Of the four bikes that we brought to Winterberg, the Specialized Enduro was the most a “real” enduro bike. That is, 160 mm travel, a geometry clearly aimed at giving stability at high speeds, with a wide wheelbase (1218 mm on our size L review model), a lower sit, a slacker head tube angle (66 °) , a 800mm wide handlebar and a dropper post that not only adjusts the height, but also the position of your saddle.
The Specialized Enduro has 29 inch wheels, which is less common on Enduro bikes. The slightly easier handling of 27.5 inch bikes is really useful on real technical trails. The idea behind putting 29 inch wheels is that the larger size makes it easier to roll over bumps and rocks and roots on the trail. At Winterberg we noticed both of these characteristics: that the wheels did roll over all the sketchy stuff nicely, better than the 27.5 inch wheels on the other bikes we had, but that it is also made you work harder and steering the bike. The Enduro demands more of your steering skills and you have to ride it with a bit more power.
Tight and steep
In addition to the fast flow sections that I rode on this bike, there were also steeper technical descents. To be honest I did struggle a bit riding these sections on the Enduro. I noticed that my technique on this kind of steeper, somewhat slower sections, could not bring what was needed to drive the Enduro through those short rough turns. Conversely, you could argue that riding these sections is not what the Enduro is best at. The truth lies in the middle I would say. Regardeless, I did have really hard fall on one of these sections and I smashed my helmet against a very awkwardly placed pole. No fun at all.
Speed, jumping and suspension
Unfortunately it was not the last time that I fell with the Enduro. The second time was at the end of one of the faster flow trails with a jump that you take at speed. When I left the jump / lip I felt how the back of my bike gave more rebound than the front, so I ended up with the front wheel lower than the rear wheel on the landing. I went OTB, and only the 20 years of experience in Aikido (Japanese martial arts) and the many roles I learned there, saved me from smashing my face into the ground.
So once again, is it lack of technique on the part of the rider, or technical deficiency of the bike? The truth in this case will have been somewhere in the middle: the Öhlins rear shock (a somewhat lesser known brand in the MTB world where Fox and RockShox are the leading brands) was not optimally tuned, and also seemed to lose pressure during the day. When adding pressure the damper became more stable but also a lot harder. As Joest says in the video review: you have to spend time on the correct adjustment of your damper. With a bicycle such as the Enduro, which already requires a lot from the rider, that is even more important
Frame, dropper-post, position
Besides the beautiful striking “X-wind” carbon frame, I immediately noticed the angle of the saddle when the Command Post Wu dropper post is in the low position. The saddle is tilted with the front of the saddle, at an angle of 14 ° upwards. The angle of the saddle changes progressively from the right when the saddle is fully raised, to the mentioned 14° degrees when it is low.
It’s a kind of position that you will generally see in downhill mountainbiking. The idea behind this angle is that the saddle fits better to your body position (much lower and much further back on the saddle) when riding downhill. It certainly has the whole “gravity” vibe to it.
At Winterberg I had no reason to ride with the saddle in the high position, but I had more than enough opportunity for that on the XC trail in Zeist. Your body position is indeed much better focused on pedalling and climbing, although you can still feel in everything that this bike is not built for flat trails and climbing.
The Enduro is a very good bike for the more experienced rider who wants to go down the mountain even faster and knows how to do it. Check our video review. Who can handle the challenge of a 29 inch wheel and get the most out of it. He knows what he wants from a suspension and can tune it. And has a fat piggy bank for the € 7499, – he needs to ride this bike.