A Small History of Enduro

Jan 17, 2013
by Matt Wragg  
 
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bigquotesProbably all of us, when we bought our first bike, didn't think to do races or know much about international-level mountain biking. The first thing we did with our mountain bikes was climb up hills so we could have fun going down them. That is the philosophy of enduro. - Franco Monchiero

For an Italian, Franco Monchiero is direct with his words. The founder of Italy’s Superenduro series has a clear vision of what he thinks enduro should be. Start talking to the people behind enduro races and this kind of language is common, words like spirit, fun and essence crop up again and again. Fred Glo, the man who first called a race an enduro says simply, “I just wanted to organise a race I would like to participate in. I wanted more riding in a weekend, more fun and good trails.”

They aren’t the kind of words you hear coming from the mouths and pens of many race organisers any more. In downhill and cross-country the language of racing talks solely of challenge, victory and defeat. The rise and progression of mountain bike racing has been nothing short of meteoric. Franco’s partner in Superenduro, Enrico Guala, recalls that “in the 1980s there wasn’t this extreme specialisation of XC and downhill. I remember the bike I used in the 80s with a rigid fork. You did everything on that bike, climbing and descending. Then came the specialisation, by the time we reached the 2000s you couldn’t do every discipline well.” Today you’d be brave to take an XC race bike down a world cup-standard downhill track, and lugging a 40lb DH race bike around a 30 mile loop would be painful. The same goes for the people who race those disciplines, the levels of fitness and bike handling you need to race at those top levels are mind-bending. Yet for most of us, this is a long, long way from what we actually do on our bikes. This is where enduro fits in. As Fred puts it, “enduro is the heart of mountain biking – the link between technical and fitness riding. It is the only bike you need in your garage. Maybe it’s not the best bike to ride XC, but you can, maybe it’s not the best bike to ride downhill or the bikepark, but you can.”

Davide ripping through the meadows.

“Untimed uphill and timed downhill” is how Ash Smith, the man behind the Trans-Provence stage race, describes the format on its most basic level. He goes on, “people were realising, right from the beginning of mountain biking that we socially ride around with mates. There has always been a thing where you ride around together, have a bit of a break at the top and try and beat each other down the descents. For me, enduro is a recognition that you might as well formalise the race that you would do anyway with your mates – so you have a time and can see who did actually win.” What that works out to is a format where you race over a series of timed special stages that are mostly downhill. Those stages will be less full-on than downhill racing and could well involve some going uphill. Depending on where you are in the world, getting to the top can mean pedalling, a chairlift or a combination of both. Whoever has the fastest combined time over the special stages wins. Races tend to be fairly relaxed outside the top ten, with the focus on getting quality time out on your bike with your friends.

In the some countries, like the UK, there is need for some clarity – in the last few years some events called themselves enduros, long-distance races that didn’t use the timed stages and untimed liaisons which define enduro. As Gravity Enduro series organiser Steve Parr jokes, “the UK are lazy bastards, instead of saying endurance, they said, ‘oh, enduro, it’s shorter!’ They just shortened it and it stuck because it’s cool, it’s a nice name.” Ash isn’t shy in condemning this either, “it has caused a lot of confusion. In my opinion, and I’ll admit it is quite an extreme opinion, it has contributed to why it’s been slow to take off in the UK.” To get stuck into the definition of enduro would also rule out something like the Brechfa Enduro from being described as an enduro, as even though they use the timed special stage format, it includes an uphill climbing stage.

Churning up the loam on day two.

Tracing the birth of the enduro format is in one way utterly simple, yet in others nearly impossible. In August 2003 Fred Glo held the Tribe 10,000 at Val D’Allos – the first mountain bike race called an enduro. There is genesis, the point where enduro began. Although Fred will tell you, “I don’t think we invented anything, we just adjusted things.” So to find the roots of enduro we must look further back and if we keep going all the way we end up in Carlisle in 1913. It was there that the first motorbike Six Day International Enduro was held, the oldest date on the FIM world calendar. With the format so well-established for motorbikes, it should come as no surprise that two of the men who pioneered the mountain bike enduro format, Fred Glo and Franco Monchiero, have their backgrounds there and it was these experiences that shaped their visions of mountain bike racing.

Early race histories are inevitably hard to nail down as they are held among groups of friends, recorded on cigarette boxes and all the results will have been lost when someone moved house. What is certain is that in the late 1980s a format called rallye emerged in France, based on the idea of timed special stages and untimed liaisons. Where this differed from modern enduro is that they tended to be more cross-country-orientated. On the 1001sentiers.fr website there is a snippet of results from the 1989 Rallye de Crete d’Auron. Only a few details have survived, but it clearly describes a race over five special stages, the last one being an obstacle course around the Auron ice rink. At the same time, among the vineyards of Alba in Northern Italy, Franco was holding small, local races around his house that used an enduro-style format. There are examples of these kind of races dotted throughout mountain bike history: Finland has had these kind of races for a long time now; New Zealand had the beer-fuelled, self-timed Real Railing Rally Racing as part of the infamous League of Gentlemen unrace series; in the UK we had the annual timing cock-up that was the Kona Mash-up. It is hard to talk about enduro without talking about the Megavalanche either. While it isn’t a true enduro event, it influenced every major enduro event organiser out there with its focus on long descents that tested both bike handling and fitness.

I asked Jerome to try a line over the bank. He just blew it up.

