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These 7Mesh Colorado arm warmers are well thought out and can be trimmed to length for a perfect fit – but you're paying rather a lot for the privilege.
7Mesh has built up an impressive portfolio of clothing for all disciplines of riding, and given the testing-grounds of British Columbia's western Canadian territory, you might expect this to be ideal for UK riding conditions. The company describes these arm warmers as being for 'shoulder-season' rides, which we translate as meaning spring and summer, rather than referring to some time when you might want to show a bit of shoulder. They arrived a bit late for that, 'shoulder season' in the north east of England being June and September. But a few lucky mild days allowed some 'as intended' test rides before Storm Arwen blew it all to bits.
The first thing you notice is that the Colorados are very light and correspondingly thin. It was a surprise, then, to find that they incorporate a fleece backing and that they provide a fair degree of insulation, enough for milder spring or autumn days. The dense weave of the stretchy polyester/elastane cloth also helps keep the breeze at bay. They have a DWR (durable water-repellent) coating which really works – and continues to do so after several washes.
Good fit is important with arm warmers, both in making sure that they stay put and are comfortable to wear, and 7Mesh seems to have put a lot of thought into getting this right. The Colorados come in five sizes and you need to visit the website and follow the instructions to ensure you buy the best size for you.
While that's simply a matter of measuring your bicep, you need to do it in the right way, or there's a good chance you'll buy too big (nobody wants to admit they have a small bicep!). This is because the tops of the arm warmers are mostly held in place by the stretch of the fabric – there's no elastic hem – and some stripes of silicone gripper. If you choose the right size, this is enough to keep them in place.
The five sizes also come in correspondingly longer lengths: from 44cm for the Extra-Small to 54cm for the Extra-Large. 7Mesh's neat little idea is that you can trim the length to fit; so if you have big biceps and short arms you can trim up to 5.75cm off at the wrist.
If you're worried about taking shears to your new arm warmers, well – you can't do any real harm because the cuff is just a 'raw edge', rather than a hem. Just make sure you trim close to one of the white guide lines, which are actually bits of stitching to protect the integrity of the seam.
If you do this, you should be able to ensure the garment fits as it should on the upper arm, without being too long or short at the wrist. I really welcomed the extra length to ensure no cold spots at the wrist.
These arm warmers are left and right specific, and marked accordingly. You need to put them on the right way round, too, so the white cut-guides are on the outside of the wrist. The seam is meant to run up the outside of the arm before ducking under the elbow and up the inside of the upper arm. 7mesh calls this 'smart articulation' and it makes for a comfortable, wrinkle-free fit that just needs a bit of extra thought when pulling them on.
I found that these garments were well made (in China, designed in Canada), with a tidily double-stitched seam. The silicone grippers appear to be stuck on securely and haven't started peeling off, though they've only had a few washes thus far. They dry remarkably quickly, too.
So far I have found them resistant to abrasion or snagging, even at the wrist where they can come into contact with glove fastenings and the like.
They take up no more room in a back pocket than a pair of light gloves, so are ideal for throwing in 'just in case'. Mostly, given the weather conditions, I've used them to provide an extra layer of protection under a long-sleeved top.
There's no getting away from the fact that these are some of the most expensive arm warmers out there. Stu's just been testing some Specialized Thermal arm warmers, which offer similar levels of warmth and comfort for £20 less – though he did complain about having to guess a bit for fit. And Endura's FS260-Pro Thermo arm warmers are less than half the price, but Emma did find they came up on the small side.
None of this should be an issue with the 7Mesh Colorados. These weigh even less, too, if that matters to you.
All in all, the 7Mesh Colorados are comfortable and cosy for milder conditions, and light enough to make them worth taking on any ride. With the wide range of sizes available and the ability to trim them to length, you should be able to get the perfect fit.
