Specialized Enduro 29 - Six Ways - Three wheel Sizes - Dirt

Mountain Biking Magazine

Share

Trail and Enduro Bikes

Specialized Enduro 29 – Six Ways – Three wheel Sizes

Enduro SWorks 29 gets synchronised to different wheel sizes, dampers and tyres – 29”/650b/650b+

During a period when its difficult to decide on which wheel size to ride its comforting to know that one bike can potentially cover all bases – the Specialized Enduro 29, a bike we have tested in many environments world wide.

In standard trim its not perfect in a couple of respects notably the head angle and bottom bracket. But whilst its slightly too steep and slightly too tall the bike is a real bruiser, and at 150mm travel simply the hardest charging, fastest, toughest and one of the longest travel 29” wheel bikes on the market.

Out of the box it’s a very good bike, an awesome all-rounder. Given some love and some butchering it can be made very good, in fact an all-time great. One that can tackle anything you wish it to encounter.

The current chit chat from manufacturers is that 650 is all about the lively ride and 29 is all about speed. It’s a sales/marketing strategy that’s simply there to keep everyone happy when in truth most of the product managers all ride the faster bigger wheels. But what if one bike can do both? Or maybe three wheel sizes?

Just how right does this bike look?! 650 link with Zelvy/Chris King wheelset and 2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Here’s a few ways of making your Enduro a bike for all occasions, we know its not for everyone – due to frame restrictions in small and medium the Ohlins damper (we visited the factory in Sweden last year) will not fit as it said to hit the seat tube and they don’t recommend the 650 shock linkage.

Here’s our guide to tuning up the Enduro to make her fly in six different set-ups.

THE SIX WAYS FEATURING TWO SHOCK LINKAGES, AN OFFSET AND SOME WHEEL/TYRE COMBOS

 29” LINK GEOMETRY:-

 SET UP ONE – 29” WHEELS/STANDARDGEOMETRY

Bottom bracket: 351mm Head angle: 67.5

SET UP TWO – 29” WHEELS/STANDARD LINK, MONARCH DAMPER AND OFFSET

Bottom bracket: 348mm Head angle: 66.5

 

650B SHOCK LINK GEOMETRY:-

 SET UP THREE – 29“ WHEEL FRONT AND REAR – OHLINS DAMPER

Bottom bracket: 338mm Head angle: 67

SET UP FOUR – 650B REAR 29” FRONT – OHLINS DAMPER

Bottom bracket: 332mm Head angle: 65

SET UP FIVE – 650×2.4 Rear 650×2.8 front 650 Link Ohlins damper

Bottom Bracket: 325mm Head angle: 65.5

SET UP SIX – 650+ Front 650+ Rear 650 Link Ohlins damper

Bottom bracket: 329mm Head angle: 66

A step on from the basic set up. Monarch Plus damper, Burgtec offset bushes

29” LINK GEOMETRY

SET UP ONE – 29” WHEELS/STANDARDGEOMETRY

Bottom bracket: 351mm Head angle: 67.5

As good as the enduro is the standard numbers lead to a rather upright riding characteristic that’s slightly shy of leaning into corners.

 SET UP TWO – 29” WHEELS/STANDARD LINK, MONARCH DAMPER AND OFFSET

Bottom bracket: 348mm Head angle: 66.5

Fitting a Burgtec offset bushing and a standard (non Debonair) Monarch Plus damper is one of the first ports of call on the Enduro to get the bottom bracket lowered and shade a touch off the head angle on the Enduro.

Love the simplicity of the Monarch plus, actually prefer it to the Debonair on this bike giving a simple easy to ride characteristic. The inclusion of the offset up front slackens the head angle out by a degree but the bottom bracket is still slightly high at this stage. Clearly a weight advantage over fitting the Ohlins damper but its not yet a total brute.

The shock link off the 650 Enduro just happens to slot into some Enduro 29's

650 SHOCK LINK GEOMETRY

Before going into the detail of fitting a link off a 650b Enduro we need to make a few things clear. Below are the numbers when fitting a 650b linkage to the Enduro and at this stage we also fit the Ohlins damper which is the same 215mm eye to eye length. However it doesn’t fit all Enduro 29 unfortunatley and they don’t recommend the link on any 29” bike. Here is the official line from Specialized….

“TTX Fits all 650b/26 frames, fits 29er Large and above.

As a company we don’t recommend retro fitting 650b shock extensions to 29er frames as under heavy loads the extension can contact the seat tube “

Tight, vert tight, but it works even at full bottom out plus a bit of pushing

Fortunately we have the extra large Enduro 29 and as can be seen both the Ohlins damper and the 650 link have ample space in the swingarm. Here’s the detail of the Enduro 29 with 650 shock linkage…

 

The flying machine - 650 link, 29" wheels front and rear

SET UP THREE – 29“ WHEEL FRONT AND REAR – OHLINS DAMPER

Bottom bracket: 338mm Head angle: 67

 It’s when you move from 650 wheel to 29” that you feel the speed increase and begin overjumping things and carrying maybe a shade too much speed into corners. As a tough Uk all-rounder it doesn’t get much better than this set-up. Coil performance for the tougher descents, superb roll over form the dual 29” wheel set up, 150mm of well used travel and some tidy geometry numbers. More than this you are now getting the full the grip benefits that 29” wheels offer. Bear in mind that tyre choice will have an impact on geometry numbers too.

Wheel choice – Chris King on Pacenti rims, built and supplied by Evolution Imports. Why aluminium rims? Well we just love the feel of the Pacenti and the buzz of the King, where carbon can often be too harsh and some hubs too noisy. And a great price too.