This is where Fred Glo’s Tribe 10,000 becomes important again – it is where this mass of ideas solidified and the point from which the modern enduro format began to grow. That first race had a format that might initially seem very different from what you recognise as enduro. As Fred explains, “in the Alps it would be too much to pedal up the hills – it wouldn’t be fun, so we used the lifts to go up. There were ten timed stages per weekend, on Sunday it was usually more all-mountain, on Saturday more enduro-DH. The goal was always to have about 90% down and 10% up. At the end you had more than two hours time trial over a weekend – it’s a lot. When I put the word enduro on the Tribe 10,000 half the guys didn’t understand what I meant. I had huge complaints because they came with DH bikes. In their heads, it was just going to be ten downhill runs in a weekend, but this is not downhill. Enduro is longer, more physical.”

By 2008 Franco Monchiero decided there was a need for an enduro series in Italy and held his first Superenduro race. To make it work in Italy the format had to be adapted to suit the terrain. Fred’s Tribe enduro races were always held in ski resorts, but Franco explains, “it would be very difficult to hold them in Italy – there are maybe three or four places where you could hold this kind of race, we couldn’t hold that kind of race in somewhere like Punta Ala.” With its spread into Italy, you can start to see the different visions of what enduro should be, as Franco feels strongly that “the fundamental essence of enduro is to enjoy the ride, but to reach the top of the mountain by pedalling.” As enduro grows it is this kind of format where you climb under your own power that has been picked up far and wide, in no small part because few of us are lucky enough to live near ski lifts.

Manuel getting a bit physical with one of the corners.

That adaptation has come full-circle and as of this year Fred’s Tribe races are adopting the format for one round, spurred on by another first for them – they are the first series to be officially recognised as national cup. “Since 2005 we have been running our series and in 2011 the French Federation asked us to represent enduro racing today in France. After our races a lot of clubs and racers wanted to organise their own races and events in their village or area. Because there were no lifts or high mountains, there was adaptation to the territories. At the beginning when everyone took the name of enduro and put the name on this other format I believed in two formats: enduro with ski lifts and rallye enduro for everywhere else. But in the end it’s normal, everything was not under my control. Everyone put the name enduro on their local race and now things are very different and we have to consider what enduro is ten years later. When the federation asks ‘what is enduro racing today?’ you have to consider all the aspects of enduro. For this year in our four race weekends we have the classic format, with no pedalling, one where we mix pedalling and lifts and one round with no lift.” Italy is also keeping pace with these developments and crowned a National Champion of enduro in 2011.

This leads us to the inevitable question, what does the future hold for enduro? For Trans Provence’s Ash, there is a simple answer, “the absolutely essential thing is that it doesn’t get too serious. It’s so important that it doesn’t become so focused on the results and too serious about the racing. The whole attraction is having a good crack; we must keep the good atmosphere and high-quality trails.” For Fred there is a more specific issue too – practice. Keeping true to style of the original motorbike enduros, in his races riders take the courses without practice runs. “If tomorrow we have something similar to downhill, I’m not sure it’s the same spirit. For me discovering the trail and anticipating was important in our enduro discipline. If everything is under kilometres of tape and you can practice as much as you like, for me it is not the spirit of enduro.” While at first it may sound like a crazy idea and few other race organisers are willing to join him in running races without practice, when you start working it through it speaks to one of the core ideas of the discipline – accessibility. Everybody arrives on race day on a level playing field.

Anka getting on the pedals out of the start.

Yet there won’t be an easy balance to find, in the UK Steve Parr can already see the level of attention the format is getting, “you should have seen the pits at Innerleithen [round one of the UK’s Gravity Enduro series this year]. People went holy shit, this is mental, look at the size of it and it’s only the second year. And it’s only going to get bigger. It’s going to get more professional with the likes of Tracy Moseley and Dan Atherton coming over.” Enduro’s first professional racer, Remy Absalom, sees much of the same, “I think enduro is going to develop because more and more XC and DH riders prefer to change to enduro. The level is going to evolve into a great championship.” Yet he caveats that, even a top-level racer like him who depends on enduro for his living says, “I think and I hope the atmosphere will stay good and we can always keep the enjoyment in riding.”

Balancing the tensions between the demands of an increasingly-professional race format and what most people want as mountain bikers is going to be a challenge for enduro race organisers. Franco Monchiero, a former Italian motocross and downhill champion, sees the future of enduro paralleled in the sport it originally developed from – motorbike enduro. “If we make a comparison between the worlds of mountain bikes and motor bikes – downhill would be motocross and Superenduro would be enduro. Today, I am not a motocross rider at a good-level. I couldn’t think of racing because I would be lapped after two laps, they would all be jumping over my head and I would look like an idiot. It is the same with downhill. I don’t have the technical capacity to do it any more. With enduro moto they put all the riders in together, top riders with lower and middle-level riders in the same race because there aren’t too many technical sections, the jumps aren’t too big, the trails aren’t too extreme. With this approach, for your first race, you could race together with the top riders. It is the same for mountain bike enduro. At round one of Superenduro this year I was talking to people racing who were doing their first race and they were in with the top riders. In downhill or XC it would be impossible.” This is echoed by Steve Parr, “it’s a fine balance. I always say, if I can’t ride it, it can’t go in and I class myself as Joe Average.”

