Specialized has been around for a long time now and is one of the top brands that defines the evolution on bicycle industry, and Allmountain / enduro mountain bikes wasn’t going to be any different being the Specialized Enduro one of the first bikes on such category, back in the days that model marked a new era off all around bike. It was a landmark, the name says it all. We had to ride one to check if the statements were real, but now on the latest incarnation, the 2012 S-Works Enduro carbon fiber frame.
Chassis/ build / details
The Enduro S-works is the mother of all, right on top of the range bikes with a extraordinary weight of just 12.750gr (with pedals). The frame is an FSR carbon “mambo jambo” – FACT IS 10M with a rear triangle in aluminum M5 combined with a great design and thank god very different from the past models. These ingredients make an impressive bike offering 160mm rear travel with 66,5º head angle and ISCG mount.
The S-works Line gives us on the front a Specialized E160TA Future Shock with a carbon crown and tapered steer tube, 20mm maxle lite and adjustable travel (160-135mm) and on the rear a Fox RP23. The drivetrain and brakes are SRAM XX and X0, adjustable seat post with 3 positions, the other remaining components are from Specialized brand with a mix of carbon and aluminum.
The ground controls are Roval traverse AL wheels with DT swiss technology very light and comes with a great pair of Specialized tires: Clutch Control 2.3 and Purgatory 2.2.
Unfortunately the specialized engineers made the same mistake that haunts past and (other) present models. The cable routing goes under the BB being very exposed to the natural elements, they do provide some kind of protection to the frame but it´s not enough and there could be the case a hard impact might fracture the rear brake hose and the carbon frame.
Adjustability-tunning / suspension
The Enduro has a lay back body position that might imply the need to adjust the handlebar and the controls a little bit different than usual, but is a normal thing when we change from bike to bike.
Adjusting the SAG and tuning the front and rear suspension is easy task due to the Enduro sag meter printed in the frame, a great detail. As any full suspension bike we needed to make some adjustments on the setup during time, but that’s part of the process and it wasn’t hard to reach a good compromise for enduro riding.
The Future shox carbon E160TA is more complex and harder to get a good compromise but with a few runs we can get it. What stands out is the carbon suspension head, just beautiful! The remaining settings are dependent on rider preference and according terrain types and are quite simple do fine tune.
The first impression of the bike (when you look at it) is like if’s fragile and it was engineered by a Cross-country guy as everything is carbon and super light. But once you get it rolling you get the full picture. Don’t get it wrong because is “a Downhill bike with cross country soul”. The Enduro isn’t a climb machine but can embarrass many cross-country bikes. It climbs very well even though it requires some weight transfer to the front to be more efficiency.
Going down is where the Enduro feels at home, the lay back body position is perfect for descend trails, it gives absolute control and stability. The main responsible for such control it’s in a big part due to the FSR system, it does its job like a charm. The wheels stick to the ground like glue in all types of terrain while not compromising the power transfer.
On the front, the Future shox carbon E160TA is a “milkshake” of all suspension brands but with some “vitamins”. It stands out by itself due to the carbon crow and lightweight construction but requires some time to be tuned, nevertheless when you reach the perfect and balanced point, it will work flawless. While riding we noticed the front to be very light, precise and didn’t experience any fading of the oil in long descends.
The flow trails and endurance trails are perfect for this particular model as we can put the bike at every line we choose to and flows like water, super smooth and very fast. The power that we can put on the pedals it´s amazing and we just disappear especially while exiting from corners, it feels like we have nitro in the bike. In tight switchbacks the Enduro is not so exceptional due to being a long bike, but is brilliant for fast trails.
In rough trails and super technical trails we notice a slightly lateral torsion in the back wheel when we put some speed but Specialized changed it in 2012 model. The super light weight is perfect as we can choose and transfer from different lines very easily, allowing us to go fast and keep the speed like the “big” bikes .
Jumps and Drops the Enduro works like a smooth. Once again the body position on the bike facilitates in this type of obstacles but is not a comfort zone for this bike.
There is always space for improvements and on this case it seemed obvious that if you want a super stiff bike just buy the Evo, on the other hand if you want a super light and do everything in cool way just go with a S-works. The only thing that we miss is the wider handlebar (740 to 760 mm for us) and a frame protection on the down tube.
What’s this bike? In our view is a fusion of two worlds: cross-country bike weight and the performance wise of a descent specific bike. It might require some initial adaptation for the correct and comfortable position of the rider, but when it get it, be careful, don’t get on his way.
The S-works allowed us to deliver full power to the terrain and ride very very fast. If you are looking for a special bike targeted for Enduro events the S-works is a great option. Nevertheless that level of performance doesn’t come for free, It’s up to you to decide on your wallet destination.
It´s a special bike that marks a new era just like its predecessors.
Manufacturer suggested retail price: 6599€
Further info: Specialized product page / firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: we would like to say a big thank to Specialized Portugal ( www.specialized.com ) for the opportunity to test the S-works Enduro carbon, we had a blast.
below you can find some more photos, have a look.