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The 7Mesh Women's Rebellion Jacket delivers outstanding protection in heavy, persistent rain. It's lightweight and packable with a feminine and functional cut. It's targeted at the all-weather roadie but will appeal to gravel lovers and adventurers too – though the very high price might not.
The Rebellion is best described as a slim fit rather than 'race'. I've been testing a medium, which is exactly what 7Mesh's size chart suggests for me (and what I wear with most manufacturers). There is room to wear a decent set of layers under it without it being pulled taut around the waist, chest or across the back when on the bike. Although the cut at the rear screams 'cyclist', I was happy to keep the jacket on after riding to meet up with non-cycling friends; it has a flattering shape and attractive colouring.
The lower rear section is much more generous than some – packed-out jersey pockets are no problem here. If your pockets aren't full, the elasticated sections either side of the jacket's tail and the silicone strip at the base do a great job of holding it in place.
I found the front length just right; leaning over on the hoods or in the drops didn't create excess folds. (It's not me in the photos.)
The collar is on the generous side for me, but it's nice not to feel choked. There's no irritation from the zip thanks to a standard garage, plus the collar has a soft, velvety lining which feels great if it comes into contact with the skin.
It's worth noting that Gore-Tex Active is softer than many waterproof fabrics; it doesn't feel as cold or uncomfortable as some waterproofs if in direct contact with the skin, and wearing it over a short sleeve top is definitely not an issue.
The lower sleeves are my only niggle with the fit of the Rebellion. Gore-tex Active has no give, and you need the zips open to get the jacket on over a thick jersey. When zipping them up, I found the sleeve seriously snug around the wrist – with some jerseys I couldn't even fully zip them. They just zip up over a thin jersey thanks to an elasticated band at the wrist.
They aren't designed to fit over a bulky winter glove, or even a thin summer one. I'm a 'jacket-over-the-glove' person, and I've frequently resorted to riding with the zips half open to achieve this. It doesn't draw away from the performance of the jacket – in fact it assists with a little airflow. The extended tab at the end of the sleeve is perfectly positioned to ease unzipping – grab it with one hand, unzip with the other.
The Rebellion is made with Gore-Tex Active, a three-layer membrane that Gore claims is "durably waterproof, totally windproof, breathable and lightweight". The fabric is designed for high-intensity activities. We haven't been short of rainy conditions for testing the Rebellion, and I can honestly say that it does all of the things it's claimed to.
Heavy, persistent rain didn't get through: I endured several three-hour-plus rides in steady, non-stop rain and came home with a dry torso. The 13mm seam tapes do exactly what they are supposed to and are showing no signs of weakening with wear and washing. All of the zippers are 100 per cent watertight.
The Rebellion is one of the more breathable waterproofs I've tested. While it's difficult to judge, I'd say there's very little difference between it and the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry jacket that I tested last month. It's a tough one to measure but, as with the Rapha, I didn't feel the need to immediately remove the Rebellion when it stopped raining; I wasn't uncomfortably sweating inside.
The openings at the rear (more on these in a minute) and the ability to unzip at the wrist are likely assisting the breathability of the jacket, particularly in milder temperatures when heat inevitably builds up.
The jacket offers great protection against the wind too, and its performance hasn't deteriorated over the test period. I've washed it according to the instructions: 40 degrees with low tumble dry.
Zips on the Rebellion are all smooth running and the loops attached to the Vislon zips are easy to grab. I'd perhaps question their longevity, though, especially as they could easily untie and slip out. For investment on this level I don't think it's unreasonable to expect something more than a bit of tied cord.
Though a touch heavier than the Rapha, the Rebellion is still lightweight and packs down easily. I tended to shove it directly into my jersey pocket for on-the-go ease but it does pack in on itself, fitting into its own pocket. This is certainly something that will appeal to tourers and bikepackers.
