Apples vs oranges: Enduro vs rigid 29er

Hi Lee,

I have a 2010 Enduro and it’s great for carving the steeper trails but It’s a bit too much for the commute/longer rides.

I’m 6ft5 and I have a 19″ hardcore hardtail (2010 Orange p7) for a second bike but its a bit too short and I’m considering a Kona Unit 29er to replace it. It’ll be my first 29er and I’m yet to be convinced — will it be a good skills sharpener for the enduro or just a sketchy tall freak bike that I’ll grow to hate …?

Cheers for any input

Hey Matt,

I will apologize in advance. You caught me in a brusque mood.

Dude, there is no comparison between a modern Enduro and a rigid single speed with any size wheel. They are completely different animals.

I only know two people who ride Enduros to their potential: Brandon Sloan and Curtis Keene. On a good day, maybe me. Maybe. For the purpose of this adventure, let’s assume you are a total ripper who Rides your Enduro with a capital R.

– If you’re on a real trail with real intentions, you will want your Enduro every time.

– If you’re cruising the road or easy trails — especially if you’re sick or you’re riding with slow people — I suppose the Unit 29er will be fun.

You know I love riding all sorts of bikes:

Enduro DH, Mighty Stumpy,, SX, Tricross, 24″ BMX cruiser, 20″ BMX and, now, Captain America the experimental Stumpjumper HT EVO-R (26″!). If I found myself on top of a rad-ass gnarly descent on Captain America, I’d have fun riding it, but you know I’d be wanting the Enduro. Heck, that recently happened in Santa Cruz (check out the DH shootout between Captain America and an Ibis Mojo HD. Different animals!).

The Unit 29er might sharpen your skills and help you appreciate the nuance of our fine sport, or it might make you slow and turn you into a rigid 29er zealot (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It depends on how you’re made — and how hard you rip your Enduro.

My cranky $0.02:

– Give a 29 hardtail a try, but run a suspension fork so the 29er feels like a short-travel 26er.

– If you really want to sharpen your skills, man up and learn to ride an XXL 20″ BMX bike.

Speaking of that, I have ridden my 20 on local XC trails. I did it, and it was super *hard core* and rad. But — dude — if I can get time to actually ride trail, I want a bike that lets me wring it out.


— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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1 reply
  1. zak says:

    Lee, despite his brusque mood, is right (as almost always 😉
    I have two bikes. Banshee Rune to braaap (but it happend to me to ride three days, 350km, mostly on flat and solid roads with a pall who was riding something like this,600,559,rower-sakwy-mescherin.jpg 🙂 Ok, too much digression.
    Mine second bike is 26″ HT based on Kona Lana’i 2007 frame with 1×8 and 80mm at front. And I’m using it to everything. But if it’s gnarly it’s fun only in the begin. After some “Uh… I’m riding here a 80mm HT. WoW” I’m just starting to think how it would be with my Rune (and riding my Rune I don’t have such a thoughts about Kona. Maybe sometimes about some fine motorcycle 😉

    But if your Orange is too short (and you are a tall guy) you should change it for 29″. It’ll be fun (I had a lot of fun riding ‘niner’ HT someday and I’m only 5’10”).

    Have a fun and positive attitude. Change your glasses to the orange one 🙂

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