Today we’ll be looking at the amazing world of mountain bikes, specifically the enduro category of mountain biking. But first of all, what is a mountain bike, and more importantly what does mountain biking entail?
A mountain bike is what you would call a heavy-duty bike. Mountain bikes or mountain bicycles are built mainly for off-road cycling. Although they share certain characteristics similar to regular bikes, mountain bikes have more durability and endurance. A mountain bike is designed to withstand the rigours of rough off-road terrain. Additionally, its complex, heavy-duty geometry makes it less suitable for smooth surfaces. As the name implies, a mountain bike is built for efficiency on rocky, unsteady terrain like mountain trails. Understandably, mountain bikes are heavier and more aggressive than regular bikes. You also get a wide range of gears on mountain bikes which make it possible to maneuver through steep hills with little difficulty.
The sport of mountain biking dates back to the 1970s. Since then, there have been different sub-categories of the sport. The five major subdivisions are; the cross country, trail riding, all-mountain, downhill, and freeride. The all-mountain category is also called the Enduro category, and that’s our focus in this article. But before we move to that, there are some things worthy of note about mountain biking.
First of all, mountain biking goes beyond riding down mountain trails. Basically, any off-pavement terrain would do. Secondly, the rigorous sport of mountain biking requires you to hone your skills as a cyclist. In other words, mountain biking is no walk in the park for anyone with little experience riding a bike. That said, let’s now examine what we call an Enduro Mountain Bike.
The Enduro Mountain Bike
Over the years the enduro mountain bike has come to be classified as a standalone category of mountain bikes. If you’re seeking a bike that would help you travel fast as you cycle downhill on those steep off-pavement trails, then the enduro mountain bike is just for you. This feature makes it a bit similar to the downhill or park category. This category is specialized for safe and quick descents on really unsteady trails. The enduro bike’s strong suit is however not limited to riding fast downhill. It is best for racing situations where you need to pedal back uphill. And speaking of racing situations, I’m talking about enduro racing. You might be wondering what I’m on about here. Well, what is enduro mountain biking to begin with?
Enduro Mountain Biking
Originally from Europe, this form of bike racing got its influence from motorbike enduro racing and car rally racing concepts. Actually the term enduro, while used to refer to this category of mountain biking, can also be used as an adjective alluding to elements associated with this type of racing event. The whole idea of enduro racing is quite simple and fun. Riders are to get to the top of a mountain and race downhill in time-trial stages. It is appealing to professionals and noobs alike.
Given the nature of the sport, it is a bit competitive. Getting to the top involves transfer stages that aren’t usually timed. But racing to the bottom however, that’s where most of the action and competition lies. More importantly, enduro racing takes on the skills, techniques and elements required for other mountain biking categories and puts them into one fun and competitive racing event. Different rules apply depending on the type of enduro racing involved. In all, enduro racing presents mountain biking at its most enjoyable.
As mentioned earlier enduro bikes are built much like downhill bikes where the rider needs speed in racing to the bottom through the rough terrain. Enduro bikes however have a more unique gearing that enables riders to get to the top of the mountain with little difficulty. So it’s not just about speedy descents. Its geometry takes into consideration how the rider gets safely uphill to begin with.
Also, enduro bikes which are sometimes categorised under all-mountain bikes, are usually heavier than trail bikes. This is understandable seeing as you have to ride downhill through steep and unsteady trails. If it were to be a lighter mountain bike like a trail bike, you might find yourself losing control along the way and frankly that’s not exactly safe.
Enduro bikes also have more suspension travel when compared to trail bikes although this may not be easily noticeable to the untrained eye. Speaking of suspension travel in an enduro bike, this can range from 150mm to as much as 180mm, front to rear. When compared to other mountain bikes, an enduro bike is unique in that it is heavy and tough enough to race down demanding trails, but still light enough to pedal uphill. In addition, while a trail bike is known for a steeper head tube angle, an enduro bike has a slacker head tube angle. While this may be as a result of its added fork travel, the main purpose of a slacker head tube is to ensure control and stability through those steep descents. This however can make pedaling uphill quite tasking. Other common features of an enduro bike include:
It has a dropper seat post. This enables the rider to adjust the seat position. So you can drop the saddle when coming downhill, or raise it when going uphill. Naturally, a dropper post is an integral part of your average mountain bike as this feature is adapted to the intricacies of the sport.
An enduro bike is designed with powerful brakes. Maneuvering through the complex terrain in quick succession requires you to control your speed. For this reason, high caliper brakes similar to those of a downhill bike are necessary in an enduro bike.
Modern mountain bikes come with a 1x drivetrain setup. These are more convenient and easier to maintain.
One of the features of a mountain bike mentioned earlier is the wide range gearing system. The same is true for an enduro bike. This however, varies depending on the price point of the bike.
Modern enduro bikes have considerably low bottom brackets. This ensures that gravity doesn’t work against you. Rather, it adds to the rider’s sense of control on the bike.
Another component of the enduro bike similar to a downhill bike is the tyres. Powerful, aggressive tyres are there to take on the rigours of the harsh terrain.
An enduro bike is one of the most versatile of the mountain bike categories. It takes into consideration both gradients of a mountain trail. It is just about as efficient pedaling uphill as it is racing downhill.
Its features are specific to the enduro form of mountain bike racing. This implies that it is not suited to other categories like the cross country (XC), or trail bike racing category.
Brands and Specs
Pole Stamina 180 LE ranging at 180/180 mm and weighing 15.74 kg
Orbea Rallon M-LTD comes at 170/160 mm
RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | 170/160 mm with an average weight of 15.20 kg
Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29, 170/170 mm front and rear. Weighs about 15.20 kg
Canyon Strive CF 9.0 LTD, 160/150 mm front and rear, weighs about 14.26 kg
CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | 170/170 mm front and rear. Weight:14.66 kg
Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | 160/146 mm front and rear. Weight: 13.52 kg
Ibis Mojo HD5 with a front and rear length of 170/153 mm and weighing 13.84 kg
Norco Sight C1 29. Front/rear: 160/150 mm. Weight: 14.62 kg
Nukeproof Mega 275 C RS. Front/rear 180/165 mm. Weight: 14.54 kg
Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro. Front/rear: 170/160 mm. Weight: 14.84 kg
Other brands include;
Specialized Enduro Comp Carbon 29
Specialized Status 160
Vitus Sommet 29 CRX
Whyte G-180 RS 29 V1
Canyon Strive CF 9.0
Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 Silver SLX
YT Capra Shred 27.5
Trek Slash 8
Bird AM9 GX Custom
Mountain biking is no doubt an intricate sport. Different types of bikes exist for each category of mountain biking. Not only are there health benefits to the sport, it also enables you to ride past otherwise inaccessible terrain. Besides, it provides a great view.
Enduro racing continues to gain more ground as a sport. If you’re new to the world of mountain bikes, there exists a lot of areas you can explore, be it concerning this type of mountain bike, or the racing event in itself. So if you’re seeking an off-pavement cycling adventure, you’ve got a lot of options. Riding an enduro bike can be a great outdoor sport and exercise. The best part is you can choose to go it alone if that’s your preference. And better still, you can get in a little exciting competition as you ride along with friends.