With a transverse-mounted fanny pack, it’s a party in front, and it goes by the name enduro.
I read your cute little Op/Ed piece recently published on another esteemed mountain bike website. It was very, how you say…cheeky. I’m sure it was all in good fun, but just in case you were serious, I figured it was worth a response. The question that you asked, “We’d like the word ‘enduro’back, please” confused me. I didn’t know that America stole it from you.
Strapping on fanny packs and riding short travel bikes around Soquel Demo is a new sport? That’s funny, because dudes have been riding mountain bikes with fanny packs in the Santa Cruz Mountains since the late 1970s, long before “Europe” was even a gleam in his daddy’s eye.
Sea Otter—I’ll give you that one. It was truly embarrassing. But “Europe” should know better than to fly halfway across the world to race mountain bikes at Sea Otter. Anyone here in the U.S. who’s done Sea Otter more than two times would tell you not to bother, but “Europe” is probably still figuring that out.
Wearing Lycra is “really f*cking embarrassing?” This coming from a continent where cyclists who shave their legs and wear pink Lycra is considered masculine? Please. Johnny Tomac was waxing European asses with a full black lycra skinsuit well before baggy ass shorts and jerseys were “enduro,” so yes, I can see why “Europe” would be embarrassed.
There are a few other things you should reconsider too:
1. Mount Tamalpais, son.
Riding to the top. Racing to the bottom. On modified beach cruisers called klunkers. Timed with a stopwatch. In 1975. Oh, some European dude was doing it in the 1970s too? Well, he’s 80 years too late, because mountain biking was actually invented in 1896 by the Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Corps—a black U.S. Army regimen who rode modified singlespeed safety bicycles 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula to Saint Louis.
Photo by Photo John
2. Two guys going for a ride is a race
You can call it enduro, mountain biking or tiddly winks—it doesn’t matter. Get two guys riding together on mountain bikes, and guess what? You have a race. Duh.
Only a downhiller would ride a helmet that has triple clamps for his POV camera. Photo by Photo John
3. Downhill helmets are full-face
A steep, 1,000m vertical descent that requires a full-face helmet as standard equipment is not enduro, it’s downhill. Full-face helmets are a pain in my ass, and anything that requires it I consider to be downhill racing. Twenty-five years ago I raced downhill with a regular mountain bike helmet and a rigid mountain bike on courses where you actually had to pedal once in a while. Then downhill racing grew big fat hairy balls, did away with most pedaling and required a bike that weighed 40 pounds, a neck brace and a full-face helmet so you didn’t end up paralyzed, wearing dentures or both. The more rational people who longed for the old days of racing downhill on regular singletrack without gap jumps in excess of 20 feet started doing things called Super D, which is what gave rise to what we here in the U.S. consider enduro.
4. Fanny Packs.
Because wearing a hydration pack is like having a sweaty midget on your back trying to strangle you all day long, that’s why.
5. If it isn’t Enduro Blue™, it’s not an “enduro-specific” product.
Maybe someone in France didn’t get the memo, but Mavic Crossmax Enduro wheels are not “enduro-specific” because they’re yellow. Everybody knows that anything that’s enduro-specific is Pantone 801, AKA Enduro Blue™. Get with the program, Frenchy.
And before you ask, hell yes there’s an enduro blue crushed velvet jacket that goes with this ensemble.
6. Open-face helmets and goggles
Because full-face helmets are for downhill. Goggles? Race the Downieville Classic sometime and maybe you’ll get a clue.
7. Enduro HAS done great things for the bikes we ride
I agree with Europe here. Enduro has given rise to bikes that can descend batshit crazy fast while still being able to climb well. The Orbea Rallon is a terrific example. Love that bike. But the last time I checked, nobody likes climbing several thousand vertical feet on a 90 degree day with a full-face helmet, which returns me to point number 3—full-face helmets are downhill, not enduro.
On the topic of 1x systems, these systems are really more downhill than enduro, because when you have a 30-pound enduro bike you have to climb all day with, by the top of the last climb you’re cursing your 1x system, unless you have a 28t chainring. But then you’d be spinning balls on open fast pedaling sections, wishing you had a 38t big ring for descending and a 26t ring for climbing. I love 1x systems. 1×1 is even better. But there’s a proper tool for each job, and when your bike is near 30 pounds, 1x ain’t necessarily the right tool.
Europe, you should know by now that America is very sensitive and defensive. You have insulted our intellect (what little there is), but like any arrogant and proud nation, we forgive you for being so…well…how should I put this….European. It’s not us. It’s you. But thanks for being so cute. We feel sorry for you, so you got the whole pity thing going. Nice work.
Because America always tries to offer a rational solution to a problem, how about this? We’ll keep “Enduro.” You can call what you do “Endeuro.” Deal? But we’re trademarking the word, so you’ll have to license it from us, because, you know, America is an enterprising nation and all.
PS –None of this applies to Anne-Caroline Chausson. She can do whatever the f*ck she wants as far as we’re concerned, because, well…she embarrasses most men on a downhill bike.
Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.