Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | First Ride

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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?

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
Specialized has a new Enduro for 2020, and it ain’t nothin’ like the old one.

Demo-Inspired Design

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 s-works 2020
The rear shock has been placed low down in the frame.

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.

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
Specialized prototyped the Enduro in alloy, but there are no plans to offer a metal version for production.

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.

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
The main pivot sits much farther forward – just like the new Demo downhill bike.

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.

The carbon fibre links on the S-Works model help to drop 250g.
Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
The cheaper Enduro models still use a carbon mainframe and swingarm, but rely on heavier alloy links.

Style-Specific Sizing

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.

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020 specs geometry
2020 Specialized Enduro geometry. And no, you’re not seeing things – there are a couple of typos in here.

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.

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
Shorter seat tubes all-round.

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.

Specialized Enduro s-works 2020
Head tubes have gotten shorter, so Specialized includes a range of headset top caps for adjusting stack.

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.

Cabling is full-length throughout, and there’s a threaded BB and a standard metric-sized shock. All sensible stuff.

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 gets the same bumpy protector to minimise chain noise.

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.

With 29in wheels and 170mm of travel at both ends, the new Enduro is a big ol’ bike.

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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Disclosure

Wil’s flights and accommodation for this trip were covered by Specialized.

Comments (6)

    Hi Wil. Great write up thanks. Are you still with Singletrack (I thought you’d gone to Flow Mag)?

    I’ve got to say that will’s article’s are head and shoulders above some of the others.

    Interesting. Are bikes too capable?

    This was a great and realistic review. Bravo.

    @Will – Do you think you would have preferred the S2 sizing much more?

    @paulcd – Thanks mate and glad you enjoyed it! I have moved back to Australia where I’m now working full time with Flow Mountain Bike. The 2020 Specialized launch, where we tested out the new Epic, the Enduro and a third secret bike, was back in June, but the embargoes were all scheduled a couple of months after the launch – hence the delayed publishing of the review above.

    @andybrad – That’s very kind of you to say, appreciate it!

    @michaeldorian – That’s a great question about sizing, though unfortunately I wasn’t able to ride the S2 size at the launch. I think being on the smaller size would have made it feel a lot more manageable for sure. Would I have preferred the S2 size? Hard to say without riding it. But I must say that I do like the flexibility that Specialized is offering with this S-sizing concept.

    Wil.

    That’s the best looking Specialized I’ve ever seen, clever of them to put the best colour option on the S-Works, and not overly priced for a change, does look like a Santa Cruz Mega Tower?

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