What is enduro?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Barber 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • #203347

    What do you think: is enduro strictly a mountain bike race format or can the word be applied to other things like bikes or trails?

    I know some people have a pet-peeve about using the word enduro (ahem, Aaron) but it seems like mountain bikers in general are becoming more comfortable using the term to describe a lot of things outside of just racing.

    I personally draw the line at calling a trail enduro, but I think it makes sense to use the word enduro to describe bikes and gear…

    #203362

    Depends on the trail Jeff! personally, if the trail is long enough say over 10 miles, with decent climbs, but with an emphasis on really steep and nasty downhill sections, I’d call that trail an Enduro trial. Or to use an older term, an all-mountain trail. Enduro and all-mountain mean the same thing, except that often the term Enduro is used to describe a race format, and all-mountain to describe a trail. Also, if you describe, say, a bike as an enduro bike, look at what that bike is designed to ride. I’ll use my 2015 650b Specialized Enduro as an example. That bike has 165mm of travel, very wide bars, DH tires, etc. What kind of terrain is that bike designed for? Obviously steep, rocky, gnarly descents. And as we all know, this type of bike also can climb decently well. So, the result is a bike designed to ride practically anything, but let you ride to the top rather than walk, and to it in relative comfort and style. it is designed to ride Enduro, and ride Enduro trails.

    In summary, I apply the word Enduro to describe bikes, gear, and trail. But I don’t see a conflict with people who wish to use all-mountain or whatever. the two words are pretty much interchangeable, though I see Enduro replacing everything else in the future.

    Here’s a video from GMBN to illustrate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWH_BSRiX0U

    Enduro forever!

    #203412

    Haha! Calling me out Jeff??? The over-enduroification of mountain biking is indeed a pet peeve of mine. My problem with using the term “enduro” outside of referencing the specific race format is that this type of riding HAS ALWAYS EXISTED! Taking a chill pace on the climbs and then pinning the descents? Uh, that sounds like literally every mountain bike ride I’ve done with my friends.

    Companies use it as a marketing term to try to put a fresh spin on things that already existed. Hmm, what should we call these knee pads that are better-suited for trail riding than DH? Oh, I know: ENDURO KNEE PADS! What should we call this helmet that offers more protection than an XC lid? GUYS, IT’S AN ENDURO HELMET! And then that creeps over to the actual trails, as in, “This is an enduro trail!” Is it flagged off for a race? No? Then it’s just a mountain bike trail. Calling everything “enduro” makes people feel like they need a certain bike and certain equipment to go for ride. And that’s dumb.

    Jeff you know I always say that you can ride any bike on any trail. Sure there may be bikes better suited to a particular style of trail than others, but if you’re a good rider, you can make it down anything. And if you can’t, walk it.

    I can accept that people use enduro and all-mountain or aggressive trail – or whatever the hell – interchangeably, but I don’t have to like it!

    #203546

    An enduro trail is a trail that can be or is used for an enduro race, enduro gear is gear that is used for an enduro race, and an enduro bike is a bike that is used for an enduro race. An enduro bike can really be any bike, as long as it’s used in a enduro race. Take my bike, for example. Although it is a trail hardtail, slap some aggressive tires on it and race it at an enduro race and you’ve got yourself an enduro bike. I agree with Aaron, labeling bikes and gear like they do today is ridiculous. They make it seem as if you need this gear to race that kind of a race, when you really don’t. If you feel like you want to ride an enduro race, simply run what you have.

    #203619

    Taking a chill pace on the climbs and then pinning the descents? Uh, that sounds like literally every mountain bike ride I’ve done with my friends.

    Yep, that’s pretty much it.

    It used to be called mountain biking. The XC and DH split apart as racing categories. Then endurance races (remember 24 hrs of Canaan?). Then Freeriding. Then All Mountain and now Enduro. That’s marketing. I have never said to anyone that I am going on an “Enduro” ride. I go mountain biking. Call it whatever you want.

