Is Enduro the One?

Mar 26, 2013 at 0:09
Mar 26, 2013
by Mitchell Scott  
 
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Enduro is taking the world by storm. At least, that’s what it looks like. With an ever-growing schedule of events, the emergence of enduro-specific athletes and increasing media exposure, one might easily surmise that enduro is mountain bike racing's Next Big Thing.

The question I’m interested in is, will it? Be mountain bike racing's Next Big Thing that is. To start the conversation, let’s cast enduro against the sport’s two big staple disciplines, cross-country and downhill.

Cross-country is a big deal. It’s in the Olympics. Riders at the top of the discipline are world-class athletes, as in, they’re some of the fittest people on the planet. There’s a UCI World Cup series, there’s a UCI World Championship event, there’s TV coverage, and big non-endemic sponsors like multinational car companies and food conglomerates. It's pretty serious stuff.

Jump to the other side of the spectrum. Downhill. Again, huge sport. No Olympics surprisingly, but a robust World Cup circuit and World Championship event, big sponsors, some TV coverage with top athletes bringing home significant dollars - easily well into the six figure range. Pretty serious stuff.

Muscling the bike in to a flat corner.

As a result, both XC and DH see millions of dollars when it comes to research and development from bike and component manufacturers. Sponsorship and tech support also sees huge investment. Consider the cost of team trucks, mechanical support and travel to events that now span the globe. Mega millions. Yes, bike racing is a big, expensive deal.

And now you’ve got the emergence of enduro. That super fun grassroots mountain bike discipline that's been hiding in the shadows for many years, void of any clear definition or structure - to the layman anyway. Is it a three day event or one race? Is it the Megavalanche or the Trans Provence? And what the hell is Super D? No, it's not a new sport at all, especially where the Italians and the French are concerned. In fact, the idea of enduro, of going up and then down with a smattering of across, has been around for years. It’s just that now, after so many years off away in the mountains, it finally seems to be taking steps towards the big league.

Alex Lupato

There are a number of factors pointing in this direction. The announcement of the Enduro World Series is probably the most notable—what amounts to an amalgam of seven premiere events from already established enduro races around the world. As noted in the press release: “The Enduro World Series links the largest mountain bike enduro events in the world with the best trails possible and exists to deliver the best racing, most relaxed atmosphere and rider-focused organization possible.”

As legendary riders like Fabien Barel and Nicolas Vouliouz begin to participate more in enduro events, in just a few short years (really, the last two), the discipline has developed some international cachet. No longer is it reserved to grassroots-ish, everybody-camp-in-the-field-and-party community-oriented events with a few local shredders with bike deals and free jerseys. No, today most bike companies have an enduro team (granted, enduro athlete salaries pale to their XC and DH brethren) and enduro bikes. Most events now have title sponsors (rarely non-endemics) but bigger bike industry brands like Santa Cruz, Mavic and Sram have definitely invested in the discipline.

But now, as it grows and becomes more legit, and, most importantly, as that all important cash cow behind the sport builds from more and more people actually buying enduro bikes, what does the discipline look like in the next few years? Let’s face it, interest in XC racing is waning, and while interest in DH is on the up tick, it’s still a fairly exclusive discipline: it requires a big bike and a lift pass or a mom and a truck.

Into the woods for day two.

Not to mention, enduro brings all the elements of mountain biking under one roof: sick bikes, the world’s best trails, with a holistic prerequisite of XC fitness and DH full throttle skill. Begs the question, could enduro one day eclipse both disciplines? Could top riders from XC and DH jump ship onto the new bandwagon?

“The main problem of enduro racing is how to get exposure without changing the format,” says Fred Glo, a long time enduro race organizer. “Filming an enduro is a big deal, but change the rules just because we would like to get exposure, this will be the wrong direction to take for sure. Enduro racing’s roots are races by and for riders.”

But as we all know, the pressures of big business have a way of taking the fun out of stuff. And the enduro discipline seems rife for exploitation. While the purist format sees riders in the saddle for five to seven hours a day for up to two days, we all know that a 20 minute enduro course, filled with sprint climbs, flowy XC and tech sections could make for very entertaining viewing.

Blurry panning shot ahoy

According to Enrico Guala, however, one of the founders of the World Enduro Series, we don’t have too much to worry about."In five years enduro will be ‘just’ another discipline like XC or DH," he says. "Probably the access door to mountain bike racing for many newcomers and beginner, thanks to the accessible format.”

Perhaps so, but as more ex-pros jump ship, and as a new crop of young racers chooses enduro rather than XC or DH (apparently in France this is the trend for young riders), things might start to change. Even today, the sport is wide open, with no definitive enduro champion. You have your cadre of shredders: Clementz, Lau, Stock, Vouilloz, Dan Atherton, Remy Absalon, Davide Sottocornola and Curtis Keene, but there’s no dominant force. Once the EWS crowns a champion, however, things in enduro might start to move quick.

This will come with the sport’s refinement. And I can’t help but wonder (and would definitely like to see) who would win a quintessential enduro race with the likes of Minnaar or Steve Smith and Nino Schurter. Who would win? The downhiller, the XC rider or the enduro specialist? Interestingly enough, we'll get to see how things shake down in a little under two months as both Minaar and Peaty are racing the first EWS in Punta Ala, as well as Vouilloz, Atherton, Clementz, Absalon, and Barel.


