After watching the French Sunn Enduro Team pilot their Kern EN 29ers to some impressive results over the past couple years, we’ve been keen to throw a leg over one. The red and white carbon fiber Kern EN Finest build we received is one step below the team model and it tips the scale at 14.8kg (32.6lbs.) out of the box with a genuinely race-ready build. This bike retails for €4,999, while the top Factory build sells for €5,699, and the entry-level carbon option sells at €3,599. The base alloy bike cuts the price to €2,499.
The EN in this bike’s name distinguishes it from the Kern AM which has 130mm of travel front and rear. This red ripper has 155mm of rear travel moving through the Horst link rear end to a stock Formula Mod coil shock, with a 160mm Formula Selva S fork up front. Slowing needs are covered by a pair of Formula Cura 4 brakes and the pedaling parts are mostly SRAM X01 Eagle. The metal round things are DT Swiss EX 1700 Spline 30 rims, wrapped in 29×2.5″ Maxxis DHF/DHR Minion tires with their DD casings. That’s right, a bike company finally mounted race-worthy tires on their enduro race bike. I’m chuffed. The saddle up/downer is an FSA Flowtron with 150mm of travel on this size medium frame. The handlebar, stem, and grips are some of the most elegant non-branded components I have ever seen on a stock bike.
Angles across this frame are intended for racing, not for pushing industry standards. For example, the headtube isn’t so slack at 65.5° and the reach on this medium is a reasonable 456mm. The seat tube angle should feel nice to pedal uphill at 77°. All three kern EN 29 frame sizes have 439mm chainstays, which seems like a good medium length to create stability and keep the bike maneuverable. We’ll report on that later.
The kern EN 29 has some of the most automotive-looking tubing in the bike industry. Its massive downtube is well protected, and it’s wide enough that riders could pedal through most of the season without a front fender. The coil shock is also well protected by a proprietary fender. A friend commented that “it’s the Chevrolet Avalanche of bikes with all that protective plastic.” While this bike is 100% better looking than that giant car, the connection is warranted.
Stay tuned for the full review after a few months of fun.