Andrea Bruno

What is certain is that it is here to stay, as Steve observes, “you just have to go to a trail centre at a weekend – there are hundreds, thousands of five to six inch trails bikes out there. All you’ve got to do is put a chain device on and you can come racing.” And as long race organisers keep talking about things like fun, spirit and essence, it’s going to open racing up to people who just want to enjoy riding their bikes and don’t want to give up their entire lives chasing some far-off victory.
Must Read This Week

174 Comments

  • + 86
 Dude on the Covert in the bottom pic is in for a cold, pointy Reverb-shaped shock if he tries to sit down...
  • + 12
 lmao, that race he still went down nearly all the track without his saddle, kudos i thinks..andrea Bruno is a ledge
  • + 28
 Ha! I hope he does not hit the button near his left thumb!
  • + 2
 It's an air saddle apparently....the same pic popped up on here before during an article.
it's a new thing being tested out. Flick of a switch and the seat pops out :-s
  • + 31
 Haha this reminds me of mr garrisons bike
  • + 6
 Looks like a Reverb but it isn't. It's cable operated (check the remote on the left side of his bar) - I think it is one of those Blacx posts.
  • + 2
 Sick bike, visually held down by the garish yellow fork and silver stanchions. Would someone please paint that fork matte black like the bike?

Interesting tire choices too, looks like a small block 8 on the rear and maybe a Nevegal in front? Is that an "Italian Mullet"? Smile
  • + 3
 Mike's right it is the Blacx post - Andrea imports them.
  • + 2
 @Twozerosix I ran the sb8 I the rear and nevegal in the front, by FAR the best all around, do everything, combo
[Reply]
  • + 40
 In the light of the recent outpur of enduro articles on PB I would like to exclaim the following:

I WAS RIDING ENDURO BEFORE IT WAS COOL!

Thank you.
  • - 7
 I hope Enduro will remain as cool as it used to be, before it became famous... I hope for the best for it to stay being Enduro, not turn into Trenduro
  • + 59
 are you guys enduro hipsters?
  • + 5
 uzurpator : omg you'r such a hipster! Big Grin
  • - 33
 I thought a hipster is someone who jumps onto something done ages ago and believe he is so fresh and new? let's see... super hiper 7075 for CNCing of bike components! - 1940s...crap... Oh Composites!!! 1960s, then in F1 1980s, oh Trek Session 9.9 frame for 4500$ pushes the edge after 2010!!! Who's a hipster?
  • + 8
 What is wrong with becoming famous? Why is that make a sport "not cool"?
  • - 37
 Apostt - trolling... R.I.P. We are sad to inform you that this day 17th January 2013 WAKi despite repetitive attempts to revive him by doctors at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg Sweden, has succumbed to death, due to heavy injuries he suffered this day being struck by a lightning sent by our dear Lord who got ultimately pissed off by his hipocrisy...
  • + 54
 Wish Waki would spend more time riding rather than writing stupid posts and trying to be a smart-arse. It's getting boring now, much like an attention seeking toddler.
  • + 5
 I think those Hipsters are simply in an identity chrisis and abuse cool vintage stuff to make themselves more interesting. I wonder if they ever realise that they will never be as cool as those Dudes:

wolfeyebrows.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/picture-122-e1289508980548.png%3Fw%3D640
  • + 19
 A hipster walks into a bar and says "I hate this bar, it's full of hipsters".
  • + 21
 Why do Hipsters hate rivers?

They are too mainstream!
  • - 34
 Good ones Tj and Philler Big Grin - you might have a problem though, with the ultimate hipsters' hipster, Woody Allen: "I don't want to want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member" I personaly don't fancy shagging sheep of any breed
  • + 2
 shagging sheep of any breed?

I have probaply never heard of this before!
  • - 35
 I bet you fancy Danish ones - you border with those buggers with a failed language!
  • + 3
 uzurpator: Impossible, riding was always cool!
  • + 15
 WAKI, what about silence strike, when did 650b disappear?
  • + 11
 WAKI (sorry WANKI) on a silence strike? No chance- he loves the sound of his own voice too much.
  • + 3
 I never liked waki's coments from the begining, and its just a stupid username
  • - 2
 no reason for getting ungracious. I have to say that i mostly agree with wakis (objective) comments like his views on the industry for example...
  • + 12
 How did the hipster burn his tongue?
He drank his coffee before it was cool..
  • + 12
 how did the hipster drown?
He went ice skating before it was cool..
  • - 23
 What do you guys think: electronic shifting/lock out sounds Electro/Synth, Kanye West "Stronger" or Fast&Loose?
  • + 5
 Hipster jokes.... must.... resist...
  • + 9
 Wanki- any of those sounds would be acceptable, as long as they drown out the constant stream of drivel you produce.
  • + 24
 Waki = Protour's less intelligent cousin
  • + 1
 Hey Protour......now you have a mate!!!!
  • - 6
 Look - my job here is provide an alternative point of view. I know I'm too negative for most of the time, but I am working on it, I am on my way to provide solutions, not just complaints. I also try to relax atmosphere by being off topic, to make people zoom out for a moment, things get all to serious way too often. "Better, harder, faster, stronger" and the idea that any progress is good, even worse that every new thing is a progress - is everywhere around us. It is the status-quo since ages in this part of the world. I don't want everyone to love my way of thinking, I see a great value in "having enemies". I seek good counter arguments to sort me out, such ragging of yours is utterly pointless, it means nothing to me. I will still be here, because I see a big value in sharing my ideas and confronting them with you guys. It helps me straight up some bigger questions in my life. In this specific comment I just wanted to have a laugh, get myself entertained, by you, get a ball and push it, but hell it doesn't always end up they way we want it - fine by me.

