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Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 2019 review | ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

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What does the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 have in common with a Porsche 911? Both are classics you’ll easily recognise by their silhouette, and they both come with a hefty price tag. Can the Enduro also keep up with the performance of a Porsche?

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 14.00 kg | € 9,799

At first glance, little has changed on the Specialized Enduro over the years. The silhouette of the bike has stayed virtually unchanged for years, but Specialized has improved the details year after year, making small improvements every time. In the latest version, the top-end model comes with FOX Factory suspension instead of Öhlins components. You can adjust the geometry of the Enduro via a flip-chip on the shock mount, but we kept it in its standard slack setting. The spec of the Enduro gave us almost no reason for complaint. The SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain and CODE RSC brakes perform without fault. The lightweight Roval carbon wheels are great for day-to-day riding, but it’s almost a shame to hammer them through bike parks. Specialized’s in-house cockpit fits nicely in terms of ergonomics, but unfortunately, the chunky looking stem doesn’t do the bike justice. Our test riders also criticised the Command Post WU dropper post. Although it features a complex mechanism for dropping the back of the saddle, the adjustment range is too small in practice and there is quite a lot of play in the system. The Specialized brand tires convinced us with plenty of grip and low rolling resistance. One of our favourite features is still the SWAT box, letting you store all your trail essentials in the downtube.

The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 in detail

Fork FOX 36 FLOAT Factory 160 mm
Shock FOX X2 Factory 160 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 Eagle
Seatpost Command Post Wu 125/150 mm
Stem Specialized Trail 50 mm
Handlebar Specialized Carbon 800 mm
Wheels Roval Traverse SL 29″
Tires Specialized Butcher GRID 2.6″
Weight 14.00 kg
Price € 9,799









Very progressive
In combination with the FOX FLOAT X2 with its new bottom-out protection, the rear end of the Enduro 29 is very progressive. This makes it difficult to effectively use all of the available travel.

Too little
“Good idea, bad execution” is our conclusion about the Specialized Command Post WU dropper post. The mechanism for lowering the back of the saddle increases the length of the seat post with less adjustment range.
Beauty and The Beast
We immediately fell in love with the integrated tool in the steerer tube, but not the chunky stem.

A reason to buy it
To us, the Specialized SWAT box is a revelation. The practical storage compartment makes it unnecessary for you to carry a backpack, so it has an indirect effect on the riding experience.
Size S M L XL
Top tube 559 mm 584 mm 611 mm 637 mm
Head tube 95 mm 95 mm 110 mm 125 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 76.7° 76.7° 76.5° 76.3°
Chainstays 433 mm 433 mm 433 mm 433 mm
BB hight 354 mm 354 mm 354 mm 354 mm
Wheelbase 1165 mm 1190 mm 1218 mm 1245 mm
Reach 415 mm 440 mm 462 mm 483 mm
Stack 606 mm 606 mm 619 mm 633 mm
Helmet Fox Rampage | Goggle 100% Accuri | Jacket ZIENER EFEN MAN | Shorts Alpinestars Sight Pants

As with all of Specialized’s bikes, the Enduro hardly takes any getting used to when riding it for the first time. After only a few meters everything feels totally familiar and the handling is intuitive and easy to control through corners. From narrow, winding sections to drawn out berms, you can ride it all as if the bike were on rails and without much effort. Even quick direction changes are easy on the Enduro. As the rider, you feel very integrated with the bike, inspiring you with confidence.

The suspension of the Enduro 29 is almost as firm as that of a Porsche 911.

However, the suspension is rather firm with a lot of progression, which limits its potential. The Enduro lets you quickly reach a certain speed, but if you want to go any faster, the bike becomes challenging to handle. It’s a lot of fun for day to day riding, but racers and those looking for pure speed will get annoyed. Going uphill, the Specialized has no real weak points. Although the seat tube angle could be a bit steeper, if you push the saddle forward, you’ll comfortably be able to master even long climbs. Here the bike easily scores with the acceleration of its light wheels.

Tuning tip: Swap seat post | Tougher BLK DMND casing tires

Conclusion

Having fun comes first with the Specialized Enduro. With its agile handling and progressive suspension, it rides very directly and turns every trail into a massive playground. However, it does have a few weak points in fast, demanding terrain as well as in the componentry spec. Like a Series 911, it’s sexy and fast, but better suited to daily riding rather than the real racetrack.

  • Agile, playful handling
  • Progressive suspension with a lot of pop
  • SWAT box is just awesome
  • Less capable in rough terrain
  • Too little travel on the dropper

Uphill

Downhill

Stability

Agility

Value for money

For more info head to: specialized.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

All bikes in test: Bold Unplugged | Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 Team | Commencal META AM 29 SIGNATURE ORANGE | Giant Reign Advanced 0 | Lapierre Spicy Team Ultimate | Nukeproof Mega 275c RS | Orbea Rallon M-LTD I9 | Pivot Firebird 29 Team XX1 | Pole Machine EN | Santa Cruz Nomad CC | Scott Ransom 900 Tuned | Trek Slash 9.9 | YT Capra 29 CF PRO Race

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer