Video: Doing Enduro Right in New Zealand

Feb 25, 2014
by John Colthorpe  


Four Hundred and Fifty riders gathered on the 22nd of February for the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro in Rotorua. A classic mix of trails (native, pine forest and open) challenged riders of all abilities leaving them exhilarated and exhausted.

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68 Comments

  • 26 9
 I'm a little discouraged by his comments at the end. "The next event will be three times as steep...with the hopes of enticing an EWS"? I like the concept of enduro races (I've raced in three), but if they are going to trend toward steep....won't they just be downhill races on "trail" bikes. In my opinion, there should definitely be elevation loss in the timed sections, considerable elevation loss...But I don't think the goal should be STEEP. Anyone else have an opinion on this?
  • 3 0
 Yeah it seems like no one really knows where enduro overlaps with other categories of mtb but i guess if it does become part of the EWS then it will be Enduro. Either way it's not like it really matters as long as it's fun
  • 7 1
 I entered one enduro, and expected to be rewarded for all the climbing with some sustained downhill. Quite disappointed that there was so much pedaling and climbing in the timed 'downhill' sections. I guess I like trails that tend one direction or the other rather than being uphill both ways. I'd be interested in some steep sustained descents for sure.
  • 8 2
 I guess, to me, "steep sustained descent" sounds like a downhill race. To me, pedalling to the top doesn't make it an enduro race. The terrain of the "stages" is what makes it an enduro race. I raced the enduro at Highland Bike Park last year. I thought they did an excellent job of combining the "stages" to create an enduro. Total of four "stages". Two were steep, but only accounted for about 3 minutes each. Two were longer, and less steep, but still lost elevation. One of the "less steep" was a 15 minute "stage" that descended from the top of the mountain to the bottom. I don't know, I guess that's what makes enduro so cool..the fact that each one is different..I just hope the venues don't start competing for "STEEPEST". That's not the point in my opinion.
  • 3 5
 I think you're venturing into XC territory, i.e. no goggles + non full face helmets
  • 8 0
 Hi guys its more because the next 2w endure is in the Queenstown area, much higher steeper terrain to start with and fits in wit what most of the local riders are used to riding anyway
  • 5 0
 @gooded: most enduro races are actually steep. Not a 100% of the course (although I've seen such stages), but steepness is nothing new (talking about races I saw/raced in the last 7 years). There are also steep sections on XC stages, and flats (are almost) on DH courses (PMB, Cambera, and it seems Cairns).
Seen from Europe, north american enduro are seen as flats. Surely not all of them (EWS Whistler for instance), actually a lot more pedally than what we have here. Obviously it's also a question of topography. 20mn+ steep stages can easily be made in the Alps. But you won't find such thing in northern Europe for instance.
Enduro may be the sport with the widest spread in terms of terrain/steepness. Though I like pretty steep courses I find it cool there is such a variety. But I kind of agree with cuban-b if not meant for the looks.

On the vid the stages look (but we've not seen everything) quite easy but surely still is good fun.
  • 1 0
 The ground is soft and mega gripy at that bike park because its a volcanic platue. The trails are not super steep and crashing will rarely cause injury because of a lack of rocks. I didn't bother with kneepads.
  • 2 0
 Those tails didn't look steep at all. I'm guessing there was a lot of peddling involved. I don't think you have to take his 3 times as steep comment literally but all enduro races should aspire to be on tracks similar to EWS. I think people need to get over the "Enduro is for everyone" attitude.
It is a Race not a fun cycle. They are designed to find this strongest most technically gifted rider in the pack.
To do this you need courses that challenge both skills and physical ability.
Modern enduro bikes are perfectly capable for down hill even in its pure form. Check Jarred's world cup result.
Last weekend here there was a winter league DH race and half the field where on enduro bikes. All the podiums contained a mix of riders equipped with either a Dh or Enduro bike. If anything there is a case that DH is being dummed down. .
There are plenty of options out there for riders who don't like steeps or jumps.
  • 3 0
 "Those tails didn't look steep at all" looks are deceiving mate, one of the stages was down the same track used for the NZ DH nationals the week before

