Just one year ago, almost to the day, Specialized released their highly anticipated update to the Enduro platform. Despite loads of speculation, some going as far to claim a similar platform to the new Demo 8, the update turned out to be just that; an update. Many believed that the new Enduro would see more of an overhaul, but instead, the brand took what was working well for them and made adjustments to bring the bike up to date with current technology.
Now, one year after the 2017 model year was released, we have the announcement of more updates to the Enduro. Overall, the frame is the same in appearance and construction, but Specialized have altered the geometry slightly and added the ability to adjust it via a flip-chip in the shock extension (or yoke). With the rate that the market has been moving on the geometry side of things, and based on team feedback (Curtis and Jared, as well as national level riders too), Specialized wanted to make some amends to the frames so that the difference in feel between the 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheeled bikes was close to nill. They extended the reach on each wheelsize model and made a number of other small amends.
First, let’s look at the Enduro 29er. The 2018 model has grown in reach between 5 and 13mm depending on the size of the frame (size SM increased 5mm, size XL grew 13 with varying amounts in-between). Stack has shrunk 4mm across the size range and while the head angle remains the same in the high setting on the flip-chip, the low setting slackens the bike 0.5 degree, granting the 29er a slack 65.5-degree head angle.
The flip-chip grants 8mm of adjustment where bottom bracket height is concerned, with the high setting resulting in the bike sitting about 2mm higher, while the low setting drops the bike about 6mm lower than the 2017 model. For those not familiar with the BB height on the current 2017 model Enduro, the low setting now provides a 346mm (~13.6-inch) bottom-bracket height while the high setting leaves the bike sitting at 352mm (~13.9-inch).
The shock extension and link on the 29er are both updated.
The flip chip placement in the shock yoke/extension.
For the 27.5-inch wheeled models, the reach grew a little more in an effort to make the cockpit between the bikes feel more similar to each other. Models with this wheel size have grown between 13 and 19mm and as with the 29er, that varies as you step through the sizing in the range. Where the larger wheel models shrunk in stack height, the 27.5 grew, with a size small now measuring a stack height of 590mm, increasing 5mm—the extra-large grew from 613mm to 655mm, a growth of 42mm. As with the reach, how much the stack increased depends on the size of the frame. Bottom-bracket height changes 8mm, as with the 29er, though the high setting on the 27.5 grants the same height as the stock 2017 model, but flipping the chip in the extension provides a 342mm bottom-bracket height. The head angle adjusts from the current 65.5 to 65 degrees.
Only the extension (yoke) is changed on the 27.5 model
While working on the extension/flip-chip, Specialized took the opportunity to make a minor adjustment to the wheel rate on the 27.5-inch Enduro. They needed to move the front shock bolt in order to have everything work and in the process, adjusted its placement so that a more progressive end stroke was garnered. On the 29er, they changed the link and the extension, negating the need to move the forward shock mount, and keeping the suspension characteristics the same in the process.
Side-by-side comparison of geometry changes between the 2018 and 2017 Enduro models.
The new extension and link will be available aftermarket and is retrofittable to the 2017 model. While you obviously won't get all of the geometry updates through the link, the head angle and bottom-bracket height adjustments will be available. The extension (yoke) is all that is needed for the 27.5-inch Enduro and is said to cost $20 USD, while the 29er needs the extension and link, and will sell for $50 USD.
Updated Parts and Accessories
The 2018 Enduro will also be fitted with wider, 800mm bars and a shorter stem on all models. What’s more interesting, though, is some of the new parts that Specialized have been working on for a number of years; the WU seatpost and the S.W.A.T. CC tool.
The S.W.A.T. CC is a tool that slots into your steerer tube and has all of the parts included that are on the current S.W.A.T. tool (whether bottle cage mounted or under the top tube) with the exception of the Phillips-head screw driver. It also includes a chain tool. The tool replaces the star nut and works similar to the old Azonic Head Lock, compressing the parts between the top and bottom fixtures, and is tightened from the underside of the headtube. The S.W.A.T. CC will be available on S-Works, Pro, and Coil model lines—it will not be available aftermarket.
Specialized's new S.W.A.T. CC Tool provides easy access to the multitool and houses a chain tool in the steerer too.
The WU seatpost is a slightly more unique take on the dropper. The travel of the post shaft is 115mm, but with a twist to garner what Specialized deem to be another 35mm drop. As the post lowers, the seat angle is adjusted. At its lowest, the rear of the seat is tilted back, similar to how a downhiller may run their saddle, but when extended the seat tilts forward to provide a comfortable riding position. Specialized claim that this change in seat angle results in an overall drop of 150mm (measured at the area we sit on the seat—rear of center). The WU post will come fitted to S-Works, Pro, and Coil model lines and will be available aftermarket in the future.
The WU seatpost tilt the seat back with the post is slammed.
Seat tilts forward when the post is at full extension.
The 2018 Enduro models will also see more fitted with Öhlins suspension, with the Pro and Elite model lines seeing a new fork and shock; the STX. The STX is a more simplified damper—it doesn’t feature the twin tube functionality of the TTX—and will be OEM only for the moment. The Pro model line will also come fitted with carbon hoops and all Enduro models for 2018 will be fitted with Specialized’s updated Butcher Grid 2.6 tires, front and rear. Finally, all models with the exception of the Comp line will come fitted with SRAM’s new Code brakes.