According to Guala, however the day of the enduro specialist is upon us. “Until a couple of years ago a good XC'er could play his cards on physical course and a downhiller on a more technical one. But now the specialists of enduro are difficult to beat, even for the top XC or DH athletes. An enduro race is a different game, there is more than just pedaling performance or riding skills, you need to be complete, you need to care about your equipment, you need to manage your concentration and being focused for six hours, live and adapt to a climate change, be able to "read" different terrain with the same equipment. There are way more elements to take into consideration.”

In the end, it’s an interesting problem for those involved with the promotion and regulation of enduro racing. You obviously want success and you want growth. Sponsorship dollars make everyone happy. Athlete contracts and prize money on par with other disciplines will undoubtedly attract a large pool of up and coming racers. Lets face it, enduro is the closest semblance to pure mountain biking out there. It’s what we all want to do—to race that style can only be attractive. More talent, equals more exposure, which adds to more pressure on organizers. And while the UCI seems to have missed the boat by pulling out of a proposed UCI-backed Enduro World Series, if enduro takes off, it might not be long before they're trying to gain control of the discipline.

Jerome getting sideways in the dust.

Regardless of what happens down the road, however, it’s a fascinating time for a discipline that’s finally beginning to see its day, whose ultimate trickledown—awesome, super versatile bikes that can do it all, and wicked-fun grassroots events riding on our favorite trails—are doing the sport of mountain biking some serious good. No doubt, that will never change. Needless to say though, enduro's future will be very interesting to watch. Make sure to stay tuned.
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141 Comments

  • + 58
 I personally think that this defines mountain biking. As a kid and now as an adult the only reason I ride up hill is to come down as quick as my skills and fitness allow. That is 'Enduro', a sport born from a natural Sunday riding style that everyone has already participated in on some level with their friends
  • + 13
 I wish I could prop Evo360, 360 times! He's right! What makes it grass roots is that we all do it, all the time. The only difference is that an Enduro race is timed so that you can compare, contrast and have a bit of banter with your mates you're riding with. It doesn't necessitate a hugely expensive bike or equipment because at the end of the day the main winning margin is rider skill. A £500 hard tail on 120mm forks has every chance of beating a full blown £2k carbon Enduro specific rig because, over the course of 5 stages the rider of the £500 rig has plenty of opportunity to demonstrate their skill above the "all the gear, but no idea" big bucks rider. This is what makes it "grass roots" and accessible to so many people. To put it into football (soccer) terms, I could be wearing the very latest in football boot technology but over the course of 90mins, somebody with the skill of Messi is going to play me off the park in just his socks.
  • + 2
 ... unless they are on a 29er...
  • + 2
 I'll agree. Enduro=best thing since sliced bread!!! Raced my first ever uk gravity enduro on Sunday and came 5th. Propper chuffed and makes me want to get out and train harder to improve!!!
  • + 1
 Old-Man-Eggy - that first part sounds like Strava! hahahaha

all kidding aside (haven't used Strava anyway), I wanted to comment here because you and Graeme make interesting points. It will be fun to see if privateers can compete against the big bucks rider. Although, typically speaking, the advantage the big bucks rider has is time. Time to practice and ride full time. Whereas a privateer won't have that same luxury. Sure at the upper levels, privateers are likely able to commit to the time for training. But for the most part a privateer would also have day jobs to divide their time.

I've not paid much attention to Enduro except for where Atherton is involved (because of their web shows), but is there a mix of wheel sizes in Enduro racing? Wheel marketers are going to have a love/hate relationship with EWS. If the 26ers are consistently winning, they're going to lose some ground on selling the bigger wheels. on the flipside, if the bigger wheels are getting consistent wins, then its going to boost sales. I'm not trying to start a debate or anything, just noting that it will post an interesting situation in terms of product offerings.
[Reply]
  • + 43
 Totally agree with this article: Enduro needs defining - properly and on paper with a rulebook.

Sounds boring, but without this its meaningless, ambiguous and will never be a "big deal" - i.e. TV coverage, proper sponsorship etc
  • + 13
 www.enduroworldseries.com/downloads/EWS-2013Rules.pdf
here ya go
also food for thought.. how would a live stream of an enduro race work? on TV if it makes it?
just some DH sections or what?
  • + 2
 That's the rule book for that race series. It doesn't define "Enduro".
I appreciate the link though.

As much as it pains me to say it, you need a governing body to write the rulebook to make it clear for all series.
Something like the UCI...
  • + 11
 Mandatory pov live feed cameras haha. Or with sponsorship, follow the day like tour dr France. And instead of helicopters use those quad rc helis. I think people put too much thought into getting something recorded. Hell, hire 10 camera and put them at certain points on the trail. I think I could do this.. Hmmm
  • + 21
 ^^ Good ideas. And GPS on the Pros so you can see their splits and where they are in relation to each other.
  • + 6
 i'd volunteer as cameraman!! or rider, either one
  • + 2
 As an owner of a quadcopter (actually 8 rotors) whilst it would be cheaper than a heli they are no good for live stuff as they dont have the flight times. They have been used on skiing but there were two helis and a backup team swapping the batteries on oe whilst the other was flying.
  • + 5
 UCI is just a governing body for...a race series. It's no different from EWS except in size. EWS more or less defines what Enduro is. The problem is, it's not just a flat course meant for a certain watts per hour, nor is a downhill course of a given length. Each event will have a slightly different feels. I think that keeps riders are on their toes and it keeps things even between money brackets. If you have an Enduro in your back yard, and you've ridden those trails all your life, you may do better than the Pro who only rode the course in practice.
  • + 1
 Also getting the camera gear out to some of the longer ride areas / available power would be a challenge.
  • + 12
 goonrider- Since the climbing sections are not timed, it'd make sense to only show a few DH sections. Also... KEEP THE UCI OUT OF ENDURO. lolz
  • + 0
 Stop it ! You`re ruin it already !
  • + 1
 would be awesome if some enduro wc riders joined a few DH and XC races, just to see how fast they are against downhillers and 29ers
  • + 4
 enduro/XC is the one for me but if people like riding DH or Dirt jumping that's cool we are all pissing in the same pot and come from similar disciplines of MTB Ride On....
  • + 0
 Using mandatory pov live feed cameras is worth discussing. What I believe:

