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Aaron's 2017 S-Works Enduro 29 Review

Experience on Bike:

Climbed approx. 7,000ft and descended over 10,000ft on this bike. Trail conditions such as buff XC singletrack, loose southern freeride lines, technical uphill, fast rocky downhill, jump lines, drops and flow trail. I ride several times a week and prefer it to be on the same bike. Pedaling up to where I descend from, racing Enduro, shuttling DH are all requirements of mine in a bike. Ultimately my needs, experiences and interests pointed me towards the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29/26fattie with the intention of building and riding only as the 29. Not a fan of fatties.

Frame Considerations:

Sitting on and looking down, the head-tube and down-tube are massive. The rear linkage reminds me of a downhill bike thinned out. That with the 66-degree head angle and 165mm rear allows for big hits. Biggest concern with this frame was weight, given its design allows for so much travel on a 29in wheel. Because of this, I knew I needed to build up lightweight, hence the S-Works. The SWAT box gets a lot of attention and is designed well, but not worthy of my usage. Maybe stuff a jacket in there but I’m not one to tolerate banging and clanking of stuff packed into the SWAT sleeves, inside the SWAT box. To sum up this frame design in one word, “progressive” with beautiful attention to detail from the Specialized engineers.

Componentry and Build Comments:

This frame sits on the heavier side of the modern long travel 29in bikes. I knew I needed a big SRAM Eagle XX1 range and lightweight components like GUIDE RS Carbon brakes on top of this full carbon frame and wheelset. I won’t waste your time repeating specs. All you need to know is that for those like me who struggle with the idea of riding uphill with unnecessary weight, the S-Works is a no-brainer. I have been on ENVE wheels for years. I kicked that habit and now I have an experienced opinion about the Roval Traverse SL set. They are stiffer than expected and much easier to set up tubeless and swap spokes. 30mm width is the perfect fit for the MAXXIS 2.3-2.5 Minion tires I insist on running. Shave some extra weight by pulling the Specialized stock tires off immediately. The stock dropper post is short traveled and mechanical so I swapped with the 150mm Reverb. Final comment is that the S-Works build transforms this mini DH bike into a very capable climber and accelerator… if you care about speed and capability.

Suspension Characteristics:

Ohlins! No secret… this suspension is designed for this bike. The shock is progressive and controlled through all speeds and terrain at mid-range settings. Infinite adjustment with a coil feel but the weight of an air shock. Auto-sag feature is spot-on accurate and easy. A stiffer climb setting would be nice but hardly any unwanted bog . The fork immediately impresses as it stays high in its travel but maintains smooth bump absorption. There are infinite settings with, high/low compression, rebound and two air valves, which help from bottoming out while maintaining plushness. Say goodbye to tokens.

Final Impressions:

Plush and progressive suspension with overall lower rolling resistance than that of the lower-end builds. With proper sag and suspension tuning (advantage of Ohlins) the climbing is as effortless as any long travel 29er. The XX1 Eagle range and weight coupled with a lower front end allows for efficient technical climbs, which was my initial concern. Top-notch build with carbon wheels and componentry elevate this bikes capability. Descending on this bike reminds me of the days I rode DH bikes. Bottomless feel on big hits and high speed impacts. As with all 29in bikes, playfulness is compromised but not limited. Steep technical terrain requires less effort due to long wheelbase and 165mm of rear travel. Overall, the S-Works 29in Enduro has impressed me with is climbing grip, efficiency and overall handling on the technical maneuvers. I fully expected this to be one of the best descenders on the market, and it is.

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