On Test: Endura Women's MTB Collection
We put the Endura MT500 and Singletrack Women's range to the test and find out if its hardy, Scottish design stands up to the trails.
I've found myself slowly shifting towards the bouncier side of life when it comes to mountain biking. Whilst XC racing still has me donning lyrca bibs, when it comes to everyday trail riding, I'm leaning towards more a relaxed riding style.
In search of some more colour in my kit bag, I took the Endura's Singletrack Lite Shorts II and the MT500 Print Long Sleeve Jersey to the local trails to see how they stood up. Playing it safe out there, I've also been trialling the new MTR Knee Guards that use Koroyd® - a lightweight, flexible tube construction wth an appearance similar to honeycomb but with super strength and temperature resistance.
Here are my thoughts...
MT500 Print Long Sleeve Jersey
Endura have chosen a bold, bright blue mixed with lime flashes as part of this season's women's MTB line - it has an energetic feel to it and within minutes from opening the packet, i'm running around the house asking the other half for his honest opinion. The material is 100% polyester - it's sleek, stretchy and comfortable and lined at the neck with a soft, ribbed collar. As for fit, it sizes well for a small but i'd struggle to get elbow pads underneath, however, that's not a priority personally.
Singletrack Lite II Short
Teamed with the same cobalt hews, the Singletrack Lite II shorts are a striking addition, with flashes of aquamarine and neat, logo details. Trying them for the first time, i'm happy to have a lower-slung waist band and Endura have added poppers for additional padded shots to be clipped in if needed. I'm wear a pair of bibs, which fit comfortably underneath all the same.
Highlights of the shorts are the small zipper at back of the waistbelt - an additional stash for keys or emergency jelly babies if required - teamed with a soft, breathable waistband. Air venting has also been well considered, with circular, lazer cut holes at the rear and zips on the thighs to dump heat instantly on the climbs.
Kitted up and out the door, the initial test day was a 4 hour outing on a muggy, summer's day and I wondered if long sleeves were going to suffocate me! With technical, rooty climbs and tight descents within the forest trails, sweating was an inevitable end, but the lightweight fabrics on both the shorts and jersey dealt well with the day's events. I will say, it's not midge-proof. Oh what I would do for a guard against the dreaded Scottish beast.
Against the backpack I thought the jersey stood up robustly, aside from a small pull from the chest strap. Perhaps the only word of caution, but I'm yet to find a fabric that'll absolutely stand up to the wears and tears of the mountain bike world. The fit being loose, allowed for plenty of air flow.
Endura's Singletrack shorts were in favour when it came to their fit. As a size small, they sit lower on my hips, so thankfully there's no MC Hammer-like hold ups from catching on the seat and there was plenty venting on-the-move. If you do need to adjust the fit, generous velcro tabs make the change easy to do.
Lengthwise they're well proportioned against the knee pads with no ghastly gaps going on thankfully, but an extra 2 cms would have been welcome as i'm not a fan of exposed knees post-pedal. Riding between tight trees and corners they move well and are light and airy. Bum wear is often the thing that starts to show, but at the time of writing, i've worn these on a number of rides and happy to say they're as fresh as they were out the packet.
MT500 Knee Pads
Keeping my knees intact, the MT500 pads might seem at first sight rather chunky. I've worn these on numerous rides over the last month and can say I've even kept them on to drive back from the trails. Lazy yes, but they're that comfortable. They offer full cover but you do need to commit to them or not; as you have to put them on pre-shoes. This has its advantages as the mesh rear fabric frames your calf, so there's less chance of movement.
Using a soft, stretch nylon/ polyester fabric, they also have ample staying power thanks to the silicone lined grippers and adjustable strap. Indeed, I never once had to stop mid-ride to pull them up, a major tick in my book. My surprise was mostly at how light they were, as they do appear to be a fairly serious piece of protection. However, I hardly noticed them whilst moving on the bike and due to the structue of the Koroyd®, there's also plently of airflow.
Any weight comes from the PU Exo frame, which rubbed only slighty after a few rides, but importantly, feels flexible and has a low volume for fitting under most other shorts.
Is it for you?
If you're looking for lightweight materials and colour on the trail, Endura's women's collection hits the mark.
At just over £100 for the entire outfit, it's a great price point for well design, feature-full combination.
If you're looking at mountain bike body protection, these pads offers up a robust, lightweight option that won't break the bank and certainly stop that happening to your knees!
For more details, look at www.endurasport.com
About Catriona Sutherland
Catriona is an avid mountain biker from the UK, favouring endurance events. She has competed in various 24 hour, marathon and stage mountain bike races around the world including the Joberg2c, Epic Israel and the Strathpuffer. Currently working as freelance marketing consultant, mountain bike guide and serial adventurer, Catriona is happiest riding her bike, drinking coffee and planning her next trip!
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