Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie Review
- Full-carbon frame
- Includes key tools in water-bottle holster/frame
- Rolls over everything smoothly
- Super stable descending
- Slow steering on technical terrain
- Sluggish climbing
- Clunky dropper seatpost
The Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie was the best descender in the test. The front end felt super solid at high speeds, giving you the confidence to ride faster and take bigger air. But all this downhill fun comes at a cost. It’s sluggish on both uphill and flatter technical sections. The beauty of this bike is that it doesn’t try to do everything well. Instead it concentrates on doing the fun stuff very well: If you ride where the ups are predominantly fire road (or better yet a chairlift), and the down is sweet singletrack and stunts, then you live where the Enduro calls home.
The Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie is the most downhill-oriented of the 29ers we tested. The rear Ohlins STX RX suspension provides 160mm of plushness, keeping the rear wheel on the ground. The smooth descending is also enhanced by the 29” wheels. For improved suspension and grip you can change the wheels over to 27.5+, allowing the extra fat rubber to make easy work of slippery roots and rock-infested trails like the ones found in the Pacific Northwest. With the slackest head tube angle of all the 29ers in our group, this bike loves to manual. And while this translates to slower steering on technical trails, it also allows for an extra stable front end at speed, while also landing big drops.
The Eduro loved flowy trails littered with drops and jumps. It may just be the big wheels, but this bike felt faster than the 27.5” rigs on all but the climbing—uphill is simply a means to an end with this bike. The plush suspension does not allow for pedaling out of the saddle with any efficiency, and the slow steering makes uphill technical singletrack a veritable chore. Save your energy by sticking to the road on the up. You’re going to need it for the down.
With a full-carbon, X-shaped frame the Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie has a decidedly solid and durable feel. As an enduro, it is not made for out of the gate sprinting, but this bike felt even more sluggish than the others when pedaling uphill, and there was considerable pedal-bob. Although we never had a timed comparison, we did all agree that this was the least efficient of the bikes.
As mentioned before, the Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie will get you up the hill, but it won’t do it in record time. With the slacker head angle, you have to concentrate to keep the front wheel down on the steeps. But what it lacks in speed it makes up for in technical: riding up steps, for instance, was a piece of cake. Just think about pulling up on the bars and pedal and those 29ers popped up and over with minimal effort. After you adjust to the different riding style it is surprising what this bike can ride up. With its short chainstays and a 50-tooth climbing gear, wheel slip isn’t much of an issue. The main reason to stick to the fire roads on this bike is its weight and slow steering, which when combined with 29” wheels and its tendency for the front tire to lift, makes climbing steep tight switchbacks hard work.
Descending is where this Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie shines. With the slackest head angle of the 29ers at 66º and a full-bolt-on Rockshox Lyric fork, this bike had the most stable front end of the bunch. This translates into more confidence while riding, which in turn means more speed. Luckily the rest of the bike feels stable at speed as well, a result of a lower center of gravity, in part thanks to low chainstays. The roomy cockpit also helped with stability too. I never felt over the bars on this bike even on the steepest of descents.
At speed, the slow steering mentioned above was not an issue. If you want to move the bike away from an obstacle, a little body english is all that is needed. I found however, that I kept searching for obstacles, as this bike was so easy to manual, even at speed. In the air, however, all of that extra confidence dissipated, resulting in fairly generic maneuvers. It could be the bigger wheels or the fact that you tend to be going faster on this bike when popping off of things, but tailwhips and tabletops weren’t on many of the riders agenda while testing this bike.
COMPONENTS: DRIVETRAIN, SHIFTING AND BRAKES
The Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon 29/6Fattie comes with SRAM X01 Eagle components, including a 1x12 gearing with a 50-tooth climbing cog, which makes the idea of going back to a 46 unappealing. The brakes are SRAM Guide RS brakes which performed flawlessly with amazing modulation.
The suspension is handled with a Rockshox Lyric RC solo Air up front. This was the only non-Fox fork in the bunch, and it held its own. Rebound was easy to adjust and once sag was dialed in, I never thought about the fork again. The rear suspension is handled by a custom Ohlins STX RX All-Mountain Tune shock with a single-tune, horizontal design. Ohlins may not know much about flashy names, but they do know about shock technology as any motorcyclist can tell you. Specialized has partnered exclusively with them to bring you a winner. The suspension on this bike was smooth and required very little adjustment. It allows you to autoset the sag which once done felt bang on in terms of pressure for most riders.
Specialized also includes their signature water bottle holder/cage that comes with a built in multi-tool with most of the essential bits and pieces for on-trail repairs. This is all mounted on their SWAT door that opens into the downtube where a spare tube and pump can be stored, allowing you the freedom to ride without a pack.
The tubeless Roval Traverse wheelset stayed true throughout and couldn’t be faulted. Unfortunately the Command Post iRoc dropper seatpost is another story. It suffered from a clunky feel every time you sat down, as if there was some excess movement. It didn’t drop down or rotate unexpectedly, but it was enough to be off-putting. The only thing missing on this bike was a carbon bar, which for the price should be part of the package.
How We Tested It
The bikes in the enduro test were pedaled in a mix of terrain and trails in British Columbia. We tasked a small team of riders, varying from 5’5” to well over 6’0”, from all kinds of riding styles and backgrounds. They mostly rode them on the trails of the Comox Valley and Campbell River regions. These range from slow and technical cross-country to double black diamond jump lines, as well as from road climbs to tight switchbacks covering a total of around 150 miles, with countless vertical feet. Over nearly three months of testing the trail conditions varied across the spectrum from wet snow to dusty ball bearings and lots and lots of slick mud.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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