The 2010 Specialized Enduro had some major modifications to the frame from last year’s model which have carried through into 2011. The most obvious change to the Enduro frame is the new X frame, which Specialized claims makes the frame significantly stronger. Other updates to the frame include a slightly slacker head angle and Specialized has gotten rid of the vertical rear shock in favor of a horizontal position.
The Enduro is Specialized’s All Mountain bike boasting 6.3 inches of travel with air suspension in the back and the front. While the Specialized Enduro Pro Carbine weighs in at just less than 30 pounds, the Enduro Expert, which we rode, weighs just over 30 pounds. To thoroughly test this bike to see if it is really the All Mountain bike Specialized Claims, we have ridden it everywhere from the 17 glorious miles of the Downieville Downhill to flowy Pacific Northwest. From this extensive field-testing, we can say that we really like this bike.
Overall, the Enduro is a decent climber; for an All Mountain bike, we think the Enduro climbs very well. The two chain rings with the Gamut chain guide work very well together, giving you the ability to grind up the steep stuff and keeping your chain on your bike when you are blasting down the trail.
The Rock Shox Lyrik 2 step has two travel settings – Full length with comes in at 160mm and the less travel setting takes 45mm off of the travel putting the travel at 115mm. This change in travel has a huge effect on the geometry and makes climbing significantly easier. While the Fox RP2bv does have a lock out setting, our experience was that it did not entirely lock out and the suspension did feel somewhat active.
When pedaling up very steep terrain, even when sitting with the seat raised and fork set to only 115mm of travel, we felt that the front wheel had a tendency to pop up. We only experienced this on very steep terrain; during most climbing, this was not an issue.
While we weren’t especially fond of pedaling the Enduro up super steep hills, The Enduro more than made up for any climbing deficiencies when we started down the hill. The Enduro has been able to handle anything we have thrown at it with ease. It handled extremely well in the fast and flowy single track; the Enduro felt very light maneuverable on the single track. It is really easy to throw around when you are going into a corner or avoiding terrain.
Going down rocky terrain was a very different story, the Enduro again performed very well but felt very stable and forgiving. Whether riding the sharp rocks at Downieville or blasting down rocky single track filled with baby heads on the California Central Coast, the Enduro handled exceptionally well. The Enduro had no issues dropping six feet on a trail and was forgiving when I didn’t have enough speed and slowly rolled off of a 3 foot ledge.
We really liked Specialized’s Command Post. When the command post is combined with the Lyrik’s travel adjust – which can be easily adjusted while riding, the Enduro truly becomes an all mountain machine. You can grind up and hill and proceed to change your geometry and seat post height and rip down the mountain all with out stopping. Initially, we didn’t think the Command Post would be used much, but it quickly became one of our favorite features. The command post can really change how you ride, making it easier to climb and then quickly change riding styles to bomb down a short descent, then go back to climbing. While we have had some minor stiction issues with the Command Post, which are fairly easily resolved, we cannot say enough good things about the Command Post.
The custom DT Swiss E440S 32 hole rims look great and hold up well in most conditions, but we have broken a significant amount of spokes riding rocky terrain. While some of this may be us needing to pick better lines, we feel that putting a stronger rim on the back would be a smart upgrade if you ride a lot of rocky terrain.
The Enduro is a really fun bike to take off jumps. It has a really poppy feel to it and tended to just launch off jumps. As it is so light, the Enduro is really easy to throw around making this a really fun bike to ride off of small to mid size jumps.
As the bike industry is continuing to evolve, a move towards building bikes around common standards is critical. If all major bike companies build bikes around common standards, making upgrades to a bike would be much simpler and less complicated. Historically, Specialized has really liked using proprietary systems and non-standardized parts. While this makes sense for Specialized as it forces users to buy certain products and it eliminates many options, this is really bad for riders as it makes upgrades significantly harder. While the Enduro has sported it’s fair share of non standardized parts such as a 25mm through axle (really, is this needed?), we are happy to see the elimination of most of pretty much all non-standardized parts on the Enduro and hope that Specialized continues to eradicate non standard and proprietary components from it’s bikes.
The Bottom Line
The Specialized Enduro is a great All Mountain bike that really enables you to go just about any where on the mountain. While it definitely isn’t an XC bike and doesn’t conquer the uphill like a light XC bike, it will tear up the downhill. Overall, it handled everything we threw at it and did so easily. The Enduro is a dependable all around bike that you can depend on to get you up and down just about anything. We highly recommend the Specialized Enduro and are glad to have it in our arsenal.