Many of you got some nasty PMs from me, because at least in such way we can solve tensions without shitting all over this place. I am honestly surprised there is no antiWAKi thread on forum. And really, if such low-life ragging is what you got to get me out of here, please get that hint: you will be more effective if go and write PMs to Pinkbike moderators. They are kind intelligent people who answer mails quite quickly. They can remove me from here anytime if they only wish so. I wanted to leave many times, but my creativity levels went down and I felt kind of laughing less.

Cheers! always yours, always here.
WAcek KIpszak -WAKi

P.S. Look, I can leave until my Dashboard goes to (100) notifications, at least that's this little I can do for you
  • + 6
 How does one drown a hipster

in the main stream
  • + 2
 Its a good thing he has a computer to hide behind, and geographical distance, when he's getting nasty to people.
  • + 1
 @deeeight

That is the meanest comment i have read on pinkbike. Ever.
  • + 6
 You know when every one of your comments is negged into oblivion? It means you should stop posting.
  • + 0
 Hey waki can i get one of those nasty pms ur talking about please? haha you have no life waki
  • + 5
 Hi I just came here to neg Waki
  • + 3
 welcome to the party
  • + 0
 @ WAKIdesigns -- Wasn't it Groucho Marx who said that?
  • + 2
 I sometimes enjoy WAKI's posts... What happens now? Do I get executed or something?
  • - 1
 no you get neg propped just like waki
  • + 3
 But I really wanted to be executed. Frown
[Reply]
  • + 15
 "Fred Glo, the man who first called a race an enduro says simply,"

This issue keeps touted so much it needs to be corrected. In Finland we had first nation wide MTB-Enduro Cup in 1996. Has been raced every year since then. First Enduro races were held few years earlier.

Here you can find some results from year 2000 (couldn't find results from the -90 since it was before internet was common):
gamma.nic.fi/~ppp-97
-> click "Tuloksia" from top
-> scroll down the page
-> click "TURKU Sprintti-Enduro 2000:n tulokset,2.9.-00" for an example

Few words in English:
www.mtb-enduro.net/in-english

The French implemented the format a bit differently, and I must say in a better, more fun and modern way, but the ideas and thoughts about how the race events should feel like were very same.
The French sure made Enduro internationally known and we are very happy about that!

Let's keep it growing.
  • - 5
 Yep, but this is not part of Enduro World Series, so it's not part of Enduro history...
  • - 3
 Yeah, I thought the author of this presented the history in the way he wants it to be, and didn't take anything else in account. I raced in 3 stage DH race in the states back in 1995 that was essentially a enduro race considering there were some pedal sections. The history of enduro is vague, like the sport itself. The author also doesn't give enough credit to the greatest enduro race, Megaavalanche. It doesn't have to be a stage race to be an enduro, and Mega is the biggest enduro race of all, regardless of whether or not it's on the official calendar or not. Look at the history of the word enduro, it isn't about stage racing it's about the type of bike used, and I don't think we should be allowing euro race promotes define a sport that has it's roots in North America. I'm skeptical of the World Series of enduro, and I have my doubts about it succeeding. It's more of a participant sport, and they are trying to turn it into World Cup DH, which it will never approach.
  • - 2
 *euro race promoters*
  • + 3
 After reading it again and doing a little research I realize I was wrong and that this is a good piece and the author made a decent attempt at documenting the history of enduro racing, and deserves praise for attempting to document the history of enduro. He admits in the piece the are undocumented races in the past. The 1989 Rallye de Crete d'Auron race with the final stage sounds interesting. Peace out.
[Reply]
  • + 15
 Love Enduro, it's the 'new thing' we've all been doing forever.
  • + 2
 yeah but it's a mellow climb while 'racing' the descent with your 'bros', never done that before...
  • + 4
 Brad, judging by your comment I'd guess you haven't even bothered to read the article.
  • + 6
 I skimmed it. All the photos are the same so it lost my attention rather quickly.
  • + 4
 BW is still bitter from Enve rims
  • + 3
 Did I miss something here? I thought it was called "All Mountain" riding a few years ago.
  • + 1
 Thanks for the insight jaydawg, but I've been bitter far longer than a week. As a bitter person yourself, Jerry, you should have picked up on that long ago.
  • + 12
 Hey guuuys, don't fight - beer is bitter too, yet a vast part of population loves it.
  • + 1
 ride more, bitter less ?
  • + 2
 yes, ride more bitter less. but ya know when you just ride, or dig, all the time, and yet still can't get enough? after i get these pins out of my wrist i will ride sun up to sun down for days on end. new bikes sitting here and I can't ride, yet somehow feeling great! must be the pain meds.
[Reply]
  • + 10
 Seems like people just want to find a race format that fits the bikes we like to ride and the way many of us ride. Racing in that style just gives us a bit of focus to stay in shape, and a reason to gather with other riders with similar interests. I think it should include some measure of uphill prowess as well, however. When I ride with my buddies, I get some satisfaction from beating some of them up the hill too (although, it's rare).

