When I was cruising the halls of Interbike, I came across the Endura display and was blown away by what I saw. The variety, color, and selection of riding gear was way beyond what I expected. I have come to consider the Endura Pak-a-jak a core item in my kit bag due to its small size and usefulness so when I was fininshed speaking with one of the Endura reps, I asked what he would suggest for my upcoming Fall/Winter conditions: MTB riding, long climbs, fast descents, windy-cold but not frigid temps. He suggested the Endura MTR jersey without any hesitation.
We have the short sleeve version in Black although there is a long sleeve model and an Orange color choice as well. Suggested retail is $94.99. From the Endura website:
- High stretch fine denier and lightweight windproof front
- Rapid wick yet durable back panel for optimal breathability under hydration pack
- Underarm mesh panels for ventilation
- Full length zip with guard
- Triple rear pocket system
- Small concealed zip waterproof security pocket with media port
- Reflective trims
- Y-form silicon hem gripper
Looking at the MTR jersey it begins to hit all the right buttons…grippy stuff on the inside of the hem, long tail, high collar, full zip, super three pocket design that is generously sized and stretchy. Reflective accents for night riding. Pulling the MTR jersey on reveals an athletic fit and the LG, a size that typically works well for me, was snug enough to not allow a thicker garment underneath beyond a light base layer. However, that will likely be OK for the racy intentions of the jersey, hence the snug fit. The windproof areas are limited to a vest-like section of panels in the front, stopping just short of going over the shoulders or covering the love-handles area at the hips. The main area of the chest and abdomen are covered in a windproof fabric. The rest of the jersey is either a mesh-y material or a typical jersey fabric depending on where it is sewn in. However, the outward appearance does not look ‘segregated’, rather it all blends nicely.
I took it on several rides, typically with a set of arm warmers and a light base tank shirt underneath. One ride was over an 8 mile climb which then turned into an 8 mile descent into a cold headwind. It was the type of ‘Binge and Purge’ ride we do a lot of in So Cal. At the top I did not do anything but pull on the arm warmers and warmer gloves, then zipped up the MTR jersey and dropped in. I normally would don a windbreaker for sure to keep my core temps from dropping so this was going to be interesting. I was very surprised how well the MTR did in keeping me from getting all shivery and such. Color me impressed so far. But I had hints of heat build up while climbing due to the front panels not passing air and that would play out later too.
The next rides were MTB in nature with mixed weather, but always on the cool side. So after a bit of time in the MTR, I have some thoughts:
The Good –
- It is effective. The wind panels in the front were a blessing to me and kept me from needing another layer or vest to keep out brief periods of chill from setting in. Obviously the jersey is just a jersey everywhere else so it will have its limits temps wise. It really was like having a wind vest built into the garment.
- It is a quality piece of technical clothing. The little touches like the water resistant media pocket, the full zipper, and the overall feel and cut of the MTR speaks of good design and execution.
- It is a subtle piece of gear, not screaming loud, but understated.
The Less than Good –
- That wind vest you normally carry with you for rides like this? Well, you can take that off and have a ‘normal’ jersey on under it. But the ‘vest’ built into the MTR is always there and that contributed to perspiration in the front of the jersey. My base layer was always more wet there than anywhere else. Thankfully the full zip saves the day here and allows you to adjust for that condition. I typically rode uphill with the jersey fairly well zipped open.
- This would make a good road bike jersey unless you care about being seen in the daylight. At night, the reflective bits do more for you than color does but it would not hurt to have this in one more hi-vis color other than screaming pumpkin orange. Yes, it is an MTB jersey but the fit is snug enough to not flap on the road bike and some of us might ‘cross-dress’ on occasion.
I spoke to the folks at Endura and asked them a bit about where they came from and what they do, so here is that for your reading pleasure.
TNI: First off, let’s talk about Endura. When I think of that brand, images come to mind of lads (or lassies) on muddy bikes in dark clothing pedaling through a gloomy day in the UK. To me, Endura meant “suit up, it’s raining again.” Silly me. Because when I walked into the Endura booth at Interbike I was struck by the range and bright colors of the line of clothing. There are helmets, gloves, etc. So can you tell me about the roots of the company and where it is now?
Endura: That’s about right! Endura Ltd was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1992 by a keen club cyclist (Jim McFarlane) after his return to Scotland from a 14 month stay in Sydney. Whilst living in Australia Jim had been entering the cycle portion of team triathlon events and, at one such event, had his kit stolen causing him to have to browse for a complete set of replacement kit. After a great deal of disappointment as to what was on offer he decided that upon his return to Scotland he would attempt to produce cycle clothing that was focussed on function and longevity without cutting corners on material and construction and this is the enduring ethos that still permeates throughout Endura today.
The company initially worked with quality garment factories in central Scotland to provide cycle clothing however it quickly became apparent that general purpose garment factories lacked the specialist knowledge and equipment to manufacture performance cycle clothing and so Endura began manufacturing all of its own clothing in 1993 and has increased its in-house manufacturing of technical cycle clothing year on year right up to the present time.
Originally developed to deal with the rightly famous Scottish weather, our products were hardy, functional, rider driven, and generally dark in colour. As riders around the world gradually discovered the great performance of our products, often being introduced by travelling Brits, who acted as “Endura Evangelists”, this fuelled by our growth around the world. With the constant demands of these new customers from warmer climates, we responded with the addition of brighter colours, lighter fabrics and warm weather specific pieces.
Endura has grown to become the largest brand of cycle clothing in the UK and now has established or pending distributors around Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Canada, and the Far East with a range that spans MTB, road and commuter clothing.
TNI: Lets talk fabrics and function. This MTR Windproof Jersey we have on review is quite a nice bit of gear, not just due to the way it is made, but also what it is made from. We are seeing more fabrics being used in technical clothing that are soft, supple, thin, block wind and/or rain, and do not look like we are wrapped in waxed cotton or plastic. As an outdoors focused athlete, I am stoked to be benefiting from this technology! How are these allowing Endura to develop better gear for folks like me?
Endura: Exactly as you say. We are continually seeking out new fabrics and new ways to use existing ones to develop better riding apparel. With that MTR piece, we worked with 3 time Olympian, multiple British Champion, UK MTB Hall of Fame inductee and all round nice guy, Oli Beckinsale, to create a line that reflected the kit he wanted to ride in. Optimised for the demands of the fast rolling XC rider, they are light, functional and often conceal a hidden “superpower”. The windproof jerseys are as light and breathable as a race jersey but keep the chill off on long descents and cold early morning rides. The Bibshort/ Baggy set up combines the advantages of bibs with those of a slim, light and fast baggy, and holds them together using directional “cats -tongue” like panels in the rear. Use them together or separately.
These new soft, supple, thin fabrics which you refer to enable us to create great fitting, lightweight cycle-specific clothing which meets the demands of the rider and his or her riding position as well as the climate he/she is riding in. Overall, all these new technologies in performance bikewear benefit the cyclist, from the fit to body climate, weather protection, and practical details.
NOTE: The MTR jersey was provided at no cost to twentynineinches.com We were not paid or bribed and we gave our honest opinions of this product.