The colouring isn't the most visible, though the pink fluoro trim makes up for this somewhat. It would be good to have a bit more of it, or, even better, another colour option. The men's version that Mat tested last winter was much brighter.
Rather than pockets, the Rebellion has two slits at the rear that allow you to access your jersey pockets. These are just big enough to get a hand through; a very thick glove is a struggle. You can only access your side pockets and it's possible that this isn't direct, as some jersey pockets sit higher than others. As I mentioned earlier though, the generous tail of the Rebellion actually means that lifting it to access pockets isn't so awkward anyway.
There is an external zip pocket that sits over the left rib cage. It's really not big but I appreciated instant access to my keys when arriving home after a rainy ride. It's this pocket that has a double sided zipper and acts as a pouch to stow away the jacket.
I won't beat about the bush, this is expensive. Even compared with other 'premier league' kit – race-fit, pro-style waterproofs with similar performance such as from Rapha and Gore – it's pricey. The Rapha Shakedry jacket I've already mentioned is £60 cheaper, and Gore's C7 Women's Gore-Tex Shakedry Viz jacket, though more than the Rapha, is still cheaper than the 7Mesh at £240. Granted, the 7Mesh is a slightly heavier weight option, and perhaps more durable, but if you're a roadie looking for a packable rain jacket these two both do the job perfectly well.
As the Rebellion might appeal to adventurers too, it's also worth comparing it to the Findra Stroma Technical Jacket at £160, or Gore's R3 Women Gore-Tex Active Hooded Jacket for £180, both massively cheaper than the Rebellion – and you get a hood.
The narrow sleeves need attention in my opinion, but this doesn't detract from the fact that the jacket performs brilliantly in foul weather, looks and feels great on, is packable, light and will appeal to roadies, gravel riders and adventure cyclists. However, it doesn't come cheap, and unless you are regularly riding in the rain it might be difficult to justify paying this much.
Premier class performance with a price tag to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7Mesh Women's 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 tells us: "The Rebellion Jacket delivers outstanding waterproof breathable protection. Designed for female riders putting in long training days, the super packable GORE-TEX® Active with C-Knit backer fabric allows the jacket to be packed into its own pocket, easily carried in a jersey pocket.
"The Rebellion has a trim fit with added volume in the lower back to accommodate jersey contents and is backed by the Guaranteed to Keep You Dry GORE-TEX® promise."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
7Mesh lists these features:
*Packs into its own side pocket with double sided zipper
*Watertight zippered side pocket
*Passthrough vents provide jersey pocket access
*Watertight zipper wrist vents
*Precision fit elastic cuffs and elastic side hem
*Soft brushed collar and chin guard
*Dropped reflective back hem
*13mm seam tape
*GORE-TEX® Active 3L
*13d nylon ripstop weave / C-Knit Backer
*Watertight #3 Vislon Front Zip
*Women's : 167g
Early days, but apart from the tied cords on the zippers, I see no weaknesses.
Sleeves taper down way too much for my liking. Thankfully you can make use of the zip to adjust to fit.
Spot on. If you are buying to wear for touring/bikepacking and want something more roomy, it might be worth considering sizing up, otherwise stick to the guide.
For the heavyweight performance, it's pretty light.
It's expensive. You can get as good performance from cheaper jackets.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Following 7Mesh's guidance, the jacket has continued to perform brilliantly.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps out the rain and breathability is excellent. Outstanding performance in foul weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Performance in the rain. Long and 'spacious' tail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's much more expensive. I normally go by the mantra of 'you get what you pay for' with waterproofs, but I'd say you get as good performance from both Gore and Rapha with their Shakedry jackets.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? No
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? If they were rich, yes!
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's excellent but expensive: style, comfort, performance and versatility for anyone wanting protection against the worst of elements at an eye-watering price. If you commute, ride on the road or gravel, or enjoy touring or bikepacking in all weathers, you'd certainly get your money's worth. Aside from the price, my only issue with the jacket is the fit at the wrist.
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…