it wouldn't even be that hard to put gopros on live feed mode on every rider and attach the wifi backpacks. You could toss a nice satellite internet usb sized chip in with the gopro and you like 50 choosable angles for an event - that's probably better than the tour de france!

(If there were interference issues, it probably wouldn't be out of the question to just plop somebody down every 400ft or so with a high powered satellite connection to upload the live footage.) You'd basically just need to carry 100 laptops into the woods - again less than the massive amounts of cars following the tour.

Any thoughts?
  • + 2
 ^ Sounds like you've never had experience putting on an event, haha. It's a great idea but hardly feasible.
  • + 1
 GoPro footage is good for short edited-in sections, but it hardly makes for interesting viewing on the whole
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  • + 22
 please don't let the UCI ruin this
  • + 6
 UCI may have a plan for 2014... I hope it doesn't take shape.
  • + 1
 misterhoang: with their latest clarification about the participation in non-UCI sanctioned events, looks like they might try to!
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  • + 13
 Another excellent write up Matt. Smile Well done.
Might I suggest another kind of article for the next one.
Can you please have and interview with one of the organizers, or at least have an article of basic guidelines how to organize an Enduro event? A lot of us who don't have access to the big enduro events would like to try and organize a smaller local one.
Smile
  • + 13
 This one isn't me for a change, I just supplied the photos. Mitchell needs to take the the credit here.
  • + 3
 Whoops Big Grin I saw and enduro article, and assume it was you, and didn't read who the author is. Smile Sorry Michael. Big Grin
  • + 4
 who's Micheal?... Mitchell
  • - 2
 Bad writing. Frown
  • + 6
 Razz everyone makes mistakes
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  • + 10
 I like the way this is going, but I am afraid that the stiffs will take over and ruin it with thier silly little blazers and rulebooks. For too long riding has been under the control of the UCI and they have sucked the life right out of it. I bought a new DH rig to race this year, but the format and cost has made it impossible for me. I just dont get the same buzz out of a strictly regulated 'go up then back down at the specified time' kind of racing that I used too. its far too constraining. one mistake and thats it over for you. If the organizers can keep the rule makers and killjoys away from Enduro then it looks like it will be a whole big heap of fun and will take the sport back to the public and away from the elitist snobs.
  • + 12
 'go up and then back down at a specified time' - sorry you can't follow basic instructions, you'll probably have a hard time with any sport if you can't follow its rules.
  • + 7
 "hey man what's the rush, I need to smoke this blunt" or "hey man, what's the rush? I need to fix my tire. Can you help?"
  • + 0
 ill help smoke your blunt but your alone on your flatty haha
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  • + 10
 It may be "grassroots", but for some, grassroots doesn't even come close to the proper word. Here in Tucson, people are just barely getting into DH, with XC and roadies being the majority. Most have never heard of enduro, though it seems like the next logical step. I really hope it takes off and spreads to the masses, and I mean the masses. Not just top tier, factory backed, sponsored riders with a fat wallet. Keep grassroots, grassroots...
  • + 1
 a riding buddy from Alabama also saying the same thing. Alabama guys like XC & roadies..
  • + 1
 thats because there are no mountains down here. haha the closest thing we have to a mountain is about 5500'. i can only dream of riding enduro or DH.
  • + 2
 Alabama guys, google Pisgah Enduro registration is open. It's in North Carolina.
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  • + 9
 We love Enduro, is our sport, and we believe in its future, but at the same time, modifying it to attract TV audience and Olympiics status would corrupt it.

