The Specialized S-Works Enduro was one of our secret favourites ahead of this test. Hardly any other bike caused as much of a sensation this year. However, it fell behind the competition on our race stage and it was down to two main factors.

In our introduction of the fastest enduro race bike on test you can’t just find our most interesting findings and our overall conclusion, but a good view on all bikes tested.

Specialized S-Works Enduro Team Edition | 170/170 mm | 15.8 kg in size S4

The Specialized S-Works Enduro is one of the hottest enduro bikes of the year. However, it doesn’t just attract attention with its extremely high price tag of € 11,999. It is one of the most innovative bikes around, with ingenious features such as the SWAT box in the down tube, which also happens to make perfect sense for a race bike. Unlike the standard model, our Team replica features Öhlins suspension consisting of a 170 mm travel RXF 36 fork and a TTX2 shock, both operating on coil springs.

Unfortunately, neither Specialized nor Öhlins were able to supply us with different springs for the test, which is why we rode the bike with a FOX X2 air shock fitted. However, the sag on the fork was acceptable for all test riders. Shifting is taken off by a SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain and there’s a pair of MAGURA MT7 brakes with 200 mm rotors and fully adjustable HC3 brake lever to keep your speed in check. The wheels are worth noting too: Roval aluminium rims fitted with a set of Specialized Butcher tires with the BLCK DMND casing. CushCore tire inserts front and rear provide that added bit of puncture protection. The 50 mm stem and 760 mm FatBar handlebar of the aluminium Renthal cockpit also correspond to the team spec.

Specialized have long been committed to developing bikes that are as quiet as possible. The massive chainstay protector aids in this.
MAGURA brakes often have a spongy and rather undefined bite point. Not so on the Specialized. Someone bled these brakes to perfection. The ergonomics of the levers and the braking power are good too – excellent!
The rear suspension of the Specialized is awesome. It generates a ton of traction and swallows big impacts with ease. At the same time, it offers plenty of support.

Specialized S-Works Enduro Team Edition

€ 10,999


Fork Öhlins RXF 36 Coil 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2/Öhlins TTX 22 M 170 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb AXS mm170
Brakes Magura MT7 203/203 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 32 (10-50)
Stem Renthal Apex 50 mm
Handlebar Renthal Fatbar 760 mm
Wheelset Roval Alu
Tires Specialized Butcher 2.3"

Technical Data

Size S2 S3 S4 S5
Weight 15.8 kg
Wheelsize 29"

The limiting factor
Whoever wants to be fast needs maximum grip. Unfortunately, the Öhlins suspension fork cannot follow the ground as well as the best forks in the test. That costs time.
Is that an S3? At first, we weren’t sure what size our Enduro was. The reason is the narrow handlebars, which make the bike feel a lot more compact. Once we’d gotten used to it, we loved the narrower bars – less is often more.

Long and slack – the geometry of the Specialized S-Works Enduro

Specialized are one of the first brands to define the size of their bikes not based on seat tube length but on reach. With an average height of 180 cm amongst our testers, we received the bike in size S4 for this test, with a long reach of 487 mm. Combined with the 442 mm long chainstays and the slack 63.9° head angle, the wheelbase is a whopping 1,274 mm.

Size S2 S3 S4 S5
Seat tube 400 mm 420 mm 440 mm 465 mm
Top tube 591 mm 619 mm 644 mm 670 mm
Head tube 95 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 63.9° 63.9° 63.9° 63.9°
Seat angle 76.0° 76.0° 76.0° 76.0°
Chainstays 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm
BB Drop 21 mm 21 mm 21 mm 21 mm
Radstand 1,217 mm 1,246 mm 1,274 mm 1,302 mm
Reach 437 mm 464 mm 487 mm 511 mm
Stack 616 mm 620 mm 629 mm 638 mm
Helmet FOX Rampage Pro Carbon | Goggles FOX Main Stray | Jersey FOX Flexair
Pants FOX Defend X Kevlar | Shoes Specialized 2FO Cliplite

Like a Ferrari with the handbrake on – the Specialized is limited by the Öhlins fork!

Where does the bike lose time? The Specialized Enduro on the trail

Despite its enormous reach and long wheelbase, the Specialized Enduro initially feels surprisingly compact. The reason for this is the relatively narrow 760 mm handlebars, thanks to which your arms aren’t spread as wide, giving you more freedom of movement on the bike – a great tip for anyone who finds their bike too long. The Specialized gets up to speed very quickly and the rear end simply soaks up the bumps. During development, a lot of focus was put on ensuring that the rear wheel does not get stuck on obstacles, and that objective has been achieved: the Enduro responds sensitively to bumps and is generous with its travel on impacts. Nevertheless, it offers a lot of support. Like a downhill bike, it generates a lot of traction while still responding to rider input if you want to get airborne.

The Specialized craves speed! The faster, the better!

Unfortunately, neither the fork nor the tires can keep up with the potential of the bike or with the competition. Despite the coil spring, the Öhlins-RXF doesn’t perform as sensitively as the FOX 38 and doesn’t follow the contours of the ground as well. The Butcher tires with their hard rubber compound slide out far too easily and don’t come near the level of grip and cushioning offered by the best models in the test. On the fast sections of our race track, the Specialized is very composed thanks to its length. However, the bike lacks a bit of agility in tight sections. It doesn’t respond to steering input as directly and you can’t carry as much speed through turns as with the best bikes in the test. It’s a bike that is best able to reveal its strengths on really fast sections and there weren’t that many of them on our race track.

How does the Specialized compare to the competition?

In our previous group test, the Enduro was crowned Best in Test and the RAAW was our Best Buy. In this test, the Specialized is limited by its components. Nevertheless, it’s generally the more agile of the two and it offers more versatility. At high speed, it is one of the best bikes on test but it cannot keep up with more agile bikes like the Lapierre or Yeti when things get tight, losing precious seconds through the corners.

Differences from the standard bike

  • Öhlins coil suspension
  • BLCK DMND tires and CushCore tire inserts
  • Renthal cockpit
  • MAGURA brakes


The Specialized S-Works Enduro is still one of the best, if not the best enduro bike on the market, but it’s not fundamentally designed to hunt down the seconds on an EWS stage. Instead, it is an absolute beast on high-speed sections while remaining pleasantly agile. In this test, the bike is severely limited by its tires and fork and cannot live up to its full potential – what a shame.


  • super plush rear suspension
  • geometry enables up- or downsizing
  • fast and agile
  • SWAT compartment is still brilliant


  • tires lack grip
  • Öhlins fork is inferior to the competition
  • calls for a more committed riding style in tight sections

More information:

The test field

A lot more mtbs, our findings and the trends for the upcoming saison can be found in our introduction of the fastest enduro race bike on test.

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR Jack Moir Edition (Click for review) | Commencal META AM 29 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon Pro Martin Maes Edition (Click for review) | Lapierre Spicy Team (Click for review) | Nukeproof Mega 290c RS Team Edition (Click for review) | Raaw Madonna V2 FOX Factory Custom (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Enduro Team Edition | Trek SLASH 9.9 2021 (Click for review) | Yeti SB150 Team (Click for review) | YT CAPRA Elite 29 (Click for review)

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