Fantastic ride quality and suspension performance
Our longterm test verdict on the Specialized Enduro Comp 650b; Specialized’s enduro machine sucks up big hits without compromising sensitivity.
Jason Hardy’s verdict after 10 months of testing.
Specialized Enduro Comp 650b need to know
- Ground-up redesign with revised geometry for 2017
- 170mm-travel with Yari fork and RockShox Monarch Plus shock
- ‘Base’ model in the range with alloy frame
- Slacker front end, longer top tube, shorter chainstays, lower BB
What attracted you to the Specialized Enduro Comp 650b?
Since Specialized created the Enduro it’s consistently been at the top of its game, and with the revised version for 2017 I was keen to see how this entry point machine would fare. I also wanted to see how feasible a 170mm travel bike would be as a regular ride.
Did you change anything straightaway?
Just the dropper post. It comes fitted with a 125mm model which didn’t seem right on an XL bike, so I put a 150mm in. Later on I fitted 2.6in tyres which really transformed the ride in a positive way, giving more grip and comfort.
Was the bike easy to set up?
Very, the shock and fork were a cinch to set up. Due to sizing issues I slammed the stem as low as possible and put the saddle as far back on the rails as seemed sensible to get as much reach as possible.
How did it ride?
For me it was a mixed bag. I’m 6ft 2in (1.88m), and I never felt entirely comfortable on this XL sized bike, which surprised me as I don’t think I’m freakishly tall. It felt too short with not enough reach, and our Product Editor said he’d felt other bikes in the range also felt short. But then out on the trails the bike was really amazing. For 170mm of travel it had a great pedalling efficiency, and when flat out down the trails it felt super competent and assured. I’m recently back from an uplift day at BikePark Wales and I have to say the bike gave me more and more confidence on the big drops and jumps.
Did anything break or wear out?
Whilst at BikePark Wales the rear wheel started to lose tension, so the lunch break was spent with a spoke key in hand. The wheel hadn’t gone out of true but some of the spokes had the tension of overcooked spaghetti. Also the chain guide on the front ring kept rubbing despite all my efforts to adjust it. But these are minor gripes considering the lack of TLC I’ve shown it during my tenure.
If you could change one thing about you’re longtermer what would it be?
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, but another 10-15mm in the reach would work wonders for me.
Would you buy this bike and why?
The answer is obviously a no, but that doesn’t mean this is a bad bike, far from it. And it doesn’t mean this isn’t the right bike for you. The ride quality and suspension performance was fantastic, giving a sensitive low speed ride whilst taking the big hits in its stride at the other end of the spectrum, and the Boost axle standard gives the bike great flexibility. But I never felt truly comfortable on it, always feeling a little too upright when sat in the saddle. I would say if you’re looking for a bike like this to definitely give it a test ride, and to maybe try a size up from what you would normally ride, maybe riding two different sizes.
The only other issue for this bike is down to price rises. At an original launch price of £2,600 this seemed about right for an entry level bike of this quality. But then Specialized upped the price to £2,900 which puts it at a big disadvantage compared to other brands.