Magic Link Enduro Sessions

Jul 5, 2011 at 16:08
by Kona World  


Enduro is one of those under the radar racing disciplines that's recently experienced a huge whack of interest in both North America and abroad. While it's been popular for years in places like France, with epic races like the MegaAvalanche, only recently has it seen the rice of organized series and enduro-only dedicated racers. Kona Bikes dropped into the enduro game last year when it signed Matt Slaven, from Portland, Oregon, and Karim Amour of Nice, France to its pro factory team. As enduro/super-d specialists, it's been fun to have them be pivotal members of the Team.

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Both are super experienced racers. Amour placed 6th at the 2005 World DH Championships and currently is one of the top 5 enduro racers in the world, while Slaven, who's raced BMX, cyclocross and downhill at the elite level, is currently one of the top ranked enduro racers in North America. Both know how to ride a bike--both up and down. A key element that make enduro riding so unique. Often described as one of the purest forms of modern racing, the discipline combines all the elements of contemporary mountain biking: wicked fly bike that can climb and descend really fast, powerful lungs and legs for sprint climbing and rolling descents, and mad bike skills under anaerobic duress.

Karim Amour dropping in through the mist. Photo: Mitch Scott

We decided to dive a little deeper into the enduro phenomena, and sent Kona's in-house film crew to go capture Karim and Matt doing what they do best: slay singletrack. The location? Stop 1 of the Oregon Super D series in Hood River, Oregon. Enjoy the flick.

Dave Mossop crane captures Matthew Slaven sending it...up. Photo: Mitch Scott
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48 Comments

  • + 15
 So, going back to the freeride conversation of a few days ago; what sets enduro apart from freeride? are freeride bikes over a 6 inch bike? Or do they have to be coil srpung? is freeride more of a shuttle sport where enduro is a climbing and descending sport?..so many catagories and sub catagories lol....I currently ride a 6 inch bike, sometimes i shuttle, sometimes I pedal, sometimes there are stunts, sometimes just natural terrain....am I freeride or am I enduro? Hmm I think I will just be a guy who likes to ride a bike.
  • + 5
 man, thanks for an awesome reply. people get too hung up on naming shit and giving things categories.
  • + 2
 I agree whole heartedly, bikes, and more-so are their riders are getting too sub-specialized...
  • + 2
 Thank you, but I am being somewhat serious. I am really curious as to what people feel separates enduro from freeride fromall mountain etc? to me those three are all very close. I could see freeride being slanted a bit more to bigger drops, built stunts and maybe a bigger coil over bike, but not everyone is going to agree on that lol.

Anyways, I don't care if you ride xc or dh or anywhere in between I will give ya a smile and a wave on the trail and hopefully chat it up for a bit.
  • - 1
 Events need to be categorised so that people know what it's about. Otherwise youre gonna get xc boys turning up for downhill events. Or 'Mountain Style' boys turning up for xc. So freeride was coined as big jumps, drops and tricks with points given for that rather than a timed event against a clock (such as downhill) hence the name freeride. If you ride a bike across all disciplines you just ride your bike, you are not a freerider, unless you can huck it off 60 foot cliff no handed or whatever. Just as you are not enduro unless you can hold it together for an hour on a gruelling descent of the megavalanche. But there are no 30ft drop offs or Oakley senders on that event so it is not freeride. Enduro is also a mass start race as is xc, unlike freeride which is single runs with points scored for tricks. Am I stating the obvious?
  • + 1
 hmmm interesting, no not stating the obvious but I think the term freeride was used before there were "freeride" competitions...but I can see how using the term in a description of a competition..of using enduro, or xc or dh would be helpful.

interesting points. thank you.
  • + 1
 Freeeride consists of DJ bikes, slope style bikes, DH bikes. Coil, air and even hard tails. I think enruros are really just All Mountain bikes. But people will argue. Bikes are bikes and I like rideing bikes in general.
  • + 1
 First was MounTain Biking. Then it split to disciplines such as Cross Country, Downhill and later Freeride, Dirt. Then Freeride split into Slope Style, Big Mountain and Enduro. Freeride is all that. Enduro is more like exploring. Turism but wiht bikes. You ride as you like. Uphill, downhill, tricks even hiking with bike. Enduro is not competition, it is pure fun. And I would say it fits best the original idea of Mountain Biking.

There is also something like Enduro racing. But it has many different forms. In Poland we have Enduro Trophy and Enduro Wyrypa. First contains five competitions with five special stages on each. Race is on those stages. One uphill, three downhill (sometimes with small dirt jumps) and one mixed. Between stages is mostly long uphill ride but without measuring time. You can ride any bike, any helmet, with or without armour. Between stages you can eat, drink (especially beer Wink ). Enduro wyrypa is different. It has 3 types of competition. First EMTB Tur is like Enduro Trophy. EMTB Trophy is more like orienteering. You have to check all the check points but there is no set order. EMTB Lawina (avalanche) is like DH but with mass start (like Mega Avalanche).

