Enduro SL: Great bike, iffy wording

This reader wants to know whether 1. Specialized has built his dream bike and 2. what they mean by “yaw.”

Yaw: No. Drift: Yes.

Firstly, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills is one of the most riveting books I’ve read. Like alcoholism, one has to admit one has a problem before one can fix it, and the book certainly highlighted my biggest problem: using each brake lever as my little comfort blankie.

I have two questions for you because you seem to have something going with Specialized.

1. Is the new Enduro SL for me? I’m no longer a competitive downhiller but am now a very aggressive all mountain rider with an emphasis on hard cornering and downhills. This bike seems ridiculously light to, in their words, “shred even the most daring descents.” I want to take it to DH parks every now and then but am daily faced with Bay Area tough climbs. On paper Specialized has built my dream bike. Is it too good to be true?

2. Specialized literature describes their new stable platfrom shock on the SL to be set up to “minimize yaw in cornering.” What are they talking about? Equating it to an aircraft’s yaw, it would be rotation about the verticle axis through my head and the bottom bracket (assuming I’m standing on my pedals, which I often am). Taking the problem to its limit, a complete rotation of yaw would be a 360 over a jump, so even 20 degrees through the same axis is impossible while cornering. I think they are just talking about suspension compression due to an increase in G-Force while cornering. If so, I think “yaw” is the wrong word.

Yours in enternal gratefullness,

The SL’s slackness (plus perfect technique) makes this sort of thing easy.

Hi Chris.

Thanks re: the book. Practice the braking techniques, and soon you’ll store your blankies in the attic.

1. The bike
So far so good with the Enduro SL. I’ve been wringing the h— out of mine here in Colorado: on loose rocks, embedded rocks, rock gumbo and rock cocktail. And the cornering … holy cow, that thing rips. The more I give it, the more it gives back.

I occasionally ride with the people who created this bike, and I know for a fact they rip harder than 99.999% of the riders out there. They’ve been wringing the h— out of their Enduro SLs in the Bay Area. So, yes, this could be your dream bike.

In the Bay Area run some all-around trail tires. When you hit Mammoth, step up to DH tires. One thing about Enduros: Whenever I ride them as hard as they’re capable, I destroy anything lighter than DH tires.

Happily railing, with no yaw in sight.

2. The literature
The Specialized literature makes me crazy. In my opinion, Specialized makes some of the most technically savvy bikes out there. The copy writing … sometimes it’s not the most technically savvy! (Hey guys, if you want copy that matches the quality of your bikes, here I am.)

You are absolutely correct about yaw. Imagine you’re the Winnie the Pooh mobile hanging from your bedroom ceiling, and you’re twisting on your string. Here’s a nifty yaw animation from NASA. Those guys are technically savvy.

I think Specialized is trying to describe “dive” — known at NASA as “pitch.” When you brake hard, the new platform reduces the tendency for your shock to extend and your fork to compress, which would otherwise steepen your geometry and make your stable bike feel twitchy. This low-speed compression also resists bottoming in hard corners and G-outs, which leaves you more travel for bumps. In theory, the new stable platform shock gives you a … well … a “stable platform” that lets you ride harder and still retain control.

No blankies needed.

— Lee

12 replies
  1. Norcal says:

    Holy cow!!! Was a naked girl on the side of the trail in that 1st picture. It seems that yours eyes and face have seen the light. GO to the Light Carol Ann!!!

  2. Colin says:

    Thanks for the review! That answers most of the questions I’ve been posting on MTBR about this bike.

    I live in the Bay Area too and wanted something that could possibly climb better than the ’06 style Enduro, but was worried about the toughness of the new design.

    So it sounds like it’d hold up to the occasional Northstar Run (w/ dual ply tires of course) and some technical Santa Theresa riding and some stunty Demo riding.

    The only thing I still worry about is tire clearance on the Specialized fork.
    Lee are you riding it with the Futureshock? Or do you have a Fox on there.
    If you are, do Maxxis 2.5 DH tires and Spesh Enduro 2.3s fit on there with no problem?

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    I’m riding a FOX 36 FLOAT, but I expect to try a Specialized fork at some point — but probably not too soon.

    The bike comes stock with a 2.3 tire. Specializeds run bigger than Maxxises (Maxxum? … Maxxi?), so I think a Maxxis 2.5 will fit. That’s just a guess.

  4. chris says:

    Colin and Lee,

    I was at my LBS today and they told me that my test of an SL has been delayed. Its seems that release date has been pushed back from November 2006 to March 2007 due to Specialized working on their suspension. Just a rumour at this stage, but one of the guys there had already ordered one and has been told he has to wait.

  5. Colin says:

    Woah thanks for the update

    gues my ’04 enduro’ll hafta endure 6 more months of pounding..

    the wait will be worth it! as long as its before sea otter!!! 😮

    what shop told u this?
    please update us when/if its more than a rumor

  6. Martyn says:

    Oh, My Bike shop guy said 2nd week January, but that was before you were in the shop Chris, so I suspect maybe another delay? I don’t mind at least when I get my hands on one of the first in the UK then it will be right, It’s hard waiting.

  7. chris says:


    Sorry, I don’t want to say which shop said this on a public forum, but Lee can give you my email address if you ask him for it.

    I’m thinking that if Maxxis is like ‘axis’, then the plural is Maxxes, pronounced “max-ease”. Nah, sounds stupid.

  8. chris says:


    I asked again. The word is end of Feb, or early March. The delay is tweaking the fork. UK might be different.

    I bought the Fox sprung Giant Reign 0 yesterday. Maybe a pound or two heavier and uglier but I couldn’t wait. But looks don’t matter because I “See Better to Go Faster” (Chapter 9 Flow on Any Trail, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, McCormack , Lopes, 2005).

  9. Martyn says:

    Cheers Colin, Have fun with the Reign. I’m going to order the book, worth it by the sounds of it. http://www.evanscycles.com/product.jsp?style=70307
    That’s the site I’m keeping on for dates. Mine should be the first in to the UK as I’ve had it on order for 2 months. The delay I’m happier with as it will be right when I get out that door, luckily I have the 06 enduro to keep me occupied through the winter. Lee do you know the shock bearing are the same as the conical ones on the 06?

  10. Jim says:

    I was just in the shop asking when my bike would be in, and they said that they had just spoke with the rep today. It should be her by the first of the year. I’ve had it on order since Labor day.

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