Archive for May, 2012
I’ve always been a fan of Endura and having been kindly provided with some kit for our weekend photoshoot in the highlands, I thought I’d do a review. I like their products because quite simply, they work. They’re not flashy, just well designed with an understated look and quality that does what good cycling gear should – keep your body working when everything might be conspiring against it. Their kit usually seems fits my tall frame too, which has always been an additional bonus.
To give some background, Endura are Scottish based company (just round the corner from us in Livingston) and still making products in the UK. They also make a custom range where you can provide them with a design to give your club or team a fresh look on the road or trails within around 8 weeks – club committee decisions aside… So, on to the review.
Not much to say about these other than they fitted well with good padding around the bum and a decent hight in the body. Rather than a single moulded area of padding, it’s split into segments, which conforms neatly to your butt. The Lycra fabric is actually quite thin, so I’d probably only use them on a hot day in summer or under other cycling shorts or baggies during the rest of the year.
I believe that Endura started out by making the first loose fitting shorts for mountain biking and I suspect this is what keeps them making such quality baggy shorts. I wouldn’t wear baggies on the road, but on a longer cross-ride with a mix of trail and road, a bit of extra protection is useful – along with pockets. Detail wise, the waist adjusters are simple, holding everything in place and the magnetic pocket fasteners are functional simplicity with no Velcro or zips causing an obstruction on the move. The Velcro adjusters along the bottom hem also cinch down well for a more streamlined fit with no bunching mid-thigh. In short, I like them.
I suspect someone had Rapha in sight during the design of this jacket and I just love it. It could also be my new favourite piece of kit. The fit is good and trim, with plenty of length in the arms and back. I’m not sure what the material is, but it’s warm to the touch and has a soft feel next to the skin and although thin, keeps the wind-chill off pretty good. The collar length also feels right with the off centre zip adding to comfort around the neck – and the soft-touch fabric handles stubble growth well, resulting in no piling. The other nice touch is a small zip pocket by the rear pockets for keys or change. It’s lightweight nature also means it packs down well for fitting into a jersey pocket when it gets warm.
I’d heard some doubts expressed about Endura getting involved in making apparel that wasn’t specifically clothing, but if these glasses are anything to go by, I don’t see it being a problem. Key points are that they stay in place due to a good amount of rubber on the legs and the fit is such that the top part of the frame sits out of your line of sight. The lens quality appears tough with a finish that looks like it will stand up well to scratches, although only time will tell.
Singletrack II Gloves
Not totally convinced about these. They fit well and have good padding and grip which works good in the dry and wet on the road. However, when covered in mud, they’re a bit slimy and grip is reduced, although the finger grips are still ok for brakes and gear changes. The elastic cuff is also cut a bit high on the wrist for my taste and has no option for adjustment. The elasticated cuff also has an annoying inside seam that began rubbing uncomfortably after all day use, although for a few hours of riding it wouldn’t be a problem. They look well made though, so should last longer than just a few months when used regularly for mountain biking.
I liked these a lot. I’ve always worn wool socks for running and cycling and am a huge fan of Smartwool for comfort and durability (especially in the wet), but would happily swap them for these. I’m not sure how they’d stand up to abuse running in the hills, but they’re light and warm for use on the bike – which is what they’re designed for I guess. One thing I’ve noticed was a bit of piling in the heel, but that’s more due to my Spuik off-road shoes that have a rough fabric in the heel counter. Using another pair with my road shoes didn’t have the same outcome.
So all in all, I’m still impressed with Endura and I’d recommend checking out the Roubaix jacket for summer riding – or at least what passes for summer riding here in the UK at the moment.
If you’d followed our tweets over the weekend you’d be forgiven for being confused by the posts and pictures, but that happens when two people are posting separate ventures to the same account.
Plans for the weekend were mixed with Steven heading north on a cycling camping trip and me assisting a short film documentary about Shand by Bristol photographer / film director Jim Johnston and his assistant for the weekend Dan Norrish.
The photographic team headed to the highlands on Friday in search of dramatic locations and weather. We had a rough plan for where to go having poured over maps of our favourite locations the previous day after filming Steven in the workshop.
First stop was the Trossachs with some footage taken from the back of Jim’s van over Dukes pass with me following on a Stooshie, which was not dangerous in the slightest. No sir. Next up was some time spent messing about on single-track in Achray Forest then over to the Breadalbane mountains for an evening shot on the bealach to Glen Lyon. It was snowing when we got there, but like much of the weather in Scotland, it didn’t take long to change to an evening with stunning skies. It was still bloody cold though and meant wrapping up warm between takes.
Next day started with a return to the freezing bealach for sunrise, then after some singletrack along the riverbanks of Killin, we headed to Victoria Bridge and the Black Mount. The shots round here mostly consisted of the final scenes for the film, but we also managed some interesting shots in the woods and even bagged some unplanned footage of unusually curious red deer that had come off the hill to see what was going on.
All in all, the weekend was darn good fun. I got to put a Stooshie through its paces (and test some kit kindly provided by Endura) and Jim and Dan got a break from their usual photographic shoots by taking pictures of bikes in stunning surroundings. I can’t wait to see the results.