Specialized was one of the first companies who believed in the advantages of 29″ wheels on enduro bikes. The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 marks the spearhead of development from the American brand. Does the bike still define the status quo in the industry?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: Let’s go Racing! – The 10 fastest enduro bikes in test

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 | 160/160 mm (front/rear) | 12.30 kg | € 8,699

The first Specialized Enduro 29 was a real hit, and for some years remained almost unchanged in their portfolio. Only a year ago, the bike was revamped and now they’ve presented an even newer, updated version. Unfortunately, the newest version of the bike was not yet available for our comparison. Instead, we got an S-Works Enduro 29 from 2017 which was pimped with a set of MAGURA MT7 brakes, an Öhlins TTX 22 M shock, and a shorter 40 mm stem. The Öhlins RXF 36 fork, as well as the fancy, super-light Roval Traverse SL wheels, are standard. Particularly useful for all racers is the SWAT box in the downtube of the bike, which provides space for a tube, pump, CO2 cartridge, and a mini tool, making a backpack unnecessary.

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29

Several scratches on our test bike suggested that it had already been through a lot. Our suspicions were confirmed on the trail: The Öhlins RXF 36 suspension fork was not as sensitive as it usually is. Of course, the balanced handling of the Enduro 29 was not affected. Despite the large wheels, the Specialized is very agile and engages direction changes without needing much encouragement. The 40 mm stem is too short for tight corners, making the bike inclined to jack-knifing – a 50mm model would have been better.

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Helmet 100% Aircaft | Goggle Oakley O-Frame | Jersey All Mountain Style APE ¾ | Shorts Specialized Enduro Shorts

On flat, flowy, and undulating sections the Enduro 29 accelerates almost as if by itself thanks to the light wheels and the efficient rear linkage – and it keeps getting faster. On straight high-speed sections and through rock gardens, the bike is stable but less precise than the best bikes in this comparison, which is probably due to the 2.6″ Butcher tires. Uphill the Enduro climbs as well as usual – only the setback of the Command Post bothered the testers.

The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 in Detail

Fork Öhlins RXF 36 160 mm
Rear shock Öhlins TTX 22 M 160 mm
Brakes Magura MT7
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle
Seat post Specialized Command Post
Stem* Renthal Apex
Handlebar Specialized DH
Tires Specialized Butcher 2.6
Wheels Roval Traverse SL Carbon
Price € 8,699
*Tuning

Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Cherry on top
The Öhlins TTX 22 M sucks up uneven terrain without excessive sag and gives all the feedback you need. The traction it generates is amazing!
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Too short
Yes, a stem can be too short. We would have liked a 50 mm stem on the Specialized Enduro – the 40 mm stem makes the steering too direct, resulting in nervous handling.
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Lunch box
The SWAT box is still one of the most practical innovations of recent years. It provides space for all the necessary tools, letting you leave your backpack at home.
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Insensitive
The Öhlins RXF 36 in our test was insensitive and desperately needed a service! All riders should do this or have it done at least once or twice a year.

The geometry of the Specialized S-Works Enduro 29

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 396 mm 430 mm 467 mm 521 mm
Top tube 559 mm 584 mm 611 mm 637 mm
Head angle 66°

66°

66°

66°
Seat angle 76,7°

76,7°

76,7°

76,7°
Chainstay 433 mm 433 mm 433 mm 433 mm
BB Drop 19 mm 19 mm 19 mm 19 mm
Wheelbase 1165 mm 1190 mm 1218 mm 1245 mm
Reach 415 mm 440 mm 462 mm 483 mm
Stack 606 mm 606 mm 619 mm 633 mm
Wheelsize 29″ 29″ 29″ 29″
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
The Specialized Enduro 29 is still synonymous with balance and riding pleasure.

Conclusion

The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 loses some ground in this comparison due to the insensitivity of the fork, but it impressed with its overall rounded package and good-natured handling. It’s still one of the fastest enduro bikes on the market, and we’re sure that the latest version will only improve on an already great reputation.

Strengths

– agile handling
– excellent acceleration
– great rear linkage

Weaknesses

– harsh fork
– stem too short
– tires a little vague


For more information head to specialized.com

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: Let’s go Racing! – The 10 fastest enduro bikes in test

All bikes in test: Canyon Canyon Strive CF 9.0 Team | Giant Reign Advanced 0 | Lapierre Spicy Team Ultimate | Nukeproof Mega 275 RS | Pole EVOLINK 140 29 | Rocky Mountain Altitude Carbon 90 | Santa Cruz Hightower LT | SCOTT Genius 900 Tuned 2018 | YT JEFFSY 27 CF Pro Race

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer