Compare-O First Look: Specialized S-Works Enduro 29

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–

The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 was one of the most popular bikes on the enduro race circuit in 2013 thanks in part to a killer combination of fast-rolling 29-inch wheels and short,16.9-inch chainstays that made for incredibly nimble cornering performance. What’s more, the S-Works Enduro 29 sports a whopping 155mm of rear suspension travel, clearance for tires up to 2.5-inches wide and a slacked out 67.5-degree head tube angle.

To get those numbers, Specialized engineers used an unprecedented, more -forward seat tube position that, in conjunction with a revised FSR suspension design, creates a 29er capable of massive rear travel while remaining an efficient pedaler.

The Enduro 29 comes equipped with the popular SRAM XX1 drivetrain and SRAM Trail XO four-piston caliper brakes. Perhaps the only downside of the Enduro 29 is that in order to run a two chainring system, you have to use a special mount Specialized calls the “Taco Blade”—a formed aluminum plate that mounts to the main pivot and chainstay. The other downside for many people is the price. At $9,250, the S-Works Enduro 29 was one of the spendiest bikes in the Enduro Compare-O.

With an eye-catching FACT 11M carbon fiber front triangle featuring Specialized’s X-Wing frame design—a trademark configuration that ties top and downtube elements together—the Enduro is a looker. More than just an exercise in cosmetics, the X-Wing is functional, making the frame tighter, stiffer and stronger.

Out back, a welded M5 aluminum rear triangle links to a Cane Creek Double Barrel Air CS shock with its Climb Switch lockout for efficient uphilling. Its foreword counterpart—the much raved-about RockShox Pike RCT3 fork—provides a relatively balanced, 160mm, front end response.

The Enduro 29’s cable routing is very clean and all internal, including routing for an included Specialized Command Post IR dropper post. Also integrated is Specialized’s clever SWAT—Storage, Water, Air, Tools—system that utilizes the bike’s nooks and crannies to carry repair essentials. Tucked underneath the water bottle cage is an integrated multi-tool, while a handy chain tool and extra master link hide underneath the stem cap.

Finally, with an asking price of nearly $10k you knew the wheels would be top shelf too. In the case of the Enduro, that’s a pair of Roval Traverse SL 29 carbons that employ Specialized’s hookless technology, and ride on a DT-Swiss hub internals. Wrapped in Specialized Butcher and Purgatory tires, the kit should make for a sweet, light and grippy combo.

To build a long-travel 29-inch all-mountain bike with chainstays as short as a160mm 26er is no small feat. To have it weigh in at a scant 27.31 pounds is an even more remarkable achievement. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to point this bike down Braille Trail and get radical.

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 Key Specs
  • Weight: 27.31 pounds
  • Wheel Size: 29-inches
  • Frame materal: FACT 11M carbon fiber
  • Travel/Suspension: 160mm front, 155mm rear; Rock Shox Pike RCT3, Cane Creek Double Barrel Air
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 1×11 with 30T or 32T chainring and 10-42 cassette
  • Brakes: SRAM XO Trail 4-piston, 200mm front, 180mm rear
  • Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IR dropper post
  • Wheelset/Tires: Roval Traverse SL 29 carbon, DT Swiss internals; Specialized Butcher Control 2.3” front and Purgatory Control 29 rear
  • Bar/Stem: 750mm Specialized alloy bars; Syntace F109
  • Bottom Bracket Type: PF30
  • Head Tube Angle: 67.5 degrees
  • Seat Tube Angle: 69 degrees
  • Chainstay Length: 430mm (16.9 inches)
  • Bottom Bracket Height: 350 mm (13.5 inches)
  • Bike MSRP: $9,250
  • Frame MSRP: N/A

For more information visit

Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 here.

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.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • mr.habanero says:

    The 29er that all other 29ers wish they were.

  • A. Anderle says:

    This bike deserves it’s attention and prizes it won. It’s an engineering feat that worked out well. My testimonies come first hand, with lots of comparative experience… So far, it stands alone in its category. Thumbs up.
    Climbing: Very good for it’s category. I achieve same times as on my stumpjumper and can keep pace with buddies on hardtails, expecially on rough, long climbs.
    Handling: predictable. Confidence inspiring. Smiles bringing.
    Descending: There seems to be nothing, this bike can’t handle well.
    Weight: sub 13 kilos!
    Price: I have tried Comp and Expert before my Sworks came to my garage and they were both great to ride. Of course there are progressive drawbacks as the price dops. (frame, brakes, shocks, forks, rims, seatpost)
    If you get a bargain price somewhere or you can simply afford it – just go for one of the carbon versions. You’ll never end smiling on trail.

  • Pachinko Johnson says:

    It’s unfortunate that people will let their subjective feelings about Specialized (Cafe Roubaix, lawsuits, they’re too big, etc.) get in the way of objectivity: that this bike is simply better than nearly all other bikes. Again, don’t let the Big S’s reputation cloud the analytical, logical areas of your brain.

  • Archt.Marte Brion says:

    Guy remember this…especially MTB and BMXer Riders..ITs THE MAN behind theBIKE!…not the price or how much the bike [email protected]#$#@$$$.

  • skipper says:

    Looks like they forgot to engineer in some mud clearance or even larger tire clearance in the rear triangle. Short chainstays yes but there is no clearance there for any type of mud/debris. This bike looks awesome but it would be unusable on the east coast in real world conditions on anything but dry days. Forget a stream crossing.

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