DH requires very specific venues and equipment and involves a lot of risk that those of us with families don't feel like taking. XC is, well, XC is just road suffering and road mentality transferred to dirt. Type A guys and gals who have to measure and plan everything in their lives and like to ride really painful machines to beat other like-minded people on similar equipment - people who weigh their socks. Go for it - I'll move over on my full squish fun machine.
  • + 1
 well said!!!
  • + 1
 "people who weigh their socks" That was awesome! I literally laughed out loud reading that.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 The best thing about enduro is that it will focus some R&D on the kind of bike I will want to ride. DH racing has given birth to the brilliance of a V10 (and a host of others) which I am grateful for. XC has produced bikes I would never want to ride. My trail bike is pretty much an enduro bike but it could use some development, and this is just the format to spur it on.
Imagine a sub 30lb bike that is adjustable between 200mm and 160mm of travel with all the right angles and dialled suspension in either mode. V10 already has a similar spread in travel adjust and is approaching that kind of weight with the right build. How pimp could you build your bike if you only had one?
  • - 1
 As I already tried pointing out, 650B 150mm trail bikes and likely paired with the XX1 group will be a popular choice at Enduro-type races this year.
  • - 1
 Awesome question you have there for this forum. I'm actually one of the lucky ones who does own a bicycle, though it only has 16" wheels.
  • + 2
 Modern awesome AM bikes are really only possible because of developments in the XC and DH worlds. Those two extremes aren't typically constrained by each other so have free reign to make improvements at any cost. For XC it's mostly about light weight, for DH quality suspension, durability, and now light weight too. All the right technological innovations flowed to the center of the spectrum (AM/Enduro). Look at a modern AM bike. Light, slack, good climbing, good descending.
  • + 1
 I agree that modern AM bikes are awesome and quite a bit better than they were a few years ago, but they are only just starting to sort out some of the issues that I've had with them. 1x11 is a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure it's exactly what we need. I've been running 1x drivetrains for a long time and my current setup is lacking in descending gears. I've been running wide tough rims (823's) on my trail bike for years as well, and carbon rims are going to help bring strength and width in a light package, but it's still far from mature. The fact that mavic goes from 819 to 823 and completely bypasses an 821 (unless you buy a complete crossmax wheelset) is symptomatic of enduro not driving a market yet. Only very recently have there been 2.5 tires that are reasonable weight, but there's no DHR2 Maxxterra EXO, but enduro may demand it (in the meantime the HR2 Exo has been released that I'm about ditch the DH casing tire to try instead - so we are getting somewhere). The super tacky minion DHF EXO is a very recent addition too, which I welcomed with plenty of stoke. Many AM bikes were without ISCG tabs (although clutch derailleurs and Sram's chainring may have negated the need for those entirely, but we shall see).
More importanty, the geometries are only just starting to trend in the direction that suit Enduro more (and suit me better). Currently I'm running a -1.5D angleset on my Nomad to slacken and drop the BB. It's very effective, but why are there so few lightweight and tough bikes with numbers like that already? I've had to put a push link on my Nomad as well to make it play nice (very nice indeed) with a coil shock. Bottom line, there are very few bikes with 160mm travel that are very light, strong, slack, low and dialled for coil suspension. I'm hoping that enduro will make bikes like this common. XC was never going to make it happen; they are too busy with wagon wheels, paper thin rubber and 69D HA's.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 I rode XC before it became AM
I rode AM before it became Enduro

I used to just call it Mountain Biking.
I can't believe I used to go into the mountains with a DBR Zetec Pro, 130mm stem, 21" bars, XTR V-Brakes, Kujo and Elgato and ever come out alive.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 "Maybe it’s not the best bike to ride XC, but you can, maybe it’s not the best bike to ride downhill or the bikepark, but you can.” -- THIS!
  • + 3
 Bingo. Funny how many of us have been searching for an optimized version of this style of bike for many years, but the industry, and riders, have been reluctant to embrace it. It nearly took off in Y2k with early freeride bikes like the Aeon Joker, Rocky Mountain Pipeline, etc, but few riders were motivated to pedal. Now that fitness is a trend and the industry is responding, we can finally narrow it down to just one bike again.
  • + 1
 It's interesting you mention Rocky Mountain as they were the first company to start making enduro-influenced bikes. Fred Glo has been their French importer for years and was pushing them in that direction.
  • + 0
 Rocky Mountain Bicycle in the early to mid-90s marketed different groups of models as different "series". There was the race series, the enduro series, team series, etc. The Hammer is a classic model that was packaged into the Enduro series. The 1993 Vapor was listed in the catalog as being an Enduro bike specifically and it broke down what that meant.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 my say about Superenduro - MotorBikes: "the trails aren't too extreme"
- really? i've watched a superenduro series by redbull and there are lots of almost vertical obstacles with lots of jugged boulders... you call that not too extreme?...

on the last Pic:
I'm more interested with the SB8 on the rear than the dropper/saddle. ^_^
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Enduro racing seems unique to me because in the 25 years I've been riding it's the first format that has ever made me want to race a mountain bike. Now I just have to find one to do. It seems like a fun, low pressure format that is based on the type of riding I already do.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Nice article and some great imagery too.

