First Look: S-Works Enduro 29 Weighs in at 27 lbs with 155mm of Travel

29er Enduro
The Ride

With its short stays and very low bb height, the bike frame is really quite compact. Unlike the Tallboy LTc, this medium bike actually fit my 5’8” stature really well. So I started rolling it and riding it with little drama. It initially felt like the Specialized Camber I’ve been riding for a year except the travel felt bottomless. The rear of this bike felt stiffer as well. The massively supported short stays had no discernable lateral play at all.

This bike can rail and corner! That is probably the greatest revelation of this bike as cornering on any surface was such a delight. Smooth corners, rough ones, flat, off camber were all tackled with poise and confidence. Initially, we would run wide on a few fast, tight corners, but we learned to adjust and muscle this bike through the turn. Then, a magical thing happened as the rear of the bike started to drift wide and helped the bike turn in. It wasn’t a braking skid, but rather a cornering drift that was actually easy to control. Once we got the hang of it, it was rally time!

Enduro Jump

Then we started hitting rougher and rougher terrain. This bike just laughed at all the rough stuff that the Santa Cruz trails could offer. Clearly this bike was meant for bigger challenges. This bike was actually difficult to unsettle, as it just ate up terrain. We started jumping the bike, overshooting landings and jumping to flat. Everything was a bit easier on this bike compared to most. The only thing that could unsettle it though was hitting the pedals on rocks or roots, as the bike sank deep into its travel.

A bonus is that this bike had a Talas 120/150mm up front. So on the super twisty singletrack, we put it in 120mm mode and were rewarded with a bike that handled all the tight terrain with ease.

It would be interesting to put a 160mm travel fork on this bike as those become available. That would unleash the true descending potential of this steed.

Trickle Down Design?

One of the things I asked the Specialized engineers is if this design and short stays will carry over to their other 29ers. They said ‘probably yes’ for the Stumpjumper and Camber, but maybe not the 100mm Epic. Though the benefits for the Camber and Stumpjumper are there for handling and quickness, they said for the Specialized Epic stability for cross-country racing is a concern and the owners love the current geometry.

The Bad

Perhaps the only downside of the Enduro 29er aside from its current low availability, is that the bottom bracket is really low at 13.1 inches. With 155mm (6.1 inches) of travel, the pedals will almost hit the ground when the travel is fully compressed. Sean Estes from Specialized makes a good point by saying, you’re never going to bottom out this travel on this kind of bike. But then we believe that the bike really has to handle getting full travel safely. In the Santa Cruz mountains of the Bay Area, the low 13.1 inch bottom bracket is perfect so we have no issue with it. But in other parts of the country where it’s more rocky and a lot more rugged, this could be a real issue, so keep that in mind.

Shocks Bottomed out

The other downside is that this bike is hardly available in 2013. Even though announced in the Spring of 2013, the quantities produced are ridiculously low compared to demand. Sources tell me that only 12 S-Works bikes were made available in the US. There were more of the Comps and the Experts but they were all sold out by week one. So for all practical purposes, the entire inventory was gobbled up by pre-orders and industry insiders.

This strategy clearly does not make sense to us. If the bike is good, make a ton of them, back up the money truck and reap the rewards. Make the forecast, take the risk and don’t turn away customers until next year or to other brands or wheel sizes. In the week that we had this bike, we counted close to ten folks that said they’ve been trying to purchase this bike, but simply cannot find it.

The Cane Creek Rear Shock

The S-Works model comes with the Cane Creek DB Air. The word that comes to mind when describing this shock is ‘gnarly’. It is daunting to set up, but its performance is just incredible. With only seven days to ride this bike, we had to refer to our Brian Mullin’s in depth Review of the DB Air.

Cane Creek DB Air Rear Shock

Here is an excerpt from Brian Mullin as he summarized the DB Air:

Let’s get to the point, I liked this rear shock a lot, as it has many great attributes and characteristics, including a massive amount of tuning capabilities, superb small to medium bump compliance, and excellent composure and plushness. This baby likes to slice, and dice down the gnarliest trails you can toss it at, yet it’s still happy to motor around on milder terrain.

I have been using the Double Barrel Air or DBair for quite a long time on my Ibis Mojo HD, and it is one of the best rear shocks I have used, especially in regard to All Trail and All Mountain riding. It has a vast range of tuning settings, with separate adjustments for air, low and high speed compression, and low and high speed rebound. The DBair is an air sprung rear shock, with four-way independent adjustability, an auto-adjust negative air spring, tunable air volume, and Twin Tube damping technology. It comes in eight different lengths and strokes from 190 x 50mm (7.5” x 2.0”) to 267 x 90mm (10.5” x 3.5”) and three XV (extra volume) sizes, and weighs in at 530 grams, and retails for $650.

