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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29″ | Dropping In

We take a look at the Specilized S-Works Enduro 29”. Words and images by Steve Jones.

We take a look at the Specilized S-Works Enduro 29” …

Taken From Dirt issue 140, October 2013

Was he thrown or did he jump? This is the question many downhillers were asking of Mitch Ropelato as he sauntered into downtown Pietermaritzburg, Enduro 29” under one arm, Demo the other. For the record how about we say he threw himself wholeheartedly into the timed practice at the World Downhill Championship netting a strong second fastest time before jumping off mid–corner in the final, hence preventing one monumental embarrassment for all gathered.

Except the humiliation had already happened to a certain extent. One rider was bad mouthing slightly bigger wheels yet was shod with slick rubber, many others were risking XC sidewalls on ten inches of travel. If a rider chooses 29” leave him do so. If everyone opts for 29” then they’ll need bigger jumps.

The truth is that many of the pro riders who have access to 29” wheeled bikes ride them. A state of impasse exists on the subject for some but many more have long walked by. More critical matters exist, because wheel size has never taken precedence over good damping, exact angles. But we are getting into rare territory here.

A 150mm travel 29” wheel bike. The rider is currently faced with many questions and a million answers regardless of wheel size. This is a good thing but so many are still scratching their heads over issues such as how much travel they need and the relevance of the bike to where they ride.

Be it Ropelato’s World’s, Gwin’s Sea Otter domination or Curtis Keene’s top three results at the Enduro World Series on the Enduro 29” hint at the fact that this bike can in fact do whatever you wish. Remember the Enduro is a lot of bike in whatever wheel size you choose. I rode this Enduro 29” version in Bend, Oregon, and was totally over–biked, something like a Stumpy or Camber Evo would have been more suited to, however we were invited to the opening of a new bike park and… well I just happened to have the bike which could do both.

This bike is currently one of two really notable 150–160mm travel 29” bikes, the other being the BMC Trailfox (Niner and Hai also do one and Orange have one in the pipeline). It’s every bit as good as the 26” version that’s had many years of development; a big strong bike featuring a muscular chassis, a shock that‘ll deal with mans work, 2.3 rubber that will shred the bigger faster terrain and a component spec that is becoming pretty much the stuff of high end bikes.

It’s the superman of trail bikes, it always has been, and it always should be for nine thousand two hundred and fifty dollar. Many question about how they’ve managed it. Maybe because it’s their job to manage it. Hell it could so easily have been the World Downhill Championship bike of 2013 in the right hands.

First impressions are of a truly great bike, one of the best in its travel class, my only burning question is, how does it stack up against the competition.

Price $9,250: Specialized

 

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