    As a qualifying style the concept of Enduro has nicely influenced bike design and gear. This is a very user friendly format where less of an emphasis is placed on all out racing and more so on simply having fun which Enduro racing is designed to be. It is more about bikes “most” riders own or would ride everyday versus the single task bikes of XC and DH. Yes, I know tons of people ride their XC bikes everyday/everywhere, but a true race-bred XC rig isn’t much fun on properly toothy trails. That said, ride whatever you like. If your ultimate high comes from killing KOM ascents then get the bike that will help you achieve this. Party.

    #203633

    I agree that Enduro, in its purest definition, is just a racing format. However, I have accepted it as a way in describing a trail that I think helps in specifying trail type. If you are describing a mountain bike trail to me (one that I’ve never ridden), and said it’s an XC trail, I know what to imagine. If you say it’s a downhill trail, I think the enduro designation helps separate a true downhill (one that justifies a dual crown bike even though you may not need one) from one that has some pedaling. Folks that use enduro to describe a trail can appreciate the difference between these two types of downhill. So the problem “enduro” solves is the liberal use of “downhill”.

    I remember before Enduro went mainstream, people would talk about XC racing/riding and they’d use the term “aggressive XC” to suggest that they don’t just race typical XC (60/50% singletrack/fire road type stuff), rather something grittier which I’m guessing was part of the Enduro brand.

    On the marketing debate, I highly doubt the MTB industry made bikes and gear before Enduro was a thing. Like anything else, Enduro was born and marketing high-jacked it which, I agree, totally hyped the shit out of it making Enduro seem like something highly specialized which, unless you’re pro, it isn’t.

    #203962

    I always think of enduro as a bike with 160 to 180 mm of travel… and i draw the line at trail with 120-15o mm… if a 150 mil “trail” bike is super slack, and low slung then you could consider it “Enduro”. In the sense that it will have similar capabilities to 170mm bikes. The lines are very blurred these days…

    #203965

    I don’t really use it since personally, I’m confused what it means 🙂

    #204019

    @chrisdaniels then explain this!

    Giro Switchblade

    #204125

    Hahaha! That would be an Enduro helmet! Also see Bell-Super.

    #204140

    @JoelDH that’s the old Giro Switchblade, which they actually just released a new version of. I think they called it the Switchblade because if you crashed, it would cut the shit out of your face, like a switchblade.

    I was making the point to Chris that these “enduro” products have existed for many years now, they just didn’t have a catchy name yet.

    #204219

    I know whom you were addressing Aaron. By the way, I know a guy who owned a Bell Super, which is basically the same as a Giro Switchblade, and he said it was pretty much junk. And you’re right; one good shot to the jaw and the chin piece comes off and slices you. Ouch!

    #204265

    I know the Switchblade is downhill rated but i don’t think the Super is…

    #204456

    I think there’s a bit of a disconnect in the discussion of what the term “enduro” actually means. Many people argue that “enduro” should only mean certain things and refer to certain types of things (ex. racing) while other people point out that the term “enduro” is being used to describe all sorts of things, like gear and trails.

    I’m about to go all english nerd here, so bear with me.

    But there is a bigger discussion that’s causing this disconnect, and that discussion is whether language/definitions (think: dictionary) and grammar are prescriptive, as in “here are the definitions and rules you have to use,” or descriptive, as in they describe how language is being used by people on the street and in the culture.

    Here’s the short take away from my grammar classes and my BA in English: looking at word definitions and grammar as a prescriptive way to smack people down and tell them they’re wrong is basically in itself, wrong. Language, usage, grammar, punctuation–these things are in a constant state of flux. The best we can do is to try to describe how the word is being used by the majority of people at large.

    The problem with the term “enduro” is that it’s a word in a state of flux. While at one point it may have just been used to refer to a race format, now the industry and the mountain biking subculture at large are using it to refer to a type of gear, a type of riding, and even perhaps a type of trail.

    Personally, I don’t have a judgement to pass on how I think the term should be used. Instead, as the usage in the MTB culture at large changes, I’m changing my own usage to reflect the common tongue, if you will. IMO, in the MTB culture at large “enduro” is taking on the same meanings across the board that we used to use the term “all-mountain” for. And I’m totally OK with phasing out the term “all-mountain” — it was awkward at best, and a pain in the ass to write at worst. “Enduro” flows off the tongue much more freely.

    #204466

    Well said Greg, that’s pretty much where I am right now.

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