Endura MT500 Spray Short II Women's Review
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Endura MT500 Spray Short II Women's
|Price||$119.99 at Evo|
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|$54.96 at Backcountry|
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|$34.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Weather and water resistant, comfortable, flattering cut||Lightweight, durable, great pockets, comfortable||Lightweight, four-way stretch, excellent fit, breathable, super comfortable||Stylish patterns, comfortable, protective, good pockets||Lightweight, breathable, many pockets, affordable|
|Cons||Bulky waistband with velcro tabs, too warm for hot days||Expensive||Not as protective for burly terrain, openings in pockets make them less secure||Sizing is tricky||Not water resistant, runs large, velcro waist adjusters|
|Bottom Line||A technical short that provides protection from wet trails and is also really comfortable||One of the most comfortable mountain bike shorts out there, with 4-way stretch and a uniquely low-profile waistband||One of the best fitting shorts we have ever tested, with a minimalist design, lightweight, and a high level of comfort||A good looking and versatile pair of shorts that doesn't slouch on the details||A very functional pair of mountain bike shorts that are lightweight and super affordable|
|Rating Categories||Endura MT500 Spray...||Rapha Trail Shorts...||Patagonia Dirt Roamer||Wild Rye Freel||Zoic Navaeh|
|Fit and Comfort (30%)|
|Pedal Friendliness (30%)|
|Specs||Endura MT500 Spray...||Rapha Trail Shorts...||Patagonia Dirt Roamer||Wild Rye Freel||Zoic Navaeh|
|Shell Fabric||4-way stretch nylon front panels with DWR finish, waterproof 3-layer rear panels||Bluesign and Oeko-Tex certified, 88% Nylon, 12% Elastane||90-denier 86% recycled polyester/14% spandex with 4-way stretch and a DWR finish||Nylon||86% polyester, 14% spandex|
|Lining Main Fabric||None||None||None||None||None|
|Inseam Measurement||13.5 in||13.5 in||12.5 in||12 in||11 in|
|Number of pockets||2||4||2||3||4|
Our Analysis and Test Results
As fantastic as it is to ride bikes in perfect weather on perfectly dry trails, the truth is, not every day is like that. If you want to ride your bike more days, especially if you live in a place with rain, mud, snowmelt, or unpredictable weather, you may want a pair of shorts that offers more protection. While some weatherproof shorts can sacrifice breathability and comfort, the Endura MT500 Spray Short II is a hybrid short that is water-resistant on the front, waterproof on the back, and absolutely comfortable to ride in. The MT500 is our top choice for riding in iffy weather or on soggy trails.
Fit and Comfort
The Endura MT500 is available in five sizes, from XS to XL and we found them to fit true to size. As is to be expected with a short meant for muddy or wet conditions, it has a longer inseam for additional protection. The front is 13 1/2 inches and shaped to accommodate knee pads, while the back is 12 inches, offering coverage without adding extra fabric behind the knees.
The rear of the waistband is cut high to offer additional protection from mud and spray, and silicone striping inside ensures that it will not slip down while riding. Depending on the size and bulk of your backside, you may or may not fill all that fabric. Full-figured riders will have a comfortable fit and others may have a less flattering look. Because this is all well above the waist and covered by top layers, it is unlikely to be an issue. Waist adjustment is done with velcro tabs that are on the back of the shorts and do not extend around the sides. This means that if you do need to cinch them in for a smaller waist, you’ll likely end up with bunched up fabric on your lower back. We found the waist size to be fine without adjustment, but this is something to keep in mind. While we don’t typically recommend riding with a belt since it can soak up more sweat, there are belt loops on this waistband, providing options for getting a perfect fit.
The shorts are made of two different materials — a 4-way stretch polyester in the front and a 2-way stretch polyester in the back. Despite this, the shorts don’t feel stiff or unbalanced. We found them to be comfortable and flexible in all the right ways. The cut of the legs has a slight taper which is flattering and the leg cuff is welded rather than sewn, allowing for extra stretch at the bottom of the leg opening.
