Endura MT500 Spray Shorts Review
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Endura MT500 Spray Shorts
|Price||$119.99 at Evo|
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|$175 List||$69.99 at Backcountry|
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|$59.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Water-resistant seat panel, robust construction, welded hems||Lightweight, ventilated, articulated fit, quality construction, thoughtful design||Trim and clean fit, quality chamois, pedal-friendly||Great ventilation, low-pro waist adjustment, welded leg openings||Clean style, reasonable price, pedal-friendly|
|Cons||Leg opening rides up, a little baggy in the seat, stiffer material||Expensive, short inseam||A little heavy, below average ventilation||Small pockets, lightweight material may not be the most durable, asymmetrical waist adjustment||Deep pockets allow contents to flop around while riding|
|Bottom Line||These burly shorts are for those that favor weather resistance and durability over comfort and style||They are expensive, but Kitsbow's quality construction, attention to detail, and high performance design can't be beat||A trim pair of trail riding shorts that deliver exceptional comfort and pedal-friendliness but don't breathe particularly well||This lightweight, highly breathable trail short is a great choice for cranking out the miles on hot days||Highly functional trail-riding shorts that offer clean styling and a great in-saddle feel|
|Rating Categories||Endura MT500 Spray...||Kitsbow Mescal Vent...||Troy Lee Designs Sk...||Pearl Izumi Summit...||Specialized Trail S...|
|Fit and Pedal Friendliness (20%)|
|Specs||Endura MT500 Spray...||Kitsbow Mescal Vent...||Troy Lee Designs Sk...||Pearl Izumi Summit...||Specialized Trail S...|
|Shell Fabric||4-way stretch front panels with DWR, waterproof 3-layer rear panels||4-way stretch softshell, mesh vent panels||95% Coolmax polyester, 5% Lycra||87% recycled polyester, 13% spandex||VaporRize woven fabric|
|Removable Inner Short?||No||No||Yes||No (can be purchased with liner)||No (can purchase with liner)|
|Lining Main Fabric||None||None||AIR COMP||None||None|
|Chamois||None, but compatible with Endura Clickfast™ liners (sold separately)||None||TMF 4-hour||None||None|
|Inseam Measurement (inches)||13.5||12.5||12.5||12.5||13.5|
|Number of pockets||2||2||2||2||2|
|Weight (grams)||262 grams||261 grams||244 grams||165 grams||224 grams|
|Weight (ounces)||9.25 oz||9.2 oz||8.6 oz||5.85 oz||7.9 oz|
|Weight Liner||N/a||N/a||4.3 oz||N/a||N/a|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The MT500 has a heavy-duty design suggestive of a gravity bike short but is cut to be more pedal-focused. These shorts are constructed of robust materials and industrial stitching. The MT500 waterproof seat and water-repellant coating make them a good fit for shoulder season rides and inclement weather. The burly, 4-way stretch material offers significant protection that promises not to disintegrate when they grate over rocks, roots, and coarse dirt. That said, these shorts didn't fit our testers well. Particularly annoying were the tapered leg openings that rode up a bit when pedaling. The shorts also have a busy waist that may cause comfort issues on longer rides.
Much work has gone into bike shorts that make them more comfortable in the saddle. Specifically, waist design, cut, and fabrics contribute to a much nicer peddling experience. The MT500 was not the most comfortable short that we tested in this review, but it wasn't what we'd describe as uncomfortable either. Our main concern with this short is that the leg openings are pegged – meaning that there is a stitch right above the opening that tapers the leg. This design caused a riding-up effect for testers with larger quads. The tightly fitting leg opening combined with the stiff, heavy-weight 4-way stretch fabric created a rough contact point that could be distracting, particularly on longer rides.
The waistband of the MT500 is a busy place. The features built-in to the waist will be discussed in detail in the features metric but suffice it to say that the belt loops, Velcro adjustment straps, grip strips, double snap closure, and rubber branding tag at the small of the back start to feel like you're wearing a utility belt. Yet, the waist is articulated and lined with microfiber, which does much to mitigate the discomfort that cluttering this area produces.
