First Look Review : Pete’s Specialized Enduro Expert.

Essentially the same spec as the Kenevo SL he tested last year, minus the electrics, Pete has just taken delivery of a Specialized Enduro.

Bowled over by the Kenevo SL’s ability to absorb the hits and keep getting quicker, Pete was intrigued to see how the Enduro, the Kenevo SL’s half-brother, would stack up in the same spec.

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • Fox 38 Performance Elite 170mm fork
  • Fox X2 Performance shock
  • SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-speed drive
  • SRAM Code RS brakes
  • Roval Traverse rims on DT 370/Roval hubs
  • OneUp dropper
  • £6,500.00 RRP
  • Specialized.com

Geometry

The Enduro is available in six sizes S2 through S5. The Enduro tested here is an S2.

The S2 has a reach of 437mm with a seat tube of 400mm. Head angle is 63.9 degrees with a seat tube angle of 76 degrees. Chainstays are the same across the sizes at 442mm, with the S2 having a wheelbase of 1217mm.

Much like the Kenevo SL, the Enduro Expert sports a full FACT 11mm carbon fibre frame, with alloy 6-bar links giving 170mm travel. This is the longest travel bike Specialized offer below the Demo. You get the usual SWAT door in the downtube, internal routing a 148 x 12mm rear axle and a threaded BB.

Attached to this carbon fibre frame are Fox dampers. A 38 Performance Elite fork and an X2 Performance shock. Drivetrain is a SRAM XO1 Eagle affair, with Code RS brakes slowing the thing down thanks to a 220mm front and 200mm rear rotor. Roval Traverse rims run on a Roval front and a DT Swiss 370 rear hub, shod with Specialized Trail casing tyres, a Butcher out front and an Eliminator on the rear. The dropper is the V2 edition of OneUp’s ever-popular dropper. Cockpit is a 35mm alloy Specialized affair, as is the saddle.

Opening moves

With the dampers on the Enduro offering more adjustment despite their lower tier status, I could have spent far too long on the car park setup but with the shock at the right sag from the off and the forks only needing a little air out, we were soon under way. Even the dropper at full height was spot on for my wee legs.

The Enduro feels far lighter than a bike of this nature should, so I was excited to get it rolling down hill. I opted to leave the excess of air in the tyres until the top of the first climb until I let as much as is sensible out of them. While it’s good to see dinner plate rotors on this bike, something the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO could have done with, the Trail casing tyres remained.

Intense Primer 29 Leaderboard

With the pads heat cycling far quicker than I expected it was time to start ramping up the speed. From the off, the Enduro makes mincemeat of the trail chatter with only the muffled thud of tyres hitting root and rock proving that this bike was ready to rock.

Unlike most test bikes, I made no adjustments on the first couple of runs, even the tyres were doing a solid job of retaining their inflation, so I was keen to get back to the top for more. On the climbs, the suspension feels firm and you waste nothing into the dampers when the winching begins.

With that, I set about taking in a few laps of the easier trails to try and find any changes needed to the suspension, but that was all brought to a screeching halt by that dreaded pah-dung of the Trail casing Eliminator getting overwhelmed by a small rock. Annoyingly, I’d brought everything with me bar a pump so it would be a short walk home with a rather unhappy-looking rear tyre.

To get the most out of the Enduro, the downhill casing Continental Argotals off the Intense Primer will be getting swapped over and run tubeless (the Enduro comes set up tubed) as these have been flawless so far even on long rides.

With a dawn raid on my favourite 1204m mountain afoot, I decided to swap the tyres out immediately and boy did it pay off. Even after three hour’s sleep and a 4am start, the Enduro was charging on the way back to the car.

Two rides in and I was riding a trail I know like the back of my hand far faster than I have ever done before. Gaps appeared that I’d never even considered and I’d be hunting out ruts to hold the speed instead of squirreling off into the undergrowth. An impressive second ride and another with no adjustments to the dampers.

You can check out the Specialized Enduro Expert on their website here.