Continuing our series highlighting the most exciting new Specialized models you can’t buy in the UK, may we present the Specialized S-Works Enduro. Billed as a bike to ‘climb higher, descend farther’ the Enduro is the latest evolution of one of the most iconic models in mountain bike history — and if your pockets are deep enough, it’s well worth the hop across the Channel to get one.
Over the last few years, it’s fair to say that the 160mm travel market has been faltering, as shorter travel bikes become more capable and riders improve their abilities. As a result, former skills compensators have been gathering dust in showrooms across the globe. Specialized has recognised this trend, and done a ground-up rework that renews its relevance and widens the gap between the standard and Evo models. The result is that the new Enduro is lighter and pedals better than its predecessor, enough to send it to the top of the wishlist for any privateer enduro racer.
Despite retaining the ‘X-Wing’ configuration (with room for a bottle and cage), the Enduro frame is actually all-new. Among the changes are a new shock-block mount, a shorter head tube and 5mm extra travel (now 165mm). To improve the pedalling performance Specialized has tweaked the kinematics with small changes in the main pivot position, Horst Link and shock link. There’s also a sleek new hidden shock mount and the frame weight has fallen by 110g.
To ring in these changes, the S-Works Enduro gets a boutique build that is as functional as it is desirable. Cane Creek’s Double Barrel Air shock with externally adjustable high and low speed rebound and compression damping takes care of the rear suspension, while up front there’s a 160mm travel Fox 34 Talas CTD. The Enduro is also one of the few bikes to come with SRAM’s hotly anticipated XX1 11-speed drivetrain, although Specialized didn’t have the courage to completely omit the chain device — it runs an E13 top guide.
To cap it all off there’s a Specialized Command Post BlackLite seatpost with remote, Specialized Carbon bars, Roval Traverse SL carbon wheels and Butcher Control/Purgatory Control tyres. It’s a spec that’s ready for action straight out of the box, and one of the most desirable all-mountain bikes of 2013. Such a shame then, that you’ll have to dig out your passport to find a shop that’s got one in stock.
Frame: FACT IS-X 11m carbon front triangle, M5 rear triangle
Shock: Custom Cane Creek DB Air, 165mm travel
Fork: Fox 34 Talas CTD FIT, 160mm travel
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 mech and XX1 shifter, SRAM XX1 chain and cassette (10-42 eleven speed)
Brakes: Avid X0 Trail World Cup, 200mm/180mm
Bars: Specialized All-Mountain carbon, 720mm
Stem: Syntace F109
Wheels: Specialized Roval Traverse SL carbon
Tyres: Specialized Butcher Control/Purgatory Control 26×2.3in
Seatpost: Specialized Command Post BlackLite 125mm, 30.9mm
Saddle: Specialized Henge Expert, ti rails
Sizes: S, M, L
Weight: 11.75kg (25.9lb) without pedals
Head angle: 66.5°
Seat angle: 70.5°
BB height: 350mm
Front centre: 732mm
This article first appeared in the November 2012 issue of MBR.