Conclusion

My 12-year old son Miguel (who is very curious about biking at the moment) asked, “What’s the best new mountain bike this year?” Well, I thought long and hard about it, as I have difficulty with the ‘best’ questions. I thought of the Norco Sight 27.5 and Trek Remedy 29, and then finally I said, “You know, it’s got to be the S-Works Enduro 29er” since it is such a fun bike and an amazing achievement.

We can’t wait until we see this bike widely available and we see these design innovations in more Specialized 29ers.

What happened after my seven days with the Enduro 29er expired? I asked for an extension of course!

First Look: S-Works Enduro 29 Weighs in at 27 lbs with 155mm of Travel Gallery
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Specialized Enduro 29 rear quarter view

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Specialized Enduro 29 new Butcher tires

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Specialized Enduro 29 only has the left dropper post control on the left side bar

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Specialized Enduro 29 bulge in the middle for stiffness and to accomodate rear shock

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Specialized Enduro 29 now uses the Rockshox Pike instead of Fox

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Specialized Enduro 29 has SWOT cage and multi tool hidden underneath

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Specialized Enduro 29 With Cane Creek DB Air with Climb Switch

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27.33 lbs for size medium

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Specialized Enduro 29 Frame with Cane Creek DBAir CS

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Specialized Enduro 29 Front Quarter

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Specialized Enduro 29 Side View

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Chief Designer

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er at Headquarters

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Weight

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Tire

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Side with Post Up

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Talas 120/150

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Shock Mount

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Shock Mount

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Main Pivot

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Bottle Cage

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Brake Mount

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Linkage

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Lever

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Grip and Rear Shifter

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Blacklite Lever

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Drivetrain

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Carbon Wheel

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Tire

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Side View

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Head Tube

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Cable Routing

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Shock Levers

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Shock

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Tire Clearance

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Linkage

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Shock

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Linkage

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Dropout

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Drivetrain

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Head Tube

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Rear Shock

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Blacklite Stealth

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Shock Mount

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Side Profile

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Jump to Flat

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Front Der Mount

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er Tire Clearance

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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29er DBAir

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Enduro Jump

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Shocks Bottomed out

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Mr. P says:

    Sounds awesome. Low BB = railing goodness.

    How does it pedal?

    P

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>How does it pedal?

      It pedals much like a Stumpy or a Camber. There is a bit of pedal bob under power so a platform shock is necessary if this bike will see a lot of climbing duty. The Enduro Comp and Expert will be simple to put in platform mode with their Fox CTD shocks. The S-Works with the Cane Creek DB Air is a little more complicated. we had to ramp up the low speed compression damping to give it a pedal platform. With that setup, it pedaled great. Traction and bump compliance under power are excellent.

  • Davey says:

    Man, I’m glad you guys stopped reviewing 26er’s. who rides those obsolete things anymore?

  • Wish I Were Riding says:

    I would probably buy a Camber with short stays tomorrow if they made one. 150mm of travel is just more than I need for my regular trails.

  • entrylevel says:

    No offence, but if there is only TWELVE of the things hitting the US this year .. could you maybe talk about how you think the design will work for the entry level specs of the 29 enduro.. you know – something the bulk of us might be able to afford and our local shops can actually supply?

    Thanks man.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      Yes, the S-Works is always the hard to get flagship. There were hundreds of Enduro Comps and Experts released this year and that’s what folks have been riding.

      There’s a huge thread here about the Enduro Comp 29er. I imagine it will be awesome with a CTD shock that’s not as plush but much easier to configure.

      Wheels whould be great to upgrade to $1200 Control Carbons.

      http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/2014-enduro-29-comp-se-841039.html

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    Lots people are riding 26ers. Just not a lot of are buying them.

  • Tad McMichael says:

    Specialized didn’t spend all the money on development and advertising to sell 12 bikes. This was about getting the bike out there as a very late 2013 so that they can create a buzz and sell a boat load of 2014 models. The Enduro is too much bike for me, but I hope the Stumpy 2014 sports the super short chain stays. That paired with 1×11 would be the perfect bike for me.

  • Mike says:

    What’s the weight? Not a huge Specialized fan but looks promising.

