Specialized Enduro unveiled for 2020
Following 20 years of evolution, the latest iteration of the Specialized Enduro arrives as the biggest and baddest one yet.
As EWS stages have become as gnarly and as steep as your average World Cup DH race track, the requirements for a modern enduro bike have changed. These days, to survive a weekend of EWS racing you basically need a downhill bike that you can pedal up.
With this in mind, Specialized’s designers set themselves two relatively simple but challenging goals with the new Enduro. Firstly, they wanted to make it a faster bike when pedalling. Secondly, they wanted to make it faster when plowing really rough, and very technical terrain.
Sounds easy enough right?
In order to achieve these two attributes within the same bike, Specialized’s engineers went back to the drawing board to build an all-new Enduro platform from the ground-up.
It’s immediately apparent from first glance that the 2020 Enduro is a completely different beast from the current model. There’s a brand new frame, new geometry and sizing, and an all-new suspension platform.
Drawing upon the latest Demo downhill race bike, the Enduro makes use of a low-slung linkage that drops the shock right down into the belly of the frame. As well as lowering the centre of gravity, Specialized says the new shock placement has allowed it to build a stronger and lighter frame, since it no longer needs the cross-brace like the previous X-Wing frame design. Front-end stiffness stays the same, while the back end is purportedly 12% stiffer than the old bike.
Specialized Enduro 2020 | The Movie
It might be hard to tell initially, but the Enduro still utilises the FSR platform. What has changed is the addition of two control links that drive the rear shock. According to Specialized, these control links provide greater tuning capabilities by decoupling the shock rate from things like wheel path, anti-squat and anti-rise.
While the main pivot is still roughly at the height of the top of the chainring teeth, it has been shifted significantly further forward. Likewise, the Instant Centre has been positioned higher and further forward than the previous Enduro.
This creates a more rearward axle path in the first 50mm of the travel, so that the rear wheel is better able to get out of the way when copping square-edge hits. Just like the Demo, this is all about increasing the bike’s ability to carry momentum over chopped-up sections of trail, with the goal of improving speed and comfort.
Big Travel, Big Wheels & Carbon Fibre Only
Being a purpose-built, rock-smashing gravity rig, the Enduro is equipped with no less than 170mm of travel front and rear. Unlike the previous Enduro, which was split into 27.5in and 29in versions, the new Enduro will only be available as a 29er. The reason? Specialized says that when it comes to carrying speed and momentum on rough EWS race tracks, the big wheels are simply faster.
Likewise, the 2020 Enduro will only be available in carbon fibre. We’re told that there are no current plans to offer alloy frames.
All four Enduro models will be built around a chunky FACT 11m carbon frameset. The S-Works frame does upgrade to carbon fibre linkages though, which drops a hefty 250g over the alloy links used throughout the rest of the line.
Despite the frame and suspension update, the Enduro still maintains clearance for a water bottle inside the mainframe. Underneath the bottle cage you’ll find the new generation SWAT door first shown on the latest Stumpjumper, which offers a larger but lower-profile opening with more room inside the downtube.
As with the latest Demo and Stumpjumper EVO, the new Enduro moves over to ‘Style-Specific Sizing’. So instead of the typical Small, Medium & Large frame sizes, the Enduro will be available in S2, S3, S4 and S5 sizes.
S2 has the shortest reach at 437mm, while S5 is the longest with a 511mm reach. The whole idea with the S-Sizing concept is to encourage riders to choose the right size based on their preferred reach, and not on their saddle height.
To facilitate this, seat tube lengths have been shortened significantly. Aside from providing more flexibility for riders to upsize, this also improves compatibility with long-stroke dropper posts.
Head tubes on the Enduro have also gotten shorter. For taller riders who need a higher stack height, Specialized will be shipping the new Enduro with six headset spacers and a tall, conical-shaped top cap that allows you to run the bar in a higher position, without things looking too weird.
Up front, the new Enduro’s head angle has been slackened out to 63.9°, and fork offset has been reduced from 51mm to 46mm. This sees the Enduro’s trail figure grow to a substantial 132mm, which in theory, will deliver greater high-speed stability.
As with the latest Stumpjumper, the Enduro gets an offset chip in the lower shock mount, which can be flipped around to offer High and Low geometry positions. The High position will steepen the head and seat angles by 0.4°, while lifting the BB height by 7mm.
Wanna go slacker again? The Enduro frame will handle as much as 180mm of travel up front, and it’s even rated for a dual crown fork, should you want to go full park rat.
Less Proprietary Stuff
As we’ve seen with other recent Specialized models, the new Enduro deliberately steers away from any annoying, proprietary standards.
The shock, for example, is a standard 205x60mm metric size. Specialized says the Enduro will happily take a coil, and we’re told that basically any current shock on the market – with or without a piggyback – will fit.
In a further nod towards serviceability and compatibility, you’ll find a 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell, ISCG 05 chainguide tabs, and internally moulded cable guides. You’ll also be pleased to know that there are no new hub standards to be found here, with standard Boost spacing utilised front and rear.
The only standard that is a little less common is the 34.9mm seat tube, which has been carried over from the previous model. This fatter seatpost size has been increasing in popularity though (Specialized uses it on the full Stumpjumper series, as well as the Levo, Kenevo and Fuse models), and there are now numerous post options available from brands including RockShox, X-Fusion, BikeYoke and Specialized itself.
However, if you want to use a smaller diameter post, Specialized makes a tidy alloy shim to do exactly that.
A smaller, but no less pleasing detail is the sandwich-style derailleur hanger. This isn’t unique to the Enduro – it’s exactly the same hanger as you’ll find on the Epic, Fuse, Stumpjumper and Levo models, which makes sourcing a replacement that much easier. Chapeau Specialized.
The Enduro Lineup
With four complete bikes on offer for 2020, the Enduro range kicks off at £4,500 for the Enduro Comp Carbon 29, and goes up to £9,000 for the S-Works model. The S-Works frameset will also be available on its own for £3,300.
All Enduro models feature piggyback air shocks, big 4-piston brakes and large diameter rotors. You’ll find Roval wheels and Specialized tyres throughout, with a 2.6in Butcher up front and a 2.3in Butcher out back. 800mm wide bars come as standard, with a 35-50mm long stem depending on the frame size.
Each model gets a 150-170mm stroke dropper post, but you won’t see any of Specialized’s own Command posts. The reason? The Californian brand has decided to cease dropper post development moving forward, and is choosing instead to spec other brand’s droppers so it can concentrate its resources elsewhere. Apologies to the Command post fans out there, which includes me.
2020 Specialized Enduro First Ride Impressions
During the launch of the 2020 Enduro, I had a day of riding in the Northstar Bike Park to get some early ride impressions of the new bike.
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Wil’s flights and accommodation for this trip were covered by Specialized.