The Endura Pro SL Shell Jacket II has impressive waterproofing and will really keep out the worst of the rain and wind. It can get a little hot and sweaty, though, and for me it got a bit boil-in-the-bag when the temperatures hit the teens on training rides. It just about fits in a large jersey pocket, and is a good investment for cooler days when you need a robust level of weather protection.
Mike absolutely loved this jacket's predecessor, giving it a hallowed five star rating. Endura says the Movistar pro team now use the updated version that I'm writing about here, but although there are plenty of good things to say, I didn't fall in love with it quite so much.
Let's start with the good. Endura's Exoshell 40 waterproof fabric is a three-layer construction, with fully taped seams to keep the rain out and a claimed waterproofing level of 20,000mm – meaning nothing from a tube of water 20 metres tall would seep through a patch of fabric from this garment. And nothing did: no complaints about the waterproofing at all.
The collar is quite high, which is good for protection and I didn't find that it irritated me at all, even on hard rides.
One of the things I like most is the fit. Endura has gone for a shaped, multi-panel construction with strategic stretch sections to make the jacket move with you, and although it looks quite rigid and robust (I thought it was more commuter-orientated when it was first given to me) I found it was perfectly flexible on the bike.
My medium felt slim-fitting but fairly true to size, and the tail section is dropped just enough to protect your backside from spray.
There's a small side pocket that will fit a gel and a set of keys in…
…and an easy-to-access zip down the other side to get through to your jersey pockets.
The breathability rating is claimed to be 40,000mm of moisture per square metre over a 24-hour period, with the moisture transfer enhanced by Endura's own proprietary compound, but I found that it does get a little hot and sweaty on warmer days. I do tend to run hot, so not everyone will have the same issue (certainly not waifs like Nairo Quintana, anyway) but perhaps Endura could include a recommended temperature range in its product description. As a summer emergency rain jacket I think it's a bit too heavy duty, and it isn't as packable as ultra-light waterproofs such as the Gore Shakedry or Castelli Idro jackets. It's described as "Packable Lightweight Protection", which might have you thinking it falls into the same category as those two.
A minor gripe is that, when temperatures did creep up into the low teens and I wanted to open up the front a little bit, I found this wasn't the simplest of tasks as the zipper is underneath a sizeable zip guard and the zip puller is tiny. Obviously, the guard makes for better protection, but a bigger tab on the zip would make it easier to open and close on the move.
A slightly bigger gripe is that the reflective strip across the front has started to crack and come away after a couple of machine washes. It's not a handwash-only garment according to the wash instructions, and it was only ever put through a cool cycle and not tumble dried, so I would have expected it to last a little longer. Some might consider this only a cosmetic issue: unless you believe this feature is really the difference between a driver seeing you or not, it might not bother you.
In terms of value, the Pro SL isn't bad compared with what else is out there that roughly fits its description: Gore's C7 Shakedry jacket is £239.99 (Tass tested the women's Viz version recently, and Ash tested the men's 1985 Viz last year) though that is a slightly different beast: it's much lighter (just 107g), more packable and more breathable.
At the less expensive end, dhb's Aeron Rain Defence Polartec jacket is £130, but according to reviewer Liam it won't offer quite the same level of wet weather protection.
Overall, I was very happy with how the Pro SL Shell performed in adverse weather conditions. I wouldn't use it as an emergency all-season layer because it's not the most packable and it can get a little warm, but if you're going out in bad weather and it's going to stay bad, it's a solid option.
Excellent waterproofing that will stand up to the worst downpours, though not as breathable or packable as some
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Pro SL Shell Jacket II
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?
Endura says: "Technologies developed by Endura for the most demanding races in professional cycling go straight in to the flagship Pro SL collection. This lightweight waterproof shell jacket is packable enough to fit in a back pocket but waterproof and breathable enough to keep the Movistar Team pro's comfortable through a big day in the saddle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Endura lists these features:
Highly breathable, lightweight ExoShell40™ 3-Layer waterproof fabric in a fully seam-sealed construction
Stretch waterproof shoulder, side and cuff panels
Athletic, non-flap fit
Zipped access to pockets on rear
External gel pocket
Small pack size
Well-taped seams, athletic fit, comfortable fabric.
Some of the reflective stripe came off in the wash, but otherwise it's holding up fine.
No complaints here, it definitely kept the rain out.
It's fully waterproof with taped seams and it can get a little warm inside.
Nice close fit, but not too tight.
The medium seemed just right.
It's a big spend, but comparatively not too expensive.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The reflective section across the front has started to peel after washing.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very waterproof; perhaps a bit too heavy duty for hard training unless it's very cold and wet out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Waterproofing and the fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
It can get quite sweaty when temperatures are in double-figures, the reflective parts don't wash well, and the zipper is a bit too small to grab while you're riding.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Rapha's hooded rain jacket is more at £230, and Gore's C7 Shakedry jacket is £239.99. At the less expensive end, dhb's Aeron Rain Defence Polartec jacket is £130.
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 overall score
It's very good for cooler days where you need plenty of weather protection: the waterproofing is impressive, and it will really keep out the worst of the rain and wind. On warmer days it can get a little hot and sweaty, and it's not the most packable. I was also a bit disappointed that the reflective strip started to come off after washing.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.