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The 7mesh S2S Jersey LS Men's Butterscotch is a hybrid jersey/jacket that's perfect for the changeable conditions of the shoulder seasons. It has a full line-up of features, good breathability and resistance to the elements – but those features and its excellent all-round quality do come with a premium price tag.
Our best cycling jackets buyer's guide covers a wide range of cycling jackets for different types of riding and weather conditions.
If you're looking for an alternative to a softshell jacket, then 7mesh's S2S Jersey is definitely worth considering – if you're prepared to pay that premium price. A combination jersey and jacket, the S2S is – in my mind at least – a better solution than a softshell, offering both greater weather protection and better breathability.
The S2S is available in six sizes and three colours: the butterscotch on test, black and 'prince', which is a purple colour in homage to Prince's 'Purple Rain'. As with all of 7mesh's products, it's designed in Canada and made in China using a mix of mostly recycled materials. It's also PFC- and PFAS-free, which means the water-repellent coating doesn't contain any toxic chemicals, and in addition to that it's Bluesign approved and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.
The jacket, jersey, erm, whatever you call it – Castelli has used the name 'jack-sey' to a certain amount of ridicule – is cleverly constructed of multiple panels, each of which has a different task to perform. A three-layer fabric makes up the front of the body and the tops of the arms, wrapping around the back of the shoulders for sufficient coverage when you're riding.
This section is designed to weather the brunt of the storm, so it needs to be up to the job. It's got the feel of a very lightweight waterproof shell, similar to the Albion All Road Pertex Shield Rain Jacket I tested earlier this year.
At the back and on the underside of the arms, you have a two-layer fabric that's even lighter. These sections still give you some weather protection, but they're more breathable. Lighter still is the single layer fabric at the underarms and at the lower back, where the rear pockets are located. This feels like the material you'd get on a summer jersey – maximum breathability here is where it's at.
Given all this talk of lightness, it's no huge surprise that this jersey is pretty light. 7mesh claims a 228g weight for a medium so the 254g for our large sounds just about right. This makes it lighter than the Perfetto RoS2 and much lighter than the Aeron. And it's pretty packable too, even if that's not what it's primarily designed to do.
The S2S will happily fend off light rain, but when it gets a little heavier it'll soon wet out – the lower arms, the usual suspects, were the first to get soggy underneath after about 40 minutes of sustained rain. If you ride without mudguards you need to be wary – I went through several puddles one after the other and my back received a mini tidal wave. The two-layer fabric fended it off, but it went straight through the single-layer pocket section beneath and soaked my bib shorts.
The windproofing is very good, but it's the top's breathability that takes this garment to the next level. It's better than anything I've come across, except for a regular long-sleeve summer jersey. That you get the added wind and water protection is verging on the magical. The flip side is that because of the lightweight fabric you are looking at a fairly narrow temperature range for using this top.
At 16°C degrees with the sun in the sky the S2S worked well with just a short-sleeve mesh base layer underneath, shedding excess body heat easily even on tough climbs. The two-way zip allows you to open the front of the jersey all the way to the top, for extra breathability.
Both zips are easy to operate one-handed, and a chin guard keeps the top zip away from your skin. A brushed inner section at the top of the zipper further increases comfort.
When the temperature dropped I wore the jacket with a long-sleeve Polartec layer on a rainy day at 8°C – and it just about felt okay. Realistically, I'd says that 10-15°C or so is the ideal temperature range. That said, depending on your body shape and the size you go for, you could pair it with a long-sleeve base layer or even a long-sleeve jersey, which would allow you to wear it in a wider range of conditions, taking in some winter days as well as autumn and spring.
When it comes to fit, the S2S feels a little bit odd at first. I tested a Large, and although 7mesh is usually quite generous with its sizing, I found the cut on the racier side – feeling a little tight across my chest and shoulders, though the body and arms have a little bit of room underneath.
The arms are also slightly shorter than I've come to expect from 7mesh, and I thought the tail could have been a little longer to cover your backside better.
