S-WORKS ENDURO 29/6FATTIE
The 2016 Specialized Enduro was one of the most successful, respected bikes in the All-Mountain category, and Specialized must have considered not messing with a good thing. That being said, it certainly had some room for tweaking, and social-media mavens plied Specialized with endless suggestions and speculations about the 2017 Enduro. This year’s Enduro S-Works 29’er features a fine-tuned version of Specialized’s iconic X-Wing frame design, refined All-Mountain geometry, a new threaded BB, fully enclosed internal cable routing, ManFu link, oversized pivot bearings, 12x148mm dropouts, a replaceable derailleur hanger and SWAT, and it can easily be modified to a 6Fattie set-up.
While the 2016 models were incredibly popular, progress in wheel-size offerings, tire trends, suspension-systems improvements and drivetrain innovations all played a part in driving forward the evolution of the Enduro.
One of the big changes over last year’s model, and notably apparent on the trails, was the Geo, specifically the head-/seat-tube angles and the bottom-bracket heights. Head angles are slacker, bottom brackets are lower, chainstays are slightly longer and travel has been increased. Front-end travel of 160mm is supplied by an Öhlins RXF 36, while there is 165mm of rear travel, compliments of a custom Öhlins STX shock.
A welcome change that comes along with all the new suspension specs is the use of oversized bearings. This not only makes maintenance and replacement much easier, it also actually adds to the aesthetics of the frame.
Specialized also stepped it up for 2017 by going “internal” and getting rid of the crazy “Lazy Loop” that previously ran under the BB. The new cable routing offers smooth entry points that follow independently molded tubes through the length of the downtube. The external portion of the cable now runs over the top of the BB to reduce the pull/bend on the cable housing.
Both the 29/6Fattie and the 650b versions of the Enduro are dedicated to 1x drivetrains, and one of the first features you notice on the Enduro is the dinnerplate-sized cassette. This massive platter of a cassette is served up by SRAM, as is the entire drivetrain in the form of its XX1 Eagle platform.
Whether expected or not, Enduro sees SWAT Door storage integrated into the downtube. It’s pretty amazing what you can pack into this seemingly small space below the water bottle cage. Tools, lightweight rain jackets and even your lunch – just don’t forget it’s in there!
One of the few areas that Specialized did not cater to was collective calls for change in the dropper-post department. You sighs can almost be heard, but alas, the 125mm seatpost remains part of the 2017 Enduro line.
So with all that’s shiny and new with the Enduro, you might be wondering how it feels on the trail.
Although it had been some time since riding technical trails, the Enduro S-Works 29’er instilled a level of confidence that grew exponentially with each run. The slack geometry and long travel of the 29’er made for an incredibly responsive, rapid ride while descending through the old and new growth of B.C.’s Coastal rainforests.
Being more of a cross-country rider, I have to admit some of the technical terrain I tackled was a little out of my league, but the Enduro inducted me into that league quickly. It only took a few runs to realize that the Enduro
Specialized has done a fantastic job of remaining true to the Enduro’s AllMountain DNA while managing to take the platform to a higher level of efficiency.
29’er tames technical terrain, and although maintaining a healthy respect for your limits is appropriate, this bike pushes you to much higher ground with confidence.
Climbing traction on the Enduro 29’er was also impressive. The Öhlins RXF 36 rear kept the back end connected to the trail whether it was loose, rough or rooted, and the front end handled steep, tight switchbacks like a Pro climber. Many times, during steep ascents, where I expected the front end to come up as I powered around a tight corner, the Enduro held fast. Kudos to SRAM for providing a 50T cassette to help with those steep sections and kudos to Specialized for a true “All-Everything” bike!
Specialized has done a fantastic job of remaining true to the Enduro’s All-Mountain DNA while managing to take the platform to a higher level of efficiency. Form has absolutely followed function with the 2017 Enduro line and Specialized has gone a long way toward addressing the social-media mockings of its previous models.