With a chunk of input from its pro riders, including the Athertons, Endura has given its range-topping MT500 line-up of waterproof clothing a complete refresh, while also detailing further its actions to tackle, or mitigate against, its environmental impact.
While Endura’s range is fairly all-encompassing these days, with kit ranging from World Cup DH to some of the most technologically advanced aero skinsuits around, it was the MT500 range that launched the brand in 1992.
At the time, most mountain bikers were slipping and sliding their way around mountains in lairy Lycra kit designed for roadies, and Endura saw an opportunity. The MT in the name stands for ‘mountain’, while the 500 refers to the range’s baggy kit being 500 per cent stronger and more protective than Lycra.
These days that message of protection still stands. While the kit continues to be designed to protect riders from the weather, it’s also designed to protect the environment, with Endura modifying over the years its production processes, factory sourcing and material used, to lessen impacts on the environment.
Endura has been attempting to clean up its environmental impact via its #Forceforgood scheme. This constitutes a range of actions, from material usage to tree planting.
For example, all of their fabrics have been PFC free since 2018 and waterproof membranes are constructed from PU materials, which degrade in landfill within 100 years, rather than PTFE materials, which last thousands.
Endura is attempting to source its materials from certified and controlled manufacturers who ensure there’s no toxic impact on the local environment, but Endura recognises that there’s still a long way to go here and it’s an ever-evolving process.
Biodegradable fabrics and plastics have had a lot of press recently, however Endura told us that the conditions needed for proper biodegrading are very tricky to create and, as such, it’s not always as beneficial as one might think.
Likewise, mechanical recycling of plastic fibres (melting and re-extruding materials) can only be done around five times, so landfill, eventually, is inevitable. That said, chemical recycling is the next great hope, where fibres are broken down and refracted into new hydrocarbons.
So, Endura says it has a focus on durability rather than fashion. It wants its garments to be worn for years, rather than discarded as soon as the next fashion cycle comes along.
It’s also using its own re-proofing treatment. The materials used are said to have better eco-credentials, but Endura says that keeping on top of the DWR treatments is important because they may not last as long as those based on more traditional waterproof materials.
While Endura is attempting to lessen the impact of its manufacturing, it’s also in the middle of a scheme to plant one-million trees per year, with a goal of planting 10-million in the next decade to offset its emissions and aid development in those areas.
Many of the trees are being planted in Madagascar in the form of mangrove swamps. These catch as much CO2 as rainforests, but also help local fish stocks and prevent coastal erosion. In planting these trees, many local people are also employed.
Some planting is also taking place in the UK, however planning permissions are trickier to come by, and thus with finite money and time, Endura says quicker benefits can be found by planting elsewhere.
Looking forward, Endura says it is looking to use more environmentally friendly fabrics in its garments, plant more trees, and get at least 75 per cent of its garments designed with eco-credentials.
It plans to work with those developing chemical recycling and look further in to their production, repairing and packaging processes, too.
Endura MT500 updates
Endura MT500 Waterproof Jacket II / Women’s MT500 Waterproof Jacket II
- £229.99 / $329.99 / €269.99
The MT500 Jacket is Endura’s best-selling waterproof, and what it calls the star of the range, coming with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee.
The jacket retains a hood, but Endura has altered the adjusters and collar on this version to keep it secure when up or down.
Elastic cords pull diagonally from either side of the hood’s peak, down towards an adjuster at the centre of the neck. There’s also a pair of vertical cords by the sides of the face to cinch the hood down.
In order to maintain ventilation, two long pit vents with a two-way zip let you easily dump a load of heat, and should also work well when riding with a pack.
The hand pockets too can be used as additional venting, and are mesh-backed and come with two-way zips.
Other pockets include a lift-pass pocket on the arm and an internal chest pocket with space for a phone. This chest pocket holds a hidden goggle/glasses wipe on a tether. Inside the cuff is a Lycra storm cuff to keep wind out of the arms.
The shoulders and elbow region get a stretch material to aid fit, and there’s silicone print over the shoulders to help with pack security. The lower area of the back also features a more durable material.
The Exoshell 40 DR fabric is said to have a 20,000mm hydrostatic head and “market leading” 40,000 g/m²/24hr breathability.
The jacket’s material is PFC-free and utilises a PU rather than PTFE inner membrane, which Endura claims is more environmentally friendly.
Endura MT500 Waterproof Onesie II
- £419.99 / $549.99 / €459.99
Endura has updated its waterproof onesie too, with a more refined cut which we hope will improve fit.
The new suit is designed to look like a two-piece outfit, with a rear flap mimicking that of a jacket over trousers. As per the original onesie, the front features a split design with a regular fly/popper trouser closure and a zipped jacket.
The onesie also gets the same Exoshell 40 DR fabric as the jacket, and shares a range of its features.
The legs have a lower zip-off section for those slightly warmer days, too.
Endura MT500 Waterproof Trouser II
- £99.99 / $139.99 / €119.99
Like the onesie and jacket, the trousers use Exoshell 40 DR fabric.
The trousers get a long zip down the leg, which has a two-way zip for both ventilation and to aid getting them on and off over shoes. When used as a vent, the internal mesh gusset is designed to prevent them billowing.
The seat panel is built from a durable material.
Endura Waterproof Short II
- £99.99 / $139.99 / €119.99
The shorts use Exoshell 40 DR fabric too, to boost their waterproofing and breathability.
Extra durable materials are used at the seat of the shorts and there are stretch fabrics in the right places to make sure that the fit works well.
A popper and zippered fly is backed up with belt loops to make sure the shorts don’t slip down when riding, and there’s reflective detailing on the rear and zippered pockets to improve visibility at night.