There wasn't nearly as much controversy surrounding the Enduro category in this year's Field Test, especially compared to the heated debates that popped up regarding the Downcountry contenders. While “enduro” is still a fairly nebulous term, the bikes featured here all have a strong focus on the descending side of the equation, but they can also be pedaled to the top without too
Rear travel amounts range from 150mm to 170mm, and four out of five of the bikes have forks with 170mm of travel - the SB165 goes a little further, with a 180mm Fox 36 up front.
The Yeti SB165 and the Ibis Mojo HD5 both roll on 27.5” wheels, while the rest of the field have 29” wheels, although Rocky does make a 27.5” version of the Slayer.
What do the geometry numbers look like? When it comes to head angle, the SB165 was the slackest at 63.5-degrees, with the rest of the field hovering around the 64-degree mark. Interestingly, all of the 29ers had chainstays that measured 442mm, while the Yeti SB165 has 435mm chainstays and the Ibis Mojo HD5 has the shortest at 430mm.
Even though it's a fairly tight grouping when it comes to geometry figures and travel amounts, each bike had its own distinct personality on the trail. From the mild-mannered, well-rounded nature of the Ibis Mojo HD5 to the incredible stability at speed of the Specialized Enduro, every bike featured here brought something different to the table.
Once we'd racked up enough miles in the bike park and around Pemberton it was time to sit down and pick some favorites.
Mike Kazimer's Pick: Specialized Enduro
2020 Field Test - Testers' Choice
The Specialized Enduro was my pick of this bunch, hands down. It's a bike that feels limitless when it comes to speed and terrain – it'll go as fast as you want, no matter how steep and gnarly the trail. The improvements over the previous version are noticeable, and welcome; there's no question that it's a more formidable bike than ever before.
Granted, this wouldn't be my pick if I didn't have easy access to properly rowdy terrain, but I'm fortunate enough to live in a location where that's not an issue. It does pedal quite well, especially considering the amount of travel, it just doesn't have quite enough liveliness to make it a bike I'd choose for mellower trails. I also wouldn't mind seeing a steeper actual seat tube angle, but that's really my only minor gripe with the geometry, and it's one that goes away as soon as the trail points downwards.
5'11" / 180cmInseam:
33" / 84cmWeight:
160 lbs / 72.6 kg
The price tag on the S-Works version we tested raised plenty of eyebrows, and there's no getting around the fact that $9,750 is a whole lot of money for a bike. However, the Enduro doesn't get my vote because of its carbon wheels, wireless electronic dropper post, or XTR drivetrain. Nope, it's the geometry and suspension performance that put it on my list. In fact, I spent time on the Elite model earlier this year, which is almost half the price, and my impressions of the bike's capabilities weren't diminished at all.
Along with being the only bike in this category with a secret compartment for storing a tube and some snacks, the Enduro's handling in and out of the bike park placed it right at the top of my list. This is one very impressive machine, and a bike I'd be just as happy pedaling to the top of a big ol' decent as I would taking lift-served lap after lift-served lap.
Jason Lucas' Pick: Specialized Enduro
It might seem like the easy answer, but I'm going to agree with Kaz on this one. I knew the Enduro had the numbers to be a fast bike when pointed downhill, but my legs quivered in fear when it came time to climb the bike around Pemberton. However, those fears were quickly put to rest once I started spinning up the climb trail and realized that things were going to be OK.
The fact that this bike can take on any trail in the Whistler Bike Park at near-downhill bike speeds and get you to the top of a climb relatively easily is impressive. The Enduro wouldn't be my first choice if I lived somewhere with mellower terrain, but here in the PNW, where many of the trails can be defined as "steep and deep," it fits the bill.
6'1" / 185.4 cmWeight:
205 lb / 90.7 kgInseam:
33.5" / 85 cm
I can see the comment section now: "Of course the most expensive bike is the best!" Yeah, this build is really, really nice, and you know what? To some people $10,000 isn't all that much money. However, I'm not one of those people.
Specialized offers the Enduro at more affordable price points with very capable builds. I don't need fancy carbon wheels or a battery powered dropper post, so if I was spending my own cash I'd go for one of the less expensive options. You still get the same geometry, frame features, and suspension platform that the S-Works has, but at a fraction of the price.