Monday, March 5, 2012

Endura Hummvee Short (2008) - End of Life Update

Bought From: Chain Reaction Cycles
Price Paid: £35.99 (in 2008)

Note: The review refers to the short version of the 2008 Hummvee, not the 3/4 version.

On my commute, I quite often wear a pair of baggies over whatever bib 3/4s or bib shorts, largely for the pocket space, which is handy for stashing my train ticket, bike computer (whilst not riding) etc.

My last pair were Altura Ascent shorts, which were ok, but their pockets didn't survive scraping along the tarmac at 20 miles an hour, and so a replacement pair were needed. Having read around a bit, I decided to go for the Endura Hummvee, on the basis that they met my main requirement (lots of pockets, some of which can be closed by zips) very well.

First Impressions:
The fabric of the shorts is very nice indeed, and feels slightly nicer than the Ascent's swimming shorts like material (there is some of this stuff in the Humvees, but it seems to be on the back of the shorts. The Pocket arrangement is two zipped hip pockets, two velcro tabed rear pockets (large enough for a folded OS map), a key clip, a flap + velcro cargo type pocket on the left, and a zipped cargo pocket on the right. The cargo pockets aren't the cavernous size of the pockets on the Ascent short, but fit my ID card for work and train ticket in quite nicely.

You also get zips with mesh behind at the outside side of each thigh (open the zip to allow more airflow though the legs of the shorts) and velcro tabs on the short legs to close them up if things get a bit chilly. This last feature seems a bit superfluous to me, and probably of more use on a 3/4 short, but you never know...

The only reflectives on the shorts are a printed Endura logo on the belt tab, which seems a little pointess to me (it's covered by your jersey).

Also worth noting is the sizing, which seems more or less spot on. A year of cycling has seen my waist drop from 34" to 32", and the medium humvee (30-32) fits nicely (Altura's medium is far too large for me) - the belt on the shorts seems good too, not the overly thin, easily twisted afterthought that you get on Altura's Ascent short.

In Use:
I should preface these remarks by saying that I don't use the Hummvee's liner - that said, the "clickfast" system seems pretty good, and I would think it would hold the liner in place well if you did decide to use it.

The pockets seem to be well arranged, and I've not noticed any discomfort whilst riding (wallet in the hip pocket, train ticket in the right cargo pocket). I've not used the rear pockets as yet, and don't use the key clip - landing on hard, sharp things like keys if you do come off is no fun at all, and I'd suggest not carrying anything like this in shorts or jersey pockets.

Edit: Just rode in them for the first time in rain - that lovely soft touch fabric is not particularly good in the wet - it ends up holding a fair bit of water and feeling quite clammy. The shorts did dry out fairly quickly, but the way they felt when wet would put me off riding in the 3/4 length version in the rain. (Not too bad in the short version because the wet part is against whatever lycra you're wearing underneath).

In Summary:
Quite expensive (it seems to me) but well thought out, comfortable and practical baggies. The cargo pockets could be bigger, (if the ventilation zips were omitted) but they're adequate.

Update (March 2012):
I'm just about to retire these shorts, after nearly four years of daily commuting duty (2hrs per day, 28 miles in the saddle).  In that time, they've needed two repairs, both to a seam on the left leg that eventually (after three years plus) wore through.  My trying to make the second repair using wonder web, with an overly hot iron, put an irreparable hole in them.  Leg seam aside, the shorts have worn very well over the four or so years of use.

I still like the Hummvee, although I hope that Endura have improved the stitching of the velcro on the rear pockets, which had come adrift within a couple of weeks of using the shorts (a niggle really, I didn't use those much).  The shorts now retail at a slightly eyewatering £45, or about £11.25 - £15 per year of commuting, I suppose - they also come in a snappy camouflage "colourway".

There's nothing quite as good, pocket wise, as the Hummvee at a comparable price, although having to pay for a liner I never use has irked me to the point that their replacement will be a pair of 3/4 Zymes, at least initially.  Liner complaints aside, I can see myself getting another pair of Hummvee's at some point, they really are very good.

1 comment:

Karl McCracken (twitter: @KarlOnSea) said...

I've got two pairs of the 3/4 lengths and a pair of the trousers. Can't fault them - I pretty much live in the 3/4s from April to October every year.