endura mt500 waterproof shorts
REVIEW

Endura MT500 Waterproof Shorts

Words Andrew Major
Photos Dave Smith
Date Dec 4, 2017

Weather Or Not

One of the few places that mountain bikers from the North Shore can't go and complain about the 'endless' rain is Scotland. Clothing is a bloody tough game and Endura has been at it continuously since 1993. In that time they've evolved from a bonnie secret to a global brand and while they make a full line of cycling gear they're best known for clothing to combat vicious weather.  

Like a lot of riders I'm trying to balance my 7mesh tastes and my desire to spend Glad money on rainwear that I'm going to be trashing on trails. Especially shorts that I'm going to grind into a saddle that might as well be 40 grit for six months a year. 

I didn't question whether Endura's MT500 waterproof shorts would be good in an epic downpour. I had other questions. Shorts don't need the same level of breathability as a jacket but I've been burned before with waterproof shorts—at a couple price points—that feel like they're cut from from a tarp. 

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Andrew: "Figures, it isn't raining on the day we're shooting this waterproof gear, eh?"

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Dave: "I think in another ten minutes it's going to go off! I love this zone."

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Andrew: "I can't believe I forgot my flask. It's been pissing rain for two flippin' hours."

The question isn't 'are they a great choice in a deluge' because the answer is almost always yes when the alternative is a massive wet-diaper-chamois or ice-pack-underpants. It's about whether or not they are wearable in a drizzle or when the tap’s turned off but there's moisture on the trail. 

The MT500 shorts are very pedalable for a waterproof-breathable product and they are surprisingly stretchy. They're not as flexible as non-weatherproofed shorts but they also aren't like wearing waxed cardboard. They are always my last choice in my drawer except when it's really wet out and then they're off the bench and into the action with no questions asked and only two key complaints to make. 

Feature Complaints

My favorite Endura shorts, that I've never worn, are the MT500 'Spray Baggy' 3/4. They're a sort of Scottish summer short with a waterproof ass and crotch and lightweight frontage. Not great for horrendous rain but perfect for wet trails on dry days. Knowing that Endura makes this short drives me crazy. Nuts. 

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Invisible in this photo is the draw-string waist band. It works. I guess. I'd much rather have belt loops.  

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Not even Richie Schley looks cool riding in a torrent. F*** it. Please make waterproof shorts long enough to cover knees while riding. 

The key features they bring to the trail compared to the MT500 Waterproof are belt loops—sweet, sweet belt loops—and the unfashionably long 3/4 length that actually covers my knees when I'm pedaling. If Endura made a waterproof version of this short at a similar price with those features I'd own two pairs. 

As a company they obviously get it and I say that from experience as I owned a pair of Endura Humvee shorts that I rode beyond opaque I liked them so much. I can't understand why these shorts are, well, short and the drawstring waist makes me want to flagellate myself in use. 

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As waterproof shorts go the MT500 are actually quiet enough in use that they don't ruin the mood or scare away small woodland creatures. 

In All Fairness

When it comes time to pedal all day the waterproof Endura MT500 is not the short I want. But really, what waterproof breathable short is? So far this winter it's been the short I need. Almost every ride. I hate wearing gungy stuff so these shorts have been on a wash, dry, repeat cycle that rivals my shower routine and they look and stretch as new.

Would I recommend them? Absolutely. Is there a more waterproof, more breathable and more pedalable short for 125 USD? Not that I've come across. Ditch the drawstring for some belt loops, add a couple inches to the legs and heck while I'm at it drop the price to a psychologically perfect $99.99 and I'll give them a perfect score and recommend them unequivocally. 

For more information on the 125 USD Enduro MT500 Waterproof please click here

Comments

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Dec. 4, 2017, 8:07 a.m.

i've got the knicker length version (complete with draw straps below the knee) with belt loops. they are fantastic. not totally waterproof on the front side though. it's the back side that is completely WB. they are perfect for wet riding in anything other than heavy steady rain. when that's the case, i go to full length slicker pants (MEC Drenchers, killer pants) and goretex socks. the MT500's are very breathable and comfortable for long rides.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 9:09 a.m.

Hi James, that would be the Spray Baggy version then? 

I can't stand mountain biking in pants so for me I think the Goldilocks Endura short would be a fully weatherproofed version of the Spray Baggy.

Reply

Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Dec. 4, 2017, 10:09 a.m.

Rode Seymour on Sat and wished I had pants, but only for the descent. Otherwise I find pants too hot. IMO, not much worse than get poured on from the outside and sweating up a storm from the inside.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 10:17 a.m.

I’d always choose to be soaked in rain water over being soaked in my own soup. 

I also just don’t like pedaling in pants. Somehow properly articulated 3/4 shorts are a different story and from where I all the Waterproof shorts (7mesh, Endura, Gore, RaceFace, etc) appear to be too short?!

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Dec. 4, 2017, 12:59 p.m.

i hear the 'stew in my own juices' argument a lot and i'd rather not ride in pants either. however, when it's 1-5 degrees and pouring rain and the trails are flowing, i'm definitely not stewing. a bit clammy after a couple hours, but you'd be damp (or soaked) either way. 

i stay clean, warm and as close to dry as i think is reasonably possible for the conditions. it's because these pants fit so well (knee pads and summer shorts over chamois) and have virtually no friction or weight when pedalling.

i was skeptical myself but i committed to a few hard rides in them as an experiment to sort it out. these pants don't 'wet out' either because they are a coated fabric, so they don't sag n bag. i've finally got my winter riding kit dialed, head to toe. freedom of the hills mate!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 1:10 p.m.

