Spe­cial­ized En­duro Comp 29

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

While the new En­duro’s ‘X-wing’ frame lay­out and Boost-width back end look al­most iden­ti­cal to that of its 2017 coun­ter­part, Spe­cial­ized have made some sig­nif­i­cant changes. These in­clude stretch­ing the reach out fur­ther (it’s jumped from 430mm to 440mm on the medium) and adding a ge­om­e­try chip at the base of the shock, which lets you drop the BB by 8mm and slacken the head an­gle by 0.5 de­grees. In the low­est set­ting, this sat our test bike 344mm off the floor and gave a 65.1-de­gree head an­gle.

On the trail, speed comes eas­ily to the En­duro. Its shape and bal­ance make it easy to ac­cli­ma­tise to, while its for­giv­ing ride means you can speed head-on into boul­der fields without winc­ing. It helps that set-up is a rapid, faff-free af­fair. You can tackle steep, roughed-up sec­tions of trail with rel­a­tive pre­ci­sion and when the hits do start to come thick and fast, the sup­ple rear sus­pen­sion doesn’t get over­whelmed eas­ily, with enough pro­gres­sion and sup­port to han­dle big im­pacts in a com­posed man­ner.

There’s an el­e­ment of com­fort built into the Spe­cial­ized, which we ap­pre­ci­ated on ar­du­ous de­scents where other bikes left us feel­ing beaten-up. As a re­sult, though, things never felt quite as taut or ur­gent as we’d have liked when mak­ing split­sec­ond direc­tion changes or slam­ming from turn to turn. We’d also ar­gue the BB could be dropped lower. While the En­duro isn’t a ‘point and plough’ ma­chine, it still lacks some of the zip re­quired to give it more of the pin­point ac­cu­rate edge that other bikes here have in abun­dance. It’s a spright­lier clim­ber than its weight might have you ex­pect, thanks in part to the steep 76.7-de­gree seat an­gle.

As for the com­po­nents, while we rate the Rock­shox Yari highly, it can’t match the com­po­sure of the Lyrik found on some sim­i­larly-priced bikes. Spe­cial­ized’s own-brand Butcher tyres are great all-rounders, though, and we’re fans of their su­per-comfy Henge Comp sad­dle too. Over­all, while the En­duro doesn’t feel quite as re­ac­tive or en­er­getic as some of its com­peti­tors, there’s a bal­ance and com­fort here that’s re­ally ap­peal­ing.

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