2012 saw the inaugural Gravity Enduro series in Ireland and it was a blinder....lots of interest for the 2013 series.




gravityenduro.ie
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think Enduro is a fantastic idea, and has helped bring to market some really awesome bikes (or was it the other way around?). But what I still can't quite decide is how I feel about people referring to 'going on an enduro ride' when in all practical reality they are going on the same xc ride they've gone on for years. Call it whatever you want I suppose, but it still sounds kinda' funny to me.
  • + 19
 Enduro is racing, if you're just going out for a ride it's what I personally like to refer to as "mountain biking."
  • + 3
 Agreed. Videos are starting to pop up with "Such and such Enduro ride" in the titles, and they're just guys ripping up and down sick trails on all mtn bikes. I did that yesterday through the Taipei jungle but I too would rather call in mountain biking. As you said in your article last week, we need to chill a bit on the hype.
  • + 1
 meh, i think there's hype because this is exactly what a lot of people have wanted from bike racing for a long time.
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  • + 1
 I'll be doing my 1st Enduro racing this year, Pugno and Final Ligure SuperEnduro in Italy....my expectation:

- more downhill than uphill
- expect uphill and flat sections
- both down & uphill sections timed
- no mass start

Why Enduro because its FUN and suits most of the riding I do with my buddies on my awesome Ibis HD...not XC, but if I want too I can, not downhill or bikepark, but if I want too I can...

In addition, Enduro should personify what MOST of us have experienced on a MTB - pedaling up a hill to reach a trail head, taking a deep breath and swig of water, and then plunging into the trail that starts to flow with all the natural goodness a mountain trail brings; flowing sections, some flat and technical climbs (ideally not as long and steep as XC racing), then some rough and rocky section, natural switch backs, another flowing section to rest up a bit and as an added bonus, mother nature has provided along the trail some drops and jumps to mix things up a bit, heehaa.

For a bit of controversy - should 29'er bikes be band from Enduro racing? Or, do you think a 29'er bike will faster in an Enduro race in the hands of say a Dan Atherton?
  • - 10
 Good for you! Perpare your belly for great Italian food, coffee and wine! f*ck Pizza, always look for someone who can give you tips where is the best local food, no tourist pish. Go into a hotel and ask at the reception whatever. It's worth it!

As to your controversy (topic is so munched that it's hard to be one) I think all tech should be allowed including electric motors to assist uphilling. No sarcasm, I want to see it. If anyone wishes so, please get´em to XC racing as well, just toss it in. Give fans of the sport all they want it, and they want harder, better, faster stronger. I want that sorts of needs to be catered.
  • + 0
 Depends on Dan's personal preference and what GT Bicycles has to offer him in the lineup this year.
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  • + 1
 This is great ! Seems like Enduro is starting to shine these days ! My local DH bike park actually ran an Enduro event with a great outcome and the trails were not easy at all . Looks like my single crown 180mm fork will do my justice this year Smile
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  • + 4
 "It is the only bike you need in your garage." Hard to argue with that. Well done article Matt.
  • + 2
 I feel bad about being grumpy above now. Cheers fella.
  • + 2
 No need to feel bad about it, these are just opinions on the internet. No worries!
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  • + 1
 This is interesting. I have trouble wrapping my head around the Enduro craze....glad its popular and people are having fun. But this latest greatest new thing in our sport being a timed race going primarily down hill sounds a lot like tweaked DH racing.....or a somewhat repackaged version as such. Allowing people to feel good about getting into something new.....buying a new bike and selling their old niche bikes....etc etc. I guess if participation and riding are up then sweet.
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  • + 1
 "This leads us to the inevitable question, what does the future hold for enduro? For Trans Provence’s Ash, there is a simple answer, “the absolutely essential thing is that it doesn’t get too serious. It’s so important that it doesn’t become so focused on the results and too serious about the racing. The whole attraction is having a good crack; we must keep the good atmosphere and high-quality trails."

This is the draw to "enduro" for me as an American. With the Oregon enduro circuit emerging, and other like minded events, it gives me, a solid weekend rider, hope and something to look forward to. Fun is the reason I ride, Fun is the reason most of us got on a bike to begin with. Big Grin

Also whoever wrote the article used 's' instead of 'z'. maybe i'm used to spelling things wrong. XD (" Then came the specialisation".A little example)
  • + 1
 If there are professional racers making a living off of it, it's serious, at least for them. Just depends on your own personal approach. But I get your drift, enduro is and should mainly be about having fun riding.
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  • + 1
 I think an easy way to get this going in Canada would be to set up a category at AB/BC/ON cup DH races where the racers have to climb to the start gate on the roads within an allotted time. The ski hill setting is probably the only way to make this happen in Canada while making the lawyers happy. Martha Creek meltdown was awesome, but they told us in the pre-race briefing that hauling carcasses off the trail would not be easy...
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  • + 1
 What I still don't understand is whether you get penalized or not on the non special stages. In the motorcycle enduro you get penalized for every minute you arrive late or early at those checkpoints. Is it the same??
  • + 1
 No, they don't time the climbing parts to the start of the next stage, if that's what you are talking about.
  • + 1
 I thought you were given by the organizers a schedule that you had to keep. Start at point A---> 5 mins to B-----> 15 minutes to C etc etc. If you arrive earlier you wait, if you arrive later you get a penalty by the minute. And between the checkpoints you find the special stages.
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  • + 0
 Awesome article, before it was All Mountain, we called it Enduro. The crap on Waki is just lame, says more about you than his posts, he has his pov I respect that, no need to be internet crapping on him, real tough guys huh hiding behind your screens ripping on some one online, youre all so cool. Probably couldnt handle Enduro, still got to ride upill to get to the stages, not good for such skilled internet bashing riders huh.
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  • + 4
 Great writeup Matt. I always love reading your articles on Enduro.
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  • + 1
 Sadly it looks like Enduro will get turned into a semi-downhill race. I would like to think Enduro races should have at least 40% climbing/rollers. Something for fit people to do that think XC is just glorified cyclocross.
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  • + 0
 Can someone please explain to what exactly the format of enduro races is? Seems like every time I read about it I see something different? Sometimes there is uphills, sometimes un-timed uphills, then sometimes there is mention of riding lifts to the top. What is it and how exactly does one of these events work? What exactly is an "un-timed" up portion of the race? Does it just mean you have to get your ass to the top of the hill sometimes before the next stage starts?
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  • + 2
 “Untimed uphill and timed downhill” wrong! Uphill must be also timed. Or I can drag and haul my DH rig to the summit, and blast on the way down.
  • + 1
 It's called XMB:

