Heckler vs. Enduro?

I just came across your site and I can use all the help in making this decision as possible. I am 5’ 10”, 225lbs. I currently ride a Specialized XC that I have slapped a 130 mm fork on. Because of my weight I blow through my rear travel pretty easily.

I am looking at getting a new bike. I live in the San Fernando Valley which is the Northern Most part of L.A. County. All the trails I ride are just as much up as down. I have set a price cap at $2,300. I had my heart set on an ’08 Heckler, which is right at $2k. But then I came across a deal on a brand new ’06 Enduro S-Works for $2,700 out the door. I tried the Enduro but am concerned about banging the bottom bracket or big ring on rocks.

I do like the FSR. What is your opinion? Please HELP!!!

Hey Fernando,

The Santa Cruz Heckler and Specialized Enduro are both good bikes. As a Specialized rider, I am biased.

– They are both solid all-mountain bikes that can go up and down.

– The Heckler and Enduro are not at the same level. A Santa Cruz Nomad is analogous to an Enduro, and its frame costs $600 more than the Heckler. So it’s like you’re comparing an Audi A6 and a Chevy Malibu.

– The Enduro has slacker geometry, which biases it more toward the descents. If the Enduro comes with a 36 TALAS, you can dial down the fork for climbing.

– The Enduro has the FSR suspension you are accustomed to. Since you’ve been riding a Horst link for a while, you might notice the drawbacks of the Heckler’s single pivot.

– I’ll guess the Heckler frame is lighter, but …

– A $2,000 new Heckler will have a pretty low parts spec. The S-Works Enduro is top-of-the-line all the way. On an S-Works level bike, there are no upgrades.

– If you were looking at a new Enduro and a new Nomad, both at full retail, it would be a coin toss. But it looks like you’re getting an exceptional deal on the S-Works Enduro.

– If you can get a maxed-out A6 for the price of a Malibu, I say rock the A6.

10 replies
  1. Chris says:

    Fernando, I am biased towards Giants, but years ago I was riding a 4″ travel FSR and borrowed a friend’s 6″ travel, single pivot Santa Cruz Bullit while we were doing car shuttles. Half way down the run I asked for my bike back. FSR beats single pivot, regardless of cost.

    Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten!

    Ditch the big ring and put a rock ring on. Sam Hill won the DH Worlds with 34t front ring!

    Stop reading and go get that S-Works Enduro before someone else does!

    Tomorrow, please post that you got it.

  2. Luka says:

    You can run high BB shuttle on Enduro, although it steeps the angles a bit. The stock DHX has weak mid stroke support so you can think about home-tuning it; put some 2 mm thick rubber inside outer chamber. I’ve done it – it rocks as much as the bike (own the 06 SW Enduro, custom).

  3. Rodney Scholes says:

    Gee whiz Chris, I think you should preface your comments by saying “In my opinion FSR beats single pivot,regardless of cost”. There are plenty of riders out there who would ride nothing else than single pivot bikes – I hear that Santa Cruz wanted to ditch the Heckler & Bullit and push the VPP bikes but consumer demand stopped that idea in it’s tracks. Also if you look further afield to the UK, the guys at Dirt magazine who’ve tested just about everything (yes they do like Specialized FSR & their race team is sponsored by Intense) are madly in love with single pivot, especially Orange bikes.
    As for the question posed by Fernando, I agree with Lee – the logical choice in this situation is the S – WorksEnduro.

  4. Sean says:

    I tend to agree with Rodney. I don’t agree with the points Chris is trying to make. Sam Hill wins DH races because he’s Sam Hill, not because he has a 34t front ring. He doesn’t win because of his chainring, he doesn’t win because of the Iron Horse Sunday. He wins because he’s Sam Hill and he perceives speed at a different rate than most mortals. What is fast to a fast pro DH racer is slow to Sam. He has the same gifts for reflex, coordination and control that people such as Nico Vouilloz have shown. Sam Hill would probably win World Cup DH races on a WalMart MGX special.