Enduro is the purest form of MTB. It needs to develop, but please, without altering the philosophy of it. As Cedric Gracia said "Enduro is climbing a mountain with friends and going down flat out" Keep it this way
[Reply]
  • + 10
 If you think XC is loosing interest, you obviously aren't aware of the meteoric growth of high school XC racing in the USA thanks to NICA. Just because pinkbike is mostly focused on downhill doesn't mean everyone is.
  • + 4
 Same in the UK, XC racing certainly is NOT loosing interest. Me thinks whoever wrote this just likes to think XC is a dying sport.
  • + 2
 Same here. Especially XC marathons are extremely popular in Poland with literally thousands of participants at each of the biggest races and hundreds of racers being nothing special.
Of course enduro is growing too, there already are several series of events over here, but XC is still the most participated in mtb discipline where I live.
The author of the article has made a statement unbacked by any facts or data whatsoever and I agree with bennett346: he seems to WISH for XC to be losing popularity instead of KNOWING it does.
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  • + 8
 I think enduro is going to be bigger than both XC and DH. This is because its a compromise that almost everyone can try. I think a lot of people look at DH and think ' thats a bit big and scary for me ' and then look at XC and think ' Im not fit enough for that stuff and the riding looks a little tame for my liking ' . Please done mess this up UCI
  • + 2
 This is why I see it being successful, I want to start racing after my fitness comes back and enduro ticks every box for me. With the trail centres we have I can't see it burning out over here, just hope it gets the coverage it needs to support new riders.
  • + 1
 You hit the nail on the head for me there iridemega; that's certainly what I feel anyway!
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  • + 6
 Things evolve, its simple, if riders enter then events grow, if events are over subscribed then you will get more events, all disciplines will grow as more riders take up mtb, but its venue dependent, so long as there are venues for all sorts of mtb then things will grow, 4X is a victim of lack of local venues/organisers, other wise this would be up there too. XC is massive now, bigger than ever because you can setup a course with minimum disruption and all over the place so allows more events. Enduro is slightly harder to sort as its like DH and needs hills and space but pretty sure its here to stay, its basically what we've all been doing on a sunday with a prize at the end. oh and you have to pay to do it!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Enduro is the one! In my opinion, it is Mountain Biking at its purest. I have never been a fan of downhill racing because those guys get trucked up to the top. If your not going to pedal go race dirt bikes. Mountain biking is all about the endurance to get to the top of a mountain as well as the skills necessary to descend. I noticed this sport gaining momentum a couple years ago but never could have imagined the growth I have seen. Here is southern California there are dozens of leagues offering enduro races year round, bikes are being made specifically for the sport. I could not be happier. Enduro! Enduro! Enduro! Santa Cruz Nomad!
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  • + 4
 I don't care what UCI does or if millions pour into the sport for ten riders at the top of the game. For the first time in a long time, racing is following how most people ride their bikes, ride up slow (compared to some converted roadie watching his heart rate the whole way) and haul ass down.

The so called "average" rider can relate less and less to XC racing or DH. The skill set is too specialized and the bar too high to "get in". We are a long ways from the time when anyone with a mountain bike might take a swing at one or two XC races just for the hell of it each year.

Bring on lots and lots of local Enduro events, regional events and nationals. I just want races I can get to in less than eight hours. I do agree that the bikes are some of the sickest on the planet.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 i agree Enduro is nothing new, when i was younger me and my friends couldn't afford DH bikes but were downhill riders at heart, we all had mid level hardtails and would ride to the local trails we would ride the XC trail up and at the top would always take the black DH run instead of the easy XC designated down trail. i think its the most real reflection of most peoples riding styles and it can only get bigger now its getting attention.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Has anyone taken into consideration the recent Uci ruling about grassroots racing, the new enduro series, the new Urban DH series, and the ability of the top DH racers like Minnaar, Gracia, and Peaty to be able to race? If the UCI is restricting registered Pros from entering a grassroots event, and the EWS and UDHWS is not backed by UCI, then what does that mean for top riders of both XC and DH alike? Is the positive for the series'? Will it encourage the top teams to further back these smaller events for the growth of the sport, by 86'ing their world cup DH or XC teams for an all-around power team for enduro? Maybe top teams will opt to back out of the smaller events for the sake of keeping the status who with the UCI and Enduro will stay just that: grassroots.
Either way, f*ck the UCI. A governing body with a bunch of money grubbing couch potatoes telling us when, where, and how we can race our bikes is only hurting us more. I say ditch UCI all together, and start an entire separate entity. One by the riders for the riders. There is no reason why we can't have our own 'government' that gives us a larger DH schedule, incorporating both Mtn events and Urban events, that allows riders to enter grassroots events, race enduro, DH and XC, and provides proper TV and web coverage.
Props to EWS for stepping up the world of Mtn Biking to entire new level. Viva la Revolution!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I have a slightly different hope for Enduro - that the rally-style format could re-energize mountain bike racing in the flatter/more suburban parts of the world as well. Take Ontario - there's not a mountain in sight but there's tons of fun, techy trails squirreled away in parks and county forest areas, often separated by subdivisions, farmland etc. where a big loop xc format doesn't fit, and the downhills are fun but too short to comprise a proper race. You could plot out a course through Oakville (a sprawling mass of subdivisions) that would be awesome, with road/path transition stages and a surprising variety of great trails. Just for instance.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This is very different to the write up in the latest Revolution mag. Although i think Enduro Racing could be fun, it is a bit of a marketing stunt. Pretty soon everyone is going to be buying enduro group sets for over $1000 when they don't even ride Enduro. They just ride AM on the weekend with their friends, and like the idea of Enduro racing.
  • + 7
 Enduro is just all mountain racing. The bikes would work just as well doe ordinary AM as for race format. The top enduro bikes (Specialized Enduro, Lapierre Zesty etc.) aren't marketed as race bikes even though they can be raced.
  • + 3
 Ha you're right ... I suppose you could call it my Enduro bike (didn't realized it was Enduro until reading it here) did cost about 1000$ more than my XC bike. And I do a lot of what would be considered XC/AM with my Enduro bike. But I've tried both, and my Enduro is just so much more fun. I'll take the handicap on the climbs if I can go bawls out on the down and bounce and hop off everything that comes in my path!
  • + 2
 "Enduro" ... is not new. The idea to race all-mountain bikes is. I think it's great. It's accessible. It's the perfect grassroots event. I personally don't care if it's the next "big" thing.... I think it's a great way to get more folks involved in racing on bikes that they already have. For myself, Im excited to compete at the kind of riding I do the most of. Good 'ol rowdy mountain biking.
  • + 1
 I think what will be interesting will be carbon long travel hardtails for smooth courses with more pedaling...
  • + 2
 If you can win an "Enduro" on an HT, then its not an Enduro.
  • + 2
 What is an Enduro Groupset? XX1?
People were running 1x9's way before Enduro racing.

