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

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