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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