Bike for Megavalanche?

Hi Lee,

A mate and I are looking at training up for the Mega Avalanche 2014.

We were wondering what bike you would recommend?

We have watched lots of videos and noted that it is really a mix of DH rigs and AM bikes.

Would the Specialized Enduro be an option or should we step it up to the Enduro Evo?



Hey Rhys,

To give you the best answer, I’ll have to race that event. (Oh man, some day … hmm … before or after the shoulder replacement? …)

OK, bike:

I think this approach applies to lots of trail riding situations. Your ideal bike comes down to your terrain, skills, fitness and style.

• It seems like an “all-mountain bike” like the Specialized Enduro is aimed squarely at the Megavalanche type of racing. Burly downhills with some pedaling.

My 2010 Enduro is extremely capable in the downhills. The current 2013 model is still a DH pinner but is more optimized for pedaling. That sounds ideal for enduro racing.

• If you want more confidence on the descents, and are willing to give up some snap everywhere else, you can go for a bigger “freeride” bike like the Enduro EVO. In previous model years, this would have been an SX Trail. I think confidence is essential. Ride whichever bike will let you fully pin it. Hitting the brakes because you don’t trust a small bike might you slow you down more than pedaling a heavier but more confidence-inspiring bike.

• If your DH skills are dialed and you want the quickest bike overall, you can go for an “aggressive trail bike” like a Stumpy EVO. Dan Atherton is ripping these races on a similar GT. Check out his start!

My Stumpy 29 would be pretty good in all but the gnarliest enduros. I would give up some aggression on the crazy downhills, but I could make up time (and save energy, with my limited aerobic engine) elsewhere.

On every other bike, I’ve walked this section. The Stumpy 29 has me pedaling up …

… and still having fun on the descents. More bike like an Enduro would be more pinned here, but — for my skills, fitness and riding style — the smaller bike feels quicker/easier overall.

If you have solid DH and XC skills and fitness, I think the Enduro would hit the Megavalanche target right in the middle. If your riding style favors the bigger bike, go for that. If you’re a smooth rider in a big hurry, you might go for the smaller bike.

Last weekend I rode a Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon, which overlaps the big end of trail bikes and the small end of all-mountain bikes. It felt very good here:

BTW: I think the new Enduro 29 will be hard to beat for random gnar and timed pedaling. I can’t wait to try one.

Have fun out there,

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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5 replies
  1. Kevin says:

    You need to roll a fat bike! It’s not enough to finish strong in a race, you need to do it in an outrageous bike so everyone feels like going home and crying in their protein shakes!

  2. Ondrej says:

    It depends very much on your riding style and skills, there is ride in snow, mud, big free rocks, roots … Anyway if you have telescopic seatpost and possibility of lock-out your bike’s front fork and rear shock, it is all verz significant plus on this event. Also it depends on designated course – i was on Megavalanche in Huez in 2010 and qualifying course was much more DH but competition course itself was more like AM/EN course (lot of pedaling sections, few climbs) with few technical DH sections. Saw lot of people suffering on pure DH rigs and saw a lot people ride it with breeze on enduro rigs. Anyway, for me it was good opportunity to “touch the bottom” and my plan for this year is to do it again 🙂 With 7-10 days in Chatel/Morzine resort it will be againd my dreamy vacation.

    P.S.: Spec Enduro EVO is great choice imho, because it is “new SXtrail”, but on this event it can be still very heavy if you do plan not only survive ;).

  3. Bas says:

    I rode the event a few years back. I think an Enduro would be the perfect bike for qualifiers and the race, bring a dropper post and meaty tires. You will not be disappointed!

    Enduro EVO would be too heavy for the pedalling sections IMHO.


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