Endura waterproofs have always been highly recommended to me and so I was initially excited to purchase the Helium when I saw it was on offer at almost half price. Last winter, it served me fairly well keeping me dry on most rides. However, it’s been replaced by the Royal Racing Matrix jacket over this winter. Turns out, just because it’s Endura, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be ‘the business’.
Right out of the packet, the Endura seemed a tight fit. The sleeves hug my arms and the body feels somewhat short at the front, as though the size I ordered was too small. In comparison to the same sized jackets in other brands, the Helium feels close – if you’re going to buy one, size up. Thankfully, the material has a little stretch in it and the tight fit doesn’t seem to restrict my movement. The sleeves are plenty long enough and they’ve clearly been designed around biking – even when I’m hanging off the rear of the bike, there’s still no wrist popping out of the sleeves.
As already hinted, the main problem with the fit is the front of the jacket. The Helium’s elasticated bottom clings tight enough around me to prevent any splashing making its way inside, but the short front does nothing to protect anything below my belly-button. Not good. Funnily enough, the rear of the coat hangs low enough that I can practically pull it over my own rear and leave most rides with a fairly dry posterior.
The neck of the jacket zips up nice and high, and fits fairly tight (but not so it strangles). It’s a nice addition and, considering there’s no hood, it means there’s very little water making its way down your back. I’ve worn this jacket in both proper downpours and snow and both times its held its own.
What keeps the Helium in my bike clothing rotation is its sheer lack of weight. Its far lighter even than the cheap pack-a-mac I was using before this, as well as being more waterproof. The material is incredible and, for its weight, provides a really good level of waterproofing. Sure, it can get a little sweaty in there on big climbs, but all in all it does a good job and weighs nothing when thrown in the bottom of a bag.
The Helium is clearly a product designed to do its job but the fit is a big turn off for me – the front really doesn’t seem to belong with the rest of this coat. Couple that with a lack of hood and it’s a no from me.