What’s with the forks on the 2009 Enduro SLs?

People have been asking why the new Enduro SLs, except for the S-Works model, are using FOX 32 forks instead of last year’s Specialized E150. I got the answer from The Doctor himself, Brandon Sloan.

2009 Enduro SL Pro Carbon.

Writing from Whistler, he said:

So you know we have had way too many troubles with our E150 fork. We went in too big and struggled with quality. So for ’09 we are going to step way back. The E150 will only be on the S-Works bike and frame so we can handle the quantity and do a better job making sure it performs as designed.

Fox 150mm Talas or Floats are used on the Comp, Expert and Pro Enduros. We went with the 32mm fork for its weight … they are 1lb lighter than a 36 and stiff enough with the 15mm axle (sure not as stiff as a 36, but again 1lb and 10mm less travel). They are a good match to the Enduro SL style.

— Brandon

So there you have it. My Enduro SL has a 36 FLOAT on the front, and it feels great, but it’s big and slack (not necessarily bad things). I’ll bet the new 150mm 32 TALAS will be sweet.

PS: Check out the remote seatpost on the new SL!

My 2007 Enduro SL with FOX RP23 in the back and FOX 36 FLOAT in the front. With the heavy wheels and tires, this bike feels like an older Enduro — kind of a mini DH bike. For most trail rides I rock the 2008 Stumpy.

26 replies
  1. paul says:

    i have a 32 on my enduro and it is just to flexy ive also ridden a thru axle one they really cheaped out

  2. Chris says:

    Lee, while reading something somewhere on some Interbike review, someone said that flex on a fork is not necessarily a bad thing. I had never heard that before. So I had a tiny think about it. We all know that most of the time (pretending we have a 90 deg head tube looking at the bike sideways, like a graph) the flex is on the X-axis, some is on the Z-axis (I guess most originating at the hub, which a through-axle and stiff wheel is designed to reduce) and the fork is designed to move on the Y-axis.

    Some frame designers tell as that X-axis movement on the rear wheel is a good thing (“wheel moves up and away from the bump” etc.). So really, is X-axis movement on a fork such a bad thing?

    Paul, is it the X, Z, or X AND Z flex that you hate?

    Maybe its my sour grapes and I can’t tell the difference. But my 32 has surprised me so much with its capability on a visit each to Whistler and Northstar that I am not “upgrading” to a 36. I’m yet to ride to the top of any trail whose descent is as hard as Goat’s Gully or Fabio’s Falls.

  3. Stefan says:

    I am not sure which direction the X or Z-axis is, but.
    The flex I saw on my 32 TALAS, was turn the bar and the wheel follows a split second later. I couldn’t feel it, I saw it through the paint cracks on the the crown. If you put your front wheel in a bike rack and turn the bars back and forth, I think you will be surprised.

  4. leelikesbikes says:


    No doubt your crown flexes torsionally — especially when you anchor your front wheel and turn the bars. But I’m surprised you notice that on trail. You seldom turn the bars with your front wheel anchored.

    The Maverick SC32 is very flexy torsionally, but extremely stiff fore-aft and side-to-side. I noticed that torsional flex in a starting gate, but never while riding.

    Check out this review of the SC32:


  5. Chris says:

    Stefan, yep, didn’t account for what you described… pivoting around the Y-axis.

    You can use a Maverick DUC 32 with a 29er wheel (with Maverick’s blessing, but you must adjust the travel from 6″ to 4″). Even with the double crown when you hit the front brake you will see as plain as day the wheel turn to the left and you have to fight the bars. I guess the extra leverage and longer sight-line makes it more apparent.

  6. TONY says:

    just sent my 07 32 talas rlc in for re build…

    shop says weld at top of stanchion where it meets upper cross member is “creaky”.

    we’ll see what fox does for me (hope a free fix and maybe repair talas valve while they’re at it…that hasn’t worked since first month).

    but if you’re used to flex, it’s not an issue. i’ve ridden this fork hard for 18 months and trust my life with it.

    i’ll keep you updated.

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    > the super secret two ring gamut guide u mean?

    Yup. It comes stock on the 2009 SX Trail. I’m stoked for Juan and Mateo — I remember when they first started Gamut.

  8. Jim says:


    So does that mean that they are phasing it out or trying to get it right for next year?

    I’m wondering does this mean I can’t get my fork fixed in a few years, because they are going to drop it?

  9. leelikesbikes says:

    The E150 will be available at the highest end (S-Works) for 2009.

    From what I understand, Specialized will work out the bugs then scale the production back up to include the rest of the Enduro SL line.

    – I remember FOX having some issues when they first scaled up their fork production. When you make a lot of pieces, it’s VERY hard to make them all perfect.

    Specialized will continue to support the existing E150 forks. Don’t be surprised if they offer a retrofit for the internals of older models. It’s in Specialized’s best interests to have their riders stoked and riding suspension that works the way it’s designed to.