But while the fit is on the racier side, the S2S is articulated, with plenty of stretch in key areas, and it feels very different when you're riding to when you're just standing around. No more tightness – it feels very comfortable in this position.
The S2S features a rear 'Anything' pocket system, presumably the Anything bit meaning you can carry anything you need while you ride. It might be a slight exaggeration but the three generously sized pockets are all elasticated, helping to keep your clobber in place when you're hunkered down on the bike.
There are two more zipped pockets hidden beneath these, which are accessible from either side, allowing you to stash stuff securely. The right-hand pocket is smaller, while the larger left-hand one lies behind the left and middle pocket and is big enough for a pair of gloves.
The jersey's reflective details take in a large band around the hem, two large strips along the backs of the cuffs that are especially welcome when you're indicating, and small reflective logos on the front and rear.
These combine with the bright colours on offer to really stand out on dull days.
The £280 price is a lot to shell out for a jersey, though with the UK's changeable conditions, I'd wager it would prove a valuable addition to your winter wardrobe. The temperature rating means you'll probably see five-six months use in the year, which I think is pretty decent.
The asking price isn't far off that of the Castelli Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket, which is probably the go-to top when it comes to changeable riding. They're both impressive garments and George loved the Castelli, but I suspect the 7mesh S2S's three-layer fabric is going to shrug off the elements a little more.
Fellow high-end clothing purveyor Assos also makes a top for the shoulder season, in the shape of its GTS Spring Fall Jacket C2. It's less expensive at £210 and like the 7mesh it has excellent windproofing and breathability, though George didn't think it was great for layering.
It's a lot of money, but you'll no doubt get a lot of use from the 7mesh S2S during the shoulder seasons, and its versatility means you won't need to mess around with taking layers on and off throughout the day. Highly recommended.
Fantastic jersey for the changeable conditions of spring, autumn and even winter – but you'll need deep pockets
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road.cc test report
Make and model: 7 Mesh S2S Jersey LS Mens Butterscotch
Size tested: Large
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 says: "S2S is the perfect companion for variable conditions on the road or gravel. Part of the Airmap collection, S2S is a slim fit and agile jersey/jacket which uses a combination of two, and three layer fabrics to be water resistant where it needs to be, while maximizing air permeability in key areas."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Two-way front zipper
Anything pocket system
Chin guard with brushed tricot inside for comfort
Reflective hem and sleeve cuff
Face: 83% recycled nylon, 17% spandex
Membrane: 100% polyurethane
Backer: 100% recycled polyester
PFC & PFAS-free
Bluesign® approved fabric
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified fabric
Faultless build quality, as is my experience with 7mesh products.
Easily fends off the elements in changeable conditions, though you'll still need a waterproof jacket if the rain gets heavy.
So far no issues.
S2S says there is 'water resistance where it needs to be'. It's adequate for about 30-45 minutes of sustained rain, which is actually very good.
Again, no claims, but I found it exceptional.
There's some room underneath for light layers. The arms could be a bit longer, though.
Large is just right for me, though be sure to get the sizing right. Less svelte types might find the fit is tight if they size too small.
It's a close fit that feels a bit weird at first, but when you're in a riding position it's comfortable and works very well.
It is a very expensive option, but it's also extremely versatile so you should be able to get a lot of use from it.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Despite the butterscotch test jacket getting covered in grime, it's come out looking like new on a normal 30-degree wash.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent – decent waterproofing, excellent breathability, it looks great and feels absolutely spot on when you're riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Its main rival has to be the Castelli Perfetto RoS 2 Jacket. It's similar, with perhaps slightly less rain resistance. It's £35 cheaper. The DHB Aeron Rain Defence jacket would be even cheaper, but it's no longer on sale through Wiggle.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The S2S is a premium jersey that's a bit like a softshell on steroids. It does come with a premium price tag, though you'll see a lot of use from it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build 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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,