A buyer’s guide to enduro mountain bikes. Over the last couple of years, the popularity of enduro bikes has exploded. These bikes are more capable than ever making this genre one of, if not the most popular in the industry.
Here is my guide to everything you need to know before you buy an enduro bike. It includes how to choose the right one for you and nuanced details that you need to know before handing over your credit card.
What is an Enduro Bike?
An enduro mountain bike is a bike designed to be pedaled to the top of the mountain easily and then ridden down technical terrain. These bikes are designed specifically for enduro racing, a format of racing in which only the downhills are time yet riders must pedal to the top. Since its rise in popularity, these bikes can be spotted everywhere, they are the jack of all trades of mountain bikes.
They differ from a trail bike and a cross country bike because of their geometry and the amount of suspension they have. Modern geometry and components make them very capable going uphill, but they are still sluggish when compared to shorter travel mountain bikes. These bikes really shine once they are at the top of the hill. They can descend very technical terrain fast and are as close as you can get to a downhill bike.
Should You Buy an Enduro Mountain Bike?
Should you buy an enduro bike? The answer depends on your riding personality and the type of train you have access to.
If your average ride is pedaling to the top of difficult trails then yes. If you like to go fast, smash things as hard as you can, and have a general disregard for your well-being, then the answer is yes.
But be honest with yourself. If you like to ride blue and green trails at a leisurely pace you could have more fun on a trail bike. At the end of the day comes down to personal preference.
How to Choose the Right Enduro Bike for You
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right enduro bike for you. To keep it straightforward we will look at the frame, its geometry, and the amount of suspension it has.
Enduro mountain bikes come in both aluminum and carbon fiber frame options. Aluminum frame options will be heavier, but cheaper and some might say more durable. Carbon fiber frames will be lighter, but more expensive.
Bike geometry refers to how a bike is built. Not the process itself, but the angles and shapes the engineers use to create the bike. This data is found on the manufacturer’s website and can help you understand how it will feel and handle when you are riding it.
You can slight adjust the geometry after the fact, by doing things like changing the height of your handlebars. But this is a small change so need to pay attention to the geometry before you buy the bike.
To use this information well you need to understand the measurements referred to and how they affect trail performance. Start by learning about head tube angle, reach, seat tube angle, and wheelbase. For example, if you want a more aggressive bike you will want a slacker head tube angle. If you want a nimble bike, you may consider a shorter wheelbase.
Enduro mountain bikes have between 140 mm and 180 mm of suspension travel. If you ride aggressively and want to tackle the aggressive terrain you will want more suspension. If you ride fast but your terrain is very smooth or you prefer to jump less suspension can work well for you.
Enduro mountain bikes come with a wide range of components. But there are four main components that you should pay attention to before buying a bike, the brakes, the drivetrain, the suspension, and the seat post.
Brakes are a very important component on a bike. Good brakes will give you more confidence and dramatically improve your experience. Since enduro bikes can be ridden very aggressively you need four-piston disc brakes. SRAM, Shimano, and TRP are good brands to look for. If you cannot afford very high-end brakes, upgrade the size of your brake rotor, this will give you more stopping power.
These bikes are meant to be peddled, therefore you need a good drivetrain. Make sure your bike comes with a 1 by 12-speed drivetrain. If it is older 1 by 11 will work too. If you are looking to save money by a cheaper derailleur and shifter, but a more expensive cassette. The cassette weighs the most and affects how your rear suspension works. The best brands are SRAM and Shimano. Specifically, look for an Eagle drivetrain or SLX and XT.
Not all suspension is created equal. Manufacturers have different levels of suspension with different internals to offer multiple price points. Choose suspension that has rebound and compression adjustment. Suspension can get very expensive very quickly but it’s a component that matters. Fox, Rockshoxs, DVO, MRP, and Ohlins make great quality products.
You can also choose between coil and air suspension. Coil suspension will weigh more, but be more supple and require less maintenance. Air suspension will weigh less and have more tunability but will require more maintenance.
Arguably the most important component on a modern bike is the dropping seat post. A dropping seat post will dramatically improve your riding experience. I highly recommend getting a mechanical one. They require less maintenance, are cheaper, and are more reliable. To maximize your fun get the longest dropper you can fit on your bike for your height.
How Much Do Enduro Mountain Bikes Cost?
To get a good quality enduro bike you will have to spend at least $2000 and up to as much as you want. Thankfully there are quality bikes at every price point now, here are some great beginner bikes. But how much you spend on a bike really comes down to your budget, how serious you are about the sport, and what you want to ride. But expensive does not always mean better, there are some great value bikes out there that will not hold you back. I am a big fan of YT, Commencal, and used bikes.
Consumer-Direct vs. Bike Shop
There are two main ways you can buy a bike. Either from a local bike shop or through a consumer direct company online.
When you buy a bike at the bike store it will be more expensive. But the shop will help you set it up, answer any questions you might have and include some initial maintenance. You are also supporting a local business.
When you buy a bike online it will be cheaper. It will show up at your door and require assembly. These companies do offer support but it will be via email and over the phone. You will save money but will have to pay for any maintenance at the bike shop. I only recommend this for more advanced to intermediate riders.
Enduro Mountain Bikes:
When it comes to buying an enduro mountain bike there are many things to consider. You need to look at what type of frame you are going to get, it’s geometry, and the amount of suspension it has. Then you need to make sure you have quality components and decide whether you’re going to buy from a store or a consumer-direct brand. It’s a lot to think about, but once you buy your bike the real fun begins and you can travel to awesome places like Sedona to ride your new bike. I hope this article makes the process easier. See you out there.