Mountain bike apparel will never be more important than the bike or components it’s dressed with. But there’s no denying what you wear can enhance (or screw up) your ride. This summer, we filled the Mtbr apparel closet with outfits from a host of kit makers, ranging from the ultra high-end (Kitsbow) to more budget friendly (Pactimo), to a lot of in between.
In part 2 of this three part series, we take a look at some (but certainly not all) of the offerings from Endura, Voler, and Garneau. In every case, we logged at least a half dozen rides in the garment, allowing us to weigh in on function, fit, and fashion. Here are some of our favorites — and a few that were not so hot. Go here to read part 1, which includes Qloom, Pearl Izumi, and Pactimo. And check back to Mtbr soon for the final installment, which will include clothing from Gore, Kitsbow, and Mavic. All photos are by Dave Kozlowski.
Though not super well known on this side of the Atlantic, Scotland-based Endura has a huge line of cycling gear and apparel, ranging from aero-tight road kit (it’s the clothing sponsor of the Movistar WorldTour team), to top-flight MTB kit worn by the likes of Danny MacAskill among others. The company also makes helmets, sunglasses, and even luggage.
With the Evolution Bike Park just 20 minutes from our Crested Butte, Colorado, test headquarters, the company’s MT500 collection has earned a regular place in our rotation. Its design philosophy is based on the ethos that sooner or later you’ll hit the ground, thus it’s geared toward riders that embrace this reality — and require their clothing to be durable and tough.
A little extra protection is also a good thing, which is exactly what the MT500 Protective Liner Short offers ($80, more info at www.endurasport.com). Besides a reasonably comfortable multi-density chamois and compressive Lycra fabric, these shorts have raised honeycomb shaped padding on the hips, outer thigh, and lumbar area. It won’t save your ass if you crash into a tree. But the impact panels could certainly prevent shedding skin on the trail. This liner also has Endura’s click-fast snaps that are compatible with various Endura baggy shorts.
That includes the MT500 Burner Ratchet Short ($129, more info here), which are a great choice for the bike park or serious shuttling sessions, but not XC adventures. The rugged oxford canvas material can easily handle the occasional hard get-off, and the secure ratcheting waist buckle means you never have to worry about these shorts unexpectedly coming undone. A pair of zipper hand pockets provide storage for a lift pass, gel, or cash and credit card, and the generous leg length interfaces well with even large hard-shell knee pads. The inside is lined with mess to enhance wicking, and the seat panel is reinforced for those abrasive, muddy days in the saddle. Our lone knock is the somewhat heavy handed graphics.
For those who like the full matchy-matchy look, you can add the Endura MT500 Print Long Sleeve Jersey to the mix. The one pictured here is no longer available (it was a limited edition). But the company recently launched the MT500 Print II Long Sleeve Jersey ($68, more info at www.endurasport.com), which is made of the same lightweight, rapid wicking fabric. The fit is roomy enough to slip over a set of elbow pads, and breathes well enough to wear on warmer summer days.