PINKBIKE FIELD TEST
Enduro Bike Round Table
This year, we had five enduro bikes to compare. All of them are positioned as EWS-worthy race bikes, but within that remit there's certainly a lot of variety. The We Are One Arrival, sporting just 152mm travel and only
a Fox 36, is the shortest travel and lightest of the bunch but has still seen some impressive results on the international circuit thanks to U21 rider Johnathan Helly. At 32.04 lb / 14.53 kg it's 5 pounds lighter than the almost-downhill Norco.
Speaking of which, the Norco Range offers to bridge the gap between downhill and enduro bikes. The 170mm bruiser not only has a downhill rated frame but also dual crown compatibility. The idler-equipped bike puts emphasis on descents, but thanks to low gearing, modern geometry and tuned kinematics, will still get you to the top of your chosen mountain, albeit a bit slower than a lighter bike.
The Norco wasn't the only bike with an idler-enabled rearward axle path, there was also the GT Force. Again, this is a bike we've seen raced at World Cups with a larger fork bolted on the front. The GT, while still a very capable bike, did seem that little more versatile, if only thanks to its air shock, but still had all the hallmarks of a modern enduro bike, including an adjustable rear end and a front end that was both slack whilst also offering a generous amount of stack height.
Another bike that tried to offer it all was the Transition Spire. This bike is not only second lightest on test at 33.20 lb / 15.05 kg but also offered a lot more versatility than its ultra-slack numbers would suggest. It does beg the question though, can a 29" 170mm bike ever really be more than a one-trick-smash-pony? Well, apparently so, but does that mean there's a trade-off somewhere along the line?
Last but not least, the all-new YT Capra. This bike is available in both MX and 29" platforms. On test, we had the latter. This bike is denoted by YT as their race bike, but can it hold a candle to the World Cup pedigree of the GT and Norco? And what can it offer apart from its standout value for money?
So which did we like? Which would we have ourselves? And how do they compare against a previous Field Test winner and a bike that we all have a great amount of appreciation for - the Specialized Enduro? After a few years has bike designed really moved on? Or would we still be reaching for the old favorite?
The 2021 Summer Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel and protection, and Sun Peaks Resort. Shout out also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.