Bike Check: Curtis Keene's 29" Enduro MTB

Can 26" wheels win an elite-level enduro race in 2014? "No," claims America's top enduro rider.

Mountain bike rider Curtis Keene with his bike
Curtis Keene's whip© Marv Watson/Red Bull

In the video below, Curtis Keene is asked if he will ever compete on 26-inch wheels again. With little hesitation, he answers, "No."

Curtis' choice of larger wheels -- opting for a 29-inch diameter to contest the 2014 Enduro World Series -- is the current ethos of the entire mountain bike industry -- the professional racing circuit included.

© Sterling Lorence/Red Bull Content Pool

Bigger has proved faster in cross-country racing -- 29ers have dominated recent years of competition -- and now bicycle manufacturers are offering enduro and even downhill bikes with larger 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. The consumer reality of this shift: if you own a 26-inch mountain bike today -- that isn't slopestyle-specific -- it is likely to be labeled "vintage," "rare," or even "extinct" soon.

A Pro Replica Bike You Can Actually Own

But what's the coolest thing about Curtis' bike? You can go down to the local bike shop and actually buy this bike -- with only one minor visual exception: the custom Red Bull-inspired paint scheme on the frame, which Specialized reserves exclusively for Curtis.

Read on to learn more about Curtis' build -- all the parts used, including his exact personal settings, like tire pressure, shock rebound, and even how much tubeless tire sealant is in each tire...

Frame: Specialized S-Works Enduro

  • Curtis' settings: Large frame with custom paint job

Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus

Fork: RockShox Pike

  • Curtis' settings: 85 PSI; RCT3 model set at 160 mm travel with two Bottomless Tokens installed; Compression - 5 clicks in; Rebound - 9 clicks in
Inside mountain bike athlete Curtis Keene's personal bike
Curtis Keene bike check: front end© Marv Watson/Red Bull

Drivetrain: SRAM XX1, 11-speed

  • Curtis' settings: 170 mm length carbon fiber crank arms to spin the 32-tooth front chainring and 10- to 42-tooth rear cassette range; Gamut Trail SXC guide for increased chain-retention security

Pedals: Crankbrothers Mallet

Wheels: Specialized Roval Traverse SL, 24-spoke (front), 32-spoke (rear)

Inside mountain bike athlete Curtis Keene's personal bike
Curtis Keene bike check: drivetrain© Marv Watson/Red Bull

Tire, front: Specialized Butcher 2.3"

Tire, rear: Specialized Slaughter 2.3"

  • Curtis' settings: 33 PSI; Tubeless with one scoop of Stan's liquid tire sealant
Inside mountain bike athlete Curtis Keene's personal bike
Curtis Keene bike check: rear tire© Marv Watson/Red Bull

Brakes: SRAM XO Trail

  • Curtis' settings: 200 mm rotors front and rear

Seat post: RockShox Reverb Stealth

  • Curtis' settings: 125 mm of saddle drop that can be activated on the-fly using a hydraulically-controlled remote button (located under the handlebar on the rider's left -- where a front shifter would be mounted on a bike with multiple chainrings)
Inside mountain bike athlete Curtis Keene's personal bike
Curtis Keene bike check: derailleur© Marv Watson/Red Bull

Saddle: Specialized Henge Pro

Stem: Truvativ Holzfeller

  • Curtis' settings: 50mm length

Handlebar: Truvativ Boobar

  • Curtis' settings: 780 mm width by 30 mm rise

Grips: Specialized Sip, Bolt-on

Like this bike? Click the links below to watch more videos from this shoot.

Follow Curtis on Twitter and Instagram, and check out his athlete page for more photos and videos.