As soon as I saw 7mesh’s carefully constructed garments, I wanted one of their liner shorts. Luckily, this spring I was offered both their MK3 shorts and AK1 undershorts for review. The moment I tried them on these liners became my new number one and two choices right away. Both are neatly constructed with minimal inside seams, comfortable chamois pads, and a snug, ergonomic fit.
I’ve spent my whole summer riding in the MK3 and AK1 liner shorts, so I’ve worn and washed them plenty of times. Both shorts still offer top-notch comfort in the saddle, and I only found one durability issue with the AK1’s.
7mesh MK3 shorts:
The MK3 short is actually intended for road riding, but they make a great MTB chamois as well. If you happen to ride both disciplines, these (or the bib version) would be a versatile addition to your gear collection.
The MK3’s are a solidly built short that provide a supportive, compression fit. I received a size small to test, and they were very snug on my 32” waist. I was wondering if the shorts would stretch out a bit, but they’ve held strong all summer and only become marginally looser at the waistline. The shorts are made from several strategically placed panels for good mobility but they feel like they’re made from a single piece of fabric. Aside from the waist being a bit tight, the rest of the shorts fit my body very well.
7mesh’s Clean Finish tailoring leaves just a few seams on the insides of the MK3’s, and only the large one running across the front caused a slight issue for me. Due to the shorts tight fit, that seam left impressions on my skin after each ride. That said, the snug shorts kept the seam from moving around, so I never experienced any chafing or discomfort from it while riding. The MK3’s chamois is sewn onto a floating mesh panel, with its surrounding seam also neatly hidden.
The MK3’s waistline and legs are slim and sleek, with no hems on either. The waistline is seamless across the front so it’s very comfortable on your belly, and there’s a stretch panel across the back to ensure a snug fit. The MK3’s contoured waistline comes up fairly high at the back, so they keep you well covered when you’re leaning over your handlebars.
I love the slim, no-hem legs on the MK3’s. With grippy silicone printing inside, they don’t need hems to stay fairly well positioned on your legs, and their seamless construction makes them very comfortable. I did notice as I rode the legs would ride upwards a bit, but only by about an inch and they would settle in and stay there. At the start of each ride my knee pads would overlap onto the legs, but by the end I’d have a small pad gap showing. Thankfully those clean-cut legs never got bunchy or uncomfortable, even with my pads sliding off them.
The chamois pad in the MK3’s offers a medium firmness that’s plush enough for initial comfort and really pays off on longer days in the saddle. The Elastic Interface Performance Space 2 chamois is made from high-density foam with a breathable, perforated top layer. It provides a generous amount of cushiness, so these shorts quickly became my first choice for longer rides. The position of the chamois was perfect for me, and the floating mesh panel keeps it squarely under your butt when you shift around in the saddle.
The MK3’s don’t look like the coolest liner short, but even during mid-summer I never found them too warm. They can’t beat a mesh liner short on a hot day, but they breathe and wick moisture well enough that I never felt like a sweaty mess in the MK3’s.
The MK3 shorts retail for $150 and come in black only. Sizes range from XS- XXL. I’d happily recommend these comfy and supportive liners to any rider.
The AK1 undershorts are a much lighter and more basic short than the MK3’s. Their polyester knit mesh construction makes for a very cool undershort that quickly became my new favorite for hotter days.
Sizing between the two liners is pretty consistent, but the size small AK1’s were a tad less tight around my waist than the MK3’s. The AK1’s waistband is just wide enough to be comfortable, and I think my gut managed to stretch it out a bit over the summer (just by a bit, they still fit great).
One simple but ingenious thing 7mesh did was to sew the tag onto the outside of the waistband, where it will never bother you. You might have to make sure it’s not sticking out over your baggies, but it stays out of your butt crack, which is great! Sure, tags can always be cut off, but some people might like to keep the care instructions attached.
The AK1’s Elastic Interface Anatomic chamois is joined by fabric in the middle, but it’s effectively made from two separate pads. I liked this idea, as it gives you all the saddle padding you need with minimal bulk elsewhere. Like the MK3’s, the AK1’s chamois is medium-firm. The padding is soft enough to be comfortable right away but it doesn’t feel like its packing out on longer rides. After a whole summer of use, the AK1’s chamois feels like it’s just been broken in.
While the AK1’s don’t have a floating panel behind their chamois, 7mesh was still able to keep the surrounding seam away from your skin. Following their Clean Finish construction, the seam is stitched on the outside of the shorts, leaving a non-detectable border around the pad inside. The position of the chamois worked perfectly for me too.
The only durability issue I discovered with the AK1’s was a few small holes developing in the outer fabric that covers the chamois pad. The fabric has stretched after a season of riding, presumably from me shifting around on my seat, and it is starting to tear around the external seam that runs down the middle of the chamois. I hope these holes remain small for some time, as I don’t want to give up these shorts!
The only seams that touch your skin in the AK1’s are on the front and outsides of the legs, and around the lower hems. None of these caused me any discomfort at any point. The 50mm leg hems do overlap with my knee pads, yet they did not present any comfort issues during my rides. Grippers inside the hems keep the legs from moving much… just like the MK3’s the legs would settle in place after some pedaling and stay put for the rest of the ride.
The AK1 liner shorts sell for $125, in black only. Sizes XS-XXL are available.