Endura has completely revamped its MT500 II waterproof range with input from the Athertons and other hardcore all-year-round riders. The result is a tougher and more eco-friendly set of options that’s still breathable enough to ride hard in and loaded with the usual Endura cavalcade of practical features. The Scottish company has a great satisfaction guarantee and customer support reputation too. The fit won’t suit everyone though and the DWR wets out and then wets through fairly quickly.
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Endura MT500 II jacket
The super-popular MT500 jacket gets a bunch of changes for this year. The main difference is that it uses a DR version of Endura's three-layer ExoShell40 fabric which increases rip and scuff protection of the outer layer and we’ve taken several spills in ours without any damage. It’s a ‘MadeKind’ fabric too so it’s as eco and working practice friendly as possible and doesn’t contain any toxic PFCs. The fabric does seem to need reproofing more frequently to top up the DWR protection though and even when new, it was wetting out in under an hour of prolonged bad weather and wetting through not long after. While it’s light, it’s quite a noisy, rustly fabric too, which might upset silent riding fans.
Breathability also drops from 40K WVT rate from 60K on the previous MT500, but that was exceptional and the new jacket will shift enough sweat for most riders. That’s helped by the side/underarm vent zips that stretch from nearly elbow to waist. These give as much cooling/drying air con as you could possibly want but risk turning your jacket into a wingsuit and, while it’s slimmer than before, the body of the jacket is cut generously to cope with full-body armor and/or a full figure. Reworked shoulder fit and more shaped panel inserts help already good mobility and ‘drape’ but the armor-friendly fit means a lot of excess volume for the slimmer rider so the women’s cut with more of a pronounced waist might actually work better. With 4 color options from XS to XXXL for men, and two colors in XS to XXL for women, you should find something to suit.
The big, dual-purpose chest pocket/vents are repositioned and given double-ended water-resistant zips with cord pullers to offset stubbornness. Be careful not to get the zips confused with the parallel vent zips close by or you risk spilling your pocket contents onto the trail without realizing. There’s no rear pocket but there’s a lift pass pocket on the sleeve, a glasses/goggles wipe in one of the pockets and reflective detailing too.
The reshaped, three-way adjustable hood is a definite highlight as it works under a helmet or over it and stays put even when you’re plugging into a headwind. Combined with the high throat section you get when the main zip is pulled right up that gives excellent protection without interfering with peripheral vision or head movement. A strap or similar to secure it when you don’t need it would be good to stop the parachute effect, though. The arms are a decent length and have soft lycra undercuffs for an extra thermal seal under the velcro closed outer sleeve. The hem is usefully long with double drawcords inside the pockets to snug up the seal from below.
Endura MT500 II trousers, shorts and one piece
The pants and shorts have evolved in line with the jacket. The move to ExoShell40DR fabric is a definite bonus as your lower body has to cope with much more wear and abrasive grit than your top half. There’s no sign of any thinning, delimitation or color change of the reinforced seat panels after a few months use which is a good sign for sure. The multi-panel cut has been reworked too, for a more tailored fit that doesn’t rely on a leaky stretch section to sit well around hips and waist. There are belt loops if the elastic sides and silicone gripper strips aren’t enough security and you get click fast studs to anchor liner shorts. The hand pocket zips are now water-resistant with big protective flaps over the top so your snacks and valuables are less likely to get soggy.
Generous, pad-friendly over-the-knee length means many riders will find the shorts give enough protection, but if you want dry shins and no drips into your boots the trousers are worth the extra cash. The top section is basically the same as the shorts and the weatherproof side zips on the trousers are extended up to the thigh for pulling on/off over shoes convenience. They’re also double-ended with a mesh panel behind the top section so that can be used as a vent too, but again don’t confuse them for pockets as you'll lose your belongings onto the trail. There are no XS or XXXL options in either shorts or trousers either.
The MT500 II onesie is the ultimate no gaps coverage for riders who are going out and staying out whatever the weather is doing. Unsurprisingly you’re getting essentially the same features, design and fabric changes as the jacket and trousers too. The previously non-adjustable hood now gets the same design as the excellent new jacket hood which is a major win. Rather than a simple ruched elastic jacket/trouser waist junction, you now get a double-backed flap that overhangs a full belt-looped and elasticated trouser waist. That gives it a more conventional ‘tail’ look but most importantly it ‘sits’ the bottom half better at the right height so you’ve not got a baggy behind to catch on saddles at the wrong moment. The lower legs zip off to make a shorts suit too, but there are no side zips for easy removal over shoes.
It’s more expensive and less versatile than buying trousers and jacket separately, but if you want ultimate gap-free climate protection, it’s worth it.
With added toughness, tidied up features - including reinforced seat panels, better pocketing, an excellent hood design and better fitting onesie - the MT500 II range improves on an already strong set of products. Fit and breathability make them more suited to aggro riders than XC athletes though. If the performance or durability of the top-spec MT500 kit is too weighty/pricey, then there are loads of other simpler, cheaper waterproof top and bottom options in the Endura range too.
Tech Specs: Endura MT500 jacket
- Size: XS-XXXL
- Colors: Black, fossil grey, kingfisher blue and nutmeg
- Price: $329.99 / £229.99
Tech Specs: Endura MT500 II trousers, shorts and one piece
- Size: S-XXL
- Colors: Black, nutmeg (shorts only)
- Price: $129.99 / £99.99 (shorts), $169.99 / £179.99 (trousers), $549.99 / £419.99 (One piece)