Intrigued; what pants are you using?

I’ve owned a few pairs for commuting from cheap tents to nice GoreTex ones but never something I’ve been happy Trail riding in. Maybe I haven’t tried the right pair?

Thunderbear
0
Thunderbear  - Dec. 4, 2017, 1:18 p.m.

I feel the exact same way... Big fan of the Humvee 3/4. I've been looking to no avail for descent pair of waterproof 3/4 shorts! I wonder if it's about breathability, that they consider it too much of a tradeoff?

Currently thinking about getting a pair of the MT500 Spray 3/4, I think I'd rather be less waterproof than going shorter.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 11:16 p.m.

I'm as picky as they come so I feel like I should probably reiterate that the MT500 Waterproof shorts perform as advertised/expected.

For my money I'd also be going with the Spray 3/4 and sacrificing weatherproofing for coverage. But then I take a regular ribbing for my 'shants' so be warned that I'm about as cool as wearing a backpack on a trail ride.

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Dec. 4, 2017, 12:53 p.m.

yes and it looks like they are related but otherwise quite different. the ones under review have the waterproof material throughout. the one's i have don't but they are still fairly resistant on front, stretchy, very breathable, super long (i'm 6 5) and comfortable.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 1:13 p.m.

They look brilliant and I’d be very tempted to try them after my awesome Humvee 3/4 experience (not sure why I never bought another pair).

Still dreaming of the same package in a full waterproof build though!

Reply

the-chez
0
The Chez  - Dec. 9, 2017, 4:43 p.m.

The regular Humvee 3/4's or the Humvee Lite 3/4's?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 9, 2017, 4:52 p.m.

Few years back and I only remember there being one model. They were a mid-weight so I’d guess regular not Lite?!

DangerousDave
0
DangerousDave  - Dec. 4, 2017, 4:43 p.m.

The length and size of the leg opening desperately need to be addressed on these shorts. I hardly wear mine, even when it's pouring, because they end up riding up above my knee pads. Nothing like having a gap between your thigh and knee pads when you're riding on a cold and rainy day...So frustrating as they work well otherwise.

Reply

JBV
0
James Vasilyev  - Dec. 4, 2017, 5:33 p.m.

MEC Drencher pants. long, shingle over my booties or goretex socks perfectly. no water gets up and over. loose, but not too loose. cinch down with velcro enough around the ankle. probably not great for road riding, but great for mtn biking. rinse off with hose, good to go. i just can't see grinding to shit a pair of high end goretex pants (that wet out anyways) in the kind of abusive environment that is winter mtn biking. if i could afford a new pair every couple yrs, i probably would get Arcteryx Beta SL pants, but these just work so well.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 4, 2017, 11:22 p.m.

That's a prime example of different strokes for different folks for sure... I owned a pair of MEC Drencher pants and I could have grown mushrooms inside them during a snowy January commuting, never mind on the trail.

Reply

Bunzl
+1
Steve Main  - Dec. 5, 2017, 1:01 a.m.

The Norrona stuff is awesome. Also the Sweet Protection Mudride shorts are cut longer for us taller folk and are, by all accounts, very well made. That said I found the fit around the waist didn't work for me.

Regarding these Endura shorts, I have the trouser version. It breathes really well but the stretchy panel across the back just isn't waterproof after a few rides and given that section takes the worst of the wet muck its pretty disappointing! I've also found Endura sizing and quality to be all over the place.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 5, 2017, 6:57 a.m.

I will be writing about the Sweet Protection Mudride shorts in the next few days, but - spoiler alert - can confirm: long length, well made, most excellent overall.

Reply

jt
0
JT  - Dec. 5, 2017, 7:51 a.m.

On the waterproof knickers front, I cut a pair of rain pants and hemmed them. Yes, rainy rides are better with knees covered, especially when the temps dip below 60. Momma did right teaching me to sew while poppa did right teaching me how to wrench. On the short front, the Bontrager Evoke Stormshells have done me well when above 60deg. Any thoughts on how Endura compares?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 5, 2017, 8:50 a.m.

I’ve seen the Evoke but haven’t ridden a pair. Reasonable price but again not long enough.

Do you remember what pants you used? I did a similar project a couple seasons ago but because they didn’t taper enough around the knee they were pretty awful. I mean they had belt loops and were the right length but they’d snag my water bottle sometimes in the heat of battle.

Most rain pants seem to do their tapering at the ankles?

Reply

jt
0
JT  - Dec. 5, 2017, 9:01 a.m.

Yeah, almost 90's rave scene baggie when cut too. I went with a set of Craft and Cannondale pants. Snipped em off above the leg zippers, undid the inner seam about 6" and overlapped them another inch to get them to fit a bit tighter. If that's a stretch I'll bet you can find a seamstress/tailor locally that can do the job for rather little outlay.

Reply

Vincent66
0
Vincent66  - Dec. 8, 2017, 9:07 p.m.

I wear everyday a pair of mavic crossmax ultimate h2o shorts on my commute to work and like them very much. They are 3/4 long , waterproof and very light and packable. I had them in Europe last summer for 80euros. Never tried them on the trail though.

https://shop.mavic.com/en-ca/crossmax-ultimate-h2o-short-d8074.html#1028=3286

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