Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Specialized Enduro: "One Bike to Rule them All..."

Roswell Bikes held a free bike demo day recently at Big Creek in (you guessed it) Roswell, Georgia. I decided to show up and test ride a bike that I knew I'd never be able to afford, just for the heck of it.

In the back of my mind, I was wishing for a Specialized Enduro to test, as I had read so many incredible reviews of that machine. Lo and behold, they had one Enduro... and it was in my size! Specialized claims that the Enduro is a true do-it-all bike that has "cross country legs and downhill balls," and I wanted to check this out for myself!

Weight

Naturally, the first thing I did when I was handed the bike was to do the technical heft-test and determine the bike's exact weight. Result: way, way too light for a bike with 6 inches of travel! It was lighter than any bike I have ever owned... and again, it had 6 inches of suspension.  Wow.

Components

Obviously this bike is totally blingin': SRAM X-0, Avid Elixir brakes, sweet dropper seatpost... The list could go on and on.

Sram X-0
Dropper seatpost.

Dropper Seatpost

That day at Big Creek was the first time I've ever had the chance to test out a hydraulic dropper seatpost. After an hour and a half of playing around with it, I've gotta say, these things can seriously come in handy!

There's one particular drop on the advanced cross country loop at Big Creek that you spot a little ways off as you climb up to the top of the hill. At the top, the trail quickly turns back down and feeds right into this high-speed 3 foot drop. The landing zone is perfect: long, steep, and straight. Times like these are when a seat dropper is so useful! I was able to stay in the saddle as I cranked up the climb, hit the button going around the turn at the top to drop the saddle, and then bomb down and off of that drop with plenty of clearance to soak up the impact!

I was actually quite surprised with how easy this was to use. I thought that adjusting the seatpost might be awkward or time consuming, and while it does take a little practice as far as anticipating when a lowered seat may be useful before you need it, the push-button control is a no-brainer!


Suspension

The Enduro's suspension setup was smooth, plush, and firm when it needed to be. But to be honest, I don't feel like I was able to fully put it to the test. The trails at Big Creek were rocky and rolling, but there weren't any hills long enough to make me want to mess with locking either the fork or the shock out, and there weren't any downhills rugged enough or long enough to really see how the bike performed in truly gnarly conditions.



Sure, I did pile drive through some rock gardens and send it off of a 3 foot drop at high speed (which turned into about a 4-6 foot drop if you include the landing), but the suspension handled all of it with ease! Make no mistake: while it is light and relatively nimble on the climbs, this is a serious bike that's ready to get rowdy on the descents!

Overall Handling

The components were spot on and the suspension was more than capable of handling the terrain. As I alluded to above, I had no desire to turn on the pro pedal or shorten the travel of the fork because I was having so much fun bombing around on it! Obviously, the trail had something to do with it: Big Creek is a rolling trail with short, steep hills. There really wasn't enough climbing time to truly test those features out. And what climbing there was was generally filled with roots and rocks, which was nice to have the suspension fully active on.

One of the most remarkable handling differences between this bike and my trail bike is the length of the cockpit. The cockpit on the Enduro definitely provides a very upright, All-Mountain posture. Some of this probably has to do with the short stem, but the rest is definitely a result of the bike's geometry.


Price

If you really want "One bike to rule them all," you are going to have to pay for it. I tested out the Pro model, and according to Specialized.com, it should retail for about $5800.

Let's get this straight: that's more money than I paid for my truck... and not just like $200 more, either.

At this price, I would have to honestly say, "Buy a different bike." In my experience, the level of fun that you have on your mountain bike doesn't depend on how fancy its components are or how low its overall weight is. Having fun mountain biking depends far more on your mentality and how you approach the trail!


Bottom Line

XC legs and DH balls? You bet, but it definitely falls closer to the DH side than it does the XC side. And at $5,800, you'd better be loaded.

10 comments:

Emenhiser,  March 2, 2011 at 1:08 PM  

Dude, that bike is sick! I'm jealous of the fact alone that you got to give it a test run. Looking at Specialized bikes on the internet years ago is actually what got me started as far as MTB goes...I'll likely never be able to afford one, but I'm content with the bike I have so it's all good haha.

Greg Heil March 2, 2011 at 5:27 PM  

Yeah man, I only wish I owned one of these! But like I said, the amount of money you've dropped on your rig really doesn't affect how much fun you have mountain biking! As long as I've got a dependable, durable rig with decent performance, I'm a happy man!

Caleb March 2, 2011 at 6:44 PM  

Unrelated Question Greg. Do you (or anybody) know where i can get a size 50-51 mtb or casual clipless shoe? Im finding to be impossible.


And yes the bike is awesome got to ride ome of those and a jeckle around. Both are more DH than xc.

Tracey March 4, 2011 at 11:17 AM  

I'm curious what you think about the new '29-ers' out there?

Greg Heil March 4, 2011 at 12:46 PM  

@Caleb, I'm pretty sure they're out there, I just think they cost an arm and a leg. The plus side is that if you have to sacrifice a leg, you only need to buy one shoe...

Greg Heil March 4, 2011 at 12:51 PM  

@Tracey, What do I think about 29ers? I think a lot of things...

1. I want one!
2. I'll be getting one from Airborne this spring
3. The advantages of being able to roll over stuff easier and having more "virtual" suspension seems to me to be much more beneficial for the hardtail crowd.
4. Single speeds should be 29ers
6. I want one
7. AM rigs should stick with 26" wheels. Much more flickable in the air, more maneuverable, and the faster acceleration is a plus.
8. While Trek & others might be trying to develop 29er DH bikes, if they ever do end up going to production, I don't think they will catch on.
9. I don't think I would want my only bike to be a 29er.
10. But have I mentioned that I want one yet?

j June 1, 2011 at 12:28 PM  

"In my experience, the level of fun that you have on your mountain bike doesn't depend on how fancy its components are or how low its overall weight is. Having fun mountain biking depends far more on your mentality and how you approach the trail!"

BOOM! That just happened. Nailed it.

If you like the Enduro the Pitch is supposed to be the poor man's Enduro. I've yet to ride them head-to-head so can't say from personal experience though.

Greg Heil June 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM  

Yeah dude, I definitely agree with you there! It's all about that sense of accomplishment.

If I ever get to test a Pitch out, I'll let you know.

nitsuj June 3, 2011 at 6:22 PM  

Yeah, found a place w/ them brand new locally for $1k for the comp and $1500 for the pro. Seems like really good deals! May try and check 'em ASAP

vaninheidelberg June 25, 2012 at 4:00 AM  

Just so you know, I think you got the bike wrong. In the pic, it’s an ‘Expert’, not a Pro. The pro is the carbon model which I think was 5800. You can get the experience you had, on an aluminum model, for less than that especially if you get a comp.

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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