I always had a reverse view of Enduro Racing: it was a race designed to use the bike you already had in your garage.
  • + 1
 Enduro is just a race format of the riding lots of people have been doing for years.

I just hope they don't ruin it by marketing it too aggessively, I really dig the idea (because that's what I've been doing for over ten years) but portraying it as the next big thing starts to annoy me.
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  • + 3
 I see enduro as being good for both xc and dh racers that don't quite make it too far in either discipline. It's also good for the older crowd of dh guys that want to have fun an race, but have 9-5 jobs and a family to support (can't be racing balls out on Sunday and get hurt and show up to work Monday with a cast). It'll Definately get bigger as it grows an changes into its own discipline.
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  • + 3
 LOVE Super-D and thrilled about all of the new Enduro races popping up!
Keep the HT's and XC bikes in their own discipline and PLEASE keep the Enduro courses fast & technical.
Enduro is simply tweaking the favorite AM bikes we already have, so that on race day we are set-up to suit a given course, pure MTBing!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 To us folks old enough to have grassroots raced BEFORE the media and corporate sponsors drove the cost of racing up (which came before the increasing cost of specialized equipment happened), you used to do ALL your mountain biking on ONE bike. Racing and Trail riding (and before that it was one bike for XC, DH, Hillclimb, and any other category you thought you could enter). Enduro is basically the current competition format aimed at that sort of rider which is why you see many big-name stars in their 40s, who retired from other racing years ago, coming back to bike racing. This is the sort of riding they do now all the time for fun. Why not take a chance and see if they can get paid too. Its also aimed at the type of bike that MOST mountain bikers eventually go shopping for... a general purpose, all-around bike... whether you call them Trail bikes or All-Mountain bikes doesn't really matter, its the type of bike showing up most at enduro events.
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  • + 2
 For sure Enduro bikes are more like the bikes that we ride every day than XC and DH bikes, so that makes it appealing. Finally I would need only one bike that is my training bike, play bike, and race bike. I've never had that. Sure, I'd love to have a DH bike as my everyday bike and Whistler in my backyard but the reality is that the vast majority of rides are done without a chairlift or a shuttle. I think Enduro is going to get a lot more popular, but still in its purest form it may only exist where there are chairlifts. I think it may crop up around the world as we try to emulate what is happening in The Alps, but after that it may die out in all the areas except where it started - just like Northshore riding. It was once THE discipline in the world until everyone outside the PNW came to the conclusion that our terrain, forests, and authorities weren't conducive to the style.
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  • + 2
 Hopefully I'm not pissing off anyone here in saying this, but XC has not eclipsed Enduro and is not waning here in the South East US. XC is still very VERY entrenched here and a lot of DH guys in the region will tell you the same thing.

I do feel that it's changing, but it's a slow change that's hampered by the self generating circle jerk between regional shops and sales figures to newbies. Go to a shop in Chattanooga and you're not going to see anything near a DH bike. In fact, you'll be lucky to see a 26" bike! Then the blokes in the shop all say "there's none of that kind of riding around here".

But all that said, I think it will change and can't wait as well. There are now regional Enduro events and the DH and slope style scene in the region is growing in spite of what the shops are doing and saying.

Enduro / AM is just plain right!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I don't know if the 6 ~7 hours riding would be the most attractive option, at least for those who like to ride some DH/FR. I am really interested in buying an Enduro bike for myself. Today I own a SX Trail 1, and it is a pretty awesome bike, but I am far from using it's full potential, and I usually use it to go on light XC rides with my father, but riding 40 km (25 mi) on the SX is a real pain...
An Enduro bike seems perfect, but the idea is that I could still have a lot of fun on a light DH/FR trail without spoiling the bike and maybe even pedal back to the top, when there is no way to shuttle to the top, AND ride some XC with the old man. But hardly spend 7 hours riding on an Enduro trail, wearing a full face helmet, knee and elbow pads and all the DH gear just to use it for 1 hour out of 7...
Maybe I am alone in this, but I actually liked the idea of a 20 ~ 30 min Enduro ride, seems much more fun!

