As the weather shifted from balmy and warm to rainy and temperamental, Endura sent out a pair of their MT500 Spray Shorts for review. These particular bottoms are somewhat of a mid duty hybrid offering as far as water proofing goes. The front panels are DWR coated four way stretch for water resistance, while the rear panels are fully waterproof with taped seams. The duality of this approach helps reduce bulk, while improving flexibility and offering a more targeted approach to keeping dry. After all, on most wet rides it’s your backside that gets wettest. Read on for the full review…
- Zippered pockets
- Stretch waistband
- DWR coated 4-way stretch front panels
- Waterproof rear panels
- Kneepad friendly cut
- S (tested), M, L, XL, XXL
- $119.99 USD
The waistband features two button snap closures, a zipper and a full set of belt loops. One very smart feature is the rows of small silicone grabbers at the back of the waist (which is higher cut by the way). These help keep your jersey tucked in – brilliant.
The angled pockets were easy to access and the zippers work nicely. I liked that the pockets were roomy enough, but not so big that my phone would turn sideways when riding – which is a pet peeve of mine.
There are sets of minimalist buttons throughout to pair with Endura’s bibs or chamois shorts. I never noticed them, despite not using their liners, but you could always cut them out if they bothered you.
A part of the cut and sew I appreciated was the front of the cuff being angled and tailored specifically for kneepads. They’re slightly lower in the back and don’t ride up over your pads while pedaling.
The rear of the crotch is reinforced with extra waterproof material. This is not only a high wear area, but it’s also an area that can get soggy, even with fairly watertight materials after hours of sitting. Certainly a worthy design aspect.
The seams are fully taped throughout the rear of the shorts so that water can’t penetrate though openings from the stitching. The tape is low in profile and doesn’t inhibit movement.
On the trail
Starting with fit, I found the size Small to be true to size, at least in regards to Endura’s size chart. I’m normally a Medium as I have a 31″ waist – they fit fine, but that doesn’t really leave an option for anyone in the 28-30″ range. In any case, the shorts had perfect proportionality in all regards – no bulky areas and no tight spots. I was able to move freely and nothing rode up or shifted around in the saddle, just as it should be. The velcro tabs that snug up the waist provide a good amount of adjustment within the given size and they stayed put, while not making their presence felt. As mentioned earlier, the knees covered just the right amount of my kneepads without riding up. Up front, the 4-way stretch material meant that the MT500 shorts moved very freely and weren’t quite as stiff as a 100% waterproof short typically is – thus they were more comfortable than the average short of that nature.
One of the first things I noticed on trail was how nicely water beaded up on the thighs of the DWR material. It’s nice when it just sheds and shakes off visually and you know it isn’t soaking in. It’s worth pointing out that with MT500 shorts and any other material for that matter, DWR doesn’t last forever as it is a coating. After a handful of washings and romps through gritty material it becomes less effective. Endura sells a spray to reestablish its effectiveness, which you can use on any outer layer intended for such an application. In terms of the overall ability to keep water out, these shorts were quite good. In cold weather I’d likely opt for a full pant – by the way, Endura makes a pant much like these shorts which look rather nice. But in warmer weather that doesn’t result in full on wet conditions – rather, light rain and wet terrain – these were the ticket. Think first rains in Fall as well as Spring melt off where the trails are wet and you always end up with soaked shorts and liners from spray off of the back wheel. Those are the right conditions for the MT500 shorts. All in all, their brilliance is in being fully waterproof out back and where you’re actually sitting, while staying fairly H2O resistant up front and allowing you to move freely about the bike.
Broadly speaking these are excellent shorts for the shoulder seasons, for people who like shorts. Personally I tend to wear pants for a great deal of the year, but I can’t see any aspect that could be picked apart. The MT500 shorts were the first piece of kit that I’ve worn from Endura and I must say the craftsmanship, attention to detail and features are all tip top. As a brand, they’re doing it right. At $119, they’re priced accordingly and in it for the long haul. None of this should come as a big surprise as people in the UK know a thing or two about bad weather.