What relevance does a kitchen table have to the Endura story? Well, it was on the kitchen table of Jim McFarlane's Edinburgh home that the first garments were cut and stitched to satisfy his own needs as he put himself against the clock in time trial races. From that kitchen table to the sprawling HQ now on the outskirts of the city with over 100 employees, Endura has come along way since those rather humble beginnings in 1993.
Endura emerged from the ashes in an area once caught in Scottish industrial decline. A stone's throw from the offices and factory are the scars from shale mining that once boomed around West Lothian, the piles of dirt or 'bings' left behind now rather aptly make for a two-wheeled playground. Being Scottish born and bred, it was only natural that Endura's garments took influence from the elements and weather that they were conceived in; the words “robust” and “functional” were reoccurring while wandering the factory floor.
It's true after all, waterproof doesn't necessarily mean Scottish-proof.
Traditionally, Endura left their products' functionality to do most of the talking, taking a slightly more back seat approach compared to brands with 'louder' marketing pushes, something that which manager Ian Young admits has been a big challenge in recent years. A quick scan of social media threads and their website suggests a very different approach these days, with ever-changing content featuring the likes of the Athertons, Danny MacAskill, and Nairo Quintana to name a few. Mountain biking is more fashion conscious than ever with the image of a company and how it is perceived deciding whether it sinks or swims, Endura is far from resting on its laurels.
In the past year, the company has had perhaps the biggest milestone in its 25 year history, or rather its biggest in terms of the company's future. Endura was acquired by Pentland Brands Limited, placing them under the same umbrella as names like Berghaus, Speedo, and Canterbury. Quite often, when a company is absorbed by a larger name its personality and ethos are lost, but Endura's founder Jim McFarlane and long-standing Product and Marketing Director Pamela Barclay still have a tight grip on the reigns and the day-to-day business, only now with the added security and backing to expand Endura's reach into the cycling market even further.
It looks like there are some exciting years ahead for all involved at their Livingston base.
The jersey on the left was made for the Orange Mountain Bike Team in 1995, while the jersey on the right belongs to Trek's flamboyant racer Kade Edwards.
New products are first conceived as sketches and computer renders from the design team.
The development stages of the new lightweight full face. The model in the center of the right image helped with nailing the styling and colorways, while on the far right is the first sample of the final product they received.
Endura have also been hard at work on their next generation of pads that feature the use of D3O's impact protection.
Raw material ready to be cut into the shapes of the many panels that make up each garment.
Prepping the material for the chop before the automated table takes over.
The ink is transferred from the sheets to the material by a mix of heat and pressure.
Each of the panels can then be peeled off before heading to be stitched into a full garment.
Fresh World Champs jerseys heading out to road World Champ Alejandro Valverde.
Next stop: A shop shelf before their life on the trails can really begin.
: @rossbellphoto @endurasport