ENNEF Riding Gear, Made in Vancouver, BC [Review]

ENNEF Dan Marino shirt and DP3 Destroyer pants.

Not all riding gear is cut and stitched equally. Some of it is far superior to the rest and well worth a little extra cash for folks who can afford it. Hailing from Vancouver BC, ENNEF Design Corp, or ENNEF as they’re often known, is making solid riding apparel in the heart of the BC trail scene. Their aesthetic and manufacturing focus is decidedly clean and precise, and their use of some recycled fabrics shows a concern for our future.

I recently tested a cozy pair of their Invader Shorts, DP3 Destroyer pants, and a Dan Merino wool jersey, each detailed in the review below.

First, I asked Co-founder Travis Bothner to share a snippet of the ENNEF story.

What were some of the main drivers to start NF?

Short version: Ying (my wife and business partner of 15 years) and I already had the skills, the experience, and facility to create a game-changing brand. That, along with the frustration that nobody was making what my idea of decent riding gear was. 

Longer version: Prior to NF, our core business was developing and producing apparel for other brands but with the high operational costs, and the increasing demand for lower prices was killing us quickly, so Ying and I decided we needed our own brand that would bring the margins required to stay in business. I knew I had to be obsessed with what I was doing for it to work, so the brand had to be a mountain bike brand as that was all I did outside of work and fam. I also had a problem with a lot of the gear I was running at the time and wanted to make something I felt was missing.

What have you all been doing differently during the pandemic? 

We had to temporarily lay off our production staff, but we were very busy with sales right up until we ran out of product. Not having a production line was painful as the demand was at an all-time high and we had no way to get the product out there. We’ve been doing a lot of planning, and design work that we normally wouldn’t have had the time for, so the new stuff coming is extra good and there will be lots of it. 

What is NF’s stance/philosophy around locally-made gear? 

Our design philosophy is; All you need, nothing more and nothing less. We also control the entire process which is very uncommon in the apparel industry. Controlling the process, and owning the manufacturing takes a lot of the risk away from quality and timing issues. It also allows us, in some cases, a 6-week design-to-market window which means our products are always pushing the forefront of the MTB apparel industry. Having the office, design lab, photo studio, printing department, cutting and sewing production lines, loading bay, and factory store all under the same roof, with the North Shore trails 15 mins away, really makes for a tight culture around our brand. We truly control every step along the way and don’t outsource any of the work.

Do you all have plans to make other trail apparel in the future? 

We have been developing a [three layer] taped seam jacket for the wetter months that will be ready for September. We’ll also have our “6-day” casual pant, and some other more casual yet rugged clothing for digging, hiking, or general day to day chillin’ as well at that time.

What is a favorite trail of yours outside Vancouver?  

Right now it’s “John Deer,” Mount Seymour, North Vancouver — very fast and chunky with North Shore flow.

DP3 Destroyer pants

Comfortable is an understatement when you’re wrapped in the DP3 Destroyer pants from Ennef Design Corp. I am fresh out of sweat-pants, so I wore these cozy trousers regularly throughout Italy’s recent 60-day quarantine lockdown. For folks who don’t like wearing a chamois, these are definitely commando approved. Their robust shell is held up with what ENNEF calls their “no fly zone waistband,” wrapping pleasantly around the waist and leaving a load of stretch for heavy breathing on the trail or a beer-filled belly after.

After a few dig days, and even more lunch rides, I am stoked with how good these pants feel and function when it counts. The slim-fitting legs taper to keep the material from catching on your saddle or drivetrain, while there’s ample space beneath the articulated knees for a hefty set of kneepads. The main shell is comprised of 90% nylon and 10% spandex, with a DWR coating to keep the lighter puddles out. Materials and construction feel like they will last for several seasons, and after multiple shovel strikes and a dirt nap, they still look as good as new.

With reasonably thin and breathable fabric, these pants are perfect for a cooler morning rip, or any park day high in the mountains. If you’re looking for a heavier pair of pants for colder riding, ENNEF also makes the Berzerker V2 pants with three layers of a fabric that’s made from recycled bottles.

The DP3 Destroyer trousers have two zippered hip pockets, each large enough for a couple of candy bars, and a deeper pouch along the outer right thigh to better fit massive modern cellphones. There is no zipper or button fly at the front, and the pants pull on and off like a favorite pair of sweat-pants or “joggers.”

Regarding sizing, I have a 30″ (76.3cm) inseam and waist, and the size small fits perfectly. Berzerker V2 pants are available on the ENNEF website or at your local dealer for $158.34 (€142.60).

Invader Shorts

The Invader shorts include all of the same high quality materials and construction as the brand’s DP3 Destroyer pants, but they’re shorter and gain a fourth pocket. That fourth pocket is symmetrically sewn into the opposite thigh, with space for a multi-tool or extra snack to balance out the leg load.

These short pants are nice and light, making them a great piece of gear for spring through autumn riding conditions. They fit a little tighter than most baggies, and are less prone to snagging on the saddle during those awkward butt-on-tire moments, though they’re still long enough to overlap the top third of my kneepads.

Invader shorts retail for $122.02 (€109.89).

Dan Merino wool riding tee

Size small shown here.

Named with a pun that’s aimed at the former Mami Dolphin’s quarterback, the essence of this Dan Merino wool riding tee is largely captured by its name. It’s a dead simple merino wool shirt, with a long and slim fit that’s appropriate for riding fast. The construction and material seem every bit as high-quality as the ENNEF gear outlined above, and the fabric is an ideal thickness for cooler rides or worn as a base layer. The body extends low enough that it can be tucked in if riders prefer, or left to hang with plenty of overlap for the long-torsoed. ENNEF says that thanks to anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties of the material, this shirt “will never stink.”

The long sleeve wool tee sells for $118. If you’re on the hunt for lighter tops, ENNEF also makes the Dan Merino with short sleeves, and a load of shirts cut from other types of cloth.

Co-Founder Travis Bothner dropping in the BC gnar.

We would like to thank the ENNEF for sending this gear to test and review.

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