www.xmbchallenge.fr

Like a XC race with enduro-like trails, all timed and more D- than D+
  • + 4
 And get outsprinted on the flat by the guy with pro pedal turned on, and get smoked in the tight twisty because your DH rig is a barge. But, in all honesty, bring what you want. Getting the average trail rider to unleash their competitive mongrel is what it's all about.
  • + 2
 The dh sections are pedal heavy. But i agree why not time it all.... i guess it keeps ot fun to have a laid back uphill secrion where you can just shoot the shit with friends..... the biggest challenge for enduro races is finding proper venues
  • + 1
 i made a couple of superenduro races,racing against a big hit and an intense m6...black sheeps of the competition,if you're thinking to walk the uphill you'll never get at the top in time...
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  • + 1
 Man am I getting tired of this Enduro thing, why is pinkbike pushing so hard to get this out there? I love xc and I love dh. But I preffer to keep them seperate.
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  • + 1
 All-Mountain is a type of bike. Enduro is a type of race. I just had to make this distinction. Tired of the folks muddying up the terms thinking they're interchangeable
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  • + 2
 psssst, enduro apologists, you're trying too hard....give it a rest already
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  • + 1
 Didnt think Kona Mashup was the first in the UK, thought this was the avalanche guys coming across to run events at ae, kielder etc?
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  • + 1
 seriously, f*ck the UCI, long live for enduro!!!!!!

ps: thanx Lance!!!

ps2: in Chile we already have 5 stages enduro races, including night stages, cheers
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  • + 1
 Great article for sure. The no practice runs would be much better. It would highlight those racers who can handle their bikes in varied terrain without ever seeing it before.
  • + 1
 What about locals?
  • + 1
 they make some new stages for the event, tape them out the night before and the rules suggest not to do practice runs.
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  • - 1
 Enduro is "organized racing with a sanctioning body, functionaries" everything "Freeride" is not.

This brings out all the bad people and culminates in what I call "Armstrongism": Lying and cheating pain addicts - sociopaths - ruining everything for everybody for nothing except a bit of moohla and eventually jail time.

It is the antithesis of what sport is in 2013 and I just will not watch Dirt de France - and will not buy from companies that finance anything like that.
  • + 1
 My first year competing and Im already doing blood transfusions, hooked up with epo and I cut my balls of 'cuz I read on the internet it makes U faster. Yee braah!
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  • + 3
 Something is wrong (and potentially painful) with the last pic.
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  • - 1
 But not a word on Megavalanche races, Transvesubienne ? I think this 3 races were big influence for modern Enduro...

Oh, wait : It's not part of Enduro World Series, so it's not part of Enduro history !
  • + 2
 I think you need to re-read the article as I definitely mention the Megavalanche.
  • + 1
 Ok Matt, my mistake. For sure Mega and MOH are different from typical enduro races. But It's a succesful part of the sport, and I think Enduro could be a more interesting sport if they include different format (life FMB with Dirt, Slope, Big Mntain, Street).

