New Specialized Enduro unveiled

Words by David Hicks

on 13/08/2019 17:05:38

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Fast, fast, fast - three words to describe the redesigned 2020 Specialized Enduro. A stone-cold classic when it comes to long-travel mountain bikes, the bike that created the genre has been given a thorough overhaul for this year with the distinctive X-Wing silhouette ditched in favour of a new chassis, new suspension layout, new geometry and more travel. What do these updates mean? A bike that's even faster, both uphill and down.

New Specialized Enduro 2020

All-new Specialized Enduro 2020

  • New suspension layout
  • 170mm travel front & rear
  • Longer, lower and slacker
  • Carbon & 29er only

New suspension layout

The most striking aspect of the new Enduro is the updated suspension layout with the rear shock slammed deep in the belly of the frame and, as with all the changes to the new bike, this is borne from a need for speed. Taking cues from the newly released Demo downhill sled, placing the shock lower in the frame moves the bike's main pivot forward and raises its instant center (the point that the rear axle is rotating around at any given instant) to give the bike a more-rearward axle path in key stages of the wheel travel. In layman's terms, this means that Specialized have slashed wheel hang-up which you can feel when you hit a square-edged bump like a rock or root. Adjusting the axle path takes the impact energy away from you and the frame and directs it through the suspension where it belongs, resulting in better momentum carry and less impact on you - and that means you feel fresher, and faster on rough descents. Lowering the shock position has a knock-on effect for handling too. Placing the mass of the shock as low and centred as possible in the frame generates a lower centre of gravity which gives the new Enduro a planted and confident feel with more stability at high speeds.

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This is all good news for smashing downhills, but what about less enjoyable gradients? Specialized claim to have improved the pedaling performance of the Enduro to create a bike that not only rips on rough terrain, but responds how you want it to when you need to get on the gas out of a corner or through a flat section. Raising the bike's instant centre by shifting the shock position in turn boosts its anti-squat value by 40% over the previous Enduro, and brings with it a higher level of pedaling efficiency despite the longer travel on the 2020 model. The new bike also maintains a more consistent degree of anti-squat and pedaling efficiency no matter what gear you're in or where you are in the travel. Basically - stamp your feet on the pedals and the new Enduro will shift much quicker than you'd expect a burly long-travel bike to.

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Even more travel

Partnered with the change in suspension layout is a change to the suspension numbers themselves - the Enduro now boasts 170mm travel front and rear to gobble up even more tough terrain. With that extra travel, Specialized have worked on two key aspects of the travel spectrum; small-bump sensitivity and big-hit performance. Borrowing again from the Demo, the leverage curve has been tweaked to be more progressive for smoother, more controlled suspension from start to finish, with more suppleness early in the travel but a nice ramp at the end of its stroke so you don't smash through your travel on a big hit. In addition, the suspension has had the Rx Tune treatment to ensure it is perfectly matched to the bike's kinematics to give you more control, and more control on the trail.

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Balanced chassis and big wheel speed

The other key headline change with the new Enduro is the switch to 29er only. How come? Yeah, you guessed it - speed. Bigger wheels maintain momentum better over techy terrain, and more momentum ultimately means more speed. Match that up to 170mm suspension and you have the potential for warp-speed descending.

You're out of luck if you prefer an alloy frame too, as the 2020 Enduro comes exclusively in carbon fibre. This has allowed Specialized to tune the chassis for balanced stiffness, with Rider First engineered layup schedules for every frame size to ensure consistent ride feel. By matching a front-end that steers precisely with a rear-end that tracks smoothly and accurately Specialized have geared the bike to offer perfect ride quality. What that actually translates to is a rear-end that is 12% stiffer than the previous Enduro, with matching front-end stiffness.

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Specialized Enduro 2020 range

The new Enduro launches initially with an S-Works, with a standalone S-Works frame option and Expert, Elite and Comp models to follow shortly.

See the range >

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See the brand new Specialized Enduro at your nearest Rutland Cycling store.

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