cleaner aesthetic which are waterproof. And what do you know? John Tomac says they’re the best baggies he’s ever worn. So if you can’t take my word for it, take Johnny T’s. The man HIMSELF. And wouldn’t you know I had the opportunity to personally speak with one of their 5 member design team, TJ. Funny story which I’m a bit embarrassed to admit. So some time in and around the end of June I was out on a ride and decided I “needed” another set of these shorts. One wasn’t enough. I was constantly washing them. So post ride, fired up the internet and “thought” I had completed my purchase. Well sometime around the 28th or 29th I woke up with severe tinnitus in my right ear, that went to fullness/pressure, then dizziness set in, then vertigo… I was perfectly healthy and felt like a million bucks but was bed ridden. Long story short I had a viral infection of my inner ear. Which took just about all of July to sort itself out after seeing a specialist. So July was hell. And along the way I was still working, albeit slowly and thinking I had ordered these shorts. Well no shorts showed up. Which was odd. I got my first set in a few days. Online I went, email searched, got the tracking number and it says they were delivered. Hmm… I emailed 7Mesh directly and provided all the details. Then called UPS (I should have called UPS first.). UPS pointed out: “You do realize that the tracking number is from 2015?” OH boy. So that means I read 2015 as 2016 or just flat failed to notice since I had ironically ordered them around the exact same time that previous year.. SO I’m that guy. And in the tumult that pulled me down I apparently DID NOT order the second set. In the meantime, TJ had gotten back to me promptly and I explained the whole thing. We exchanged pleasantries over email, had a good laugh at my expense and turns out the team are all friends at 7Mesh from Arcteryx. (There’s that visual I picked up on) And wouldn’t you know it these guys are nice guys, doing good work and making really well thought out, cleanly executed mountain bike specific apparel. Not only did I get a great pair of shorts, but I also met a really great group who did not have to take the time out of their busy day to speak with me, sort my order but did so with grace. For that I’m extremely grateful for. This is the sort of stuff I love about some brands. It’s that little extra step they take. 7Mesh, according to my opinion, is one of those brands. So if you’re in need of a new set of baggies for mountain biking, head over the www.7meshinc.com and check out their full line of cycling apparel. I’ve already got my eyes on a jacket which comes in orange… Happy shredding.