Mountain bike technology progresses so rapidly that bikes seem outdated in only a few years. Is there anything wrong with riding an older mountain bike? Heck no! But for a geeky gear addict like me, a biennial mountain bike refresh is a luxury. Even if updating my rig doesn’t actually make me faster, just having a new and improved machine enhances the joy of riding.
2021 Specialized Enduro - $2,299.99
I’ve improved my descending skills, explored downhill bike parks, and tried my hand at enduro racing. As a result, my hunger for big travel and progressive geometry is insatiable. The 170mm, ultra-slack (63.9° head angle) Specialized Enduro has been at the top of my wish list, and lucky for me, a beautiful, lightly used, gloss gray frame appeared in our inventory. It has a tunable Fox Float X2 shock that will easily handle the gnarliest trails that I dare ride.
This might surprise some of you, but I’m going with the lighter Fox 36 instead of the burlier Fox 38. To ride the good stuff I have to haul my bloated carcass up some steep climbs. I’ll appreciate the ~200 grams it saves. I’m probably not aggressive enough to need the 38’s extra stiffness anyway. The 2021+ 36 has air bleeders and a stiffer arch, but I will have to swap the air shaft to convert it to 170mm.
Wheels & tires
I picked Reserve 27 wheels because they have excellent ride quality, nice subtle branding, and I just can’t resist the bourbon Chris King hubs. Usually, I’d go for the wider Reserve 30s, but the 27s are what we have in stock. I think I’ll be fine since multi-time downhill world champion Loic Bruni still rides 25mm rims! For rubber, I always trust Maxxis tires and then add extra rim and puncture protection with a set of CushCore Pro tire inserts.
SRAM Eagle AXS Controller - $159.99
Sram X01 Eagle AXS Rear Derailleur - $499.99
SRAM X01 XG-1295 10-52t Cassette - 384.99
Truvativ Descendant Carbon Crankset - $199.99
SRAM GXP Bottom Bracket - $32.99
SRAM XX1 Eagle Rainbow Chain - $85.00
I’m an electronic drivetrain convert and I think it’s time to put one on my mountain bike. The SRAM X01 Eagle AXS rear derailleur uses the Overload clutch, which will come in handy when I eventually crash. I’m also excited about the two extra teeth on the 10-52t cassette since I need all the climbing help I can get. To save a bit of money I went with an older Truvativ Descendant Carbon GXP crank.
I’m a big fan of Code brakes for their power and modulation. In general, I prefer SRAM brakes because they make it super easy to run my “backward” brake set-up. I’ll match them with a pair of two-piece Centerline X rotors, mainly because they look cool, but they also save a few grams too.
ENVE M7 MTN Handlebar - $169.99
ENVE Alloy Stem 35mm - $124.99
Race Face Getta 33mm Grips Black/Gold - $22.99
Bike Yoke Revive Max Dropper Seatpost 185mm - $199.99
Wolf Tooth Remote - $69.99
Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5 Saddle + Carriage Kit - $119.99
I’m going with a classy ENVE handlebar and stem combo paired with the tacky (feeling) Race Face Getta grip. I chose the Bike Yoke Revive because it uses an open bath design with a reset function that makes it the smoothest and most reliable dropper post I’ve ever used. That’ll be topped with a downhill-specific Fizik Gravita Alpaca saddle that has a nifty integrated tool kit.
Total cost: $8,211.03
You can buy some very nice mountain bikes for over eight grand. But for me, it’s satisfying to pick the ideal components and build a bike from the frame up. This Specialized Enduro can act as an everyday trail bike while still being capable of shredding every downhill track within driving distance. I expect the carbon wheels to be the biggest source of contention. Knock on wood, but my fat butt hasn’t broken a wheel since I started using CushCore so I have a lot of confidence in this setup.
Did I make good choices? What would you do differently? Let us know in the comments!
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