I also think that Mega did more than : "influenced every major enduro event organiser". For me Mega and Transvesubienne are the real foundation stones of modern Enduro.
  • + 2
 In the interview with Fred Glo that I wrote this piece from, he talks specifically about wanting distance enduro from mass-start races. He didn't enjoy some of this experiences there and wanted to move away from the combative nature of those races, but you can't fit every detail in every piece. If you're looking for influential events, something like the Barone Cup was more important to what he developed.
  • + 1
 Thank you for being so precise. History of Enduro is a good article but it's also all my childhood... I will probably be on some French EWS races this year, may be Les 2 Alpes and Val d'Allos, if it's possible for AM riders. See ya !
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  • + 1
 People in Perth like calling XC marathons 'enduro', I wish they wouldn't because I would love to enter a true enduro
  • + 1
 I think that style of riding was called enduro ages ago, I remember seeing xc products in catalogues stating enduro as one of their intended uses.
  • + 1
 Australia is really dragging its arse with this. Print media is NOT helping either.
  • + 1
 Agreed injuryprone, was really excited to get email with the new 2013 calendar stating Enduro event to be sorely disappointed. Gravity Enduro SA GESA looks closest will get this year and only 3000km away.
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  • + 2
 awesome article. It's going to be a great read in 5 years.
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  • + 2
 Does Super-D = Enduro + timed up hills?
  • + 0
 sorta but not really. Super-D is just a longer DH race, its a 1 start 1 end thing. Enduros are stage races. People outta just think of enduros as being like rallye racing for bikes.
  • + 2
 Enduro derives from motorcycling ?
Yes, it was called Endurance and was road legal mx bikes (head/tail lights ,road tax etc) racing on and off road over pretty long distances.
Not really the same.
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  • + 1
 First of all I love the essence of enduro. However this writer just bored the hell out of me.
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  • + 1
 Hehe that last bike with only a seatpost on it? ....ladies would love that on a bumpy ride..lmfao
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  • + 1
 How about an "Endurocross" series for mt.bikes, like the moto guys, just a bit tamer of course. I think that would be cool.
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  • + 2
 My first article what i read to the end...
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  • + 2
 We used to call this type of riding "all mountain"...
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  • + 1
 I think enduro is much more open to interpretation than the like of downhill and xc.
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  • + 1
 Wow, really awesome, but anyone else notice how the dude in the last shot is missing a saddle??
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  • + 0
 Hi, Enduro and racing is a PURE contradiction. If there would be racing, sooner or later average racing tension and puffines will take over. Cheers! I.
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  • + 0
 XX1 and 650B 150mm travel bikes are going to a popular choice for enduro racing this year.
  • + 6
 I don't think about XX1 going popular for enduro racing. may be for the pro racers, but not for "normal" people.
Have you seen the price for the complete group set?
  • - 5
 deeeight oh how visionary of you... I admire depths your imagination. You sure, you don't have another PB account called Protour?
  • + 2
 Yes, and its no worse than XX was when first introduced and thousands of amateur racers rushed out to buy that.
  • + 2
 Ah didn't take long for wakitroll to chime in.
  • + 1
 I think the XX1 is going to be better accepted then the hole 650B story, essentially you have to change the hole bike...
  • + 1
 @JanRusko... depends on the owner's ingenuity... for some of us... it only meant changing the frame, rims, spokes and tires.
  • + 1
 There are a number of 26er forks that clear 650B tires safely. I used a Psylo Race tullio for my first conversion. Its got clearance enough for 28" tall tires.
  • + 2
 "Ah didn't take long for wakitroll to chime in."

Hah! You're no better m8
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  • + 1
 good article with a small history of what is enduro...
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  • + 1
 Very cool article. Enduro racing is awesome!
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  • + 1
 Didn't UCI just catch someone doping on a Enduro event in Europe?
  • + 10
 Who cares if they did UCI is so F'd up and corrupt what they do or have to say is irrelevant anymore. They not worthy of cleaning the shit out of the toilets at a mountain bike event let alone be the sanctioning body of our sports premiere series. Its a shame they are still involved in our sport in any way. The sooner we can get away from them the better IMHO Keep enduro fun keep it away from the UCI
  • + 2
 Shame I can't prop x 1k. You nailed it mate.
  • + 0
 Its not the UCI that does that... its the WADA and its affiliated national bodies like the USADA.
  • + 2
 Uhhh I kinda care if all the training I've done ends up with some doper crushing me. The way to keep the sport fun is for folks to not be so serious about winning, and more serious about having fun. Otherwise I'll just continue not racing, because it seems like that side of the sport is for those with ego.
  • + 2
 @PHeller
People who can dope or cheat in some other way will always do it or try to find ways to get around rules while not "actually" break them. SO PLEASE don't let that discourage you from trying a race or three because Enduro is really fun!

One great thing about Enduro is by its very nature (untimed up, timed down) a "Fun" race you can take it seriously or just get your buddies together and have a fun day trying to crush each others times under "controlled" conditions on a set course.

You do not have to be super fit crushing it 100% of the time, puking your guts out XC/Roadie to be competitive in Enduro at your local level. Yes there may be a small handful (expert & pro's) who show up like this but for the most part its just average guys having fun getting timed trying to beat there buddy!
5 guys all trying to best one another. This is what a small group of us do with DH racing and now we are getting into Enduro this way to. I have two seasons of Enduro under my belt and it is by far some of the most fun I have had in all the racing I have done.

I do not want to turn this into a huge anti UCI rant but if the past history and current news has proved anything it's the UCI does not look out for our sports best interest. They are not particularly interested in MTB, there organization is extremely corrupt, and if you believe the news from the past few weeks the UCI not only looked the other way for years but (if you believe the hype) helped top riders get away with doping in road racing.
  • - 1
 It's so trendy these days to bash the UCI, but I rarely see detailed complaints or proven allegations. It's always just people saying "UCI sucks" or "UCI is corrupt", but it ends there. Back your crap talk up with something real is all I'm say'in. I actually think they do a good job organizing and running the races, but DH and enduro should get more of their attention.
  • + 1
 I think they do a horrible job with MTB and a great job of running a "reported" knowingly corrupt and dishonest road cycling program if you believe what organizations like WADA have stated and what Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis testified to then if you still think they do such a great job then you sir can have them...I for one think they should have no place in the mountain bike world.
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  • + 1
 Those Italians and their indirect ways with words...
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  • + 2
 DH without an uplift
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  • + 1
 anyone know of any enduro races in Utah? I want to do this
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  • + 1
 Matt Wragg going big in 2013!
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  • + 1
 Pic 6 ... where's his seatpost ?
  • + 2
 That was heaviest part of the bike and apparently unnecessary.
  • + 3
 Half way up his intestine...
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