Endura's MT500 long-standing MTB range has built up a deserved reputation for well-put-together gear that stands the test of time. I've been putting the MT500 Spray Trouser through its paces through a particularly wet and muddy autumn into a winter which has already seen ice and snow. The trousers have performed exceptionally well and are one of the best MTB riding pants for winter and tough trail conditions.
Design and specifications
Constructed from a medium-weight Nylon and Elastane fabric, the material used has minimal stretch. Given that the pants are designed for use in heavy weather, this isn't a surprise or an issue though. As you'd expect, the material has been treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) chemical, but given Endura's decent eco-credentials, the treatment is non-toxic and doesn't contain harmful PFCs.
The seat panel uses a fully waterproof fabric, which runs from the bottom of the inner thighs to the tailbone and has internally taped seams. Lots of brands use a similar design on foul-weather legwear, but the panel on the MT500s gives better protection than most.
The waistband is reinforced and has a silicone section at the back for extra grip. The fastening is two press studs with a zipped fly. Velcro size adjusters on the hips allow you to adjust the waist fit and there are belt loops if you feel the need for sturdier pant security.
Each leg gets three zips. Inside the top one is a hand-sized pocket, then a vent on the thigh/knee area, and finally a wider ankle opening to help make putting on socks and shoes easier while minimizing excess ankle flappage. On the inside of each ankle is a thicker layer of fabric to guard against chain snags or cranks chafing the material.
Branding-wise, the outside of the right thigh has 'Endura MT500' running down it and there's an Endura logo on the bottom of the left leg. Last but not least are reflective strips on the outside of each ankle.
Handily (for foul weather gear testing at least), Christmas came early this year here in the UK. October and November were ridiculously wet and temperatures even dropped below zero degrees centigrade recently too. I've been testing several heavier-duty riding pants and the only ones that have kept me warm enough and more or less dry through this period have been the Endura MT500 Spray Trousers.
As usual, the DWR treatment has become much less effective over time, but the trousers are still doing a decent good job of keeping splashes away – even when caked in wet mud. Only when it's been hammering it down with rain or I've been riding non-porous trails with lots of wheel spray has the fabric soaked up water. Even then, the waterproof seat section has helped keep the areas that count drier (aka my rear end and nether regions) which keeps things more comfortable – though water can still leak down your back of course.
Temperature-wise, I've ridden in the pants from 54F (12C) to 30F (-1C) and have been plenty warm enough throughout. I've not felt overly hot or sweaty on the hotter days in them, so haven't felt the need to use the zipped vents. Though anything much above that and I'd be reaching for a lighter pair of pants anyway.
Stretch in the fabric is minimal, but the fit is pretty loose so it's not been an issue for me. A baggier cut means there's plenty of room for knee pads and the material easily slides up and down the pads when pedaling.
Size-wise, I have a 31-inch waist and the size Small is bang on. The inseam leg measurement (bottom of the crotch to ankle opening) is 27 inches (68.6cm). The thick, wide waistband stops the pants from bunching up and becoming uncomfortable while riding (which can happen on some other models) and the silicone grippers have helped keep the waistband in place.
Over the months of testing, the MT500 Spray Trousers have performed extremely well and I have zero complaints about them. They've shrugged off undergrowth, mud and everything else bar persistently wet weather, keeping me comfortable on all but the soggiest rides. If you're after a new pair of pants to ride through the winter, you can't go wrong with MT500s.