The 7mesh Rebellion is an excellent bike-specific jacket that offers Gore-Tex Active waterproof protection, a slim fit and easy packability.
- Pros: Waterproof, slim fit, lightweight and packable
- Cons: The price, only one colour option
Gore-Tex Active is used throughout. It comprises a nylon ripstop outer fabric with a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment and a lining that's integrated into the Gore-Tex C-Knit membrane.
It's impressive stuff that keeps the rain out superbly. I've been using the Rebellion for all kinds of rides since early November – everything from all-weather commuting to long Sunday morning jaunts – and the fabric hasn't let water through. The seams are sealed with 13mm tape that shows no signs of lifting or bubbling several washes in, which is a good sign that they'll keep the outside world outside for a long time to come.
The membrane is thin, as is the fabric as a whole. As well as keeping the weight down, this is designed to improve breathability and, as far as I can tell, it works. You can ride pretty hard while wearing this jacket without things getting uncomfortably sweaty inside, although the external temperature does have an influence, of course. A waterproof fabric that can breathe as fast as you can sweat has never been made, but Gore-Tex Active puts up a good showing. It's certainly not a jacket you're dying to take off the very second that rain stops falling.
One of the downsides of Gore-Tex Active is that it isn't as durable as some other Gore-Tex technologies. That said, I've found it to be considerably tougher than Gore fabrics without an outer layer over the top of the membrane (such as is used for the 7Mesh Oro Jacket we reviewed), which will come as no great surprise.
I actually came off the bike on black ice while wearing the Rebellion and slid along the road (yeah, I'm fine, thanks for asking). The jacket came through the experience unscathed other than a bit of ground-in dirt on the forearm. Granted, that doesn't prove a whole lot, but some lightweight waterproofs would rip like cling film in that situation, and the Rebellion didn't.
One other feature of the fabric that's worth mentioning is that it's relatively comfortable next to the skin. Don't get me wrong, it's no merino wool, but it's not cold or slippery to the touch like some, so wearing it over a short-sleeved baselayer feels absolutely fine. 7Mesh has added a soft brushed panel to the inside of the collar which adds a little more comfort around your neck.
You aren't bombarded with features here – less is sometimes more – but everything is well thought out and high quality.
The front zip, for example, is from YKK (it's a #3 Vislon, if you're into your zips) and it's surprisingly good at keeping water out. You get similar zips at the wrists that both act as vents and allow you to get the sleeves on and off over big winter gloves.
You get a watertight – or at least water resistant – zipped side pocket that's big enough to take even the largest of smartphones, plus house keys, a credit card and whatnot. It also serves as storage for the jacket itself if you want to fold it in there. Do that and the Rebellion will fit into the rear pocket of your jersey. I'm not too bothered by weight but the ability to store a garment of this type in a rear pocket is essential, from my point of view.
Speaking of jersey pockets, vents on either side of the jacket's lower back give you quick access to them without letting rain in. It's a design feature carried over from the Oro jacket and it works well. I'd far rather use jersey pockets than the jacket's zipped side pocket I mentioned, so this is a good solution.
The Rebellion comes in a race cut, which is to say that it's of the slim and, most importantly, non-flappy variety. I like that a lot because, well, flapping does my head in! I also like the fact that the sleeves are long enough that your wrists are always well covered when you're stretched out on the bike and the front isn't so long that it forms countless waves when you lean forward.
According to 7Mesh's Size Guide I needed a medium, so that's what I got – it seemed the obvious thing to do – and it fitted a treat. There's no stretch in the Gore-Tex Active fabric so make sure you use the Size Guide too if you're buying online. The only stretch comes courtesy of the elasticated cuffs and a couple of elasticated tabs to hold the waist in. A little band of gripper tape helps keep the dropped hem in place while reflective trim on the outside is noticeable in headlights.
And so to the price... £280 for a waterproof jacket? Like it or not, Gore-Tex Active jackets are pretty expensive. The Gore 30th Oxygen 2.0 Gore-Tex Active Jacket that we reviewed a couple of years ago was £219.99, for example. That said, Gore's C3 Gore-Tex Active Jacket is quite a bit cheaper at £169.99. The Rebellion is up there with the Assos Equipe RS Jacket (£265) and the Gore C7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Stretch jacket (£279.99) in terms of price – in other words, top end.
The Rebellion is a great jacket for riding in wet and changeable conditions. The fabric is waterproof and breathable, the cut is slim, and it packs down small enough to fit into a jersey pocket when not in use. Judging by the clothing that we've reviewed on road.cc and sister site off.road.cc, the team at 7Mesh knows what it's doing. You should take a good look at the range. Yes, this jacket costs a lot of money, but in a country like the UK where rain is an ever-present possibility, some things are worth paying for.
A superb performance and an excellent bike-specific fit, although the price might make you think twice
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7mesh Rebellion 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?
7Mesh calls this "a waterproof and highly visible pocket-packable cycling jacket, backed by the Keep You Dry Gore-Tex promise, made for off-season training miles in the wettest conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
7Mesh gives these details:
GORE-TEX Active 3L
13d Nylon Ripstop Weave / C-Knit Backer
Watertight #3 Vislon Front Zip
Watertight zippered side pocket
Passthrough vents provide jersey pocket access
Zippered wrist vents
Watertight zipper cuff vent closure
Soft brushed collar and chin guard
Gripper elastic hem
13mm seam tape
Dropped reflective back hem
It's waterproof, highly breathable and very packable.
There are certainly more durable jackets out there, but the Rebellion offers a good level of durability for a jacket of this weight and bulk.
Here's what Gore has to say about Gore-Tex Active. https://www.gore-tex.co.uk/technology/original-gore-tex-products/active
I really like the slim fit, although it's not stretchy.
7Mesh's Size Guide is very accurate.
There are lighter jackets out there – such as 7Mesh's own Oro – but you have to take a hit on durability.
There's no stretch in the jacket, which might or might not be an issue for you. The inner face of the fabric feels comfortable against the skin.
Value isn't this jacket's strongest suit in that you can certainly get cheaper Gore-Tex Active jackets. That said, it's well made, and it works superbly. If you're confident of looking after it, the Rebellion will serve you well.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You wash it at 40°C. Sealed seams are usually the first thing to go, but these are still looking perfect after several washes.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It works superbly well. This is a great jacket in terms of performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The fit and the combination of waterproofing and breathability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The price is a struggle, but if you want to treat yourself...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is high. You can buy Gore-Tex Active jackets that are considerably cheaper, such as Gore's C3 Gore-Tex Active Jacket at £169.99, but the performance is second to none.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? I'd struggle with the price, but you might be a lot richer than me!
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Without a doubt.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Rebellion gets mostly 9s with the price bringing it down a point overall. To me, it's a clear 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.