Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Unfortunately our test bike was beset with minor component and adjustment issues that detracted from an otherwise stellar ride. The three-stage compression dial on the Pike kept coming loose every time we touched it, and eventually just started clanging.
The Specialized Command Post IR dropper post was not properly adjusted and kept slipping during crucial climbing sections. Because it was internally routed, having to pull it and adjust the cable was a time-consuming annoyance.
The XX1 shifter was positioned outboard of the rear brake lever, putting it too close to the grip and making for inadvertent shifts when banging downhill.
Although we eventually fixed all the minor issues, it was a bummer for a few riders who rode the bike before it was dialed in.
Though the performance of the RockShox Pike was stellar on other bikes, the one on the Enduro 29 had some issues. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Send in the SWAT team
The Enduro 29er comes equipped with what Specialized calls the SWAT—Storage, Water, Air, Tools—system. While we thought them a bit gimmicky at first, these lightweight, integrated emergency tools—a handy multi-tool beneath the bottle cage, and a chain tool integrated into the stem cap—could be ride savers, particularly if you’re going sans pack, which the inclusion of a truly usable downtube-mounted water bottle cage allows.
Who is This Bike For?
As spec’d—and priced—the S-Works Enduro 29 is like the Ferrari of enduro racing. It’s made for riders who race competitively, push the limits of sanity, and need to have the best equipment to compete. If not for actual racing, the S-Works edition of this model is probably overkill unless you’re a money-is-no-object Strava hunter.
What’s in a a name? In this case—everything. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
The Final Word
The S-Works Enduro 29 offers astonishing speed and stability downhill, handles in corners like a 26er, is incredibly light, impressively capability uphill and in one rider’s opinion “is the best downhill bike in the test by a mile.”
In addition to downhill kudos, the Enduro 29 earned some of the highest overall praise of any bike in the Enduro Compare-O. With all the hyperbolic arguments about wheel size, the Enduro 29 is rolling proof that a well-designed bike can work optimally regardless of wheel diameter.
Yes, this bike is an absolute standout performer, but for many people, our $9,250 test bike is just not practical. Thankfully there are less expensive Enduro 29 models—the Expert Comp 29 and Comp 29 listed below—that can get you much of the same performance without completely detonating your savings account.
- Supreme descending capability
- Climbs well
- Nimble like a 26-inch bike
- Outstanding high-speed stability
- Great componentry
- Extreme price point
- Tall front end
Price and trickle down versions:
S-Works Enduro 29: $9,250 as tested
Enduro Expert Carbon 29 – $6,600
Enduro Comp 29 – $3,500
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 Specs
- MRSP: $9,250 US
- Frame MSRP: $4,000 US
- Weight: 27.31 pounds (size large)
- Wheel size: 29 inches
- Sizes: M, L, XL
- Color: Matte Black/White
- Frame Material: FACT 11m carbon front triangle, M5 aluminum rear
- Fork: Rock Shox Pike RCT3 160mm
- Rear Travel: 155mm
- Rear Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
- Headset: 1-1/8” to 1-1/2” threadless
- Handlebar: Specialized XC Mini-Riser, 750mm
- Stem: Syntace F109
- Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IR (Internally Routed)
- Brakes: SRAM XO Trail, 200mm front, 180mm rear
- Shifters: SRAM XX1
- Front Derailleur: N/A
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1
- Cassette: SRAM XX1 10-42 – 11 speed
- Crankset: SRAM XX1, 32t
- Wheels: Specialized Roval Traverse SL, DT Swiss Star Ratchet hub internals
- Tires: Specialized Butcher Control 2.3”, 2Bliss Ready Front, Specialized Purgatory Control 2.3” 2Bliss Ready rear
- Bottom bracket type: PressFit 30
- ISCG Tabs: Yes
- Chainguide: No
- Head tube angle: 67.5 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 75 degrees
- Chainstay length: 16.9 inches
- Bottom bracket height: 13.8 inches
For more information visit www.specialized.com.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.