Compare-O Award-O: The best enduro bikes from our big shootout

Mtbr hands out the hardware for our Enduro Compare-O winners at Sea Otter

27.5 29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014 Sea Otter Classic

Back in February, we rolled out the Mtbr Enduro Compare-O—our most comprehensive test of trail, all-mountain and enduro bikes to date. After putting 22 bikes through their paces, our test team voted and made their picks. Though we already announced our winners, Sea Otter is our first opportunity to hand out the Golden Growler—our trophies honoring the best-of-the-best from the Enduro Compare-O

Specialized Global PR Manager Sean Estes, athlete Matt Hunter, Specialized Czar of FSR Jason Chamberlain and athlete Curtis Keene accept the award for Best Overall Bike and Best Descender presented to the S-Works Enduro 29. The bike was our only two category winner.

Santa Cruz’s braintrust of Scott Turner, Mariano Gon and Will Ockelton accept the award for Best Enduro Race Bike on behalf of the Bronson Carbon. The 27.5-inch wheeled bike has proven to be the most searched-for bike in our Compare-O.

Mtbr Founder Francis Cebedo hands Chris Cocalis of Pivot the Golden Growler for Most Versatile Bike—the Pivot Mach 6.

The Niner WFO9 took top honors for best value in our test. Here Chris Sugai accepts the Golden Growler for the effort.

The Ibis Ripley 29 grinded, clawed and willed itself to the top of the mountain and claimed the Best Climbing Bike award in our Enduro Compare-O. Tom Morgan, Roxy Lo and Scot Nicol accept the trophy in front of the brand’s sweet vintage Airstream.

All Enduro Compare-O Articles »

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • Kitty Bumblenuts says:

    Love that you guys did this – I’d love to see more mountain bike comparo’s in general.

  • Nsnk says:

    What do you define as an Enduro bike . To my mind the only enduro bike in this line up is the specialised . The others are just trail bikes.

  • luisM. says:

    Love all 3 of these niners. Each with its own unique set of strenghts!

  • Andrew says:

    I test rode the enduro 29— it felt like a monster truck that would steamroll anything in its path. Took it down a flight of stairs and felt like I was rolling over a spring mattress. But then I test rode a 27.5 heckler and realized that despite being super capable, the enduro is never going to be the most fun way up or down a hill.

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