Taped seams and storm flaps at every opening mean you aren’t likely to get wet no matter how hard the rain comes down. It’s more capable in the cold than you might expect but you will still want to add layers when its chilly
- - Hood fits a helmet.
- - Completely waterproof.
- - Packs into the chest pocket.
- - No rear pockets.
- - Single direction zipper.
Of all the disciplines, it's gravel cycling that suffers most when it comes to the lack of dedicated clobber but Endura is looking to solve this issue. The Scottish brand's new GV500 Gravel Jacket is a genuine contender for our list of the best waterproof cycling jackets, but can it cope with the harsh terrain and often mercurial weather conditions that come with the northern hemisphere gravel riding? Keep reading to see how the new GV500 might fit into your wet-weather line-up.
Design and aesthetics
The GV500 starts from a base of the Endura ExoShell40 three-Layer waterproof fabric in a fully seam-sealed construction. Exoshell40 is a three-layer design weighing in at a very light 70gsm. Sandwiched between two facing layers is an ultrafine, fluorine-free membrane. There is a PFC-free DWR (durable water repellent) in use but the primary mechanic is a membrane that works mechanically. The holes in it are big enough to let water vapour out and too small to let water droplets in. It's a similar strategy to brands such as Gore Wear or Assos. It's also the same fabric that Endura uses across a wide range of its garments.
To the touch, the fabric feels like a classic rain shell but there's no stretch to the material. Unlike many similar rain jackets, the material doesn't feel like plastic but is rather quite soft to the touch. The other difference between rain shells of the past is just how thin and lightweight the ExoShell40 is in this application. With the taped seams and storm flap over the zipper, it does not leak and, no matter how intense the rain might be, water will not get through the material.
Stylistically, this is a gravel-focused garment. There are little details all over that speak to the intended use and many of those features leak into style differences as well. Instead of stretch panels to take up the slack, there's elastic on the hems. The cut is still pretty slim but looser than a road-focused garment.
Instead of a tall collar, there's a hood that has more than enough space to pull over a helmet. To take up any slack there's an adjuster in the rear that pulls the hood back in two directions. Then, where the collar would normally sit, you'll find a panel of very low-pile fleece. This isn't going to significantly add warmth but it makes for a nice feel and adds a little structure to the base of the hood.
At the shoulders, there's a reflective bit in the front and silicone strips on the top. There are no rear pockets or access to jersey pockets, but the silicone that shows up here pairs well with the straps on a hydration pack. They also add a subtle bit of visual interest when used without shoulder straps.
I enjoy looking the part when I switch bikes. Riding a race-focused aero road bike with a tight spandex kit makes a lot of sense. It feels a bit odd when you take that same kit and move it to a gravel bike with walkable shoes. There are also functional differences between the two bikes and disciplines. With the GV500, Endura has not just nailed the styling cues but also tailored the function.
The hood is not something you see on road-focused jackets but there are fit differences here, too. Gravel bikes are more upright so the GV500 makes small changes that work better for that posture. Instead of a long drop tail, the tail of the GV500 is shorter with elastic to keep it wrapped under the low back above the saddle. Then the arms are shorter to reflect a less aggressive bend and they overlap a bit more on top and a bit less on the bottom of the wrist.
Sure, there are road-focused jackets that are similar. Some even have similar fabrics but the GV500 is more comfortable and works better when paired with a gravel bike. The small details add up to a product tailored for a different use. One of the ways that plays out is on the chest pocket on this jacket, which works as a stuff sack. The stuff-sack design is there to help it fit in a bikepacking setup. There's even a mesh backing so it can breathe while stowed.
The way I've spent most of my time with the GV500 is on shorter gravel rides when I need a bit of warmth and want to match the style of the ride I'm doing. Matched up with the gravel-specific clothing it just feels right. The large tooth, plastic, zipper is also a big improvement compared to older Endura designs.
The GV500 works equally well to stop wind as it does rain. There are softshell jackets that would work in this temperature range and would even vent a little better but the hardshell GV500 is a better off-road option and does well in heavy rain, too. It also packs in a way a softshell could never match.
Gravel-specific tailoring and style make it a good choice when you pair it with a gravel bike. The stuff-sack pocket design is hard to fit in a jersey pocket but makes for an easy-to-pack item on a bikepacking trip.
Tech Specs: Endura GV500 gravel jacket
- Materials: 100% Nylon (Endura ExoShell40)
- Size availability: XS-XXXL
- Colour Options: Paprika, Olive Green, Black
- Price: $199.99/£159.99
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