Light, comfortable and can be cut to length – but pretty expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7mesh Colorado Arm Warmer
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
7mesh describes these as, "Adjustable-length, articulated arm warmers made for shoulder-season rides in cool, changeable conditions.
"Inheriting the water-repellent, fleece-backed Colorado fabric from our popular Hollyburn & Seymour tights, 7mesh Warmers feature smart articulation for a wrinkle-free fit, with welcome touches of reflectivity for low light visibility. Uniquely, a trimmable cuff provides the ultimate in customisation to let you achieve the perfect length."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
80% polyester, 20% elastane with DWR
Weight: 60g a pair
Trimmable hem provides customized fit
Silicon gripper to hold in place
Low profile overlock seams
X-Small: 17.25" / 44cm
Small: 18 .25" / 46.5cm
Medium: 19.25" / 49cm
Large: 20.25" / 51.5cm
X-Large: 21.25 / 54cm
Arm warmers are trimmable by up to 2.25" / 5.75cm
More than a simple tube of fabric, these arm warmers have a sculpted seam that runs up the outside of the arm before crossing under the elbow to run up the inner arm to the top. This seam is tidily double-stitched, though not flat-locked. The top has no elastic to keep it in place, relying only on the natural stretch of the fabric and some silicone "stripes" to keep it in place.
I've been using these through the autumn and first part of the winter, mostly as an extra layer under long sleeves, and I found them warm and comfortable. They stayed in place provided I didn't try to pull them up above the top of the bicep.
There's not much to go wrong, given that the stitching is well executed. The lightweight fabric won't be the most durable but seems resilient to snags. The silicone grippers are securely attached and seem to be standing up well to washing. I haven't yet managed to abrade or snag them on Velcro glove fastenings or the like.
See below about sizing to find out how to get the right fit; I came up as "medium", and these fitted me well, without trimming, but I have very long arms.
The 7Mesh website includes a fitting guide and it's important you check this. "With your arm relaxed, measure just above the fullest part of your bicep (check both arms)," says 7Mesh. This gives you the measurement you need to choose the right size. These come in XS, S, M, L and XL. The length increases accordingly, from 44 to 54cm. You can trim the length at the wrist, by up to 5.75cm.
They came up even lighter on the road.cc Scales of Truth than 7Mesh's stated 60g; of course they're going to weigh less than a full-on winter Roubaix arm warmer.
You barely notice them once on.
They aren't cheap, but given their versatility, good fit and comfort, they're likely to get plenty of use – which helps justify it.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They can be washed at up to 40 degs, though mine always went in at 30. They dry very quickly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Although these turned up too late for the "short-sleeved top plus arm warmers" season, I did get a couple of outings on milder days and found them surprisingly warm for their weight and thinness. Mostly I used them to turn short-sleeved baselayers into long-sleeved ones, with a long-sleeved top over, and they were cosy and comfortable. They stayed in place and the good length means there's no need to suffer a gap at either the wrist or upper arm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I needed all that sleeve length for my long arms, and welcomed the good wrist coverage. The fabric is soft and comfortable, plus the good fit and that they don't wrinkle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're pretty expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're expensive – £20 to £25 more than many. We liked these Lusso Actives which are half the price and are made in the UK. Sizing is a common complaint among our reviewers – Stu recommended going up a size on these Specialized Thermals, which offer a similar fabric for £20 less – so it depends on how much value you set on getting a custom fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? A bit pricey for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There's clearly some good thought gone into this product. The ability to trim the length means you can get them right at the wrist without having to pull them up or down at the bicep. This ensures they grip where they should and stay in place. The left- and right-specific cut and the snaking seam mean the fit is snug and comfortable without wrinkles. As 7Mesh says, they're best suited to spring and autumn use, but I've mainly used them to enhance short-sleeved base layers under a long-sleeved top and they've proven useful. Because they're so light, they're a good option to stick in a jersey pocket, 'just in case'. Overall, they're very good – it's just the high price that marks them down.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,