Durable, breathable, visible, but a bit too expensive
Great dropped tail
Tight across the shoulders
10,000mm hydrostatic head isn't much for the price
Cuffs are breezy
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The lurid yellow waterproof jacket is a staple of the commuting scene. Long relied upon by transitory cyclists in the hope that it’ll help drivers notice them, they cry out that the wearer is a practical person, putting function above form. The Endura Pro SL Waterproof Shell Jacket does its level best to elevate the humble yellow jacket to something more desirable, and for the most part it manages it.
The Pro SL jacket, to foreshorten its name, is definitely worthy of a spot in our guide to the best waterproof cycling jackets, and while it does also come in black, I think the high-vis option is the one you should go for. To me, this is a jacket for someone who commutes in the week at a fair lick, but is happy to use the same jacket for a rainy Sunday club ride too.
Let’s dig into what I like and don’t like then, and you can find out if it’s worth the £200 asking price, and whether it matches up to its competitors.
Design and aesthetics
The problem comes initially, as is the case with any jacket of this colour, with the fact that the initial assumption is that it’s just a cheap bin bag. To dispel those thoughts immediately, it very much is not the case here; this absolutely isn’t some Aldi middle-aisle jacket that’s about as much use as swimming trunks would have been to Shackleton.
At the heart of every waterproof jacket is the waterproof membrane (if you’re not sure how those work, read my guide to waterproof fabrics). The Pro SL jacket uses Endura’s own ‘Exoshell 60 SL’, which offers up 60,000 gm/m2/24hr of breathability, and a 10,000mm hydrostatic head. What this means in more understandable terms is that this is a pretty breathable jacket, but is half as waterproof as something like the Pertex Shield membrane used in the Albion All-Road jacket. It’s gravelly sister jacket, the Endura GV500 Waterproof Jacket, uses a slightly less breathable Exoshell 40, revealing that Endura is pitching this to higher tempo, higher effort riding.
The cut is classic road jacket, with a good sized dropped tail that's not as long and flappy as the dhb Aeron, but not as short as the Albion All Road. Genuinely a goldilocks feature in my eyes, bolstered by a tightly elasticated hem at the rear. There’s no way to cinch, but it grips the posterior well enough that air ingress from below isn’t an issue. There is also a double ended waterproof zip, a must-have feature for any jacket worth its salt nowadays, so you can access your jersey pockets with ease. It’s a little stiffer than some, but sizeable and durable.
Across the shoulders I found the same issue as I had with the GV500, in that it was a little too tight under the armpits, which becomes more apparent the more aggressive your riding position is. Fortunately the material has some stretch, but it’s a bit of a minus point for comfort; I’m a relatively slim man, so if you’re broad-shouldered you may want to size up.
As a lanky lad, I often spend my time riding around with exposed wrists, but that isn’t the case here. The arms are the perfect length for me. What’s more, the back of the hands get extra coverage from a large flap. The downside to the cuffs though is that there’s no way to cinch them, and the elastic is such that it can accommodate large gloves, meaning they get quite airy. The finish on one of the cuffs too was left a little wanting.
Up top the neck is roomy enough, and fleece lined. Personally I prefer my neck lining to be the same material as the exterior face fabric, so that it doesn’t hold water, but when dry and in use as a windbreaker it’s certainly more cosy. The flip side is that it takes longer to dry, meaning cold water is held against your neck long after it stops raining.
Finally, theres an odd hip pocket on the left side. I’ve never seen this before, and to be honest I don’t know what it’s for. It can hold a banana, and a gopro, but given it is outside the protection of the membrane it’s only good for things that are waterproof themselves (gels, bars etc). There is also a rather handy elastic loop inside to help keep it together when rolled up for stowage.
If you’re a sweaty person this is going to be right up your street. I took this out in some heavy rain, but on a day where I was still only in a pair of winter cycling shorts. No long legs, and riding at a fair tempo. It’s impressively lacking in that undesirable bin-bag feeling.
It is also capable of shrugging off the downpours, and doesn’t suffer any water ingress beyond what is accepted as seepage at the cuffs, neck, and hem - this happens to all jackets with enough exposure. I can accept the elasticated, no cinch waist, but having wrists that cannot be tightened definitely increases the risk of getting cold hands if you suffer from them easily. Fortunately I do not, but it’s something to consider.
The times I’ve really found this jacket comes into its own are on those windy, squally days. Heavy showers one minute, blue skies the next. Strong winds, road spray. The days where you’d ordinarily consider taking the jacket off and stowing it in a pocket, only to fish it out again ten minutes later when the weather changes aren’t an issue here; that’s the breathability coming into effect. It feels for a lot of the time like a waterproof wind jacket.
For riding in endless rain the cuffs, and also the fleecy neck are a turn-off for me. That and the rustling. Compared to the face fabric used in the Albion Zoa Rain Shell and the All Road jacket from the same brand this is rather a noisy affair, though it does at least feel durable enough to stand up to the rigours of a commuter lifestyle.
This brings me right back round to the colour. There’s a reason some cyclists love a highly visible jacket; some drivers are careless ba****ds! I’ve had a few run-ins recently and I must say that the days I’ve gone out with this one versus a less visible option I have felt a little safer, and that is worth something. Given it’s great in changeable climates as you can leave it on, and it’s highly visible, it also makes it great for a commute, where you’re probably unlikely to take it off mid-ride if the weather changes. It is breathable enough to double up as a wind jacket, and is perfectly protective enough for a club ride in the wet too, if you can look past the commuter connotations.
Here’s where things don’t necessarily add up. This is a £200 jacket, putting it in the same price bracket as the Albion All Road, which has adjustable cuffs, a chest pocket, no fleecy neck, fits better at the shoulders, and isn’t nearly so rustly.
If you’re after a one-garment solution to commuting and road riding in the rain then I think this is an excellent choice thanks to the added visibility, but on its own as a jacket for road riding it’s a little too expensive for what it offers. In short, it’s a bit basic for the price. The GV500, though admittedly made of a less breathable membrane, comes in £35 cheaper and boasts a hood and a chest pocket.
If you can find the Pro SL on sale for around that price it starts to make a bit more sense. It’s definitely a better performer than the budget Rapha Core Rain Jacket II, but it’s not quite ready to mix it with the premium offerings that it’s priced against.
The short version is that it feels a little basic for the price. It’s extremely breathable, and will definitely keep you dry in a downpour, but its hydrostatic head figure and the lack of cinch-able cuffs especially makes it feel a little less protective in really bad weather.
It’s a perfect option for someone wanting a jacket for the commute and the club run in one go, but if you’re just after something for long days in the rain for £200 then there are slightly better options out there, unless visibility on the road is the overarching theme of your wardrobe desires.
|Fit||Great arm length and cut well, except the tightness at the||8/10|
|Protection||The hydrostatic head and the open cuffs mean it isn't as hardy in a deluge as similarly priced options||7/10|
|Features||The fleece collar may appeal to some, as will the reflective arm patches, but the lack of adjustability at the hem and cuffs marks it down||7/10|
|Breathability||It really is very breathable||9/10|
|Value||For the price there are better options, unless visibility is a key factor for you||7/10|
|Overall rating||Row 5 - Cell 1||76%|
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