We hate to be the ones to break this to you, but if you want to take enduro racing seriously, 26 inch wheels might not be the best choice. Sure, they still have a purpose (in fact, they just won the Red Bull Rampage) but they don’t suit long days in the saddle as well as bigger hoops.
There’s still plenty of fun to be had with smaller wheels though and there are still a few brands still ploughing along with the 26er. Of course, you can put 26 inch wheels in any frame, but it will mess with your geometry. Instead here are five bikes that are staying true to that old-school spirit.
The Liteville 601 is an interesting bike as it actually is a 26 inch, 27.5 inch and a 29 inch bike all in one. Liteville changes the size of the wheels depending on which size frame you buy. If you buy anything from a small to an extra large though, you will get a bike with at least one 26 inch wheel though.
Combine the nimble wheels with 190mm of travel and you have a pedalable mini downhill bike that promises to be barrels of fun.
Bionicon Edison EVO
Remember Bionicon? They were the guys doing Canyon’s Shapeshifter thing before it was cool. Well, they’re still going and their Edison EVO bike is available in eith er 26 or 27.5 inch guises.
Available with 160 or 180mm of travel the Edison sits perfectly in the enduro range. It also has an on-the-fly geometry adjustment system that turns it into a 100mm XC flyer, perfect for making it up those transitions.
Guerilla Gravity Megatrail
Hailing from Denver, Colarado, with a background in race car engineering, Guerilla Gravity are an American brand through and through. Their Megatrail is a flagship enduro bike that also has the option of 26 inch wheels.
A clever shock mountain means that the bike can morph between trail and enduro geometries. They may not be that well known in Europe but Guerilla Gravity’s “pure American welds” could provide the 26inch platform for you.
Stanton Slackline Ti
Are hardcore hardtails the original enduro bikes? These were the original bikes that winched you up climbs then spat you down the side of mountains after all. Hardcore hardtails don’t come much nicer than the Titanium Slackline from Stanton.
Fit it with a 160mm fork, take it to your local downhill race and see how many people you can embarrass with it.
At 140mm, the Banshee Spitfire is right on the cusp of the enduro/trail boundary. We included it because it wouldn’t be out of place at an enduro race and, frankly, we were running out of other options.
Banshee describe it as “the original downhillers trail bike”. If you’re used to thrashing bikes and then piling into an uplift truck on the weekend but now want to give this pedalling lark a go, then this could be the bike for you.