The third instalment in our review series with mtb-freeride.tv features the Specialized Enduro Comp
Specialized Enduro Comp Details:
•Hydroformed M5 aluminium frame
•Suspension: Enduro platform Fox Float RP2 160mm
•Fork: Rock Shox Lyrik Solo Air 160mm travel
•Dropout configuration 142x12 mm
•Sizes: S, M, L, XL
•Weight: 13,7 kg
•MSRP: 2799 €
Since the “Enduro” first appeared in the full suspension range of Specialized Bikes, the frame has gone through several evolutions. While always featuring Specialized’s patented FSR platform, a lot has changed through the years, including the front triangle.
We feature the base model of the Enduro range in this bike test, the Enduro Comp. There are two higher priced models in the range - the Enduro Expert and the S-Works Enduro Carbon.
X-Wing frame construction basically splits the upper tube into two tubes, which cross each other. This provides extra stiffness where it is needed. In combination with the tapered head tube, the result is a precise front end and a frame with reduced weight.
The FSR rear triangle pushes the linkage with the shock extender and of course the shock itself is pretty straight forward. This leads to a 160 mm buttery smooth travel on the rear wheel.
Replacing the DU bushings at the shock with sealed bearings at the linkage increases sensibility for small bumps and reduces maintenance.
FRS – what does it mean, what does it do?
At the heart of the FSR suspension is two chainstay FSR pivots. By modifying the FSR pivot location, it is possible to tune the bike’s desired spring rate and performance to match the desired experience. Cross-country riders sprinting on an air-sprung four-inch-travel bikes have different performance needs than the diverse trail rider charging on an Enduro FSR, or the downhiller bombing down on steep terrain aboard an eight-inch-travel coil-sprung DH Bike.
Suspension motion is independent of the pedal stroke, making the rider more efficient.
Independent Suspension motion
The patented FSR four-bar suspension isolates the load of the chain from the suspension, leaving it free to react to the terrain and boost rider control.
The rear brake and drivetrain are decoupled on “floating” seatstays, allowing the FSR suspension to be active under braking and provide maximum control when it’s most needed.
Geometry on a Specialized bike is often extreme. In our case, the Enduro Comp is equipped with the shortest chainstay among all “Enduros”. With just 419 mm length and a low BB at 350 this has some serious effects on the handling of the bike.
With four sizes available, very tall riders get the chance to find a bike in “their” size, though with a head angle of 66.5° the Specialized Enduro is slightly steeper than most bikes.
On the geo-sheet for the Enduro Comp, we saw two different numbers for the seat tube angle. The first (actual) is listed with 70.5°, which is the angle of the seat tube in relation to the horizontal line. The second one (effective) says 75°m which is pretty steep. This one is measured between the horizontal line and the line which leads through the centres of the BB and the seat tube top.
So which seat tube angle should we have during riding. This depends on the height of the saddle. But it will always be larger than 70.5° and smaller than 75°.
As this is the base model of the Enduro range, you won´t find high end components on the bike.
The Rockshox Lyrik solo air fork, with an open bath damper, doesn´t have the best performance as your rip the bike on rough terrain but the Fox Float RP2 does its job for sure. A shiftable chainguide makes sure that everything sits where it is supposed to be.
What we are missing here, even at this price level, is a droppe seatpost, or at least a quick release for the seat post. We can't understand why Specialized has not included this feature on the Enduro Comp.
Elsewhere, the Avid Elixir brakes work pretty ok on the bike while the X7 up to X9 drivetrain components fits the price of the bike and offers a solid performance.
Trail Testing the Specialized Enduro Comp
Set-Up: Up front we come across a Rock Shox Lyrik Solo Air fork with an open bath damper. Setting up is not hard but SAG is a good option. The forks feels friction free and plush as you push it, without any adjustment on compression. Air pressure and rebound are the only two things to think of.
The Float RP2 shock is equipped with a small air canister and that usually brings a more progressive suspension curve, but the Enduro platform feels pretty plush and linear.
Climbing: The propedal tuning on the Fox shock could have been way better. It might have been a matter of size. For us as test riders, all about 180 cm in height, the medium frame was too small. For uphill we had to pull out the seatpost till its limit for the correct pedaling position. In this case, you'll find yourself sitting pretty far onto the rear wheel. That increases the weight on the shock and because of that the shock is compressed even more.
It is also a matter of the short chainstays on the Enduro which remain the same length on all frame sizes. All in all the Endruro is way better at descending then on a climb.
Pedalling/acceleration: As you get out of the saddle and put down a few pedal strokes, you get to build up speed. The rear wheel tracks the ground while you are pedalling, due to the benefits of FSR. This saves energy, which you’ll needed when you need to climb.
Handling: With its extremely short chainstays the Specialized Enduro was the most manoeuvrable bikes among the test rides. On tight corners you just push the bike slightly into the corner, and immediately you feel how easy it moves the way you want. When it comes to the point of two tight corners linked up, we were impressed how fast we were able to move the bike from one corner into the next one. The low BB supports this ability as well as the low centre of gravity.
The comparatively narrow handlebar feels a little bit weird to us. The 720 mm is not really narrow, but for a bike that is good on the downhill, we were looking for a lot more. Being one of the lightest bikes on the test, the Specialized was in the top 3 for its handling performance.
Downhill: For Descending you turn off the propedal setting on the Fox shock and drop in. The Enduro suspension platform can handle high speed and big hits, as well as using its travel effectively. Sometimes it might feel almost too soft, but with it being predictably linear, it is progressive enough at the end of the stroke so that you’re not rushing through the travel.
As you get used to the bike, you realise soon that the fork performance doesn´t match the performance of the bike. It is a lot of fun to ride the Specialized Enduro on a tight track with lots of corners, but straight high speed sections are also no problem for this bike. With Avid Elixir brakes mounted you need to be careful not to over speed.
Overall: We found that the hub bearings were worn out pretty fast. After riding it for a few weeks, the bearings produced a hoarse sound while spinning unloaded. While this is a small bug bear, the fact there is no quick release on the seatpost is a negative. It is of course not a big deal but quick release is a must.
That said, the performance of the suspension and the handling are good. The Enduro Comp is definitely a good choice for a person who gets into enduro riding first off.
Our test crew have evaluated the enduro-bikes in four categories.
The Specialized Enduro Comp scores:
Tuning of pedalling platform, gearing, adjustability of the suspension for uphill, pedalling efficiency, body position
The look, harmony of components, first impression, pricing,
How does the platform work in different terrain, different speed, during braking; How does it handle little bumps and big hits, …
Handling / Geometry
How does the bike feel in corners of different size, steep terrain, in the air, …