Also, there is some VERY steep stuff in that bike park, you just need to know where to look Wink
  • 1 0
 NZ is renowned for its trails. I don't doubt it for a second. Only referring to what appeared in the actual video.
  • 2 4
 Brenmaster, I like "steeps and jumps" (in two days I'm going to cranx indoor bike part to jump). I know you weren't directing that comment and me, but just to "clarify". I also agree that the current "trail" bikes are very capable DH bikes (depending on the course). I'm just hoping that enduro races don't turn into "DH races where you pedal to the top". I don't think that's the point...but that's just my opinion. I was curious what everyone else thought. I love the idea of some CRAZY steep sections, to separate the men from the boys. Even some long steep sections, that's great. I just hope the venues don't trend toward "as steep as they can make it" in an attempt to be the "most badass enduro event". I think that will detract from what has made enduro races so popular.
  • 2 0
 Gooded yes that comment wasn't aimed at you at all. I just want Enduro to stay Enduro and not get watered down into some version of XC sprints. Steep tracks or not Enduro will always be different to DH due to the level of practice you can do on the trails. In DH you get to practice one track however steep or technical to level where you have developed your line to within an inch the lenght of the track. The nature of Enduro doesn't allow this. I do agree though stages should be balanced between steep or peddley and I would be a proponent of one blind stage. That way you get the complete rider doing well
  • 1 2
 There needs to be steep tech, there needs to be flat pedally sections, and there should even be some climbing like short up hill sprints for a couple hundred feet... The FITTEST all around rider wins, not just the fastest descender or the fastest climber. Work with whatever terrain you have, but don't just throw people down some DH tracks on their trail bikes and call it an Enduro. Bring back Super D! I want 12 miles of all out pedaling for an hour that covers all sorts of terain.
  • 1 0
 why so srs
  • 2 1
 Maybe new category "Enduro Lite"?
  • 1 0
 There should be one steep and gnarly track each year , these bikes are touted as being " all mountain " and steep gnar is found on mountains , not talking Val di Sole or any thing , but some more point and squirt style stuff.
  • 5 1
 enduro lite = xc
  • 1 0
 Gooded that first stage at highland was way to pedally. That was more of an XC trail. I know a guy that cleaned up on that stage because he was an xc racer. Stage 3 and 4 were great but to short. Stage 3 at highland was super steep up top real techy and soil was loamy. Stage 3 at mountain creek is what i consider more big mountain enduro some single track with some open WFO riding with jumps but all gravity focused. There was some pedalling in that stage but not rediculous XC amount. I wish the american enduros will follow european enduro style and be more gravity focused. There is a reason why the EWS requires full face helmets!!! There is a difference from downhill you have to pedal up in an alloted amount of time. Highland was not strict about transfer times but at mtn creek they were depends on venue.
  • 2 0
 precisely cuban-b
  • 7 1
 Mtn bikers afraid of steep. lol
  • 3 0
 I think downhill races where you pedal to the top sounds awesome. If the bikes become too dh then shorten the up hill time limit.
  • 2 1
 Yeah, I guess you guys are convincing me that the DH stuff is fine. The three events I've raced were not strict about the transfers. It would have been very possible to push a DH bike, although, as pills1975 pointed out, the first stage at highland was too pedally for a DH bike to be competitive. As choppertank3e said, if the bikes become to DH oriented, shorten the alloted transfer time.

The three events I did were also not strict about "pre-riding". That is also something that would separate enduros from DH.

I still think there should be more pedalling than a DH course, and even some short "punchy" climbs. But certainly gravity oriented.

I guess this is what makes this type of event so great...Each venue can decide what they want to do.
  • 2 2
 It's clearly just the nomenclature we're concerned about here. if name is not a big deal, just join xc races with a trail bike and problem solved.
  • 2 1
 Cuban-b. You've got me figured out!! At least then I can wear my Lycra. I think u missed the point.
  • 1 0
 no one ever said anything about lycra. xc guys take everything so srsly Smile

