Opinion – IEUAN WILLIAMS
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.