We tested these shorts in early spring when the temperatures in Central Oregon can swing as much as 60 degrees within one day. On colder days, it was great to have beefier fabric to keep the chill off. However, even when it was as warm as 65 F they were breathable enough to stay comfortable. That being said, the MT500 is not intended to be a warm-weather short and we wouldn’t pick them for summer rides unless we were heading into higher mountains.
The MT500 is packed with details that make these shorts a high-performing winner. The front is constructed of four-way stretch nylon that moves easily while pedaling. Being able to pedal, bend, and climb without restriction is key to riding your best. The back is made of burly waterproof nylon that still incorporates 2-way stretch for all-around movement. Extra bonus — Endura uses environmentally friendly PFC-free water repellent finishes.
The welded seams on the leg cuffs ensured flex around this part of the thigh while sliding effortlessly over knee pads. This keeps the legs from creeping up and binding in the thigh creases or creating a gap between the pads and shorts.
With its hybrid materials and full coverage, the MT500 Spray Short II is built for protection from water and grit and delivers on the promise. The back half is made of waterproof 3-layer nylon with a reinforced seat for extra protection. If you’ve ever ridden with a soggy chamois, you will appreciate this detail to keep your backside well protected. The front of the short is coated with DWR for water resistance and is burly enough to handle tree branches, rocks, and other pokey things that a trail may offer up. If sand or dirt gets kicked up in front of you, it easily wipes off.
A really nice touch is the shape of the knees. The front of the legs is 1 1/2 inches longer than the back. If you are wearing knee pads, this makes a seamless connection. If you are without pads, it acts as a hood over the knee cap and helps to keep grit from flying up the leg.
Fortunately, we didn’t have any crashes during our test to fully verify the durability of the materials. After scraping against brush and rock walls without any pulls, tears, or abrasions to the fabric, however, we feel pretty confident that the MT500 is up for almost anything.
While we love almost everything about the MT500 the pockets are the one feature that could be improved. The two zippered pockets are perfectly placed for hand-warming, but as they are on the front of the leg anything you put in them ends up getting in the way. The inside of the pocket is not tacked down and heavier objects can feel like they are swinging around. While the pockets are big enough to hold a phone and larger snacks, we do not recommend riding with anything that large in them. Smaller items, such as lip balm or a key fob, however, may be carried without interfering with pedal strokes and can be kept secure with the zippers.
The MT500 might look out of place in the pub, but this model has lots of details that help it look great on a bike. The two-tone color scheme is eye-catching without being gaudy. Even the hi-vis logo on the “cocoa” color we tested seems sporty. The MT500 also comes in black if you want to keep it simple.
The waistband is on the bulky side and if the velcro tabs have to be cinched down for a great fit, the bunched fabric isn’t a great look for anyone. However, because these are most likely going to be worn in cooler temps with layers on top, this seems forgivable given the extra protection the waistband offers from splashed mud.
While this short is designed to be highly technical, we found that details that increased performance also added to the style. The taper of the leg keeps out dirt, pairs well with knee pads, and is also a flattering cut. The curved shape of the fabric over the zipper keeps grit out of the zipper but also adds some flair. We found these shorts to be comfortable, sporty, and surprisingly flattering considering how burly they are.
Priced at the higher end of the range of the shorts in this test, the MT500 Spray Short II justifies this cost with the technical fabrics and high-performing protection. Combining that with comfort and the ability to stay dry in less than ideal riding conditions feels well worth it. Not every mountain biker will need a highly technical and protective short, but for riders in rainy climates, this can make the difference between riding and not riding.
Mountain bikers who primarily ride in damp or variable conditions will fall hard for the MT500 Spray Short. Riders who like to extend their season will also see the benefits of having shorts that keep the wet out, which is why we picked this as our favorite for inclement weather. However, as a highly protective and comfortable short, we like the model for any kind of technical riding.
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