An Antidote to Rain: the 7 Mesh Corsa Softshell

An Antidote to Rain: the 7 Mesh Corsa Softshell

Riding in the rain isn’t my favorite. It’s not exactly my second favorite, either, if I’m honest. However, I no longer despair of riding in the rain the way I used to. The advent of jerseys using Gore Windstopper has made all the difference. It’s funny to me that the development of a single fabric gave rise to an entire category of garment, but Castelli’s creation of the Gabba and now the Perfetto. So dominant has Castelli been in this regard that any other company’s effort to create a similar piece that I rather unavoidably end up comparing that piece to the Gabba.

The 7 Mesh Corsa Softshell is cut from Gore Windstopper but lacks the insulation incorporated into some similar pieces. As a result, it weighs a scant 265 grams (+/- depending on the size). I don’t get worked up about how much my clothing weighs, but the fact that this is so lightweight does contribute to how supple the piece is, making it especially comfortable.

I won’t ride off-road after heavy rain; I don’t want to tear up fire roads or trails. However I will ride in light or scattered showers. I’ve worn this while mountain biking and find it to be ideal for the dynamic movement required to descend. If a garment is too heavy or stiff it will bind in the shoulders and make moving around, especially moving back on the bike to get your butt over the rear wheel, more difficult.

With a short-sleeve base layer the Corsa is comfortable right up to 70 degrees. With a long-sleeve base layer, it’s good to the mid-50s and if you increase the weight of the base layer it’ll keep you comfortable into the upper 40s. I know I tend to run colder than some RKP readers, so feel free to revise those numbers down by five degrees or so if you don’t put arm warmers on until temperatures are below 60.

All the seams on the Corsa are fully taped, just the sort of step you take when you want to make sure a garment is waterproof. That said, Windstopper isn’t completely waterproof, and this is where we have to get into a somewhat philosophical consideration of the utility of waterproof garments during high-intensity rides. You’re going to sweat plenty if the ride is hard, right? No amount of breathability will allow the garment to shed all the moisture you produce during a hard ride or race. So you’re going to end up wet. Rather than worry about whether I’m dry or not, I just focus on whether or not I’m warm. And this thing does the trick.

One of my favorite features of the Corsa is the fact that the spray skirt is cut with enough room for my considerable trunk. There’s not much point in having a spray skirt if the first thing it does is ride up the moment you reach for the bar. A silicone gripper helps it stay in place.

Each of the jerseys from 7 Mesh that I’ve tried feature two large pockets in the rear with angled openings. It makes the contents easier to reach. The pockets also include drain holes, but I’ve yet to find myself in a situation where they would fulfill their purpose.

The Corsa comes in six sizes (XS-XXL). I wear the small, making the sizing run more in keeping with other North American brands, like Pearl Izumi or Voler. It comes in four colors, blue ox, carmine red, hi-lite yellow and black. The logos front and rear are reflective.

Final thought: With pieces like this, I actually look forward to rain when I line up for a race.

 


If you value independent media, please lend your support to RKP.


Subscriber Options



To learn more about our new subscription program, please read this.

, , ,

9 comments

  1. Nik

    I agree that Gore Windstopper is pretty good for this sort of thing.

    But what do you do about your hands ? How do you keep water from running down your arms and into the gloves ? Last weekend I did a 75-minute ride in moderate rain. I was wearing Pearl Izumi Pro WxB gloves that seem pretty waterproof, except for the giant hole at the wrists. I had the gloves tucked into my jacket. Like Windstopper fabric, the jacket is not 100% waterproof, so a tiny amount gets through, and then it runs into the gloves. After an hour, this results in wet cold fingers. Any suggestions how to solve this problem ? I can tighten the velcro cuffs on the gloves, but it’s never going to be enough to keep the water out.

    There is a similar problem with shoes. I have Specialized Defroster shoes that appear to be 100% waterproof, but water runs down my lower legs into the shoes. I do have a solution for this: cut off the cuffs from a pair of rubber gloves (as used for washing dishes), and use these to seal the gap between my lower legs and the openings of the shoes.

    1. Tominalbany

      VeloToze has a latex overshoe cover that keeps ALL of the water out. It seals against your leg. I wonder if they’re looking at a ‘boot’ for gloves.
      I have the same issue with gloves if I don’t wear a waterproof rain coat.

      Padraig has revewed some gloves from Showers Pass that he loves. Check that out!


    2. Author
      Padraig

      So for super-rainy days, days where water runs down your arms like rain in a gutter off your roof, I go full rain jacket. One of my favorites is another Gore product, the Oxygen. One of the big reasons I love it is it has cuff zips. Pull the jacket on, unzip the cuffs, pull your gloves on, zip the cuffs over your gloves. Now the water runs over your glove, not into it.

    3. Chris

      Here in sometimes wet Seattle I’ve taken to using the gloves I’d normally use for stand-up paddle boarding. Most are made for surfing which means they’re built for prolonged immersion in cold water. In mere rain they tend to keep me quite dry and the cuffs are waterproof. My heavy pair are from Patagonia and made from some sort of natural rubber neoprene alternative, my lighter Xcel gloves are 1.5mm neoprene. The Patagucci gloves are really overkill for cycling.

    4. Aar

      I’ll echo the appreciation of wrist cuff zipper on the Gore Oxygen jacket. Love them.

      I don’t ride in the rain unless I get caught out. I do ride in the cold which by definition means that I ride in the damp and quite frequently get caught out. I also spent 20 years ski instructing and learned a lot about managing moisture during exercise through that. It is my opinion that sometimes there is just so much moisture in the environment that you’re just going to get wet no matter what.

      On days when that is not the case, whether your hands and feet get moist is more a matter of managing your sweat than keeping moisture out. Gore Tex is very effective at keeping moisture out. When it is wet outside, it is not as effective at allowing water vapor to escape your garment. So, when it starts to get wet out, I make sure to adjust my layers so that my core feels a little chilly but not cold. That keeps me from sweating so much that it runs down into my gloves and shoes. Ways of adjusting layers include unzipping insulating and base layers (while keeping the waterproof shell zipped), switching to a lighter head layer or rolling up your head layer to expose the back of your neck and/or ears. Your mileage may vary….

  2. Tominalbany

    Padraig, I’m about 5’6″ and find that most jerseys are cut too long for me so they make that stupid bulge at the stomach and the pockets don’t sit right since the entire bottom of the jersey climbs. Do you have a recommendation for jerseys where the standard torso length trends toward below-average height people?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      You might try Capo. Their jerseys run just a bit larger than some similar brands. Their medium is much too big for me, but while the arms and shoulders on the small fit great, the jersey is crazy short on me. Definitely don’t go with Castelli. They are for long and skinny. Think asparagus.

    2. Aar

      Tom, I have the same challenge and find that in general the “Pro Line” garments of most brands are cut shorter in front than their more generously cut lines. In specific, I’ve found that Assos Campionissimo and Rapha Pro work well in not bunching at the waist. I agree with Patrick that Castelli is cut for those with long torsos. Their jerseys gather at my waist, even downsized. Even the straps of their bibs seem to be cut quite long as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *