review

7Mesh Cypress Hybrid Jacket

9
£175.00

VERDICT:

9
10
Near-perfect pocketable jacket for cold days that might get warmer or windier, when you're working hard
Weight: 
143g
Contact: 

The 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid Jacket is targeted at cool mornings and windy days, when you need lightweight, form-fitting protection but don't need a full waterproof. Seriously light and compact, it disappears into a pocket before and after use. It's a 'Significant Birthday' price, mind.

  • Pros: Fabulous fit, lightweight and compact, light shower-shedding, windproof and sweat-free, immaculate build and finish
  • Cons: Price, but it's worth it

Every now and then a bit of kit comes along that leaves you scratching your head, wondering how the designer snuck into your house, anaesthetised and measured you up without you noticing. For me the 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid jacket is such a garment. Being 6ft/183cm tall and 75kg with broad shoulders and long arms, I'm not the typical body shape, even for a cyclist. So to find a jacket that fits like a glove was a very nice surprise. (It's not me in the photos, by the way.)

> Buy this online here

Standing tall, there's a feeling of stretch across the chest, but that disappears once your arms are forward on the bar, the feeling of a tailor's cut starting at the cuffs and extending up the sculpted forearms and biceps, around the shoulders and down the back to the hem. The front hem fell a hand's width below my navel, making for an overall snug, flap-free fit on the bike regardless of velocity. The collar stands just right, allowing head movement while blocking unwanted breezes and drips.

The Cypress Hybrid features Gore-Tex Infinium on the front, a superlight, super-breathable windblocking fabric that shrugs off light showers and road spray, but isn't actually waterproof. The forearms and rear of the jacket is a four-way stretch and super-breathable fabric treated with a DWR coating, so water just beads straight off. Again not waterproof, but good enough to shed a light shower while remaining supremely breathable. The breathability test I apply is to actually breathe through the fabric – it's so porous that this is easily do-able – amazing for a fabric on which water cannot settle.

There aren't any pockets, as befits a superlight and packable jacket – but there are two deep side zips that give access to rear jersey pockets and also double as vents when things get really warm. The zips have string tags and are easily operated one-handed with gloves on – not that easy to design, as often when starting to pull on a zip the fabric can bunch and prevent further movement.

Inside the jacket it's easy to see where some of the hefty price tag went – the build quality and finish is so good you could wear it inside out and it'd look just as sharp. Every seam is tape-sealed, and key stress areas like the ends of zips are reinforced.

The hem features silicone grip dots, and on the left breast, in the centre of the back and at the lower left side there are subtle reflective logos. As well as the reviewed two-tone Storm Blue design there's an all-black as well.

As mentioned, the medium fitted me perfectly, bang on my 40in chest and 33in waist. 7Mesh calls this a 'Trim Fit', 'designed to sit slightly off the body...[providing] some room for light layering'. I had no issues fitting the Cypress Hybrid jacket over quite a thick long-sleeved merino jersey and baselayer on a near-zero morning's gravel bashing, the excellent ventilation at the back and forearms keeping things just nicely balanced for a hard, fast ride. The stretch in the arm and back fabric makes for an unrestricted range of motion on or off the bike, unlike hardshell jackets.

The thinness of the materials means it quickly rolls up into a ball the size of your fist and disappears easily into a pocket. The snug fit of the sleeves does make it a bit tricky to pull on or off, so I wouldn't want to try it while cycling hands-free. Safety-first, and with such a light garment you don't want to be heaving at it anyway – not that it feels fragile, mind.

The zip is easy to use, but there's no garage at the top. Not that I noticed any scratchiness.

Now, £175 is a lot of cash for something that's not waterproof, but the use case isn't to keep you dry – rather to keep you comfortable. The type of rider 7Mesh is aiming at are folks wanting to work hard in cool, windy, possibly a bit damp conditions, without having to be removing and re-donning heavier layers. I have any number of actually-waterproof jackets, some by 7Mesh, which would have been too hot for long fire-road climbs even in low-figure temperatures – but would be needed for their wind-blocking capabilities on the descents. It's striking this happy-place balance that the Cypress Hybrid lets you achieve. You can leave home fully kitted, remain warm on the run into the hills, then not have to remove a layer or even unzip much when the road or trail ramps past 10% and things slow to a grind.

