Enduro 29?

Hi Lee

I’m thinking of selling my 2010 Enduro and getting a 2012 Spec FSR 29er as I feel overbiked for the majority of my riding. The problem is I can’t decide which – I rode an XL carbon camber and was blown away by how good it felt (really like a super stable 26 inch bike and the first bike really fit my 6ft6 body). However I’m really tempted by a Stumpjumper or SJ Evo 29er. Trails round here are a mix of rooty, twisty, muddy gnar and open moors – no rocks but plenty technical. What are your opinions on the different models?


Hey Matt,

Funny you would ask this, because I’ve been mulling it over too. Thoughts:

• I ride a 2010 Enduro Pro Carbon. That instrument of braaap can be ridden as an all-around trail bike, but it feels most appropriate when things get steep, gnarly and fully pinned. My Enduro is basically a pedal-able DH bike. (I use it to train DH racers, and I rode it to 2nd in DS and top 10 in DH at Sea Otter this year.)

Double-red gnar at Left Hand Canyon OHV Area. In places like this, the Enduro is the ideal instrument of braaap.

• Unless their names are Matt Hunter or Curtis Keene, most aggressive trail riders will be well served by a 5-6-inch trail bike. They are super capable, and they feel more lively, efficient and fun in most trail situations. When you add 29-inch wheels, these bikes get even smoother and more capable.

• I’ve ridden the 2011 Camber 29 and Stumpy 29, and they are both great trail bikes. As you might expect, the Camber has a lighter/tighter feel. The Stumpy is a bit more DH.

• The 2012 Stumpy EVO 29 will be even more DH. Based on my experience with the Stumpy 29, I think the EVO 29 will overlap heavily with the Enduro. If you like your Enduro’s ability to smoothen chatter, I think you’ll love how a Stumpy 29 does the same thing — but with a tighter, more lively feel.

2012 Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO 29

I’ve always thought a Stumpy EVO 26 would be a better fit for most trail riders than an Enduro 26. Now that Specialized is making a Stumpy EVO 29, I think a lot of Enduro riders will go that way.



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9 replies
  1. Matt says:

    HI Lee, Thanks for the reply.

    I find that it needs a pretty hardcore trail to make the Enduro come alive (but then it is great). I feel too isolated from most trails so I was thinking of going down to a 140mm bike like the stumpy, then my LBS recommended a 2012 29er. Bit worried that the camber is too xc and the evo too much like my enduro. Think I will maybe settle on a standard stumpy 29er; shame there isn’t a camber evo…

  2. Tjaard says:

    The Stumpy 29er(S-Works, non-Evo) was entered by Specialized in a shootout by German ‘Bike Magazin’.
    They were looking for the best ‘one bike to rule them all’. They had 2 AM bikes, 3 trail bikes and 2 ‘beefed up’ race bikes, and 1 29er trail bike.

    They ranked the bikes on 3 trails:
    A: hilly singletrack loop with a flowy descent with berms and jumps and rolling trail with tree-slalom over roots and a short and steep climb
    B Alpine lift assist DH with both smooth trail and rocky gnar
    C Mountain tour with extremely steep climb on rough road then technical descent

    The results were as followed:
    Hilly loop ride A:
    1st: Stumpy FSR S-W 29er, 2nd Radon Skeen race bike tuned to 140mm front, 120mm rear, 3rd Cannond. Jekyl (with 150mm lefty)

    Lift assist DH(B)
    1st Rocky Mtn Slayer 2nd Equal Stumpy/Bergamont Threesome All Mountain 160 mm bike

    Ride C:
    1st Stumpy 29, 2 Bergamont All Mtn, 3rd equal Giant Reign. Jekyl, Radon and Focus

    Their conclusion:
    The Stumpy 29er(the only 29er in the test) is the only bike to make the podium in all three rides, and even convinces 29er skeptics.
    Lightweight and great traction make it climb great, lighweight wheels keep it agile on the rolling singletrack and on the descents it almost gives you the stability of the all-mountain bikes.

  3. electric says:

    I like aggressively moving, pumping and hopping while on technical fun(thanks lee). IMO this is what those “lighter” bikes like the 26″ EVO are good for. 29r are a lot harder to manual, hop and in general maneuvering in very tight places like rocky chutes and places where you’re moving slowly it is worse. In general a 26″ feels livelier to me – and that is the point, as i see it, of these “EVO” rides to have the snappy feeling of a lighter shorter bike with the suspension to back it up.


    I’m not sure 29r will out compete a 26r evo. Do they even compete in the same style/terrain? The 29r evo may compete with the enduro in the ‘trail plow’ category, but on different terrain. I just think a 26″ has a lot going for it if you’re not the sort of guy who plows into stuff. 🙂

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    I like to think I’m a rider who doesn’t plow into stuff. 🙂 A week after I completed my Stumpy Comp 29 Picture Rock Trail test, I got to ride a Stumpy EVO 26 on the same trail.

    In the gnarlier/pumpier sections, the Stumpy EVO 26 felt way more lively and fun than the Stumpy Comp 29. I was like, “yeah man, this is it!” But you know what? On the rest of the ride — up the hill and through all the other DH sections — the 29 was easier/smoother/faster.

    It does come down to riding goals and style. Are you optimizing for that one sweet section, or do you want your bike to feel good on most of the ride?

    For a lot of years now, I’ve optimized for the DH braaap. Maybe my skills are improving inversely with my power and aggression, but I’m feeling like running smaller bikes more efficiently.

    Crazy times!

  5. Varaxis says:

    It’s like what you wrote in your book:

    ^ _
    | Challenge /|
    | …….. /
    | ……. / F
    | …… / U
    | ….. / N

    ————-> Skill

    If your skills are high, you will have a lot more fun approaching it with a bike that leaves some of the challenge. Riding a big bike that does a lot of the work will do a lot in terms of confidence to allow you to ride something and learn, but transferring those skills learned to a XCish bike and it becomes really fun. With your polished skill pushing past well above average, I imagine you would rail on a XC bike on stuff people ride AM/trail bikes on, just like how Brian Lopes does DH stuff on his Mojo HD, where amateurs are on super cushy DH bikes.

  6. Matt says:

    Lee, next time you speak to your buddies at Specialized can you ask them to please bring the Stumpjumper FSR 29ers (partic the EVO) into the UK!? You can get a 2012 SJ 29er in super gnarly Belgium but not the UK at the moment!

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