Trail and Enduro Bikes

Specialized Enduro 29 – DIRTY DOZEN

29" speed machine

With some of the best riders having ridden on the big S, ranging from SHaUn Palmer, Aaron Gwin, Jared Graves and Loic Bruni, the bikes at the sharp end of their range always have a touch of the racer to them.

This new age Enduro from Specialized is the 8th edition in the line. This bike has definitely been a market leader and helped evolve the mountain bike world to the where we know it now, the name alone suggests these guys knew what was coming.

The 2005/6 Enduro that also had the SX Trail twin was one of the bikes that changed the way in which we see trail bikes today. This new bike has definitely followed suit with the SWAT Box being one of Specialized’s latest innovations.

Previously there has been a Specialized Enduro in every Dirt 100. This is something that notother bike can boast. From 26″ all the way to 29″ the Enduro has been able to impress on ALL wheel sizes. The current model comes in 27.5 and 29″ with the option of switching to 27.5 plus. It really has evolved with the times.

Our last experience with the Enduro was Steve Jones’ personal 2016 Enduro 29 S-Works where, after some changes, it was a very desirable and super fast bike.

  • FRAME ;  FACT 11m, X-Wing layout, full carbon chassis and rear end, All Mountain Geometry, SWAT™ Door integration, threaded BB, fully enclosed internal cable routing, ManFu link, oversized pivot bearings, alloy link & adjustable shock extension, 12x148mm dropouts, replaceable derailleur hanger, 160mm of travel
  • FORK ; Öhlins RXF 36, 29/6Fattie, Single-Tube design, air spring w/ adjustable 3rd chamber, adjustable low-speed compression, adjustable rebound, 15x110mm thru-axle, 51mm offset, 160mm of travel
  • REAR SHOCK ;  Custom Öhlins STX, Single-Tube design, Rx All Mountain Tune, AUTOSAG, adjustable compression & rebound damping, 216x57mm
  • BRAKES ;  SRAM Code R, 4-piston caliper
  • SEATPOST ;  Command Post IRcc WU, 12-position micro-height adjustable, 34.9mm, 150mm of travel
  • WHEELS  ;  Roval Traverse Carbon 29, hookless carbon, 30mm inner width, 24/28h, tubeless ready
  • TYRES ;   Butcher, GRID casing, Gripton compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29″ x 2.6″
  • DRIVETRAIN ;   SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
  • HANDLEBARS ; Specialized DH, 7050 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 27mm rise, 800mm, 31.8mm clamp
  • STEM ; Specialized Trail, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise


For the past few years, Specialized have really done a stellar job making some super fast racecrafts. Albeit with some small issues that needed addressing to make them great – Steve’s previous Enduro had to have a different link and offset in to keep the all important bottom bracket figures nailed.

For 2018 Specialized, have pushed the boat out from previous Pro model specification. The carbon wheelset and SRAM Code stoppers are all similar items that you will find on the more expensive model.

Size wise, the Enduro has always been a little tall in the seat tower and the 2018 Enduro is no different. On the XL sizing, to get the reach figures to 483mm (so equivalent to other bikes ridden in this test such as the large Nukeproof in this test) the seat tower is still, well, towering.

When you add the new Command dropper post into the mix, things are stirred up even more. The overall stack height from where the seatpost leaves the tower to the top of the seat is over 30mm more than a Fox equivalent. The seat is then in the way when descending even with the clever tilt action. There is no taking away that this post is a very clever item but it still needs refinement before i feel it will be useful.

Where the bottom bracket is concerned the measurement of 348mm is still some way off and adding the required offset bush only changed this by 6mm leaving it some way off the Orbea Rallon that measures in at 336mm. The previous bike could be fixed with the linkage from the 650B (27.5”) bike and lower the bottom bracket even more. this was on the XL bike measured in the low setting.

In the current state though it does give some good feeling when climbing. Having clearance is a good thing at times. But when it comes to the important part of the descending there is a slight feeling of being perched on the bike. It is still lightning fast but 10mm lower and it would be far more planted and possibly even quicker.

The Enduro is marked up as a bike that takes 27.5 Plus tyres as well as the 29” the same concept as the Whyte S-150. The bottom bracket may very well be at a good position with the Plus setup but a flip chip design going the way of lowering the bottom bracket would be great to combat the change in height between these options. not the more crude spacer to go in below the shock to raise the height. this 348mm would be a good high or plus tyre setting. then a lower mark around the 335 mark would make this bike that much better.

The SWAT Box feature that Specialized have endorsed also works a treat. With all kinds of things fitting here from a tube to bananas for the day’s ride it is surely one of the better designs currently in mountain biking. This matched up with the allen key set in the headcap really put a smile on my face. Simple yet great engineering.

The fatigue factor has been combated very well on the other hand. With the Roval wheelset from Specialized having a 24 spoke front wheel lace up. This gives far more compliance upfront and reduced the feeling of arm pump or fatigue through the hands. Even with the carbon rim setup there is very little harshness delivered though the bike. Specialized really have delivered a masterclass in the flex stiffness balance on the Enduro 29.

The damping from Ohlins brings expectations of some real quality, especially as the TTX coil being one of our favourite shocks on the market today. The air unit that is specified on the Enduro seems to miss the mark on reliability though. The feel was great but the damper leaked air after a few weeks and couldn’t be consistent for the whole ride.

All these points considered there is no doubting that the Specialized Enduro 29 is still one of the fastest bikes on the market. With the changes mentioned to gain a better bottom height it could be the best but for now it sticks its self nicely near the top half of the chart. The price of £6500 is not cheap but with a great specification and pedigree its not obscene. With some super smooth features and the possibility to make the bike into something amazing  there is no wonder why people love this bike. Sack that seatpost off, lower the bb and you will have a great steed.

PRICE; £6500 (enduro pro) £8000 (s-works model)

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