Endura’s Singletrack and MT500 collections are already very popular among gravel riders but it’s new GV500 collection gives the drop-bar dirt crowd a capsule wardrobe of their very own. There’s some really nice details in terms of features and fabric, too
The Foyle T looks relatively simple at first with a loose T-shirt cut and a small, open chest pocket that’s more cosmetic than functional on the bike. The small zipped pocket on the right-back is just big enough for a mid-sized phone, car keys or energy bars. You won’t get all of that in there though as that will pull the lightweight merino wool mix fabric out of shape and skew the way the jersey hangs. Unlike most riding Ts there’s a lightly weighted/stiffened flap with silicone strips to keep it in place over your lower back though, so if you leave it lightly loaded it sits really well.
The upper and outer sleeves and collar are a stretch windproof fabric that adds a bit of noise, but keeps the T in shape and shrugs off showers on the bits of the shirt most exposed to weather and overgrown shrubbery. Mesh panels under the armpits help keep you cool on climbs and the merino mix itself is naturally cool and stays relatively fresh-smelling over successive days. It still hangs onto heat when wet, too, which is good as it does take longer to dry than a pure synthetic.
The casual cut with a smart blend of technical fabrics for mixed conditions and some other clever features makes it a good technical top if aerodynamics don’t bother you and pricing is okay considering all the features.
The lightweight >50% recycled fabric is relatively open for fast wicking and drying and there’s a central spine panel and side panels in an even stretchier, breezier fabric, so it’s naturally snug but never too restrictive. The articulated cut upper and outer sleeves get the same stretch windproof design as the GV500 T and the same fabric is used on the three ‘classic’ rear pockets. The central pocket gets a small bellows section on the back and elasticated top for extra expansion as well as a perforated triangle design presumably to help ventilation or draining if you stick a damp jacket in there. There’s a zipped sub pocket on the right-hand side of the three for valuables, and then there are two large stretch pockets on either flank, too. That gives you a ton of capacity for cargo and they’ve sensibly fitted a silicone gripper strip around the hem to reduce excess movement if you abuse that. There’s another phone-sized zip pocket on the chest so endurance gravel racers certainly aren’t going to struggle to find space for snacks and spares. Reflective detailing is minimal though so choose the red color option if you want to be seen.
Given the feature list and details like the tabbed YKK zips, the pricing is good compared to far simpler, less-considered jerseys we’ve seen.
Underpinning the whole GV500 collection are the Reiver cargo bib shorts, which combine extra storage with supportive pedaling performance and even some crash protection. Bibs with pockets are the hot new ticket for any kind of endurance riding, and the Reiver features two mid and two small mesh pockets on either side of the spine. There are also two more pockets formed by the stitching of the bibs onto the body, but those are slim CO2 cartridge-sized stashes that you probably won’t even get a full gel into. The center is left clear to sync with the high-capacity pocket on the Reiver jersey, but that does mean some lost storage potential if you’re running these shorts with the T or under a non-pocketed shell. Cargo capacity doesn’t stop there though as there’s a big phone-sized pocket on the right thigh and a double bar or gel pocket on the left.
These pockets sit over a double-layer fabric design that stops potential chafing and also gives a bit more slide protection if you get a bit carried away in a loose corner and end up on the deck.
While the pockets are definitely a big deal they’re not the defining aspect of these shorts. If you’re used to the high levels of support and compression from Endura’s PRO SL bib short then you’ll find the obvious ‘spanks’ effect a belly taming, muscle-stabilizing and lumbar warming bonus. The high cut does take some getting used to though, particularly if (like me) you’ve got a ribcage that looks like you’ve hatched an Alien. The broad, firmly elasticated straps also mean no drag down if you load the pockets and silicon straps across the yoke sync with similar details on the GV500 tops and baggy shorts to stop draughts and flapping. There are more grippers to keep the mid-length hems in position too. Endura has fitted their top ‘Continuously Variable Profile’ (CVP) 600 Series pad II with a stretch 3D design that includes gel inserts to help combat rattle and buzz from gravel or other rough surfaces. It’s a seriously comfortable setup too and considering everything that’s going on with these shorts they’re actually great value.
There’s still no hard and fast fashion ruling on whether you should wear baggies for gravel or not, but if you do, these lightweight shells are designed to be the perfect ‘Foyle’ to the bibs. The only really obvious bit is that the side leg zips are actually vents that also line up with the thigh pockets on the bibs. Really useful when you’re running them together but don’t forget that they aren't actually pockets in their own right and dump your gear on the floor by mistake. You still get zipped hand pockets with partial mesh liners for venting if you’re running without the bibs though.
The rear waist is made from wicking fabric with multiple silicon strips to stop shorts slip and there are velcro side straps to cinch things in. There are Clickfast press studs to link to Endura’s liner shorts as well.
The lightweight, stretchy, fast-drying fabric has proved impressively durable on other Endura shorts we’ve tested and it’s coated in a PFC-Free, non-toxic durable water repellent finish to provide some splash proofing when new. Like most eco-friendly coatings that’ll need topping up a lot more frequently than less environmentally friendly treatments though. The mid-leg cuts move freely without billowing too much and it doesn’t snag or drag if you’ve got stuff in the bib short thigh pockets. The fabric is quite noisy though so if you’re all about riding ASMR (or you film when riding) that’s worth thinking about.