Salute
  • + 3
 A large aspect of Enduro is endurance as the name suggests, if races are suddenly only 20-30min they wont test endurance. If we borrow the definition of Enduro from the moto side where the whole concept was born in, then they would be long distance time trial off road competitions. Truncating the races changes the essence of Enduro. Just like Fred Gio says, lets not change the nature of the race just to get more exposure, isn't that just a mainstream money grab?
  • + 1
 How can an enduro event possibly be less than even 2 hours? If it is less it does not test endurance. Seems most people want it to be short because a lot of people have came from downhill and simply don't have the long distance fitness that us XC'ers do.
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  • + 6
 The first rule of Enduro....WE DON"T TALK ABOUT ENDURO!!!
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  • + 2
 Its just another way for the bike industry to create another disapline to make money.Along with 10 speed ,single chain rings up front ,differant axle widths etc etc.Next thing you ll be changing bikes half way and getting on a dh rig to ride the downs.
Or do some riders all ready do that ?
  • + 1
 The point is, enduro is a genre that can be tackled on pretty much any bike, skill and fitness dependant
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  • + 2
 Judging the value and appeal of a mountain bike discipline by how famous the top racers are, by how big the purses are, or by how much money sponsors put into events and series is lame. Mountain biking is not about pros. Even racing is not about pros. Pros are a very special (and well-loved, nothing wrong with that) sideshow that exists to help market products. They are brand ambassadors. Enduro will be "The One" when the computer timing systems are cheap and readily available, and where the local trail systems in a whole lot of places have the right kinf of features to host a good enduro. And, more than anything else, when big fields of amateurs particiapte. That is what makes a sport great. Everything this article focuses on is window-dressing, corporate shilling, and hero-worship. I would not give one f*ck what Aaron Gwin could do on a bicycle if I didn't know that there was a robust, world-wide scene of tens of thousands of amateurs stoked on and particiapting in the same sport (DH), and many more doing similar riding if never participating races. I would not give one f*ck what Villopoto, Dungey, etc. could do on a moto if I didn't have a connection to that sport, no matter how many millions of $ or fans went into it. Mountain biking is ours, not SRAM's and the ten fastest guys they pay to race on the ten gnarliest courses. Enduro will be real when we are racing enduro. And the logistics are a little daunting, compared to XC or DH. So that mitigates against someof the enduro hype. Solve those problems and bring it on!
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  • + 2
 It's a good discipline for normal riders who want to race, hence it's popularity up to a point. I can't see it ever being 'cool', for good or bad. People wear XC lids and goggles FFS. It's also a bit of a Pro DH grave yard. Reminds me of longboarding vs skateboarding to be honest.
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  • + 2
 Enduro really is the way to say, mountain biking. To me it's always been up, down and everything in between. Anything you ride will always help you grow your skill set. Events that feature all aspects of riding can only be good for the sport and show everyone how great of athletes mountain bikers truly are.
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  • + 2
 Have you ever heard of the Bow80? We've been doing this event for 13yrs. Enduro or Marathon whatever u call it, it's 80k/7500ft and one tough bastard of a course.
Pros demanded their money back in 2001 cuz it was so dangerous
This is exactly what your talking about and it's just coming about? Our first race was in 2000
I have a gold medal in that race
Looks like I retired to soon!
  • + 4
 I think they would refer to it as Marathon. Love the Bow 80 though, only did it once as I moved to the UK in 2011. Miss the local rides, biggest DH trail around here is a 20m drop in to an old lime pit. I think Enduro races are designed to be less of a suffer fest then marathon races like the bow 80 or Trans Rockies. Think Bow80 but with a couple shuttled sections, or only the special timed sections like PF and Special K. I think Western Canada terrain and infrastructural lends itself more to this type of racing while the alps you can stick a chairlift in a race route or start at the top of a high pass with a paved road. Those options simply aren't available on most trials in western canada.
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  • + 2
 Main wickness of enduro for a proper growth that would make it stand side by side with xc and dh is I think the difficutly to get a good media coverage. I mean big media: TV. You wan't have a live of an enduro race. Courses and racing time are way too long.
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  • + 2
 I would like to point out that many racers among XC and DH are planning this seasson taking in account the Enduro Word Series, not only Minaar or Peat but also JULIEN ABSALON AND RALPH NAEF!!! Obviously this is a symptom of what will be the future in not a long time....
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  • + 4
 just for the quality trails it may create, enduro is a great evolution for our sport.
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  • + 1
 I pray the courses don't become diluted and boring - a spin fest for dirt roadies. I so glad the DH crowd is in the sport - they'll never complain about anything being "too technical." Hate me if you must, but I think XC racing has watered down the technical aspect of riding quite a bit.
  • + 1
 It hasn't watered it down. The fact is there is more time to be saved by a fit rider on the ascents than by a technical rider on the descents. Don't like it? Fine, but stick to DH and don't judge XC by criteria that don't fit.
  • + 2
 All fitness aside - the XC courses are not very difficult - and don't warrant superior technical skills. It is more of a race of attrition. If they were, everybody would be on full suspension XC bikes. The courses I've raced on, are not trails I'd care to ride on normally - no real challenge to speak of, other than keeping a fast cadence.
  • + 1
 Well, you ride a Slayer and an FR 20, and list your fave trails as 'anything tech'. I don't think you're exactly a dyed-in-the-wool XC racer, more of a back country/freerider. Some people enjoy the sport a different way to you, with a big emphasis on fitness and less on technical skills. What's wrong with that? Why are you so concerned by how other people are riding?
  • + 1
 Points on the homework - - My Slayer is my XC bike - hard tech trails is what I prefer. I raced in New England for a couple of years against a majority XC hardtail hard core crowd, and often got top 3 in my category. I spin, I road bike, I train hard for my fitness, to keep up with the younger guys I ride with. What separates the mountain biker from the road biker is not his fitness, but his technical skill
.
A doped up Armstrong got seventh place in a WC XC race back in the day up in Mt. Snow, NH, it was the skills he said he lacked. Imagine if he had the skills? No one can doubt a Dan Atherton, Nico V or any of the other top crossover guys will dominate.

