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The 7mesh Men's RK2 Cargo Bib Shorts are very comfortable thanks to a compressive, secure fit and a great pad. Unfortunately the pockets are a similarly tight squeeze, which can make using them awkward, and they trap a bit of heat on your thighs too. Though neither is a real deal breaker, the price might be.
For more options, check out our guide to the best cycling bib shorts.
The RK2s are really well put together with strong, neat seams, and although they're overlocked – which leaves a ridge of doubled-up fabric – I had no comfort issues at all. The stitching around the pad is also overlocked, but in such a way that the fabric against your skin still feels almost seamlessly smooth.
The pad attaches to a section that 'floats' across the outer fabric thanks to only being stitched on three out of four sides. The overlocked bits fold between those layers, and don't intrude.
The pad itself is a men's Performance Force from Elastic Interface, and is very comfortable – or was for me, at least. Pads are obviously very personal. This one feels quite slim thanks to its heavily tapered edges, yet stays supportive as the hours pass thanks to significant padding under your sit bones and running forwards – it follows the top of a channelled saddle, basically. The padding is channelled itself for further pressure relief.
The overall fit is definitely compressive, and once on (not much of a struggle) is very comfortable and pleasingly secure. I had no issues with these rising up at all, and the raw cut legs stay pretty much exactly where I put them. They have dotted silicone grippers inside the ends, but probably barely need them.
There's no compression or squishing anywhere a gentleman wouldn't want it, I should add... the sizing and fit seem just right.
I found the straps perfect, which is unusual for me (I'm relatively long in the torso and they're often too tight). Compressive shorts like these really don't need much tension to stay up, and thankfully 7mesh knows that and has made these soft, fairly broad and gently twangy. I personally don't think you need elastic with 400lbs of lifting force on a normal pair of bibs either, but that [descends from hobby horse] is all there is to say about that.
These are cargo shorts, so obviously they have cargo receptacles, aka pockets. They're the only bit I'm not convinced about – they're the same hard-stretching fabric as the rest of it, stitched tight and flat down your thighs. As a consequence they're very tight, and not that easy to get things in and out of.
The double layer also means your thighs stay noticeably warmer than elsewhere, though at least the 'coldblack' finish – which reduces the tendency of dark colours to absorb heat by reflecting a lot of UVA and UVB light – seems to do its job. Riding along with no shade, I couldn't feel any extra heat building up from the sun; it just felt the same as riding under trees in shadow. The coldblack finish gives at least 30UPF protection, too.
It obviously can't do anything to stop your own heat from building up under the extra insulation, but at the same time I shouldn't overstate this effect. Though vaguely aware of it, I was never uncomfortable in temperatures up to around 26°C. I just wouldn't choose these if it was 30°C plus. Personally I'd rather see these pockets made from mesh, both for the stretch and the superior cooling.
Note there's a non-cargo version of these without pockets that's £30 less. If I were choosing, I'd go for those.
These really aren't cheap – they're £230, though by the time your read this a loaf of bread might be as well. They're certainly not alone at this level. The MAAP Alt_Road Cargo Bibs are £235, for instance, and our reviewer Stu found those very comfortable too (and currently reduced to £164).
But, for now at least, you can get decent cargo bib shorts for considerably less. The Albion ABR1 Pocket bib shorts did extremely well in our review and are a full £85 cheaper the the 7meshes at £145, while Rapha's Core Cargo bib shorts, which David reviewed back in 2019 and thought were very good, are now £125, and though the Altura All Roads Cargo Bib Shorts have a few niggles according to George's review, they're easily forgiven at £80.
Overall, these are very comfortable and mostly work very well, though for me the pockets need rethinking – they're big but very tight, and the extra fabric traps heat. While great shorts in all other aspects, you can do better for the price.
Very comfortable, compressive bib shorts with less impressive pockets – they're big but not so clever
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7mesh Men's RK2 Cargo Bib Short
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
7mesh says: "A light and fast road and gravel cargo bib short with coldblack technology, built for staying ahead of the pack during the season's longest rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Centred around a custom Force platform chamois, the RK2 delivers plush comfort and cooling airflow thanks to minimal, breathable fabrics and an innovative cut-away front section.
"Clean Finish Construction and light, cooling body fabric provide the perfect environment for race day, while a compressive fit assures stellar stretch and recovery. Seamless, clean-cut edges at the legs do away with overeager grippers, extending body fabric to the hem to support without squeezing."
Body: 75% nylon 25% elastane
Straps: 60% polyester, 40% elastane
Chamois: Elastic Interface men's Performance Force
Men's Performance Force chamois with front cut out for breathability
Clean Finish Construction
Single seam, open mesh bib strap construction
Clean cut hem with silicon gripper
Two large leg pockets
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified fabric
Recycled chamois fabric
Extremely neat and tidy, and feels strong.
Take the pockets off and these would get an 8 or 9 (7mesh actually does that version, and they're cheaper too...).
Comfy straps, good pad, great compression and well-judged legs.
Bang on for a compressive and comfortable fit.
Slim but supportive pad, secure shorts, comfy straps. They're slightly warmer than many shorts, though.
Premium pricing but not quite perfect performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Mostly very well – they're comfortable and secure. The pockets are very tight, though, and trap extra heat on your thighs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfy straps, good pad, stay put while riding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pockets are very tight, which can make them hard to get into, and these shorts are warmer than many.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are right up there at the 'very expensive' end – and while they're not alone, there are plenty of rivals that do much the same thing for considerably less.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, mostly.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The comfort and fit of the shorts, pad and straps are excellent, but to score higher the pockets need a redesign. They're a good size but very tight, and they add noticeable insulation too – something you're unlikely to want on a summer's day. They're still good overall, but at this price you expect more.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,