Endura’s GV500 is a simple no-frills packable waterproof jacket for gravel adventures and everyday use on the bike. It features a large chest pocket and an over-the-helmet hood for when it’s really tipping down. It’s available in three colours but does it offer enough to make it one of the best waterproof cycling jackets for gravel?
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Endura GV500 Waterproof jacket – Technical Details
The GV500 waterproof jacket is part of Endura’s gravel lineup and is designed to survive the demands of gravel and adventure riding getting repeatedly stuffed in and out of a frame bag and pulled on and off in a hurry.
Endura says that the GV500 is manufactured using its ExoShell40 fabric, a three-layer fluorine-free membrane, ultrafine laminate and an undisclosed moisture-transfer compound all bonded together to offer a claimed 40,000g/m²/24hr level of breathability and a waterproof rating of 20,000mm.
The GV500 Waterproof Jacket is designed as a minimalist packable jacket with no unnecessary features to add bulk, hence no hand pockets. It does have one large chest pocket that has a weatherproof zip semi-hidden behind a minimal storm flap. The pocket is, however, large enough for the biggest of mobile phones and could easily swallow much more. If your phone is not waterproof, bag it along with any travel docs you are carrying in there.
The pocket offers an added feature as well – as a storage pouch for the whole jacket complete with double-sided zip and contour line pattern. You could use it as a mini pillow or just to keep it from getting dirty amongst the rest of your kit.
The main zip is one of the newer, fatter large plastic-teeth versions that appear to be more weather resistant than the good old Aquaguard from YKK. It’s also protected by a decent 1-inch (2.25cm) storm flap with does a good job of keeping the weather out. It has no Velcro fastening and no studs at the bottom. It just relies on the design and cut of the jacket to hold the flap in place. There is also no zip garage up under the chin which is unusual although the cut here is high especially when you have the hood up over your helmet.
Inside the jacket, the 16mm taping is all very tidy and shows a high level of manufacturing quality especially in the hood and around the neck and shoulder areas where most of the water will be trying to seep in – especially if you are wearing a pack.
Where the jacket is most likely to rub around the collar, Endura has used a soft micro-fibre fabric to be more comfortable against your skin and to prevent abrasion to the tape welds in this crucial area. Just below this is a hanging loop which is good to see as many jackets don’t offer one.
Should you wish to wear a backpack while riding, the shoulder tops have silicone gripper patches to help prevent fabric wear and to keep your pack from shuffling over the smooth material. However, the use of a backpack completely covers the reflective detailing on the chest leaving only the back of the arm detail to keep you safe.
Endura GV500 Waterproof jacket – Performance
In use, the GV500 jacket is extremely lightweight and not at all fragile. It’s spent months being shoved in and out of backpacks and frame bags and worn through deluges to just plain drizzly rides home. Riding in the rain the jacket offers a good level of waterproof performance. It’s not as waterproof as the best level offered by the likes of GORE-TEX but it balances its waterproof credentials with an ability to breathe pretty well. It’s not outstanding but I’ve never found one that has been. It’s certainly better than many I have tried, some with greater breathability claims, plus it doesn’t cost the earth.
The hood is a bit of a question mark with this jacket and indeed any cycling jacket. What do you do with it when you don’t need it? I only resort to pulling the hood up and over the helmet as a very last resort, preferring the elements in my face in order to see and hear better. When not in use, I would like the hood to be either removable or roll up, roll into a collar or snap fit holder. The GV 500, being super minimalist, offers none of these options and just flaps furiously as you ride. Very annoying but not unique for cycling jackets with hoods hence I cannot be too unfair to Endura.
Should you opt for the hood up over your helmet, the single volume adjuster provides added security and fit control on my Met Trenta although the hood is a little snug around my throat and tight fitting on my chin, it does offer pretty good visibility and I never felt at risk in traffic.
I did struggle to fit it over a Lazer Genesis with the front zip all the way up, without ‘strangling’ myself. Leaving the zip undone a little resulted in it being whipped off as I passed about the 25-30 miles an hour mark. The only solution appeared to be having the jacket zipped to the very top with it pressing uncomfortably under my chin. This may be very different for you with your helmet and body shape.
Giving up on the hood over the helmet meant it buffeted around behind me until I used a rubber band to hold it together. It’s a bit of a conundrum as the jacket minus the hood is really rather good and my preferred jacket to stuff in my frame bag. The hood just needs a holder and a bit more adjustability to clamp it to your helmet. It stays up for most riding situations, just cinch it up tight before taking on fast descents.
The GV500 doesn’t offer a large tail drop like old-school racing capes, it assumes that if the weather is terrible you’ll pull on a pair of matching over-trousers or similar and keep your backside dry. The sleeves are of an excellent length bent over on the bike with slightly longer outside leading edges at the cuff to help cover the gap between your jacket and your hands. Oddly the cuffs are only half elastic with just the inside being stretchy. It mostly works but depending on your wrist size – mine are very small - the elastic could be a little tighter in this area to get a snugger seal with your gloves.
There is no adjustment at the waist of this jacket keeping up the minimalist approach and weight. It is a reasonably close-fitting design - for reference, I’m testing the medium (I weigh 82kg and measure 183cm in height).
GV500 jacket comes in three colours: Black, Olive Green, and Paprika. Black looks ninja super smart but invisible in everyday light whereas Paprika pops brilliantly if you intend to commute in it as well. The Olive green option would match the excellent GV500 Insulated jacket I reviewed earlier in the year and great for blending into the scenery. It’s worth pointing out that I can get the waterproof on top of the GV500 Insulated jacket quite easily with a long-sleeve top underneath for ultimate warmth and protection. All jackets only feature minimal reflective detailing as their primary focus is not commuting but exploring the great outdoors. Still, I think a little more reflectivity is never a bad thing.
The GV 500 Waterproof jacket is very well made with the simplest of features which means it’s extremely lightweight at 230g (medium) which, for £160, is respectable. It could do with a little more thought as to what to do with the hood when you are not using it and perhaps slightly more elastic at the cuff but the fit for me is close and non-flappy.
Avoiding heavier weight and looser cut mountain bike jackets like the excellent Endura MT500 and the Leatt DBX5 and sticking to lighter, slimmer options leads to searching our sister site road.cc for comparisons and it is not a simple job. Not many options have a hood and, those that do, are normally much more expensive like 7Mesh’s Skypilot at £300 but there is a pretty good crash replacement package should the worst happen.
The Gore Lupra Jacket is closer at £180 and scored highly and features an over-helmet hood and twin pockets but it’s not waterproof although it’s good enough for moderate showers. It weighs a bit more at 258g and costs a little more at £180. If you can live without the hood, the rather excellent Galibier Tourmalet 3 Jacket at 187g is worth stuffing in the frame bag or back pocket for only £68 although it has a sniff of road cape to its design – it works very well.
Endura GV500 Waterproof Jacket - Verdict
What all this research tells me is that the £160 Endura GV500 Waterproof jacket stands out and in a good way. It’s waterproof enough for most people and plenty breathable. It’s got a hood that fits over your helmet for long stints in the rain or just hanging out for latecomers on a Sunday ride. It has a decent-sized chest pocket for a phone and credit cards and it’s lightweight but not fragile. My only niggles are what to do with the hood when it’s not raining, and that hood might not stay up when you increase your speed.