The position, depth, and shape of pockets on a pair of riding shorts contribute to comfort, particularly if you want to carry a phone on your person. The unsecured mesh pockets on the MT500 are relatively small and placed on the front of the thigh. This design allows items to shift while simultaneously pushing them uncomfortably against the leg, making objects a little harder to extract when needed.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The MT500 is a blend of gravity-focused materials and styling cut into a trail short design. The short is articulated in the waist and the leg openings to prevent tensioning and grabbing as the legs pump out pedal strokes. However, the cut of the legs did not fit rider's bodies that had larger quads despite fitting nicely in the waist. As it was, some rubbing on the thigh occurred when pedaling. Despite having a 13½ inch inseam, these shorts felt much shorter and, when in the saddle, climbed up higher than some shorts with shorter inseams. As such, we recommend that riders size up these shorts as they have a good adjustment system in the waist.
While the MT500 has a trim fit and an easily adjusted waist, the seat of these shorts is a bit baggy. We would have preferred a more consistent fit overall. However, we must admit that the short comfortably accommodated a thickly padded chamois.
The features metric looks at short design details, including pockets, vents, and the waistband, to name just a few. The MT500 has no shortage of features, particularly in the waistband. The MT500 has grip strips at the small of the back to help keep the shorts in place when hunched over on steep climbs. The grip strips may be a bit overkill considering the dual Velcro adjustment tabs on the hips that make secure adjustments an easy pull-and-press procedure. Yet, the grip strips were not bothersome.
The pockets are closed with medium gauge YKK zippers, while the waist closure is secured with two snap buttons and a heavy gauge YKK zipper. The MT500 lacks ventilation, which isn't a huge deal since they are more of a shoulder season short best suited to cooler temps and wet weather. The seams around the seat are seam-taped to prevent water penetration with heavy tire spray, which supports such an appraisal.
While we ride the heck out of these shorts, the durability assessment largely relies on our careful assessment of the materials used, the type of stitching that ties the garment together, the zipper gauge, and of course, our years of experience with similar products. The MT500 is one of the burliest shorts we have tested, particularly so considering that it is cut to be more pedal-oriented. A common failure point on shorts is the waist closure. This short ensures that the wearer won't be left with their pants down as it has redundant double snap buttons and a heavy gauge zipper.
Stitching is also critical to the long-term survival of bike shorts. The MT500 uses double stitching on critical seams, and all seams are "serged" to prevent fraying. Going a step further, the leg seams are bar-tacked at the leg opening to prevent the seam from splitting. Finally, we experience no shrinking or fading after repeatedly washing these shorts.
While style is in the eye of the beholder, what we mean by style is whether the shorts look like riding shorts or if they could pass at a family barbeque. The answer to this question is no. These shorts are riding shorts. Even on trial, these shorts leave something to be desired as both legs have prominent branding and logos. Additionally, the tendency of these shorts to ride up when pedaling produces a surprisingly large pad gap — and that's not stylish at all. That said, the short comes in an array of colors including black (tested), bottle green, cayenne, electric blue, cocoa, and moss.
Shorts don't offer much protection in the event of a fall. However, the MT500's heavy-weight stretch nylon seems ready to stand up to some rough treatment and help to prevent skin abrasion should you hit the deck.
Unfortunately, the short isn't very long and tends to ride up, so be advised that a good pair of knee pads will go a long way if you like to feather the edge of control.
Should You Buy the Endura MT500 Spray Shorts?
If you are looking for a heavy-duty pair of trail shorts that will go the distance, these are a great option. If you live in a wet climate or often find yourself riding in the shoulder seasons when you might encounter mud or puddles, the waterproof seat and weather resistance of these shorts could be just what you need. Keep in mind that we had some fit issues with these, so consider sizing up or ordering a couple of different sizes before making up your mind.
What Other Mountain Bike Shorts Should You Consider?
If you are looking for a more stylish or pedal-friendly short, consider the Troy Lee Designs Skyline. This short is great when hammering in the saddle and looks good off-trail as well. If comfort is your chief concern, have a look at the Patagonia Dirt Roamer. We were amazed by the thoughtful, minimalist design and remarkable mobility of these lightweight shorts.
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