Early this year I was offered the opportunity to test Endura’s upcoming MT500 waterproof pullover. This was rather fortunate as this spring we B.C. riders have had it cold and wet. I’ve been anxiously lapping the local trails since they opened up, so you can bet this jacket has gone through some ideal testing conditions.
A nasty late-February day in Vancouver was ride number one, and it was raining the whole time and muddy as hell. When the ride was over everything on me was wet and filthy, except whatever was beneath the MT500.
Since then I’ve worn this versatile jacket on cooler and warmer days, on rainy days, and under dry skies. In short, I’ve found the MT500 is one of those garments that makes you say ‘yes’ to nearly any ride, no matter what the weather has in store…
The MT500 is primarily constructed from 3-layer ExoShell 60 material, which is fully seam sealed. The jacket is highly waterproof, but the material also boasts an excellent breathability rating while remaining very thin and lightweight. On the back there are three stretchy panels (one between the shoulders, two around the vents) which will get wet, but this seems to go unnoticed on a ride and never left damp spots on my inside layers.
As for features, Endura shows some obvious attention to detail with this jacket. The 3-D adjustable hood’s cinch straps are an excellent example, with clean routing that keeps any loose ends from flopping around. The shoulders are printed with silicone patterns to resist wear and help keep your backpack straps in place.
Ventilation is quite generous via large pit zips that extend down the sides (and like the collar, use waterproof YKK Vislon zippers). On cooler days, the lower hem and sleeve cuffs can be tightened down to lock in heat, and the super soft internal cuff/half-gloves effectively keep wind from chilling your arms.
For storage, the pullover features a large kangaroo pocket and a smaller, soft-lined pouch for sunglasses on its belly. To get you to and from the trails safely, Endura has placed reflective details on the rear hem, hood brim, both cuffs and the right sleeve.
You may be familiar with Endura’s existing MT500 II jacket, which is a full-zip style. For the MT500 Endura decided to create a pullover version, and here’s why: Eliminating the zipper reduces bunching, makes the jacket lighter weight, and makes it easier to wipe clean. Furthermore, the side vents allow excellent air flow without the rider having to open a front zip and expose themselves to mud splatter. Lastly, Endura simply wanted to offer another option for those who prefer pullover style jackets.
When I measured myself for the jacket (using the figures on Endura’s website), I asked for a size small. It turned out only a medium was available but in hindsight, I’m thankful for that- The MT500 has a slim performance-oriented cut. My medium fits great with just enough room for a thin mid-layer underneath (For reference, I am a slim guy and 5’9” tall). It does take a wiggle to get into this slender pullover, but I’m happy that the snug cut leaves little extra material to snag branches or flap in the wind.
The MT500’s front hem is cut high, preventing any belly bunching but providing coverage to your waistline while you’re in riding position. The rear hem is lowered enough to keep your mid or base layers concealed and clean, but it didn’t protect my butt from mud spray. I found the sleeves fit well length-wise, and never budged upwards (and I wasn’t using the thumb loops, just the Velcro cuffs).
The MT500’s hood easily fit over my XC helmet, which was big plus on cool rainy days. The hood also provides adequate peripheral vision and articulates fairly well left-to-right. The large hood never bugged me just sitting behind my helmet, but you can strap it down if you want to streamline things a bit.
The only complaint I have about the MT500 is a personal fit issue. The jacket’s collar is pretty tall, which is good, but it seems to be positioned a bit too far back for me. When the hood is down it tends to sit right up against my neck, which is annoying at times. While the jacket’s snug fit provides great protection on sloppy rides, I still wish the collar didn’t rub me the wrong way. It’s hard for me to say if this would be an issue for other people, but I feel like my head is in the right place!?
The main thing this jacket is supposed to do is keep you dry, and I can say it absolutely will. Throughout a two-hour ride under constant rain and a few other pretty wet ones, the MT500 held every drop of water out. A few small spots on the shoulders appeared to show some saturation, but no moisture ever got through the shell material.
This thin jacket is noticeably windproof but does not provide heat on its own, so plan to let your mid-layers do that job. Once I warmed up, the MT500 retained heat enough that I had the armpit vents open after a bit of climbing. The shell is supposedly extremely breathable, and it did keep me from ever feeling clammy inside but I still found myself relying on the vents to keep me comfortable. Once you get really warm, the MT500 is fairly packable. The thin shell easily fit into my hydration pack, but I wouldn’t expect to stash it in a jersey pocket.
All in all Endura’s MT500 performed admirably in a wide range of weather conditions. It’s thin, light and most importantly extremely waterproof. The ventilation is very effective, and I’ve had no wear and tear issues as of yet. I only wish the front collar was a bit further out, as it tends to nestle in behind my goatee and sit right against my neck.
The MT500 pullover will be available this fall, and is a limited edition piece so pre-ordering from an Endura retailer is advised! Sizes S-XXL will be offered, and color options are Black or Khaki. MSRP is $285 USD. Keep an eye on Endura’s website for forthcoming info on the MT500.