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The Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell is an exceptionally breathable, fully-fledged miserable-weather jacket with a host of features but no excess faff. It's a cracker.
Being based in Scotland, Endura should know a thing or two about keeping dry. That's not stereotyping – it rains a lot up there. And if you like riding a bike, fast, in the rain, below a certain temperature, you want a proper shell.
Modern design, fabrics and fabrication mean that even humble-priced garments can perform exceptionally well, so to stand out the technical features of a garment need to be spot on, and it's here where the FS260-Pro shines.
Endura has used a three-layer Exoshell40 fabric (in black or fluoro green) of amazing thinness and only 70g per square metre (for reference, even a thin merino baselayer is twice that). The fabric can apparently breathe 60 litres of moisture per square metre per day, and has a waterproofness measure of 18,000mm (meaning a tube of water 18m tall with a patch of the fabric over the bottom wouldn't seep through). The whole thing is fully tape-sealed – even around the small square stretchy panels near the hip. It's a masterclass in detailing.
We should all take technical marketing claims with a hefty pinch of the proverbial, but in my experience Endura has a product that works. Despite repeated drenchings, working hard on the bike over up to four hours in low single-digit temperatures, I never once noticed rain getting through.
I also never felt the need to ventilate more than a half-zip pull on some of Hampshire's and the Yorkshire Dales' finest climbs, even with breaks of sun and temperatures in the low 10s. More impressive, some of these rides were done wearing the matching FS260-Pro SL Classics Jersey – in itself a very waterproof garment with excellent breathability (review here). The FS260 shell is so good at breathing, it can layer over other similar garments no problem.
The technical features show Endura's designers work hard for their Scottish pound. Starting at the neck, there's a sculpted flap that wraps around high under your helmet retention mechanism, making a near-perfect seal to prevent water getting down your back. The collar stands high but not too tight, with no zip garage but I honestly didn't notice any throat/chin irritation. The zip is protected back and front by a generous, semi-rigid storm flap and is perfectly adjustable one-handed with gloves on.
Down the right side at a slight diagonal is a long access zip to let you get your right hand into the centre and right-hand pockets. I used this feature a lot, and it works flawlessly – god knows how many samples it took to get the zip position just perfect.
On the left side there's a tiny credit-card-sized pocket replete with drain-holes, good for quick access to a few gels or bars.
At the end of each generously-long sleeve there's a slanted neoprene-type cuff that does a great job of diverting rain away from your gloves and keeping wind out. It's snug and not adjustable so no chance of venting a breeze up there, but because of the jacket's breathability I didn't miss what I use often in other jackets.
Under the tail there's a large 'Endura' logo in grippy silicone, and in use I never felt the tail ride up. On the tail there's a large reflective Endura logo matched by similar reflective racing stripes on the sleeves and collar – Endura has branded the jacket subtly but clearly.
And finally, a simple but oh-so-useful elastic loop, hidden in its own tiny Velcro'd pocket on the back of the collar. Once the jacket is rolled firmly up from the hem, this loop is then wrapped around it to keep it rolled up for popping into a jersey pocket.
I'm 6ft with long arms and broadish shoulders and weigh 73kg, and the fit of the medium was perfect. Approaching 70kph I couldn't detect any flapping, probably down to the stretchy panels around the back of the shoulders keeping everything snug. Throwing the bike around on climbs, the flexible fabrics and cut meant no tightness across the shoulders, and no nasty gaps appearing around the neck or waist. It's a water/windproof second skin that rolls up into a small package and weighs less than half a small bidon.
At £140 I don't think the FS260-Pro SL Shell is overpriced or even just on par: I think it's a bargain. You'll love getting it out and laughing at the rain/wind/hail gods. Just appreciate that it's unashamedly a race ('athletic') fit and you'll be fine.
Superbly waterproof and breathable, it redefines what you can expect from a lightweight shell
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura FS260-Pro SL Shell
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a slim-fitting jacket for riding fast in abysmal weathers.
Packable Lightweight protection
Lightweight, waterproof and breathable Exoshell40 3 layer fabric
Fully seam sealed
Stretch waterproof shoulder, side and cuff panels
Athletic, non flap fit
Zipped access to pockets on rear
External gel pocket
Hidden loop for quick and easy packing
Reflective trims on hem and sleeve
Road ride in the rain in style!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Exoshell40 triple-layer fabric, 70gsm.
60,000 breathability, 18000 waterproofnesses.
Loads of features as per the review body.
The whole thing is put together with great attention. I couldn't pick a stitch out of place.
Overall, the performance is simply amazing.
It's a very thin fabric, so time will tell how well it lasts – but it's assembled perfectly.
It didn't let a drop through.
This is the most breathable jacket I've ever worn.
I could possibly ask for another half-inch in the arms, but then I have stupid-long arms.
For me as a medium, it sized perfectly.
At 209g, this has to be one of the lightest triple-layer waterproofs in the world.
Compared with the Rapha Hardshell or POC Essential, for half the price? Impressive.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed up just fine.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Incredible. I cannot believe how breathable it is, while being a close fit and light.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
The slash access zip. No, wait, the collar. Hang on: the cuffs. Er...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Nothing. Not a sausage.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The only thing that might stop it getting full marks is the price, but even that, all things considered, is very reasonable. And compared with similar jackets from POC, Rapha and so on, which are all heavier, it clearly justifies five stars.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.