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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29

The baddest 150mm 29" enduro bike in the world

specialized enduro 29 – the review

It’s too steep on the head angle and its too tall in the bottom bracket, and its ridiculously expensive. But by heck it’s our favourite enduro bike. So where is the sense in that? It takes some explaining.

First up there is little competition in terms of available travel. The Trek Remedy is 140mm, Nukeproof Mega and BMC Trailfox 150mm and the…. well that’s pretty much about it. At 155mm rear and 160mm up front the S-Works Specialized Enduro 29 is a bruiser. But it’s a fast bruiser. Its get-out-of-my-way carbon front end and aluminium rear swingarm chassis is not one to wince at trouble, far from it.

Internationally bulletproof

It’s because of this that you can fit a coil Ohlins TTX into the frame and go charging (sadly only L and XL bikes though). And what about those aforementioned angles? Well it’s nothing a top offset will not remedy and a slight shortening of the damper helps too if you can get someone on that. It’s interesting that it’s only when you fit a 27.5” wheel into the rear with a 27.5 shock shuttle that the angles become truly close to perfect.

But surely fitting a 27.5” wheel defeats the object of the bigger wheels which roll over root, give balance to British winter, increase the grip and heel into cambers so effectively? Absolutely. But there’s no denying the strength of a well made 27.5” wheel over 29” if you are charging into particularly nasty alpine rockery. And there’s no arguing the possibility of having two bikes in one either. We’ve ridden the S-Works at length in many configurations, and love every one of them.

“It’s a difficult bike to understand at times simply because it’s so fast”

As mentioned previously, it’s a LOT of bike that’ll easy have you in the wrong place on the wrong line at the wrong speed but with light years of time on tap. It’s a difficult bike to understand on times simply because its so fast. Climb on board a 27.5” bike after this bike and you’ll be slightly disappointed, certainly be pedalling more. 29” enduro bike of the year? Of course.

Check out this bike when we ran it with different wheel combinations here.


Jason Chamberlain, Chief Engineer. Specialized

The first Specialized bike bearing the “Enduro” name was in 1999.  The bikes were weirdly spec’d, came with fenders and never really found their identity.

The 2002 “monocoque” Enduro was the first full suspension bike that I engineered. Robert Egger did the industrial design. We only had one full suspension engineer at that time, and he had just quit. I had been working in the test lab for 3 years and the only bike I had designed prior was a hardtail. Mike Sinyard (owner/founder) and Mick McAndrews (who was the director of engineering at that time) came to me and asked if I knew how to design a full suspension bike. I enthusiastically told them “of course” not really knowing in the back of my head if I could or not. They told me to go for it. That bike went on to win numerous “Bike Of The Year” Awards and eventually won “Bike Of The Decade” by one of your fellow magazines.




So anyhow the 2005 Enduro was 150mm front and rear. At that point I was given carte blanche to make it whatever bike I liked.  I had just designed the Epic in 2003 plus the Demo 9 and reincarnation of the Stumpjumper FSR in 2004. Brandon Sloan and I designed that Enduro to be the ultimate trail bike, something that WE would want to buy and own, a true bike for enthusiasts. It was the first bike to take delivery of the Fox 36 150 fork, which was HUGE for its day. Journalists and insiders loved the bike, though it was a little ahead of it’s time for most consumers.

“I just sat there numb as the reality sunk in”

Fast forward to model year 2013 (calendar year 2011) and I still remember the exact moment when Brandon Sloan told me to stop working on the 26” version. We were sitting in a conference room and he said we need a 29” version with the same geometry, and we need it delivered BEFORE the 26”. I just sat there numb as the reality sunk in. I was almost finished with the 26! Brandon could tell he had just run me over with a truck.  But I got to work and started problem solving.  I love a good challenge and I had to get really creative with that bike to get the geo and performance that we wanted.

It meant inventing a new front derailleur standard, and convincing SRAM or Shimano to make a custom front mech. There was simply no other way to get 430mm chainstays and a front derailleur without moving mountains. I came up with a plan that was revolutionary but also simple enough for SRAM to get on board.  And that is how the “taco blade” was born.  The name “taco blade” actually was an accident.  We were having lots of phone conferences with the German SRAM engineers.  They originally called that part the “taco plate”, but I thought they were saying “blade”, so I wrote that down and it stuck ever since.  I also had to get really creative with the saddle position, chainstay bridge and seatstay bridges to make it all fit.

And that is where we are today.  People love 650, but we really think 29” serves most riders better.  They are more stable, eat bumps better and really smooth things out. And Enduro riders are typically not in a race to the top. But we offer both.

What are you thoughts on the Specialized Enduro 29? Let us know what you think.


see also



Review | YT Jeffsy | Dirt Mountain Bike




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