by Andi Sykes
February 22, 2017
Is the Endura MT500 Waterproof Jacket II is as good as it looks on paper? We take the MT500 to task to see how this winter riding jacket stacks up.
Endura has been making outdoor clothing since 1993. So it goes without saying that the Scottish brand knows a thing or two (or perhaps even 24) about making high performance clothing that can handle the ever changing elements.
Interestingly, the Endura MT500 Waterproof Jacket II isn’t listed as a cycling specific jacket on the Endura website. Instead, it’s tagged as a do-it-all ‘trail jacket’, though there are plenty of features that us mountain bikers are going to be happy about.
For example, Endura has cut the ExoShell60™ material on the MT500 to sit lower on the back to give your lower back and bottom a little more protection from rear tyre spray. There’s also plenty of length to the sleeves, even when stretched out on modern trendy bikes with long top tubes and wide bars.
Like all good trail jackets the MT500 Jacket is breathable, and that’s not just me reading the description on the Endura site and taking it for granted. The wicking property of the 3-layer waterproof material is very, very good. Endura developed the ExoShell60™ as a proprietary fabric for the MT500 Jacket, and while it shares some similarities to other waterproof membrane fabrics, it’s breathability is up there with the very best.
This was evident when riding halfpipe-style rides in the Peak District with loads of steep, high-intensity climbing, where many jackets can end up with significant condensation on the inside. But this isn’t the case with the Endura MT500, which manages to maintain its breathability whilst proving an effective barrier to the outside elements. The result is comfort to the point you can really start to enjoy your ride even though it’s raining sideways and the mud is a couple of feet deep.
On colder days, the MT500’s internal stretch cuff stops drafts flowing up your arms, and the useful thumb opening gives you the option to really seal yourself in to keep snug and warm. A large velcro strap cinches the cuffs down over the top of your gloves neatly.
Now that we know that the MT500 will keep us dry and cosy, let’s explore the other rather natty features of this jacket.
A foldaway hood is available in case you want to use the jacket for hiking, popping to the shops or even under over your helmet. Drawstring in the hood mean plenty of adjustment too.
While the ability to fold the hood is there, I would have like to have seen a more secure method of keeping it in place. The simple strap system used is easy to use, but the hood does tend to slip to the side and look a little untidy. It can also bunch up against your neck, and is quite noticeable while riding. A collar with a foldaway pocket or perhaps even a removable hood might have been a better option in our opinion.
On the shoulders of the jacket is a durable honeycomb silicone grip that helps to prevent your backpack from sliding around and moving on the trail. Extremely useful on rocky trails.
There are two huge side pockets with the left pocket offering a headphone wire passage. This hole actually extends to a second outer pocket too so you can choose which pocket (inner or outer) to keep your phone/MP3/iPod.
The outer chest pocket is large enough for a small phone, spare change or wallet and inside there’s a short lanyard connected to a microfibre cloth for convenient cleaning of riding glasses or goggles. This alone is an amazing feature and shows how much thought Endura has put in to the design of the MT500.
More zips on the arms are there to allow a cool breeze of air through, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve not needed to use these during the winter months.
Final details are draw cords on the waist and ample reflective areas on the hood, cuff and back for added night time visibility.
As you can see, this is one thoroughly thought out jacket packed with features, made from high-quality material and manufactured to the standard you would expect from a £179.99 ticket price. It’s a great piece of kit, and it’s made getting out in foul weather that much more tolerable. Knowing you’ll be well shielded from piercing winds and sideways rain is a definite encourager to getting out in the colder months.
Endura has a long tradition of making advanced outdoor garments and I like to think the MT500 Waterproof Jacket II is the amalgamation of all that experience in to one versatile, comfortable and high-performance jacket.