If someone is discouraged by steep race tracks, the solution seems simple to me. Enter races where the tracks are not steep. Problem solving.
  • 1 0
 It does come down to preference, but if you don't have steep, gnarly, and technical downhills in enduro races the 29er will continue to emerge as the faster bike. I prefer the type of terrain where smaller wheels are faster.
  • 1 0
 Smaller wheels will only be faster in succession of tight turns. At best. And that's not what I want to ride, I want to ride fast courses with everything in them and everybody picks its wheel size. For me it's 26" now. Next bike in 4 years will be 27.5" I guess.
  • 3 0
 Was such a sick race ! And free beer n pizza handed to ya when you crossed the finish line ! Yeeewww Cracked up when I saw me on the thumbnail to this video haha !
  • 1 0
 So glad I sold you that orange helmet man.
  • 6 5
 Does any body else wish that they would come up with an Enduro lite class or series, so that people who are really amateurs and not ex- pros could race without the possibility of getting super f-ed on DH courses with their trail bikes? Just saying. I raced the Winter Park Enduro last season and was kind of bummed at how the race was for sure geared towards pros and ex pros, not guys that just plain love to ride and go down hill as fast as possible, but have families, jobs and bills.
  • 2 0
 @climbeze: You have to understand that Winter Park is part of EWS so of course it's geared towards pros. There are races out there (like the Mountain Creek Enduro) that have Pro only stages that are a lot more demanding than the Amateur ones and there are plenty of races that have pro lines and easier lines for racers to choose from.
  • 5 0
 a race that's challenging - how dare they.
  • 4 0
 Dang, those trails look fun. Can't wait to be there next month.
  • 1 0
 Jealous. I have a bunch of friends going next month but I can't join them because of work.
  • 5 2
 I no longer find it endearing, enduring enduro. my first enduro joke....and my last
  • 3 0
 that's actually #notbad.
  • 2 0
 Hashtag, thanks!
  • 3 0
 That was the best fun ever. Can't wait for the next one.
  • 3 0
 Looks awesome, New Zealand is so spectacular
  • 2 0
 That has to be one of the most awkward timing systems I have seen for MTBing.
  • 2 0
 yeah and if you lose by the time it takes you to click it in
  • 3 0
 It makes sense. Everyone has the same disadvantage so their times are still comparable- you can't "lose by the time it takes you to click it in" because the winner also had to take time to click it in.

Also, it means you don't need people doing timing at the start and end of every stage. with conventional timing you need to one or two people at the start gate, and two or three at the bottom. Multiply that by five or six stages and you'll find that many volunteers hard to come by.

I've raced many multi-sport events and done orienteering with this system or similar. The fastest person is still going to win, especially with a longer event.
  • 4 0
 â€¦that music
  • 2 0
 Shapeshifter. One of NZ best and amazing live.
  • 1 0
 what kind of set ups are these guys running on their bikes? what are the average shock sizes and drivetrains?? are they running dual rings up front like a 2x10 sort of thing?
  • 5 3
 Joke about enduro again... I dare you, I double dare you!!!
  • 2 1
 Enduro blows.
  • 1 1
 wish my brain could've handled watching the whole thing, but the lighting was flickering and I was going into epileptic shock
  • 1 0
 reset yourself. take the 50amp breaker out of your panel and lick it
  • 1 0
 that did the trick, thanks for the tip
  • 1 0
 there was another endure on that weekend that could be called a real endure as there was no shuttle ride ???
  • 1 0
 yeah but that was down south, this one had to cater to jaffas Wink
  • 1 0
 Damn vimeo! Can't watch it with my phone. I could be in it and I'll never know.
  • 1 0
 First world problems, eh?
  • 1 0
 2:50 is how it should be. no fancy clothes or BS just a good rider on a good bike.
  • 2 0
 "Doing enduro right"
-even the titles an oxymoron
  • 2 0
 Nice.
  • 1 0
 I love Santa Cruz trail bikes
  • 1 0
 What timing system is that?
  • 1 1
 an inaccurate one.
  • 1 0
 New Zealand = Mountain biker paradise!
  • 1 0
 I'm moving to Thames this year is there any good riding close by ?
  • 1 0
 Loved Thames. Beautiful land, super nice people. Murderous rugby players. Thanks for being the second best country in the world New Zealand. Kia Ora!
  • 1 0
 Oh... That's enduro...
  • 2 3
 looks pretty enduro
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