  10. Chay says:

    Hey Lee,

    I have noticed the price for the EnduroSL COMP is going to be US$3,300 in 2009. How can Specialised take away the E150 fork and put the price up?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Fox fork are really good, but the Enduro SL just doesn’t feel special anymore without the e150 triple clamp fork. What is the difference between the Pitch and Enduro now? (I know the components are different!)

    Specialized kept emphasising how good is their “Integrated Technology”…if E150 fork are having trouble, what about the new new fork and shock on the Stumpy?

    I know I sound a bit sceptical, but Enduro SL was a dream bike for me. I can’t afford the carbon version, and I was hoping I can get a Enduro SL Expert next year. I can throw that idea out the window now!

    Cheers, Chay.

  11. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Chay,

    I don’t know about the pricing, but I’d look at the entire spec. The new model might have a better something-or-other. Plus: a FOX 32 Float RL isn’t exactly a low-end fork.

    Main differences between an Enduro SL and a Pitch: The SL is lighter, more efficient (thanks to the Specialized shock) and more expensive. The Pitch uses FOX in the rear and feels, I’m told, like an older Enduro — which is NOT a bad thing!

    The SL and Pitch are different tools for different jobs and budgets.

    I’ve been rocking my 2008 Stumpy Pro Carbon all year, and its fork and shock are awesome. No problems whatsoever.

  12. Chris says:


    You’ll find many manufacturers will show a more-than-usual increase in the price of their 09 bikes because of the weakened US dollar and higher commodity prices.

  13. Stefan says:

    Lee, I didn’t feel the flex, I saw it, in the form of cracks on the arch. I was afraid that it would let go (fail) at the most inopertune time. My lbs mechanic said either scrap it or sand the paint off to see if it is just the paint or the aluminum, tuned out to be just the paint. But I can feel it flex, (I hink I can anyway) when I hit a rock or rut when leaned over in a turn.
    I am not saying I can out ride the fork, just I saw the cracks and lost confidence, therfore my riding suffers (most of the confidence is in our minds, Corect? Befor I saw the cracks I would rip through anything, after I saw the cracks I was afraid to, I wish I hadn’t seen the cracks. Sorry about the writing, I am not very good at the writen word, or spelling.

  14. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Stefan,

    You’re right: Confidence is very important. If you don’t believe in your bike (or your body, or your skills) your riding will indeed suffer.

    Send the fork to FOX or PUSH or DirtLabs — someone who really knows their stuff — and let them make the call.

    DirtLabs just opened here in Boulder: http://dirtlabs.com/

  15. T -Coop says:

    Lee, whats up my friend how ya been? So I was in the market for a new ALL MOUNTAIN bike as I’ve rode the sh!t out of my 06 Enduro elite (now converted to an sx trial) GREAT BIKE bomb proff! So the shop I race for gave me a retarted deal on an 08 enduro sl expert. I had herd about the problems with the fork but figured what the hay for the money I can sell it and make money. Bad choice on a bike for me or any aggressive rider it is very much built on an xc platform. But they market it as all mountain WTF 6″ of travel doesn’t mean all mountain! Will be geting the new sx trail instead. There is no way I would drop the mushroom rock in Moab on the sl it would blow both fork cartridiges out of the fork :O), my old enduro elite eat the shroom up and asked for more!

  16. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Coop, you monster.

    I’m good, thanks. Busy. Good.

    The Enduro SL is made for riding natural terrain with some good flow and some smooth air mixed in. The riding you’re describing borders on freeride, and that’s why an older Enduro or an SX Trail is your weapon of choice.

    My 2007 Enduro SL with FOX front and rear (pictured above) rides like your ’06 Enduro — just lighter and stiffer.

    For 2009 I am seriously considering collapsing my Enduro SL and Demo into an SX Trail. That bike will do everything I need, and it’ll get more use than the DH rig.

    Coop is ahead of me, for the moment … 🙂


  17. T -Coop says:

    Good to hear from you Lee! Drop me a call lets ride I’ve been XCing a ton. I’m staying fit in a big way this off season as I’m going to play with the big boys in the Jeep 48 Straight races next year along with the MSC 4x and dual slaloms no more competitive DH racing :O(. Anywho do you know what the weight of the new sx trail 1 is going to be around out of the box yet? Thanks T-Coop

  18. Lor Riihimaki says:

    If we are having problems w/ the E150 is there a swap program for the fox fork? I have blown my cartridge 2x’s and now my left leg is leaking through the cap. Is there something wrong. I love the bike, I just don’t want to be out a ride as I had to really scrimp to get the 08 sl expert. Let me know your thoughts Lee thanks.

    Lor Riihimaki

  19. Mark says:

    Something to think about regarding fork flex being good or bad: bushings are designed to work when tolerances are perfect. If the stancions and lowers don’t line up, they are unable to work as well.

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