2022 ENDURO SHOOTOUT
SPECIALIZED ENDURO REVIEW
Photos by Dusten Ryen
Shootout Sponsored by Maxxis Tires & Fox Racing
The current generation of the Specialized Enduro was an instant classic when it was first released at the end of 2019 and has been enjoyed by many, including our whole team. With no update this year, we were very interested to dive deep into this Specialized Enduro review as part of our Roundup to see if it still sets the benchmark for Enduro bike performance some three years after its release. A lot has changed in this time, but the 170mm travel front and rear, 29” Enduro still looks modern both in terms of geometry and styling. How does the Specialized stack up against the latest offerings?
We’d like to thank Fox Racing and Maxxis Tires for their support in making this series possible. Without their partnership these types of projects wouldn’t be possible, if you feel so inclined, offer them a thanks down below! And while you’re at it check out Fox’s new 2023 Product Line and Maxxis’ performance MTB tires here.
• 170mm 6-Bar Suspension
• HTA 64.3
• STA 76 (effective)
• REACH 487mm (S4)
Price: $5,500 – $12,500 | Frameset $2,900
We’ve covered the Specialized Enduro extensively on the site in the past, so we’ll keep the details brief. Click here to get the full low-down. The key points are a 170mm travel 6-bar rear end, paired with a 170mm fork and two 29-inch wheels. The complex shape of the frame means Specialized only offers it in carbon fiber, with standard and S-Works options. There’s a Swat box internal frame storage, enough room in the shock tunnel for coil or air shocks, and essentially all the details you would expect to find on a modern enduro bike.
Geometry on the Specialized Enduro was on the progressive end of the spectrum when it was first released, with the reach-based sizing structure foregoing the typical “small, medium, large” in favor of a reach-based “S” scale, from S2 to S5. Relatively short seat tubes across this size range allow riders to select the bike based on its reach and corresponding feel on the descents. The S4 we tested, which is around a typical large in 2022, has a 487mm reach for its 440mm seat tube. The angles sit at 64.3 degrees up front, and 76 degrees for the seat tube, and are the only element of the geometry that feel slightly “old school” compared to the freshest enduro race machines. That said, the overall length of the bike is not overly compact, sitting on the upper end of average for the bikes in our Enduro Bike Shootout.
The size S4 Specialized Enduro we’re reviewing may look different than most of the ones you’ve seen on the trail, that’s because this color was only available as a frameset and was the bike Drew chose to build up as his personal test mule this year. That being said, it doesn’t have any custom parts or one-off bits that make it perform any different than what you as a consumer could procure. The one difference that most folks noted was the shock selection. Drew opted for a Fox Float DPX shock as it provides a very lively, sensitive feel which, many of our riders enjoy.
Build aside, the performance of the Specialized Enduro was pretty impressive all around. Climbing to the top of our favorite test trails wasn’t quite as fast or efficient as the Orbea Rallon or Fezzari La Sal Peak, however it was a step ahead of the Cannondale Jekyll and Norco Range. The position is comfortable, and the platform offers decent efficiency overall. Some riders would likely prefer a steeper seat tube angle but at 76 degrees, it’s not going to hold you back.
When traversing hillsides or riding along mellower, low grade trails, the Enduro remains lively and comfortable. It certainly prefers steeper, faster terrain but it does not feel heavy or cumbersome on the types of terrain we reckon most riders find themselves spend a lot of time on.
With gravity on our side, the Specialized Enduro really begins to shine. Each of our testers found themselves smiling and scorching the trails beneath them. Surprised as they may have been by this “Old” bike, Specialized Bicycles seem to have really nailed geo, suspension and overall ride quality of this bike and the many podiums it has under its belt corroborate that.
Noteworthy callouts for the bike would be the supple and very lively rear end suspension, well-rounded manners and in-frame storage compartment.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Over the course of the year we’ve ridden a lot of different bikes and as we narrowed down those bikes to the eight tested here in our Enduro Bike Shootout, the Specialized Enduro reviewed here is one of our favorites and one that we highly recommend. If you’re a rider who has plenty of pedaling and mellower trails to ride but really lives for the gnarlier trails in your town, the Enduro could be a great option for you. It’s not as pedal-friendly as the Fezzari La Sal Peak or Orbea Rallon, however we’d personally rather have the Enduro for more chundery and bike parky terrain as it’s a bit more comfortable and fun.
With bikes at a wide range of prices or a frameset option available, the Specialized Enduro rides very well and is a bike we recommend for aggressive riders who want something that is equally capable on the ups as it is the downs.
Price: $9,000’ish as built
Weight: 33.6 lbs
Frame: FACT 11m carbon chassis and rear-end, S-Sizing Enduro Race Geometry, SWAT™ Door integration | 170mm
Fork: Fox 38 Factory | 170mm
Shock: Fox Float X Factory | 230x60mm
Brakes: TRP DH-R EVO 220/200
Bar: Race Face Atlas 35
Stem: Race Face Turbine R 35
Seatpost: SDG Tellis Dropper
Saddle: WTB Volt Custom
Wheelset: WTB CZR i30 29″
Front tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5″
Rear tire: Maxxis DHR II 29×2.4″
Cassette: SRAM Eagle XG1275 | 12spd
Cranks: Race Face Turbine R | 32t | 170mm
Shifter: TRP TR12 | 12spd
Derailleur: TRP TR12 | 12spd
Supple and lively suspension feel
Slightly slack seat tube angle
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