    As to FSR/Horst, it’s a matter of feel. Singlepivot bikes do have a problem with stutter bumps under braking but you can time your braking to overcome a lot of this. The more bothersome thing to me about singlepivot designs is the pedal feedback when climbing ledge-filled chunky trails. This is where FSR/Horst has a bit of advantage.

    Neither bike will automatically make Fernando better or faster. However, as Lee points out, the better bargain is the discounted Enduro.

    Also to Fernando — if you’re blowing through travel, it’s not strictly because of your weight. You can tune the rear shock to work at your weight. A firmer spring (if coil) or more air pressure (if air) will do the trick.

  5. Chris says:

    In my opinion FSR (and VPP, Maestro, DW-link etc) beats single pivot, regardless of cost.

    Let me rephrase my Sam Hill comment as it has been misinterpreted:

    The fastest guy on the planet runs a 34t (sometimes). So why do we mere mortals need 42/44t?

    Answer? We don’t. So if you hit it more than you use it, ditch it. The types of riding where a big ring is needed are the opposite of those that could to without it. Fernando’s riding is straight up or down. He and is little and middle ring will get the ascending done, and Gravity will take care of the descent.

    Lee has also ridden a few bikes too and notes “…the drawbacks of the Heckler’s single pivot.” He is also far more polite than I.

    ‘Ride’ = verb. ‘Bike’ = noun. Verbs tell nouns what to do. My bike ain’t tellin me what to do, or how to ride.

    Since when did consumer demand define greatness? Never. We will hear more about Paris Hilton’s next boyfriend than we will about the next Nobel Prize winner for Medicine. Manufacturers give us what we want, which is why you can buy twenty different magazines that will tell you what Paris Hilton and none about mountain bikes. Which magazine would people be better off being inspired by?

  6. Martyn says:

    As someone who has had these two bikes I can say the Enduros S-Works was a superb bike, very solid, very quick downhill and fair but good once up to speed around tight singletrack, bit too heavy for my overall riding. Really shouldnt have sold it as I went to an enduro SL with major headaches in the fork and shock. Now on a Heckler and I have beaten my time on a DH section I had with the s-works, I find the Heckler more of a do it all wheras the Enduro 06 was gearded towards downhill more. As for the FSR v Singlepivot, well there are diferences but not enough to bother me and there’s minimal feedback from the newer heckler. In the UK i’s great to have only 1 pivot to change too. Try them both.

  7. Sean says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’m sorry, I misunderstood your point about Sam Hill and then jumped ahead with that misunderstanding. Probably that’s because there’s a whole lot of talk these days about the best thing for a DH rider or racer being whatever Sam Hill rides, which really reduces the amount of credit that should be given to Sam Hill himself. That’s really all I was trying to say.

    As to singlepivots, don’t you think that a good rider can deal with negatives in whatever bike he or she rides? Lee seems to echo this sentiment a lot — the idea that someone should ride his bike, ride it often. I’m nowhere near Lee’s skill level, but I’ve learned during my time as a MTB rider that the more at home you feel on your bike, the better off you are in tough technical situations. In Fernando’s case, he’s already used to a FSR/Horst bike, so it probably makes more sense for him to stay with a similar ride feel.

  8. jimmy says:

    One factor people tend to overlook are riding conditions. I live in a high clay content mud area. Fine if it’s dry but hell on bikes if it rains. Most SP bikes have tons of mud clearance. All my bikes from full-on DH to all-mountain are SPs with plenty of mud clearance. I can keeping pedalling while my FSR, VPP friends are carrying their bikes.

  9. leelikesbikes says:

    There you go. What good is any design if your wheels won’t turn?!?

    The best bike for you is the one you get to ride … and keep riding when things get yucky.

  10. leelikesbikes says:

    RE: single pivots

    When I interviewed Peaty for Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, he said he liked the single pivot on his Orange. Specifically, the way the bike unloaded when he finished a turn and started pedaling. This behavior is a bit analogous to a moto under throttle.

    Something to ponder …

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