The 7Mesh Corsa Softshell Jersey is a featherweight, windproof, water-resistant top that offers exceptional weather protection for a garment so light. It's pretty pricey, though, and the pockets may or may not be to your taste.
Taking the 7Mesh Corsa Softshell Jersey out of the box, I was initially taken aback by how little you get for your money. It is not a substantial garment – but that is, of course, the point. This is for those looking for maximal performance from minimal fabric.
On that score at least, it delivers. The Corsa isn't going to provide you with a great deal of insulation, but wind and light rain simply aren't going to get in.
It's made of Gore-Tex Infinium fabric and not much else. There isn't a plush lining or anything like that. You get a bit of fleecy felt material around the neck and that's about it.
Infinium is water-resistant not waterproof: rain will bead up and roll off the jersey in anything up to a steady drizzle.
It's impressively windproof. On one bracingly cold test ride I made the schoolboy error of stopping for a sandwich at the top of a climb immediately before a steep, fast descent. Sweat cool on my skin, I braced for full body shivers, but... nothing. The icy wind just skittered around me. I couldn't even feel it on my arms. There's no wind flap behind the zip, but this didn't seem to be a problem.
Breathability is maybe a little less impressive. At the end of a robust hour of vigorous riding, I was fairly damp within – but that was a protracted effort and I didn't touch the zip. On another occasion I was perfectly comfortable on a four-hour ride that took in steep climbs in single figure temperatures. Alternating between hard efforts and easy spinning, I neither overheated nor froze.
The pockets are rather interesting. Not only does 7Mesh go for two pockets rather than three, it also opts for quite wide diagonal openings. This gave rise to a certain paranoia that items might work their way out of the shallower side, but in practice this didn't seem at all likely. The angle also makes it pretty easy to reach in and rummage around, even in gloves.
7Mesh seems to have concluded that the design means water will get into the pockets and start to pool, so it has resolved that by adding laser-cut drain holes. An over-the-sink test revealed these holes to be wholly ineffective, until I noticed that the lasers hadn't actually done a full job and there were still little circles of plastic that needed to be popped out.
A bit of thumbing and it turns out the holes do work. I can see how this little oversight could have proved fatal for my phone, though, had I simply slung the jersey on for a wet ride without checking.
In terms of fit, the Corsa was a little tight across the chest and the 7Mesh guide wouldn't suggest I had the wrong size. As I career ever-deeper into middle age, the chest is rarely the tightest point of a garment, although it's worth emphasising that it was only noticeable when standing. On the bike, hands on the handlebar, the jersey fitted perfectly well. (It's not me in the photos.)
This is not a cheap product by any stretch, but it's not the most expensive: Shimano's S-Phyre Windresistant Jersey is £200.
You can certainly pay a lot less, though: the Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey is an excellent equivalent for £120 – although the Corsa is a certain amount lighter – and the dhb Aeron Lab Equinox Jersey, which is wind and waterproof in places, is £140.
The most obvious comparison is probably the Castelli Perfetto, which is the same price as the Corsa (up £10 from the one Ash tested in 2018) and also made of Gore's Infinium Windstopper fabric. The Corsa is a little lighter, but you'll obviously want to consider fit, looks and the pocket situation as well.
Pricey, but offers great protection for something so thin
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7Mesh Corsa Softshell Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
7Mesh says, "Be more Belgian. For fast, cold and wet road rides, this 100% WINDSTOPPER® seam-taped outer layer blends the comfort, features and aerodynamics of a jersey with the protection of a jacket.
"You don't have to be Belgian to experience a Classic. When you're pushing on through the cold and wet, the Corsa delivers water resistance and GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ protection worthy of cycling's greatest Monuments.
"Tipping the scales at only 264 grams, the Corsa is up to 100 grams lighter than comparable rain jerseys while offering best-in-peloton performance.
"The Corsa is shaped to accept an underlayer and is packable enough to stow away when needed. The extended tail protects against road spray while two deep winter pockets feature laser cut holes for water drainage and pocket guards to help secure your cargo. For visibility in low light conditions, the Corsa has a raw edge hem with 270-degree reflectivity."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ Softshell 174p
#3 Vislon Front Zip
Two large volume rear pockets with laser cut drain holes
Drop tail hem with reflective detailing
Taped micro stretch seams
Soft brushed collar and chin guard
Not sure the lasers quite delivered the pocket holes as promised, but otherwise very good.
Hard to imagine a lighter top delivering a great deal more.
Robust for something so thin. Seems well-stitched and no obvious areas of weakness.
Slightly tight across the chest. Good length at the back.
Other than the slight tightness across the chest, it seemed about right.
Does a lot for very little fabric.
Nothing wrong with it, but it's fairly bare to be honest. There's no plush lining or anything.
It's not cheap, and you can certainly spend less – but you can still spend more.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can machine wash it at low temperatures. No sign that this diminished its performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Stands up to wind and light rain.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Incredibly windproof given how thin it is. Good and long at the back.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Kalf Club Men's Softshell Jersey is £120, the dhb Aeron Lab Equinox Jersey £140, and Shimano's S-Phyre Windresistant Jersey is £200. The Castelli Perfetto is the same price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The pockets may not be to everyone's tastes, but the jersey offers great protection from the elements without remotely weighing you down.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scott S40 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding