HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: Thanks to Specialized’s Autosag rear shock, setting up the Enduro is a breeze. The shock simply requires you to pump it up to around 300 psi and release the proprietary Autosag valve while in the riding position to get to the proper pressure. We matched the fork’s sag to rear and were off.
The rider position on the Enduro put the rider’s weight toward the rear wheel yet still maintains a fairly upright, trail position. The cockpit setup will be dialed for most riders right out of the box with a 28.3-inch wide handlebar and short stem.
Cornering: 29ers have always been praised for their cornering grip in fast and flowy conditions but have never shined in tight conditions when compared to smaller wheel options. In most cases, this has been amplified by longer suspension travel, 29er options. However, the Enduro’s geometry changes that.
The Enduro 29 is able to be flicked into tight corners without issue yet still maintains incredible grip through fast, rough sweepers. The aggressive geometry seems to work better than harder and faster you ride though the bike can certainly perform on tamer trails as well. The tight geometry allows the rider to throw the rear wheel around from the hips while the front wheel tracks confidently through turns.
Climbing: At over 32 pounds, the Comp isn’t going to mix it up with any Epic 29ers when it comes to the climbs. Thankfully, with the CTD damping system on Fox shock, you can stiffen up the pedaling platform and settle in for the climb back up to the top. Our steeper ascents back up to some of our roughest trails certainly wasn’t a stroll in the park, but we also never needed to hike-a-bike either. In order to cater to the crowd that will look to Specialized’s Enduro models for racing it’s namesake events, Specialized has tuned the rear suspension to be a bit more efficient and snappy when pedaling, though we’d assume this is more apparent on the lighter weight, carbon models.
The custom SRAM crankset with the 33-22, all-mountain chainrings go a long way in making the way back to the top of the hill easier to sit and spin out while you reflect on how hard you’re going to blast the next descent.
Descending: While the Enduro is called an “all-mountain” bike, descending is really center stage. Many longer travel 29ers have had the confidence inspiring ability to smash through rough sections, but the tradeoff up until now has been a lethargic ride that likes to stay glued to the ground. Not true for the Enduro 29. The short rear end gives the Enduro a lively feel that begs to be launched off of every thing and anything down the trail and the manual balance point is easier to find than some 26-inch trail we’ve ridden. Blend that lively experience together with the Enduro 29’s flat out speed down the trail and ability to carry momentum through the rough and you’ve got yourself a truly standout bike.
Braking: The Enduro 29 is capable of picking up some serious speed and to control 32-pounds of bike hauling down the trail, you need some braking power. The Avid Elixir 5 SL’s get some help from an 8-inch rotor in the front and a 7-inch rotor in the back, but we still felt that the brakes were being overwhelmed when we were really pushing it on descents. This led to some inconsistent pad contact feel at the lever and some more lever pressure required than we’d like.
Thankfully, Specialized’s FSR suspension design gets the most of braking by keep the rear tire gripping the trail without any signs of brake jack.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
The Enduro Comp 29 begs for a dropper seatpost. While
we loved how well this bike could grind out climbs and
destroy descents, stopping to drop the seatpost manually
was always a bit of a buzzkill. Invest in a dropper post and
never look back.
While the cockpit was nearly perfect, we’d opt to go a
bit wider than the 28.3-inch handlebar the Enduro comes
spec’ed with. Something around 30 inches would be spot-on for throwing the big wheels around at speed.
We’d also upgrade to a stronger brake set, sooner rather
than later, to help tame the Enduro’s incredible momentum. One of Avid’s three Elixir Trail-series brake sets
would be a perfect spec for the Enduro and wouldn’t necessarily break the bank.
The Enduro Comp 29 is unlike any other 29er we’ve
swung a leg over. It is playful on the trail and likes to be
thrown around, yet plows through sections that might otherwise have us longing for our downhill rigs. Of course, the entry-level Comp spec comes with a weight penalty that you
feel when climbing, but descending on the Enduro instantly
erases any memory of those labors. If you have the coin to
spring for one of the lighter-weight carbon offerings, though, it
will be even less of an issue. The Enduro 29 is flat-out fast and
fun and, most importantly, is redefining what 29-inch wheels are
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