If you're going to invest in quality cold-weather cycling outerwear, then you can't go wrong with the Endura MT500 Freezing point jacket. Forged in Scotland's harsh and often relentless climate, everything from the development, construction, and performance has been rigorously tested to withstand even the vilest hoolies. My winter riding season would have been much less favourable had it not been for this garment - and I can say that with confidence.
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Endura MT500 Freezing Point Jacket | Construction
It's not the first time we've seen the MT500 Freezing Point collection, but it is the first time the brand has released a women's fit, distinctive from its male/unisex counterpart by a more feminine cut. Helping to combat the icy cold hold of winter are PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation panels combined with stretchy thermal softshell fabric.
The PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation offers supreme warmth to weight ratio, retaining the ability to pack down small, repel water and offering unrestrictive movement, thanks to the 4-way stretch breathable fabrics. Hosting further attributes, the Freezing Point jacket used ripstop body panels for abrasion resistance and a PFC-Free, non-toxic, durable water repellent finish.
And if all that insulation and water-repellency is making you feel a little stuffy, then worry not because there are massive zipped vents under each arm to enable airflow for when things heat up. There are silicone tabs on each shoulder to add traction with backpack straps. Reflective detailing throughout the jacket aids with visibility, and there are front handwarmer pockets with a hidden internal pocket for stashing essentials.
The women's MT500 Freezing Point jacket is available in black or Paprika red and comes in a range of sizes from XS to XXL (32" to 43" chest).
Endura MT500 Freezing Point Jacket | Performance
To the touch, this jacket has an excellent quality feel to it. The insulation and multiple layers feel light; the inner panels of brushed materials are soft and located in strategic areas which are less likely to get hot and sweaty, like the inside forearm, lower back and around the inside collar. For me, with an approximate chest size of 35", a size Small fitted very well overall, leaving some room to layer underneath if needed.
I've worn this jacket on some pretty chilly rides over winter, where the thermometer just teased above freezing point. I can confidently say that I've not come across a more suitable riding jacket for warmth. The insulation does a fantastic job of keeping body heat in and staving off the effects of the biting cold, even icy winds. The full-length zip comes up high to the chin, so your neck is well protected from draught, further keeping heat inside.
If you're wondering about overheating and ventilation, which will happen if you're putting the effort in, then that's where the mahoosive underarm vents come into their own. Measuring approximately 40cm in length on my small-sized jacket, the vents have double-ended zips so you can access them from either the top or the bottom. Their location and size are ideal for remaining open when adopting the riding position, providing an instant escape channel for hot air to expel and cool air to enter. And, of course, if you require even more ventilation, undoing the main body zip hastens airflow.
As I thought that this jacket was just too good to be true, I jinxed my luck—the hood. The hood just would not/could not fit over my helmet at all. Not only was the hood too small to fit over my Fox Speedframe Pro, but to even come close, I had to perform what I can only describe as chin-yoga, not far off full dislocation, which still failed. Now, I know that hoods on riding jackets are a point of contention for some; if you're going to install a fixed hood, it should be able to fit over helmets, and it should have the means to stow away when not in use. Neither is the case for the MT500 Freezing Point jacket. For the post-ride or sneaky casual jaunt outdoors, the hood just about comfortably fits over my head without any headwear and measuring at a very average 56cm circumference; I wouldn't say I have a giant cow-head. Although, because the hood is too small, it doesn't feel like you're being stalked by an empty carrier bag as you ride, so that's good.
As it's not marketed as waterproof, I didn't test it as such. However, the PFC-Free, non-toxic, durable water repellent finish did a great job of beading splash, spray and light drizzle.
Despite the tumultuous weather, brushes with foliage and the rigours of the washing machine, the MT500 Freezing Point jacket is still looking sharp. I'm impressed by the quality of its construction. Endura's attention to detail on areas like the semi-elasticated cuffs, which comfortable enclose the wrists. Even the discreet waist adjusting toggles are stealth within the front pockets, which I like too. For additional brownie points, the subtle and understated design allows you to get away with wearing this jacket off the bike too.
Endura MT500 Freezing Point Jacket | Value & Verdict
The Endura MT500 Freezing Point jacket is priced at £160, and it's somewhat in a unique market position by heavily focussing on warmth and insulation. Many winter mountain bike jackets have water and/or wind protection at the forefront of the design, but this isn't the case with the MT500 Freezing Point.
Compared to other similar(ish) winter-focussed jackets on the market, there's the Fox Ranger Windbloc Fire Jacket at £220. It doesn't have a hood but does use Polartec® Windbloc® fabrics for wind protection and warmth. Without testing this Fox jacket, it's impossible to say whether it's worth the additional £60 over the Endura jacket.
At the other end of the scale, there's the Polaris Tor Insulated Jacket at £80. It doesn't offer the same high level of insulation as Endura, but it is a jacket geared towards cold-weather riding by using Synthetic insulation panels to keep in the heat.
Overall, I've been really impressed by Endura's MT500 Freezing Point Jacket. The fit is great, the construction and quality are top-notch, and it has done wonders for keeping me warm on winter rides - dare I say, knowing I have a warm jacket even encouraged me to get out on cold days. The whole hood situation is perhaps the only flaw of this otherwise great garment. While I don't often wear a hood while actually riding my bike, I do use a hood when I stop and have a snack break to keep the warmth in.