Some cycle for fun, some for health, and others for the thrill. And then there’s the fully kitted-out bunch that rides up and down mountains, deserts and rocks, reaping all the known benefits of cycling and beyond.
Mountain biking is a rewarding sport that involves riding a specially designed bike over rough off-road terrains.
There are several disciplines in mountain biking, including cross-country, trail riding, downhill, freeride, and all mountain, commonly known as enduro.
It originated sometime in the early 2000s and is one of the most popular forms of mountain biking. If you own an MTB, you may already be riding enduro, without even knowing it.
What Is Enduro Racing?
This discipline involves riding a bicycle over rough terrain designed to test your endurance and technical skill.
Borrowing its name and format from the namesake motorsport, the races typically include several downhill stages which are timed to generate the final result. There is usually some climbing required, which may or may not be timed.
In professional race events, the climbing sections are known as liaison stages which you may need to complete within a certain time limit.
Unlike downhill racing, here you can ride up the hill with your mates, which makes the race a rather sociable event. As for the timed stages, it’s every man for himself, i.e you compete individually.
If you love going fast downhill but enjoy taking your time uphill, enduro racing might just be the proper discipline for you. After all, the sport is based on the type of riding most cyclists are already doing.
Globally renowned brands like Genesis, Giant, Ridley and Transition have a great selection of enduro bikes in their respective lineups.
If you’re in the process of buying a new cycle, you may be wondering what makes a bicycle an enduro, so let’s jump straight to it.
What to Ride?
An all-around discipline requires an all-mountain setup. When shopping for such a bike, you need to look for full-suspension, long-travel (140mm – 180mm) MTBs.
These bicycles are designed to go as fast as possible downhill without sacrificing the ability for efficient climbs.
You may be wondering whether you can use an enduro bike for downhill and vice-versa. You could try it either way, but you may find yourself at a disadvantage in certain situations.
For instance, downhill bikes are heavier in weight due to their heavy-duty suspension, tyres and braking systems, and it can be a drag riding one uphill.
These bicycles are more than capable of handling steep descents, but when it comes to gnarly terrains, techy stuff and big jumps, it’s where the downhill setup truly shines.
If you’re one for exploring different parts of the bike park, you can get more versatility out of an enduro MTB.
Apart from being easier to manoeuvre, all-mountain bikes are a beginner-friendly option. So if you’re just dabbing your toes in the off-road waters, consider getting this MTB.
Before hitting your favourite local or online bike shop, it’s good to have some basic know-how that’ll help you make an informed choice.
Apart from the technical stuff, your choice will greatly depend on the price, so it’s wise to find a vendor that offers flexible payment or finance options.
You don’t want to find yourself a few hundred short and sacrifice key performance features, more of that in a second.
Bike Frame Material
The bike frame material greatly affects the bike’s weight, durability and impact resistance.
Generally speaking, you can select between carbon fibre and aluminium frames. Carbon fibre is prized for its ultralight weight and strength, but it’s usually a more expensive option.
Aluminium, on the other hand, is heavier but boasts higher impact resistance at a more affordable price.
Geometry-wise, slack head and steep seat tube angles will give you confidence and the ability to tackle both climbs and descents in off-road terrains.
Short chain stays and low bottom brackets are essential for the rider’s centre of gravity, cornering and agility.
As long-travel bikes, enduro bikes have more suspension ranging between 140mm to 180mm of travel.
This allows the rider to navigate through tough, technical terrain with great speed while keeping both tyres on the ground.
As a result of the extra suspension, you can enjoy a more forgiving enduro run and maintain better control of your bike.
The brakes on these bikes withstand heavy use, especially on those rough downhills. To ensure reliable stopping power, you need to consider the type of riding you will be doing.
For steeper descends, it’s best to opt for large brake rotors that can help spread out the heat and provide dependable power for longer periods.
Although it’s not essential, a dropper seat post can come in handy during the varied stages.
A dropper seat post allows you to adjust the saddle height on the fly and keep it out of the way so you can easily change your body position.
What to Wear?
What you wear and carry will depend on the type of event but you’ll need a quality, certified helmet to protect your noggin in the event of a crash.
Choose a lightweight and breathable model that provides multi-impact protection to ensure a perfect balance between comfort and safety.
Wearing a pair of speciality cycling glasses is also important for protecting your eyes from bugs and debris.
As for your outfit, choose pieces that provide advanced moisture-wicking action, breathability and freedom of movement.
Wearing a skinsuit isn’t an adequate choice here since it won’t offer enough protection from the branches, rocks and debris on the trail.
To further enhance your defence against the rigours of the off-road, you should consider including pads and gloves in your ensemble.
You don’t have to be a pro to hit the trail since enduro is an approachable discipline suitable for amateur riders.
Young, old, male or female, virtually anyone with some level of skill and physical fitness can enjoy the course, provided that they have the right gear.