Riding styles are not bikes. As many videos show people can ride/jump Trial on road bikes, race Cross Country on Freeride Bikes. On Enduto trophy I've seen people on DH bikes, XC bikes, heavy FR bikes (mine Coiler weights ~19 kg) and light AM bikes.

vimeo.com/25632988
  • + 1
 Well said sir. Somone should make a map of mountainbiking lol. They probally do. I think enduro racing is rad. It might not be as intresting to people to watch but I think its cool.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Replace all XC racing with Enduro. I have never seen a lycra clad XCer able do anything more than pedal yet they are the cockiest riders around...
  • + 4
 Just went to shoot the cape epic earlier in the year and those guys in the lead definitely had some fun pulling of tabletops and stuff... Nino Schurter rides the Megavalanche and steps onto the podium, not all of them are f*gs Wink
  • + 0
 true not all but most of them...
  • + 4
 XC is dead.. long live Enduro!!!!
I cant think of a reason why anyone would get all lycra'd up on a 4" when they could shred on a 6"...
  • + 1
 imo, u dont really know what mountain biking is until i have/ride an enduro bike...they are simply the best...ive already owned 5, at the moment i have 2 enduro bikes in my garage, and am buying a new one this year...i just cant get enough of them
  • + 7
 As an enduro rider/ super d racer. I'm all for it, but go ride a trail with one of the top XC racers from your country. any trail, i guarantee they will own you. Sam Schultz and his brother Andy are from my hometown, and no matter what the trail, up or down, they are the fastest folks around. riding with him on a trail is like trying to follow a dirt bike. They have unbelievable bike handling skills. look at some of the XC world cup courses, to ride some of those rock gardens with a saddle that high, and a front end that low on skinny ass 1.8 tires takes more than you know.
  • - 2
 a dh biker is faster down the hill up the hill is the XC racers domain but downhill i smoke the fastest of the riders in my MTB club and i doo it on my hardtail but as a mecanic i know some people and fixed a few bikes and know that most of riders in my club are cocky as fu*k like they tuched goods balls so there are ok people but sadly there is a lot of a* holes end of discussion.
  • + 1
 This was my opinion. Obviously not all XC guys lack skill and are extremely cocky particularly at elite racing levels. But, the vast majority of the Lycra XCers I have encountered on trails around home and around school are dicks. I can burn them on my xc bikes everywhere but on some uphills because they lack skill and I lack conditioning. If I cared to get back into the shape I was for Lacrosse then I would destroy them period...
  • + 0
 just throwing this out there.... soo Adam Craig and Mark Weir are all bark and no bite i take it as well?

...that's what i thought
  • + 1
 Haha angrynips are you illiterate? I am talking about everyday lycra xc guys I see all the time on trails. Not everyone is a pro racer...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Enduro is sick. I think we all love it since it is closest to what we all do all the time. Another 6 months of training and tuning the bike, finishing my under grad and getting accepted to grad school in oregon, and moving the wife and kids and next year I'll give the Ashland Super D a shot.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I don't like the way racing and competition makes bikes less fun. I love Kona's Cadabra. But, because of racing it has to be stable so it has a long chainstay which is no fun. To get up hills it has a steep head angle which is no fun. To get a shorter chainstay and slacker head angle I should get an Entourage. These are designed to take big hits so they are heavy which is not fun. Freeride bikes, like the Entourage, are harder than a cadabra to pedal which is not fun. I want Downhill front end, Dirt jump rear end and stem, bars, Crosscountry weight, Enduro saddle and seatpost. Kona doesn't sell frames here so I can't even mod one without buying all this stuff I don't want. I want to have my cake and eat it too but, I'll just have to find some cheese. I want slomo magic link too.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Freeride, 7" bikes, that you use basically on big drops, jumps, ramps, a la Kurt Sorge, Graham Agarriz, Matt hunter. Though to be honest most of us do ride "All Mountain" 5"/6" bikes, and ride enduro type trails all the time, except we dont compete, we just ride.

You could ride AM and Enduro trails with a 7" Giant Faith, if you have the lungs, or legs for it, most of us don´t.

But I agree, is very annoying, the industry is coming up with categories every 6 months, of course, if you believe cannondale and their new "über all mountain", and their hype about the bike (which has an interesting piece of engineering right there) , then we all contribute to this. But no matter what we all say, no one will say, heck I wont buy a bike because they are trying to sell me gimmicks that are exactly the same in AM, FR, En, blablabla.

In my not so humble opinion, there are only 3 categories: DH (203mm double crowns and 180mm single crowns), All Mountain (and everything in between from DH to XC) , and lycra XC (god forbids Womens XC to disappear ];-) ) I really dont mind THOSE lycras!

and thats it...
  • + 1
 I can get on board with those segments I guess. But I would also say that a lot of the "freeride" style was developed on bikes much smaller than 7" of travel.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Anybody else recognize the music from The Big Lebowski? Big Grin www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6H9-bj7vb8
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I was just at Hood River mountain biking for a couple days. There are some awesome trails.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Enduro is AM riders in competition. Cool!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does anyone know the name of the group/song at the end. I´m really looking for it since long time ago... Thanks.
  • + 1
 I'm pretty sure it's from Mattafix
  • + 1
 mattafix - gangster blues
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what is it with the spanish song?? =_=
  • + 1
 spanish song is from the gypsy kings. forget the name but all their songs are intense.
  • + 1
 mispell- gipsy kings
  • + 1
 Gipsy Kings- hotel California. (in Spanish)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i just wish that super d existed on the east coast
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Love the first bit of music, suited it well
  • + 2
 Gipsy kings- hotel California
  • + 1
 Cheers buddy :-)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This inspires me. Where do I find some non-pro enduro races in the NW?
  • + 1
 Oregon super d series is not pro, anyone can sign up for this race. Go to oregonsuperd.com and look into the races.
  • + 1
 We have the AGS that is Cat 3 - Pro. Super D is in a couple weeks. www.allgravityseries.com
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wanna try this race one of these years
  • + 1
 haha im racing a super D this weekend, not sure if im fit enough for this shit though
  • + 1
 Def. do it! It's such an incredibly fun course and is the steepest/ most tech one I've raced for sure.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 The second guys Giro Remedy helmet looks bent on the sides on the mouth area?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 DW99 same here..
[Reply]
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