The sensation of your front half being protected while your rear half cools by evaporation is initially unnerving – I wondered would I then be too cold on the following descents?, but no, it all balances out. Once the sweat load is gone, thanks to the Cypress Hybrid's amazing breathability, a good merino base/jersey combo then works to insulate.

The review months of late autumn in the Highlands meant it never got so warm or sunny that I thought I'd want to remove the Cypress Hybrid, but it does fit perfectly into a jersey pocket. I can see it being a go-to spring and possibly changeable summer's day jacket, an undetectable insurance policy for if/when conditions or descent velocity dictate more protection is warranted, while retaining the ability to sweat comfortably.

> Buyer's Guide: 11 of the best windproof cycling jackets

For me the most personal-experience competitor to the Cypress Hybrid would be the Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket that I reviewed nearly two years ago. At £65 it's less than half the price, the same weight and about the same size. What would sell the 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid over the Showers Pass is breathability and water resistance. The Cypress Hybrid's back fabric is more breathable, and the side zips make cooling down even more effective. The Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, while not waterproof, certainly feels like it's going to withstand water ingress longer than the Showers Pass fabric.

We've reviewed a plethora of windblocking jackets over the years, starting from just £25. It's a harder value set to quantify, given there's no absolute 'x mm of head' waterproofness figure to go off with water-resistant garments. And as manufacturers combine different fabrics, construction methods and fit choices, direct comparisons become hard to do.

For the 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid, in my opinion it's the combination of outstanding fit, fabric choice giving amazing breathability paired with shower-shrugging dryness, quality of construction and features like the side zips that add up to £175-worth of awesome.

Verdict

Near-perfect pocketable jacket for cold days that might get warmer or windier, when you're working hard

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road.cc test report

Make and model: 7Mesh Cypress Hybrid Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

It's for people riding in cooler weather, possibly windy or a bit rainy, who want lightweight, compact protection that can stay on when it gets hard work.

7Mesh says: "Meeting for a pre-dawn ride requires a lot of willpower - and a packable, water-resistant wind jacket. We built the Cypress for chilly starts and blowy days; for wearing from the start of the ride, or pulling out of your rear jersey pocket when the wind picks up. And we made it with almost silent GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ Active front and arm fabric treated with a durable water-resistant finish, and a 4-way stretch back that allowed us to dial in the fit to keep things silent and streamlined throughout even the fastest descent. Once the road kicks up, the stretch back on the Cypress works hard to efficiently counter heat build up, venting warm air to keep you cool and collected on your way to the summit.

"Tailored with a smooth-running front zipper, the Cypress sports twin, zippered side vents that double as pass-through pockets to access snacks and supplies in your jersey. A gripper elastic hem and well-placed reflective details complete the jacket."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

From 7Mesh:

MATERIALS

GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ Active 50d Polyester / 2L PU Backer

78% Nylon, 22% Elastane 4 way stretch woven

#3 Coated Vislon Front Zip

DWR - Durable Water Repellent finish

WEIGHT

Men's: 135g

FEATURES

Twin side access zips for jersey access and venting

Mesh cuff vents

Gripper elastic hem

10mm finish taped seams

Reflective details

Trim fit

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Beautiful attention to detail. Faultless.

Rate the jacket for performance:
 
10/10

Keeps you comfy when working hard.

Rate the jacket for durability:
 
8/10

Time will tell, and with the construction it looks to be long-lived.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
7/10

I found the DWR coating and Infinium fabric to be fine in even reasonably-decent showers. An all-day typhoon jacket this is not.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
 
10/10
Rate the jacket for fit:
 
10/10

Like a glove. No, better.

Rate the jacket for sizing:
 
10/10

Perfect – on the Mikey-money.

Rate the jacket for weight:
 
9/10

It's superlight for what it does.

Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
10/10

WOW, this is comfortable.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
5/10

Possibly the hardest call here... it's £175 for a non-waterproof... Mind you, it's more water-resistant than the Assos Mille GT I recently reviewed.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Really well – still looks like new.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault it – amazing body-hugging protection.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The fit – it's perfect for me.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Nothing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

I'm erring towards comparison with the Gore Shakedry range – and unless it's torrential rain the Cypress Hybrid's DWR coating should see you right, for about £75 less. Comparing with the similarly priced Assos Mille GT, I'd rate it better – but then these again are different beasts: the Assos is thermally lined and 100g heavier.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I can only mark the Cypress Hybrid down on price – £175 is a lot of cash for something without actual waterproof fabric.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.

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