The 7Mesh Seymour Tights are a pocketable, lightweight insulated layer to keep you warm in changeable weather. With well-thought-out features and a water-repellent coating, they are a handy option to remain comfy when temperatures drop.
Squamish is a town in British Colombia, a Canadian province bordering Alaska with over two metres of rain a year and average low winter temperatures of about 0°C. It's where clothing brand 7Mesh has its HQ for, so you'd expect its designers to know a thing or five about riding bikes in the cold and rain. That said, in spring and autumn Squamish can hit mid-20s, so planning a bike ride these times of year isn't that dissimilar to the UK. This makes planning what to wear a guessing game of temperature, wind, sun, rain and effort likely to be encountered on the road or trail.
Traditional lower-body cooler-season garb has been the leg warmer – basically, a tube of cloth that fits from mid-thigh to ankle – but these can be hit and miss regarding fit and feel, and also can slip annoyingly depending on the nature of the grip strips on the warmers themselves and the bib shorts they go under. In addition, they only insulate your lower thigh and calves – leaving your largest muscles and lower torso to get cold under lighter-weight bib shorts.
You can guarantee a good fit and no slippage by going for full bib tights that fit around the waist, but how to carry such a large garment once it gets warmer?
With basic tights design there's no need to faff with removing upper body layers as there are no bib straps. There are many padless winter bib-overtights on the market that you can layer with your favourite summer bib shorts for a toasty ride – but if it gets warm you may be sweating a lot, and there's pretty much no chance of easily removing and popping such a large garment in a jersey pocket.
7Mesh has addressed this need in the bibless Seymour Tights. Made from a ridiculously stretchy material, the Seymours have a fluffy 'Roubaix'-style insulation layer underneath, but it's surprisingly thin for the warmth it delivers.
The fabric is treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating. Water beads right off, and it takes a pretty hefty, prolonged shower for it to begin to soak through. So, not 'waterproof', but likely they'll dry out before the next shower comes along.
On each calf there's a large grey reflective logo patch that shows up well in car headlights because of leg movement when pedalling – handy if your shoes or overshoes lack reflectivity.
Sticking down that end, the ankles are laser-cut and don't have any sort of ankle seam or, critically, zip, keeping weight and bulk down while the stretchiness of the fabric holds them in place. Even with the elasticity of the fabric and given the lack of a zip, it's still far easier to remove your shoes to get them on or off, though – so really a job for the cafe (or anywhere with a seat) rather than standing by the roadside, unless absolutely necessary, and even then probably easier to remove one shoe then another. 7Mesh's own photos show its model with one shoe off, mid-dressing.
The lowers are shaped to fit a bent leg, and when laid flat you can see the curve around the calf and gluteus maximus muscles ('arse') as well. This attention to detail means that when on the bike with legs bent the fabric doesn't bunch behind the knee.
Around the waist there's a minimal flatlocked elastic hem, which again keeps bulk and weight low. To help keep things in place over shiny bib shorts there are two silicone grip strips an inch or so below the left and right hem.
The effort 7Mesh has put into fabric and design choice pays off: they roll up to an easily-pocketable-size tube of about 15cm x 7cm diameter – about the same as a 330ml drinks can. This, coupled with the 135g weight for a medium pair, means they pretty much disappear into a jersey pocket or mountain bike hip pack.
On first wearing I was convinced the mediums would be too small for me – the fit is super-skin-tight and as I was pulling them on I thought I'd never get them settled. You do need to distribute the fabric around your legs to get things just right – the fabric is so stretchy it will stay in one place unless manually adjusted. This probably took longer to type than the process of getting them on and adjusted, though, so don't be overly concerned. I'm 6ft and 75kg, with long legs, and the mediums fitted better than a glove. (It's not me in the photos.)
Out on the road or trail I was impressed by the Seymour Tights' ability to keep me warm and dry. The Scottish autumn weather was cool enough that I didn't feel the need to remove them, but I run cold anyway. The fit over bib shorts was perfect and no, they didn't move an inch. I wore them over a set of thermal boxers and under a pair of baggy mountain bike shorts for a long, damp mountain bike ride under overcast skies with temperature about 6°C, and again was impressed: no movement, no bunching, just warm, dry legs, even splashing through some pretty deep puddles.
The obvious comparison here would be the popular changeable-weather leg covering Castelli Nanoflex Leg Warmers. The Nanoflex warmers are the same weight as the Seymour tights, even though they don't cover the upper thigh and lower torso. No doubt the zips have something to do with this. At RRP the Seymours are about £15 more expensive than the Castellis.
UK brand Lusso does a similar product to the Seymours – the Max Repel Tight for £80, which features foot loops to keep the lower leg in place.
Looking around, it's pretty hard to find another unpadded, bibless, lightweight and compact thermal tight, so it appears 7Mesh is on to something here.
The choice of fabric, design and features in the Seymour Tights all add up to a lightweight, pocketable answer to the problem of staying warm (or cool) while out in changeable weather, either on the road or on the dirt. Depending on your climate, you may only wear them a few months of the year, but they are compact and lightweight insurance should things turn for the worse.
Impressively light and compact way to keep your lower body warm and dry in cooler weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7Mesh Seymour Tights
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
They are for people wanting to stay warm and pretty much dry through changeable weather, with the ability to remove or put on easily.
7Mesh says: "Made from DWR fabric with an extremely soft and silky hand feel, the Seymour Tight fits like a second skin, following every move you make. Unique patterning and articulation prevent fabric bunching at the back of the knee while enhancing freedom of movement throughout your pedal stroke. The low profile overlock seams further reduce bulk and improve packability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Body: 80% polyester, 20% elastane with DWR
Inseam - 29' / 73.5cm
Large reflective details
Minimalist waist elastic ideal for layering
Silicon gripper waist detail to secure tights in place
Clean cut leg hem
Low profile overlock seams
The build quality is top-notch.
Kept me warm and mostly dry.
The light material may not be the most robust over the years, but after a few months they still look great.
With the cut and elasticity, perfect for me.
Lighter than a mobile phone. Yep that's good.
The price is towards the premium end of the scale, but the features and performance justify.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed up clean as new, despite hefty amounts of muck.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't fault it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The compactness, light weight, and the fit.
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?
On a par with the Lusso Max Repel tight.
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
I can't think of much to fault here – the only thing stopping me giving them a 5-star listing would be the price, though it's on a par with the similar Lusso Max Repel tight.
About the tester
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.