Now, lets go ride!
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  • + 1
 Small travel DH/FR bikes, 5-6", are the best! Enduro is so much fun. You hate yourself at the end after throwing up but its great!! It really levels the playing field too. One may be a good descender while the other may be more of a peddler and they both can compete against one another.
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  • + 1
 I think Enduro has the advantage in that most mountain bikers can relate to it. It's a type of riding many people do. But in terms of marketing I'm not sure if it will ever really replace something like downhill. Downhill has a few things going for it. From a 'spectator' perspective DH will always win. It's just more exciting to watch the actual races and from a marketing perspective the DH guys are just more fun to watch. If you are making a marketing video that is supposed to pump people up about your brand what makes a better video, some DH guys ripping upsome crazy lines on downhill bikes or some guys riding Enduro? Not to knock Enduro but we all know the answer. The other is from a product development standpoint. Much of the technology starts at the DH level and them filters down to the long travel all mountain bikes. So brands will likely still be putting their newest technologies on the DH bikes first to see if they can take the abuse. It's beneficial for a brand to show that their products can stand up to the ultimate test of downhill, because the average customer then says there is no way I'm going to break those bars or stem if they were on a WC downhillers bike at some point.
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  • + 1
 First Thing, keep the TV coverage far from the sport. The way to make a sport more mainstream is not to make it more spectacular but to make its heroes more famous.. Look at the Tour de France, is there something more boring to watch? yes baseball, tennis, soccer, golf, poker... all this sports are on TV and received more dollars than a 3 minutes adrenaline filled DH run. Why? because the lambda TV watcher knows the champions, the team and it's his only way to relate to a sport. I think online media an companies such as Red Bull made a good job with DH to promote the Atherton, Peat, Minaar and other thru interviews, pit chat..etc. Only problem...Promote the Athletes not the sport.
I see DH and maybe something like ultra Endurance as an elite version of mountain biking (I think XC is just a twist and lost the mtb soul) and Enduro should be the grassroots/ point of entry to the sport, it should be the the race format the closest from what we ride everyday. I think this world series and all this big Enduro team doesn't make more sense, effort should be put into the grassroots, I'd like to see big events, big festival where everybody can and want to race enduro with enough categories/age bracket so everybody finish with a medal and a smile. The Megaavlanche is a good example, everybody wants to ride it but nobody cares about who is the winner..
Trying to define an elite level in XC is what killed it. Let's not do the the same for Enduro...
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  • + 1
 @neimbc. "Dirt roadies". Bahahaha! I've always said 29ers are for roadies that fear getting hit by a car on the pavement. If Enduro racing is at all technical, DH riders will dominate. They can achieve higher fitness levels with proper training if needed. But, No dyed-in-the-wool (dirt)roadie will have the brovado to send it when needed.
  • + 0
 +100000!!!!
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  • + 1
 put it simply, enduro is the real mountain biking, when a guy with a sick bike, can pedal up the XC course, stop at the top to enjoy the view and then choose the DH course to get back in stead of stayin' on the XC loop. And BTW we are the coolest looking bikers out there, haha

ps: please don't let the UCI take over...
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  • + 1
 The last thing Enduro Racing needs is a stiff rule book about how many stages, minimum vertical drop, maximum amount of something. A rule book like a construction kit, flexible to work with it like a tool chest. Take what you need to keep the spirit alive. Any terrain is different, at some places you need many short stages, at other places some long stages are possible. At some loops at areas with many roads and trails you need drive through check points. At other places the starting order and transfer time could be handled more restrictive to force the riders or to give safer conditions. I am also into Motorcycle Enduro. FIM is the UCI there. Same situation about defining is there too. Enduro with motor has a FIM World Series and European and National Championships plus more extreme type races like Erzberg or Roof of Africa, Romaniacs. Then very popular because of problems to find loops into the landscape we have 2h, 3h or 4h Enduros on large laps. And also the more continental crossing Rallyes. All kind of Enduro. I was announcer at the 87th Six Days, a FIM Team World Champoinship started 1913. So many to learn from them. The rules in the Six Days are differnt in some points to the FIM Individual World Championship. No problem.
  • + 1
 So at the Six Days is the Final Day a traditional a MotoCross or a Supermoto. So 5 Days individual start, last day mass start. Imagine a TransAlps Race with a Megavalanche Kind of Race at the final day.
Enduro can be so much. I know a French MTB Enduro (Metabief?) run the last stage in MiniValanche Style. If the track offers fair conditions to pass, why not.
Or you can handle it in a pursuit style race, separated by their time differences from a previous stages.
So many options.
I like to let it more open. Team Competions are another point.
At MultiDay races in high mountain area it can become dangerous to race alone. TransAlp Marathon race is a two rider challenge therefor. They have to go together. So the first help ist the team mate. Only slowest finisher counts.
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  • + 1
 It's a great step forward in the sport but I have one small reservation... The name Enduro.
Is it just me or does it not really sum it up properly? Just sounds not quite right to me.
At the end of the day though, call it what you will... I'll always love the concept.
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  • + 1
 Pure mountain biking? Yes. Pure racing, hell no. The uphills are not timed. Yes, there's a time limit, but it just bothers me. So I build up a 35 lb. trail bike that is killer on the downhill, but sucks to pedal up? That's not everyday riding to me. It should be over all. If you're 1/10 of a second faster than me on the downhill but I beat you by 2 minutes on the uphill, who's the better overall rider? I've enjoyed the races I've done but get a little butt hurt when I see guys beating me whom I wait for on our every day rides.
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  • + 1
 This article is perfect. A couple years ago I was a veteran hardcore downhiller/ freerider, but had to give up the sport for a lot of reasons. Just recently I got into the saddle of a 5" travel Giant Trance and ripped some all mountain trails. Boy I never realized how much I missed biking. The climbing killed me but was more rewarding than I ever remembered, since I got to shred the downhills like I used to. I'm considering buying a gnarly all mountain bike again, and enduro is exactly what i'm looking for. I need the climb to push myself, and the rough downhill rock gardens and huge jumps to please the downhiller in me. This article may have singlehandedly inspired me to start mountain biking again, this time in another direction. Thanks for writing it.
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  • + 2
 I've done two local enduro races which are nothing but a whole lot of fun! i did one xc races and wanted to kill myself halfway through. I hope enduro stays for a while.
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  • + 2
 Freestylers, and freeriders I think would suck at enduro! Xc guys will have the fitness but the skill...... Not so sure! But a real fit DH guy could do well in enduro!
  • + 7
 I'm pretty sure some XC riders like Schurter would smoke 80 per cent of (non WC) DH riders if he tried.
  • + 4
 Yeah just because he likes to wear tight clothing for no apparent reason and shave his legs doesn't mean he's slow Wink
  • + 1
 Ever see a xc guy go downhill? Most of the time it's painful to watch. Not all.... Most!
  • + 1
 jaih I think that may be more to do with the bike than the rider. Seat very high, narrow flat bars, long stem, steep angles. They are the opposite of whatever you need to descend. They can descend, but you are so right in that they look terrible while doing it. A full-on WC worthy XC race bike is just horrible to ride. I race XC, but the first thing I do is put a shorter stem, wider bars, and a dropper post. I'd rather finish a few places down the list than hate to ride my bike, even in a race.
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  • + 2
 so confused, should i still be looking at a 29'r, do i clip in or not, what do i wear, lycra with elbow and knee pads. goggles???
  • + 1
 Ahhhhhhhh............. NO!
  • + 3
 In America you are required to wear baggy shorts, knee pads, an XC helmet with goggles, and NEVER any elbow pads. Same for Europe except you wear an XC helmet to climb and a full face to descend. Your jersey will designate you as either XC oriented (tight fit with pockets) or DH oriented (loose and brightly colored). No matter what your helmet must be by POC or some other new and brightly colored brand. :-P
  • - 1
 Well since you have to physically RIDE the bike from stage to stage (whether the event times those crossing over bits in the result varies also) you're going to want something that pedals well, and can negotiate the kind of trails you'll be riding downhill, in an uphill occasionally, or that will handle pavement. You want enough suspension travel to negotiate the descending safely/comfortably but not so much that you're pedaling a wallowing cow when going up hills. Now since bigger wheels do roll over roots and rocks better than smaller ones, and there is now a large number of trail/AM bike options in the 140 to 170mm wheel travel range with well designed suspension linkage paths (for pedalling) in 650B and 29er wheel sizes, that's the way I'd be shopping if I was looking to do an endure event.
  • + 1
 I wonder if this will see the re-emergence of helmets such as the Gyro Switchblade - removable chin guard.
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  • + 2
 Maybe the fact that it isn't backed by massive sponsors/UCI and the like is why its so popular amongst the masses? I dunno, just throwing stuff around in my head...
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  • + 2
 Enduro competitions looks fun fo sure...It could be nice to do an event where you invite stars of freestyle,freeride,DH, even XC and put them all on an enduro big race....
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  • + 2
 with the massive trail centre 'scene' in the UK this is bound to take off over here. I'm not so sure about the goggles and xc lid combo though...
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  • + 1
 Good read!!! But I feel enduro is what mountain biking is! Yeah it split in too two disciplines. But I feel it's weird that its still viewed as a strange idea.
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  • + 1
 Sounds great.....

