Scottish brand Endura needs little introduction these days, having cemented itself as a go-to brand for highly functional and well-priced mountain bike clothing. Choosing the right clothing for the winter is a tricky task with so much choice in any well-stocked bike shop or online retailer, but the Endura MTR Shell Jacket ticks all the boxes. It’s a packable, waterproof jacket that is extremely good at keeping you dry and sheltered from the elements; and that goes a long way towards helping you deal with unpredictable weather.
Endura MTR Shell Jacket Details
• Exoshell40 3 Layer waterproof fabric
• Fully seam-sealed construction
• Ergonomically-positioned, stretch shoulder panels
• Stretch waterproof cuffs and sides
• Detachable hood
• Reflective details
• Colors/sizes: Blue - Small through XX-large
• MSRP: £119.99, $199.99
• Contact: Endura Sport
The most important part of a jacket is obviously the fabric, it’s what protects you from the elements. The Endura MTR Shell Jacket is made from a fabric called Exoshell 40 and it's comprised of three-layers, with a membrane sandwiched between the inner and outer layer that the company says is 50% thinner than standard membranes. The external face of the fabric is then finished with a DRW treatment to repel rain water
The advantage of a thinner membrane, according to Endura, is really good breathability. To put some numbers on it, the breathability rating is 40,000g/m²/24hr while the waterproof rating comes in at 20,000mm. It also keeps the weight and bulk low, so this size small jacket weighs 176g and packs down extremely small, easily fitting into a jersey or backpack pocket. If you’re environmentally conscious, the fabric is made without harmful substances and the DWR treatment is PFC-free.
All seams are sealed in the construction of the jacket to further aid the waterproof factor. And to keep the focus on being a lightweight shell, Endura has kept the list of features short. There is just a detachable hood, stretchy waterproof cuffs, a hidden loop for rolling it up, and silicone shoulder details to prevent wear or slippage when using a hydration pack. You don't even get any pockets, such is the focus on keeping the weight and bulk low.
Some reflective details for extra visibility. Dropped tail for extra coverage and more reflective details.
On the Trail
The MTR Shell Jacket has a slim but not skinny fit - that’s a size small in the photos in case you’re wondering - and the size range is generous. Endura has a good track record for realistic, real-world sizing and that is reflected in the good fit of the jacket. That upside of the slim fit is that there’s very little excess fabric to flap in the wind when riding and less fabric means less weight. It also feels very lightweight to wear; there's none of the bulk of chunkier, winter jackets.
The lack of bulk and material weight is a bonus when you’re riding: it’s really comfortable. There’s no restriction of movement at all. The jacket moves with you and the shape around the shoulders and arms is just right, with a good length in the arms to avoid exposed wrists and a dropped tail for bum coverage. The jacket doesn’t provide any insulation, so you do need to layer up to keep warm, but there’s space under the jacket for a base layer and lightweight jersey. I found the hood less than useful. I prefer a headband or skull cap when it’s really cold, but it’s removable should you feel the same way as me. It’s a personal preference. You may really dig hooded jackets.
When it comes to riding in the rain, the MTR Shell Jacket puts in a stellar performance. The three-layer fabric might be thin between the fingers, but it does an excellent job of keeping the rain out. The weather has been abysmal recently and it seems just about every other ride is run out in constant rain. The Endura has been a reliable and trusted shield in such weather. Rain visibly beads off the surface and continues to do so deep into a long ride.
Silicone shoulder details for extra durability. It's a slim fit, but well shaped and comfortable.
Testing breathability is a tricky task, but to really put the jacket through its paces I conducted rides in similar conditions and mixed up the layers I was wearing under the jacket to see how it coped. Through the different clothing and riding tests, the MTR comfortably passed my personal breathability tests, which basically amounts to whether I ended up a soggy mess half an hour into a ride or not. I didn’t, nor did I at any point during any rides wearing this jacket.
The breathability is good enough that you can comfortably wear the jacket for an entire ride. For fast-paced rides in warmer conditions, I found a long sleeve top underneath was sufficient to keep the core temperature nicely regulated. Cold rides required another layer; the addition of a short-sleeve, base layer was sufficient to provide the necessary insulation without compromising the breathability.
One of the MTR's strongest assets it its packability--when rolled up and stuffed in a spare pocket, it takes up almost no space nor adds much weight. Even if the weather looks nice at the start of the ride I’ll take the MTR with me just in case everything changes. It’s better to be prepared, and the MTR does a really good job of keeping you dry when the weather takes a turn for the worse. I’ve had no issues with the jacket’s durability so far. The MTR has been through several washes and endured many muddy rides, been dragged through the undergrowth and had a hydration pack sliding around on its back, but it’s showing no sign of wear and tear at all.Pinkbike's Take:
|There is a huge choice of waterproof jackets, but the Endura strikes a good balance. I like that it's really lightweight and minimalist in design, fits well and is comfortable. It works brilliantly in bad weather with impressive breathability, and all that at a price that really won't break the bank. - David Arthur|
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