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The 7mesh Women's Ashlu Merino Long Sleeve Jersey has turned out to be a great addition to my packing list for multi-day trips, and it's sure to get even more use throughout autumn and winter as a mid-layer. The high price might see it struggle to compete with similarly designed options, though, despite its unique pocket setup and impressive performance.
Take a look at our guide to the best women's cycling jerseys for more options for summer.
I've had the Ashlu for eight weeks but hardly wore it for the first four of these – long sleeves and merino weren't going to get a look-in during the hottest June on record. Cue climate change and July in the UK, though, and I've had plenty of use out of it during the last four weeks.
It has impressed me too – particularly for multi-day trips – and this is without making use of it as a mid-layer, something that Matt managed to do when he tested the men's version earlier this year.
Quite simply, 7mesh has taken its Ashlu Short Sleeve Jersey and added tailored panels (of the same fabric) to create a long-sleeved version. It features its 'Anything' pocket design that was introduced in 2020, soon after Tass tested the short sleeve Ashlu. This Anything setup is designed to reduce stress (and resulting wear and tear) on the main body of fabric, a sticking point for many merino tops.
The body of the jersey is an 89% merino wool, 11% nylon blend. It offers a decent amount of stretch. I've been testing a size medium and found the fit, for the most part, to be good.
The jersey has loads of length to it – a real positive for touring, in my opinion. I tend to wear waist shorts for longer tours, so the Ashlu's long body is a perfect match – there's no risk of exposed flesh. I've also found it to have plenty of breathing room around my midriff.
Sleeve length is longer than average, too. It's bound to appeal to taller women who find kit frequently coming up short. 7mesh's website is worth checking out; it features various models in the photos with differing body shapes. You get a very genuine impression of the jersey's cut.
I didn't find the tailoring quite so perfect around my upper forearms. The sleeves taper down sharply from the biceps, and I couldn't coax it more than halfway up my forearm (when wanting to in milder weather). This is something that Matt didn't have an issue with when he tested the men's so, potentially, the female cut's coming into play. If you have slender arms, it might not be an issue. Not everyone will want to push up their sleeves either.
Overall, the construction and finishing of the Ashlu is flawless. Quite literally not a single loose thread or wonky seam in sight. This quality goes some way to justifying the premium price.
The majority of my testing has been done without a baselayer – temperatures simply haven't warranted one – and the jersey is comfy against the skin. I wouldn't call it super cosy but it's by no means prickly or itchy.
I've used it for a whole host of different kinds of rides. As a layer on its own, it might not be something you want to be wearing on a group smash-fest. I speak from experience and can say that sweat patches transform the 'fern' version I've been testing into 'military-camo' – not overly attractive. Thankfully, when it does become soaked, it still keeps you warm.
After a few weeks of trialling it on single-day rides, both short and long, I headed out on tour to see if it offered the odour-resisting properties that most merino jerseys do – always a positive if you are touring/bikepacking. With temperatures ranging between 14 and 17°C most days, I was very comfortable in the Ashlu. Yes, I wanted to push the sleeves further up when climbing, but it wasn't a disaster. Lowering the easy-to-grab zipper helps if it starts to get warm.
I'd hasten to add that my pace when I'm touring is much more tempered; I rarely exert myself to the point of breaking a sweat (in the temperatures mentioned).
Over the three days, I never once felt too cold. I frequently pulled on a Gore-Tex jacket and the merino carried on working well – I stayed warm and dry under the waterproof without overheating.
Even when the jersey is damp, with either sweat or rain, it still offers protection against cool air. And under sunny skies it's good to know that it's delivering UPF 50+ too.
The biggest plus of merino is its ability to resist odours. After three back-to-back days on the road, it still didn't smell, and I'd have happily squeezed a few more days out of it. Less washing is great for the environment and your pocket. Naturally, if I'd been combining it with a baselayer, this would have likely been permeating some fruity odours after three days, potentially compromising the merino's odourless properties.
The temperatures haven't dipped enough for me to test the jersey with a baselayer or, indeed, use it as a mid-layer. Check out Matt's review as he gives good detail of the jersey's credentials in these scenarios. I'd simply add that the thin fabric makes the Ashlu an ideal mid-layer – there's zero bulk to it.
With three conventional rear pockets, plus two zipped ones, it won't leave you wanting for storage space.
The 80% polyester, 20% elastane blend of the Anything panel has a much more robust feeling than the main body material. It's attached to the jersey at its upper edge and sides, then floats off the main body, so packing it to capacity doesn't pull the jersey away from your lower back.
Indeed, the elastic (lined with silicone tabs) at the base hem has remain firmly in place throughout testing.
I've been able to pack a waterproof, phone and snacks without issue. With plenty of loading while testing, there are no signs of stress to the merino material.
The zipped pockets (a two-thirds, one-third split across the panel) have wide openings, making access very easy. The zippers here are pretty stiff, though – it's easier to open with two hands than one.
Small cable holes feature on both the left and right zipped pockets in case you choose to use headphones while wearing the Ashlu.
There are three options – Black, Cinnamon (light brown) and the Fern on test. They're all rather muted – not ideal if you believe that bright kit helps with visibility on the road, and there's no reflective trim anywhere either. But if you're using the Ashlu solely for gravel and off-road forays, this might not bother you.
The £160 price tag is a bit of a sticking point. Even with all the positives I've mentioned, and the fact that 7mesh pushes the eco-friendly cycling gear ethos, there are other similarly designed options out there for less money.
That said, the Ashlu isn't the most expensive option if you want a long-sleeved merino jersey – Velocio's Concept Merino Jersey will set you back another £15 (and for less merino – 75%). Steve tested the men's version a couple of months ago.
The quality and reliable performance here is second to none. There's a lot to be said for a jersey that can be worn day after day and remain odour free, and I've loved testing the Ashlu and really rate it as a piece of kit for multi-day adventures. The high price tag is less attractive, though – perhaps 7mesh will follow Vulpine and PEdALED and reduce it at some point.
Quality jersey that shines on multi-day adventures
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7Mesh Women's Ashlu Merino Jersey LS
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
From 7mesh's website, 'A versatile merino-blend long sleeve jersey for the season's milder rides, with spacious 'anything' pockets and a trim, all-road fit.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Body: 89% Merino wool, 11% nylon
Pocket: 80% polyester, 20% elastane
Front zip: #3 reverse coil
Anything Pocket System
Full length front zipper
Weight: Medium 213g
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Has been fine in a cool wash. Being merino, it doesn't get washed as often as most synthetic jerseys – a big positive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Have loved using it for long days in the saddle and multi-day tours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Defnintely keeps you warm when others might not – think long descents and chilly mornings.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cut at the arm was a bit of a sticking point for me, but that's simply a matter of body shape and it might not be an issue for everyone.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's one of the more expensive ones. Cheaper options are available from Triban, Chapeau!, PEdALED and Vulpine, though Velocio jerseys are even more pricey.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? In a sale, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, I'd say it's very good. The performance and quality are top-notch, but it's a little overpriced and, for me personally, the cut of the sleeves could be improved. A few brighter colour options would be good too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…