Endura's MT500 Freezing Point Trousers have been totally redesigned. They now have waterproof panels and better waistband cinches. The best below-zero trousers just got better and are a solid bet when it comes to the best MTB pants.
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Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers - Tech specifications
Moving to the Highlands five years back, purchasing a pair of seriously-warm trousers was essential to keep riding through the often sub-zero winters. The Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers were designed exactly for this purpose, and I’ve had three happy, warm winters of use out of my first pair. Not that they were perfect, mind - to get the right leg length for my 35in inseam I had to go for a Large, which was very baggy around my 35in waist. The elasticated velcro waist adjusters only worked so well, and for the last three winters, I’ve ridden with a pair of Husqvarna chainsaw trouser suspenders to keep them up. A bit of a faff, but a more-than-acceptable trade-off for many hours of sub-zero spiked-tyre ice biking.
This winter Endura has revamped the Freezing Point Trousers. The easiest way to tell the old from the new is the fastening at the fly. The old model has a single large button, the new model uses two poppers.
There’s new fabric all over, treated with a ‘durable non-toxic water repellent finish.’ Having been out for hours in conditions better suited to flippers and snorkel, I can attest that the coating works. Even down on the shins, with a near-continuous wash off the front wheel, the inside was dry. Not that these are waterproof trousers but they lack seam sealing. Don’t expect to go out in pouring rain and stay dry indefinitely - the Freezing Point use case is extreme cold/wind/snow, and a bit of rain.
The zips over the thigh mesh panel vents remain, but now open from the top down, not the bottom up, which makes more sense. A major improvement over the previous model is the waist cinch. The old model was a basic elasticated strap that you pulled from behind and stuck down on a fluffy Velcro patch. However, the adjustment had too much give in it and was hard to get right. The new band is a total rethink, now coming forward through a fixed loop on either side and then doubling back to secure itself. The balance of elasticity and length means I no longer need suspenders for the right leg length.
If you’re a returning customer, it's worth noting that the sizing has changed - the old L were (as measured laid flat) a 36in waist and 33in inseam - the new model M are exactly the same measurements. Endura’s size guide states Medium is 33-35in, which will likely be pretty baggy on people towards the smaller end of the range. Another new feature is being able to use a belt of your own (up to 35mm wide), as there are now loops to pass it through. Nice.
Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers - Performance
Inside, the waistband are four attachment points for Endura’s ‘Clickfast’ range of liner shorts - the idea being that the liner and outer shorts act as a single unit, staying up and aligned. I get the point of this system for summer riding where you won’t want to tuck a shirt in. But for winter, you’ll almost certainly be wanting to tuck in a base layer to keep the chill out - and tucking a base layer into your padded shorts is just weird (for me).
The hand pockets at the front haven’t changed - pretty much horizontal zips, pull tabs easily gripped with thick gloves and fine for storing a large phone. At the ankle cuff, there’s plenty of room to have the unzipped trousers over the top of some serious winter boots like the 45NTRH Wolvhammers or you can do them up to get a snug ankle fit in normal shoes.
The Freezing Point Trousers aren’t cut to wear kneepads underneath, so if you’re looking to do serious riding in extreme cold you might need to go for another solution. Endura has a pair of below-the-knee-length shorts in the Freezing Point range with the same insulation and tech features, which would be best suited to people needing kneepad protection in cold weather. Paired with a thermal knicker bib and a decent knee-length waterproof sock, you’d be warm and dry in the worst conditions.
The coldest I’ve ridden the old Freezing Point trousers in was -13 degrees C with another ten degrees off for wind chill at least. With some thermal knee-length bibs underneath I was toasty warm, even on an eMTB where trying to keep sweat down and stay upright on sheet ice (spiked tyres) I was pretty easy on the effort. Given how badly I feel the cold, the Primaloft Gold insulation around the thighs and kidneys does a great job of retaining heat whilst the thigh vents work well if things warm up.
I’ve had the new model out in minus five plus wind chill and they feel just as effective, so no concerns there. These are still an awesome choice for extreme cold weather cycling, on or off road. You can blat about in weather hovering around or below freezing with just a thin liner short underneath no worries.
Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers - Verdict
The only other pair of insulated cycling trousers I could find to compare were the £100 Pedaled Odyssey Insulated Pants, which look more suited to bikepacking and likely pack up smaller. They lack thigh vents, an adjustable waistband, or belt loops, and only claim to be ‘rain resistant.’ So the Freezing Points win on a number of fronts, if not price or weight/bulk.
As mentioned, the Freezing Point cut might not be right for you according to the size chart but Endura offers a 90-day ‘Satisfaction Guarantee’ for the MT500 line, during which you can return the clean, dry (but yes, used) garment for exchange or refund. You’re limited to one such exchange per calendar year, which is fair enough. Of course, you can always return an unused garment if it arrives and is immediately detectable as the wrong size.
In addition, should you damage them in a crash or rip them on vegetation, Endura offers a £15 flat-rate repair policy for the life of the garment.
Here in the Scottish Highlands, we can have weeks or months of close-to or sub-zero temperatures. Having trousers that can be worn with a normal bib or liner short, in all but the heaviest of rain and through unlimited puddles, is a game-changer for the cyclist’s wardrobe and washing machine. The alternative to the Freezing Point trousers for me would be thermal tights and waterproof trousers - which often means no ability to open a vent if it does get warmer (although Endura’s MT500 Waterproof Trousers do feature such a zip vent).
My first winter’s riding was this tight and waterproof combo - and the additional faff of three layers (liner shorts, tights, waterproofs) was just that - a faff. And having three layers often meant a slippy feeling on the saddle. Also as things warmed up, temperature regulation became an issue. Yes, I own thermal bib tights with pad - but then you’re washing an enormous, expensive garment after every ride - not a cheap liner short.
Being Scotland, I jetwash my bikes after every outing - and yes, it's an urban myth that sensible jetwashing kills bearings/e-bike motors. The Freezing Points respond just fine to a dialled back squirt on the lower legs to remove the worst of the detritus, allowing them to be hung up immediately in the laundry ready to be dry the next day for another ride.
All in all, I highly rate the Endura MT500 Freezing Point Trousers. They make riding in properly-arctic conditions enjoyable, practical, comfortable, and faff-free. Just watch the sizing.