Your weatherworn spandex suggests a performance gap in cycling soft goods. Meet 7mesh, a Canadian startup that brings craftsmanship and weatherproofing to bike-specific layers.
By Ryan Stuart | Photograph by Robin O’Neill
As Tyler Jordan pedaled a sinuous mountain road in the Swiss Alps, a spring blizzard suddenly rolled in. He wore a wind vest and arm warmers, but the layers did little to cut the damp and chill. “By the time I got down, I was soaked, shivering violently, and past worried,” he recalls. “My favorite bike clothing simply wasn’t up to the job.” That was May 2011. The then-CEO of Arc’teryx, the Canadian apparel maker known for premium quality and top-shelf prices, returned to Vancouver and teamed up with supply chain director Calum Davidson and product designer Ian Martin. The mountain bikers thought they could do mountain biking clothing better. “We wanted to make bike apparel that’s performance-oriented, but not necessarily racing specific,” says Jordan. “Gear for riding at a high level in adventurous conditions.”
Two years later, the trio launched 7mesh. But first, the self-funded company endured a starving artist phase. Based in Squamish, BC—a hub for bikers, skiers, and climbers halfway between Vancouver and Whistler—their early headquarters migrated to whoever’s kitchen table, basement, or living room was free. Now, seven employees—six of whom once worked at Arc’teryx—share a permanent office. They launched their first line this spring. Shells, bibs, shorts, and tees make up 16 styles available on their website and at specialty bike retailers in 10 countries. “We want to be globally relevant,” says Jordan.
Their wares stand out for methodical perfectionism, functional innovation, and whistle-worthy prices. After 30 prototypes, they devised a way to hide internal seams in the $250 MK1 bibs. Most bike jerseys rely on Lycra that wets out quickly, but the S2S Jersey ($170) pairs a stretch-woven nylon front with a supple polyester knit back for a light, casual-looking T-shirt that wicks sweat and precipitation. But the true marvel is 7mesh’s Revelation jacket ($475), which ranks as the first cycling shell cut from Gore-Tex Pro, the most durable membrane from the waterproof/breathable giant. Gore typically reserves Pro Shell for apparel sold to exposure-prone mountaineers and backcountry skiers. But 7mesh made it work for cycling—while hinting at their alpine roots. A ninja hood fits under a bike helmet without diminishing visibility or catching wind and rain.
“Where we live, rainfall and close to freezing temperatures are common,” says Jordan. “It’s hard to ever be 100 percent comfortable riding in weather like that. But we’re getting there.”