The uplift bruiser - 650b rear wheel with 29" front

SET UP FOUR – 650B REAR 29” FRONT – OHLINS DAMPER

Bottom bracket: 332mm Head angle: 65

An unbeatable set-up for bruising pan-European trips in harder drier rocky conditions, the kind of place where, if you don’t have super strong 29” wheels is a prime example where a tough 650B wheel will take the hits just a little bit better.

This is also the set-up that puts the Enduro into almost perfect geometry configuration, offering a lowered bottom bracket, slackened head angle for any uplift dominated trip. Its also a handy set up back in the uk as well and certainly in places such as the bike park is marginally easier to heel into the incessant berm cornered hills where the 29” wheel requires a slightly different approach.

Rear tyre choices are opened up. We use a mix of tyres for 27.5 and we love the Continental Der Baron 2.4 as a tough all-rounder but the mix also includes Specialized Butcher, Hillbilly and Slaughter, Maxxis High Roller too.

The Ohlins damper takes the hits but is never over excited on the climbs making it a great all-rounder. The performance of this damper is better than any. That said the one possible downside of the 650 rear wheel set up is a rearwards biased ride on climbs.

Wheel choice: Mavic rear wheel – we chose Mavic Crossmax XL for its pace and strength combination, easy to fit tubeless tyres and the all important rebuild option that Mavic offer for their wheelsets.

Ridiculous comfort up front with muscle on the rear - 2.8/2.4 tyre combo

Finally some might call it 650+ or Specialized have 6Fattie we just simply bolted some 2.8 Nobby Nics on and they fitted a treat. True the 3.0” tyres would be tight but here we go….

 SET UP FIVE – 650×2.4 Rear 650×2.8 front 650 Link Ohlins damper

Bottom Bracket: 325mm Head angle: 65.5

This is where it gets interesting. We fitted Schwalbe 2.80 tyre on to the front end of the Enduro with the standard Fox 36 fork, 650b link and Zelvy Carbon wheels built onto Chris King hubs. The geometry numbers were quite a shock. The bottom bracket at this point is clearly on the low side but it offers an incredible ride dynamic, the head angle is pretty good too at 65.5 degrees.

Up front there seems to adequate clearance from the 29” Fox 36 fork although I’m sure Fox might have other things to say about that so please check before trying this at home so to speak. Certainly the 3.0’ tyre would be a pretty tight fit.

Rearwards we have the Zelvy wheelset with quick rolling Chris King hubs. The Continental Der Baron offers a much more muscular wall carcass which doesn’t roll on the rim in the way the 2.80 Nobby Nics do (Continental Der Baron 2.4 Projekt – 985g/Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.8 Pace star – 860g). Even though the weight difference is pretty close the Continental is a stronger tyre which will run higher pressures so there’s a mismatch.

The benefit of the set-up is the amount of bish-bosh the front tyre takes out of the initial hits. It’s an odd mix but certainly works in some conditions where there is the ever-present danger of flatting the light but skinny weight Schwalbe big tyres.

Wheel choice – Zelvy custom wheelset

Just how right does this bike look?! 650 link with Zelvy/Chris King wheelset and 2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic

 

SET UP SIX – 650+ Front 650+ Rear 650 Link Ohlins damper

Bottom bracket: 329mm Head angle: 66

At this stage of the game we really believed there might be a closer geometry match between the 29” wheel set-up and the 2.8” tyres but it was not so. The big tyres produced some great numbers including a low bottom bracket which simply tears corners in half, and a great 66 degree head angle (the 29” wheels gave 338mm/67).

In terms of clearance the rear had plenty of space free either side and the front as mentioned above had room as well although on both ends the 3.0 tyres would be a tight fit.

Wheels were the great value Zelvy rim/Chris King hub set-up and the 35mm rim profile seems to hold the tyres very well indeed being neither too narrow or as we have found on some of the 40mm rims too wide that we feel sometimes leads to an odd steering characteristic. The set-up is early days and we’ll be trying different fork offset combinations in the weeks ahead.

The basics of bigger tyres is essentially that they are a total smash-through-whatever-you-want ride mindset, which means that line delicate line choice is not anywhere near as important. They offer less fatigue and also more grip and more braking power. The downside is the tyres are pretty lightweight and possibly prone to punctures. Having said that we did two days at Bike Park Wales with no issues.

There is also a tendency for tyre roll when really hoofing into hard corners on lower pressures so car needs to be taken to get the numbers right. We ran around 20psi for a 90kg rider and considering the tyres were Pace Star compound the ride over root and rock was insane in comparison to a smaller volume version of the same rubber. Overall for many the confidence these tyres offer is immense. Rolling resistance is also another of the great benefits of riding these tyres.

Wheel choice – Zelvy custom wheelset

Stem height is key when riding the Enduro. Initially we used 35mm stem on the bike but found that due to the short chainsatys that weight was disproportionate weighting rearwards meaning an all too light front end.

From this position we moved to a 55mm Syntace dropper stem which puts the bar almost in line with the top of the headtube. This improved matters greatly pushing the weight into a more neutral riding position. Our final position was met be the 44mm Syntace.

 

TYRE CHOICES – 650b and 29” set ups

 Wet weather tyre choice –

Front – Specialized Hillbilly/ Maxxis Shorty

Rear – Specialized Hillbilly/ Maxxis Shorty

 Dry Weather tyre choice –

Front – Specialized Butcher/Maxxis High Roller

Rear – Specialized Butcher/Maxxis High Roller

 Super Dry Weather tyre choice –

Front – Specialized Butcher/ Maxxis High Roller

Rear – Schwalbe Rock Razor/Specialized Slaughter

Note: the Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650×2.8 were impressive in any condition

Check out our review of the Ohlins fork and rear shock on this Specialized Enduro 29 here.

Jones gunning the standard Enduro high up in Oregon

Share

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.

production