Talkingshop: Endura boss – Jim McFarlane

As the Endura clothing brand continues to get stronger globally, the Endura Racing team is strengthened to bring more publicity to the Scottish company.

Related Article: Team Launch at the London Bike Show

Larry Hickmott writes … the Endura brand in road cycling has been a strong supporter of teams, events and riders over the years. The brand is well recognised by those involved in off road riding (MTB) but going back ten years or more, I can also remember seeing the Endura brand linked with teams of all types involved in road racing.

Alex Coutts riding for the Endura Principia team back in 2003.

Like a club team from Letchworth and then there was the Principia/Endura team which was looked after by Harry Lodge and based in Italy in 2003. The Endura brand has continued to sponsor riders and teams since then and over the last five or so years, the team has grown from a mainly Scottish based one to a fully fledged  international outfit with WorldTour riders among its number.

Endura has been producing performance cycle clothing for all riders and price points for eighteen years. Hard wearing mountain bike shorts, good quality jerseys and jackets for all weather conditions to high performance road cycling gear, high visibility commuter wear, a huge accessory range and eyewear. In short, Endura has something for every kind of rider.

Endura Racing Team Launch Slideshow

And, whilst the company does very well with all these products in the market place, it also puts a lot back into the sport via its sponsorship of riders, teams, and events. The company boss of Endura, Jim McFarlane, explained  at the London Bike Show that when ever they have been able to afford to, they have sponsored teams and riders. Certainly, their investment in the UCI registered Endura Racing team is certainly a big ask for a single company but this is the third year for the team and each year, the team has got stronger.

While Team Sky may be the biggest British team, Endura Racing with a million pound budget and a  rider line up packed with winners, is certainly worthy of more attention than it gets from the media in Britain right now. Certainly, if Team Sky wasn’t around, I’m sure the media would pay it more attention than it does but then perhaps that will come when the team get rolling in 2012 and the results come in.

For 2012, the quality of the riders though out the squad is very high but with that investment comes expectations and the boss of Endura will certainly be expecting big things from his riders especially when racing in Britain.

The team has been strengthened especially after they lost one of their key riders in Jack Bauer.  “We would have happily kept Jack but we’re really pleased that if we’re going to lose some one, you lose them to a WorldTour team” Jim explained.

“But when you lose riders like that, you have to fill those gaps. We had to look at the performance aspect for the race schedule we have got and the main area we wanted to strengthen for 2012 was our showing in the UK. We wanted guys that could do well in the racing in the UK because we do need to perform better in Britain.”

In simple terms, that means victories in the Halfords Tour Series, in Premier Calendar races and other classic British events. And in the Tour of Britain where the team know how to finish in the top 10 overall, a victory will be high on the agenda come September.

Jim added “We are happy with how we did overseas in Europe and elsewhere and we’ll be looking to maintain that level of performance in 2012.”

The team will be looking to ride higher level races in Europe and they start with events where the majority of the teams are either WorldTour or ProContinental. So success will not be easy but then they have riders like Russell Downing, Iker Camano, Paul Voss, Alex Blain etc who have won races at that level and with the better support this year, can hopefully pay the team back with podium performances that bring the Endura brand the publicity it wants from it’s investment.

Jim explained that while the team will be competing in races in countries where the Endura brand is looking to publicise its products, there will also be other races in Europe where there is almost no commercial benefit (publicity).  These races though will help the team prepare for the other races where doing well will have a commercial benefit for the Endura brand. “

Jack Anderson in Yellow for Endura Racing in a stage race in the Czech Republic.

It isn’t just publicity though that the team wants from its riders. The team will be clad in the latest clothing from the Endura Equipe range and the riders in Endura Racing are a key ‘cog’ in helping product development of the Equipe range suited to the professional or serious rider. The Equipe range though is just one of many categories of clothing and hardware produced by Endura.

At the recent London Bike Show, Endura had a new range called ‘Urban’ and Jim explained that 2012 is a big year for the company introducing new categories of product. “We have a new range for MTR that is being launched with the help of Oli Beckingsale and it’s an example of how we work closely with a professional rider. Part of his role is to come to the Endura headquarters on a very regular basis to work with Endura’s product development staff on details of the MTR clothing range to revise successive prototypes for field testing. He will be up again as soon as this coming week .

“We also have some other interesting hardware categories we are moving into as well that are currently in testing and product development. By the end of 2012, there will be two new categories outside of clothing that will be added to the Endura brand which is quite exciting because other than eye wear, we haven’t done anything outside of the clothing.”

Jim went on to say that the product range in the eye wear that Endura produces is expanding and that there’s a lot of potential for the product based on the success they are having with it here and overseas.

And Endura isn’t just producing clothing for the racer, whether it be on or off road. As well as the Urban category, Endura also work closely with individual riders who are doing Sportives or club racing and who provide valuable feedback to help Endura provide the right clothing for so many different types of rider. The staff at Endura likewise also give the company their own product feedback which helps the Scottish manufacturer continue to make their products better.

A 1-2 for Endura Racing in the Halfords Tour Series as Ian Wilkinson wins and Scott Thwaites is second with the riders third and fifth (Dean Windsor and Jonny McEvoy) also riding the team in 2012.

The level of detail they go to make their products the best they can be is not perhaps easily visible to the outsider such as me. So, while at the show, a member of staff showed me a soft shell jacket. That’s the type of jacket that not only keeps the wind and rain out but also keeps you warm (has insulation), and they explained how Endura have developed some very high tech ways of joining panels.

It was explained how the joint can be a weak spot in the waterproofing process for manufacturers but with some very innovative methods, Endura can produce jackets where the joints don’t leak or let the cold air in. This level of detail is applied to products not just in the Equipe range but the other ranges in the Endura catalogue as well.

VeloUK is certainly proud to have Endura supporting the website along with all our other sponsors and wish the Endura Racing team lots of luck in 2012. We’ll also be bringing you information on Endura products from time to time, products which from the reviews and the info I hear from everyday riders, really do a great job at clothing the modern day cyclist what ever their discipline.

But, with the racing season almost upon us on this side of the world, it won’t be long before the Endura Equipe range of clothing will be going into battle both in Europe and here in the UK. The Eddie Soens and Severn Bridge road races will be targets and Endura Racing has entered the season opener, the Perfs Pedal in early February with two riders Jonny McEvoy and Erick Rowsell.  The Jock Wadley is also listed on the Team’s website as being an event they will hit hard (eight riders) and with such strength in depth, what ever race they go into, the other teams will certainly be looking at them to make the race and I’m sure make it they will.

VeloUK will be following the team’s performances through the year …

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