  • Krusch says:

    This is a long travel trail bike. A mountain bike needs higher bb. I would wreck the chainring on first ride… I`m looking for a higher bb technical terrain (all mountain that is full of rock bolders and logs all over the place) full suspension 29er. I know Lenz lunchbox is higher bb. But are there any other bikes that fits my needs? Since i find the lunchbox to expensive.

    • Skidad says:

      Agreed, the BB is just to low IMO but I live in New England where there is more rocks than dirt. The new Remedy 29′er I believe has a decent BB height.

  • Joel says:

    The strategy backfired in my case. I might have seriously considered buying the Expert if I could have found one. Without even a chance, I just bought a TBLTc. Love it and won’t be buying a new bike for a long while. Loss Specialized.

    • Sylvain says:

      It’s an underdog, underrated bike, the Tallboy LTc that is… Wouldn’t trade my LTc. Just got Derby Rims on mine now… Burly rocket!!!

  • H says:

    Awesome bike. I’m guessing they played wait and see since sales are just starting to eek forward again, why go into crazy production until you get a look at who is REALLY willing to fork over the dollars for a top ride and not just drool over it…

  • Tom says:

    Agree with the guys above on BB height. Deal killer, for me. At 150 mm of travel, the bike BEGS to be ridden on the rockiest, rootiest trails available. Good luck pedaling on them!

  • AC says:

    I wanted to get the enduro 29er as soon as it was announced to replace my 07 S works enduro sl. Went to LBS to order and I was told an indefinite delivery date. Tried a yeti SB95 that was on showroom floor. Liked it. Bought it. I’ve always liked Specialized but it seems like there was a lack of foresight in projected sales and demand for the enduro 29er….:(

  • sweetness says:

    Interesting article although I’m still skeptical about larger wheel size – I’d like to see a 26er do the same thing… might be better at demo (based on trail time alone, it looks that my ’06 enduro could hang w/this bike no problem). Either way, thanks for the vid although screaming gets kind of annoying…

  • gee says:

    Amazed you could review this bike and not touch on the insanely high front end and how it affects climbing

    As for not bottoming it out – if the travel is there. it’s there to be used. It’s not a “good point” from Specialized, it’s just daft. Of course people will bottom out bike like this – it’s made for agressive riding.

  • Troy says:

    “Sean Estes from Specialized makes a good point by saying, you’re never going to bottom out this travel on this kind of bike.”

    Wait, did he really say that? That’s ridiculous. If you’re never going to bottom out, then why does it have that much to start with? Sounds like the kind of BS that salesmen spew out to dumb buyers.

  • Globallines says:

    Seems like they are trying to play catch up with the Devinci Atlas…..same head tube angle, bb height and chainstay length. And probably the same weight. but about 3k more expensive.

  • fasterman says:

    dhf 2.5 fits in my 429c

  • John Smith says:

    With bikes like this……do we go out and get junk cars and park them in the middle of the trail to give some sort of challenge?

  • Sylvain says:

    I’m surprise Francis that a Med Tallboy LTc doesn’t fit you well at 5’8″. I am 5’5″ and have no problem fitting a medium. Tried briefly the alu version and it felt like a tank. Apples and oranges to my Tallboy LTc. I guess I would have to try an $8000 carbon to compare. So far, I’ll take my LTc any time over this…

  • Jim Renaldo says:

    U guys are sound like cheap skates and complain like women. Probably because it’s too much travel. Put on those tights and climb some hills!!!

  • Kabong Man says:

    Who would pay 10k for any bike..I am alover of all cool high tech MTBS but lets get real. You bike snobs (yes you) create an image that only Hollywood elite can emulate.. You needa bike at 2 K that does this.. Then i can buy 2 and take my GF in the woods.

  • Mtbmike says:

    I’ve owned a few Specialized FS bikes in my day. Good bike for the value, but that’s when there was still a value to be had. 10K? Who are they kidding? And what justifies the change from mid 3000′s base model to 10,000.00? Three times the bike? The aftermarket shock, fork, wheel, etc world does not have anywhere near that cost range, nor justifies the difference! So it has carbon rims. Big whoop! I can build almost 3 kick-ass Ellsworths, Foes, Etc. for the same dough, and have just as good a bike as the spit-it-out made in Taiwan production frame this rig is based on….. (you know, the land of manufacturing/environmental disaster and crappy labor regulations).. and still keep jobs in the U.S.!

    Remember what started mtn biking?

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