The name enduro comes from the motocross world. In this branch of motocross, as well as in mountain biking, it is mainly important to cover descents as quickly as possible. These runs are often over very technical, rough, and steep terrain. Enduro mountain biking can be somewhat compared to downhill in that respect, but then again not.
With enduro mountain biking you also have to drive up the mountain yourself, unless of course there is a lift (for example in bike parks). If you look at competitions, you will notice that downhill is purely downhill, while in enduro competitions you can pedal up again.
Enduro mountain biking is of course not for everyone. In addition to the necessary skills and the right equipment, you also need a healthy dose of guts. There is certainly a market for enduro mountain biking in Belgium and the Netherlands. However, the terrain we have available is often not challenging enough to really speak of enduro.
Enduro mountain biking; what do you need?
The equipment for riding enduro looks quite different, starting with the mountain bike itself. To tear over the roughest trails and paths and to overcome obstacles smoothly, you naturally need the right mountain bike. That’s why there are specific enduro mountain bikes
What is an enduro mountain bike?
An enduro mountain bike has both front and rear suspension. An enduro mountain bike is therefore always a full-suspension mountain bike. The suspension travel of such an enduro MTB fluctuates between 150 and 170 mm, both at the front and at the rear.
In addition, most enduro mountain bikers also use a dropper seat post. With such a dropper you can lower the saddle so that it is not in the way. This is especially useful during technical passages and steep descents where you have to shift your weight backward. When you lower the saddle, it does not get in the way and you can distribute the weight better, you have more freedom of movement and you can take descents and challenging trails more smoothly and safely.
Another difference compared to a hardtail mountain bike is that most enduro mountain bikes are equipped with 27.5″ wheels, although you will find more and more with 29″ wheels. In addition, the tires and handlebars are very wide, but the stem is shorter again. The combination of these specific properties ensures that you can keep an enduro mountain bike under better control.
In addition, the frame of an enduro Mtb is often a bit sturdier. In combination with the thicker tires and the double suspension, an enduro MTB also weighs a bit more than a hardtail mountain bike. This of course makes them less suitable for climbing.
trail mountain bike; the golden mean between XC and enduro
With the enduro MTB you can of course also race on the singletrack in the Belgian and Dutch forests. However, in practice, this is a lot less efficient and is therefore not done so often.
Fortunately, you can also just choose the golden mean if you want to combine cross-country and enduro MTB as well and often as possible. In that case, a trail mountain bike is the best option for you. A trail mountain bike is a full suspension, just like the enduro MTB, but has slightly less suspension travel. In terms of wheels, you can choose between 27.5″ and 29″.
If you go on the cross country tour more often, you can opt for a trail mountain bike that is slightly more XC-oriented. The other way around is of course also possible with a slightly more enduro-oriented trail MTB.
Differences between an enduro, trail, and xc mountain bike
In the table below you will find a handy overview of the differences between the trail, enduro, and xc mountain bikes:
|Enduro Mtb||Trail Mtb||Cross Country (hardtail)|
|Wheel size||27,5″ (or 29″)||27,5″ or 29″||Mostly 29″ (27,5″ for small sizes)|
|Tyres||Wide (2,4″+)||Wide (2,4″+)||1,9″- 2,4″|
|Front suspension||150 – 170 mm||120 – 150 mm||80 – 120 mm|
|Back suspension||150 – 170 mm||110 – 140 mm||–|
|Dropper seat post||Recommended||Optional||Optional|
Equipment and accessories
As the terrain gets more technical, rougher, and more challenging with enduro mountain biking, the right equipment and accessories are also a must. You will notice that most enduro riders wear a full-face helmet and extra protective equipment. In terms of protection, this can even go very far from elbow, ankle, shin, and knee pads to a full body protector.
In terms of clothing, you will see most enduro mountain bikers cycling on their enduro MTB in loose or baggy clothing. Enduro clothing is often sturdier and more resistant to abrasion from branches, trees, and shrubbery. In addition, it will break less quickly if you come into contact with the ground once.
Flat or platform pedals are mainly used in combination with flat pedal shoes to get a foot on the ground faster. Due to the larger contact surface, you also automatically get more stability, which is a must on technical trails. With the right combination of pedals and shoes, you have almost as much grip and pedaling power as with the well-known click pedals.
Who is enduro mountain biking suitable for?
Enduro mountain biking is certainly suitable for everyone, although it does require a bit of courage. When you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to push your limits step by step and not take the most challenging enduro trails all at once.
Because the terrain in Belgium and the Netherlands is not always suitable for enduro MTB, the group of true enduro mountain bikers is rather limited. An enduro mountain bike is often used as a second MTB and as a change to the less challenging cross-country mountain biking. After all, not everyone likes to take a trip by car every week or several times a week to a location with real enduro trails.
If you are into enduro, then you should definitely take the above into account.
Enduro mountain biking is a challenging branch of mountain biking that is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, the best enduro trails and paths cannot be found in Belgium or the Netherlands. Fortunately, evolution is underway and enduro lines and bike parks are popping up here and there. If you want to experience the real feeling of enduro mountain biking, a trip to the mountains awaits you first.
Enduro Mtb is perhaps just a bit too much of a good thing to only use in Belgium or the Netherlands. Still, it can be a nice addition to your hobby, for example as a second bike. However, if you always want to have the opportunity to take that one technical path, you can also opt for the golden mean between enduro and XC with a trail mtb.
Will you soon be diving into enduro mountain biking? Be sure to consider the necessary protection and build up your skills step by step. Good luck!