but WHAT IS ENDURO?????

a nice pretty article with opinions and great shots... and yet I still have no clue what specifically makes Enduro Enduro?
  • + 2
 Climbs like XC trail riding, rock gardens and descents like a DH trail, and a long overall ride to test your 'endur'ance. its a fusion of both sides of the mtb spectrum
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  • + 2
 Noow I have too build annother rig.. Nah, super stoked for this growing sport!
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  • + 1
 Very interested to see how this pans out. I will be trying out Enduro racing, may as well, I've ridden the other types, XC, DH, Super-D.
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  • + 1
 Enduro has already eclipsed xc as far as the mtb community is concerned, you have 3 types of articles on pinkbike: dh, am and dj.
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  • + 2
 Enduro bikes r cool and fun enough for everyone. But really need a series of rules and games to build it better!
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  • + 1
 enduro - its like xc but with steep downhill sections...so you need a beefier bike and there is no lycra involved DH needs to be in the Olympics!!!
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  • + 1
 the one? yep, the discipline of the masses! with one bike you ride it all..
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  • + 2
 Whether racing or not, enduro is how I ride -- everyday, all day.
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  • + 1
 Racing on the bikes we love to ride, the way we love to ride... Hope the money doesn't bring the juice (epo, 'roids, etc).
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  • + 1
 enduro is awesome! even if you do laps on an xc course with an enduro bike.
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  • + 1
 bro, if is anything about bikes, bring it on!
But i would never try, just too hard Wink
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  • + 1
 "for us downhill is like F1, Its the pinnacle." -Rob Roskopp founder of Santa Cruz bikes.
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  • + 1
 All getting rather serious, I fancy just getting out for some fun racing :-)
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  • + 2
 Is it the one to end the tyranny of UCI
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  • + 1
 ENDURO is amazing !! Eat it . sleep it, breath it , shit it !
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  • + 1
 proof is in the pudding, enduro at the olympics
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  • + 1
 even in portugal were having our first championship this year
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  • + 1
 Enduro is young and it will be popular. Just like dh. Or xc.
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  • + 1
 Enduro needs helicopter coverage. It'll give audiences something to watch.
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  • + 1
 Enduro is the essence of mountain biking.
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  • + 1
 His name is Fred Glo not Gio.
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  • + 2
 enduro is so 2013!!
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  • + 1
 Sounds awesome...I'm in.
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