I have to admit this whole Enduro thing has been beaten down pretty hard. Enduro this and Enduro that, but frankly, I love it. Call it what you want, but the premise of Enduro is perfect and fits my personality well. I am one of those, struggle to the top, bomb to the bottom type riders and I prefer to ride a bike that shares my personality. Here are my big five for descending hard on my trail bike.
As mentioned a few articles back, I have been in the market and have acquired a new steed. The new ride is a 2013 Diamondback Mission, a beastly full suspension all mountain machine. It climbs pretty okay, and is essentially a mini downhill bike when the trail points down, but still, my bike wasn’t quite right. So, like an obsessive compulsive maniac to a dirty bathroom, I took to my ride with a few essentials and a wrench to get me down the hill as fast as possible.
Traction is everything, and in my dusty neck of the woods where traction is tough to come by (Phoenix, Az) this means wide tires are best. I recommend anywhere from 2.35” to 2.5”. For my new steed I went with the widest I could find 2.5”.
In order to get your body position right when the single track gets steep and techy, you will want to have a shorter stem with less rise. This will allow more control over the wheel and keep your center of gravity from moving over your front wheel.
As much as I want to say something like, “Wider the better” here, this is definitely a preference. Narrower riders (shoulder width) may not want 785 mm bars, or riders that must avoid trees, but a good width, I would say somewhere 700mm or above would be best to control body positions and create a better sense of balance while descending.
Originally I was working with a chain guide and standard single speed, I have no complaints. I never dropped a chain and I can’t think of a whole lot of things more frustrating than a dropped chain. My new bike came with a Type 2 Sram X-9 which includes a clutch, so I went for the Race Face Narrow Wide chain ring. This is still a new enhancement and although I can tell you it has ridden great so far and looks much better than the guide, I do not have enough experience with this upgrade to make a fair judgment.
This is a tough one because it is not nearly as necessary as the previous four, but OH MY GOODNESS it is a game changer. As many of these five have eluded to, going fast downhill is reliant upon body position. The Seat Dropper post will allow one to adjust position on the fly as opposed to stopping to manually adjust.
If you ask most racers, and I don’t specifically mean mountain bike racers, just any racer what the two most important upgrades are, they will unanimously say tires and BRAKES. If my bike did not come with upgraded brakes, that would have been number two on the list. Furthermore, I have felt like the majority of the disc brakes on the market right now are more than sufficient and an upgrade may not need to be one of the first things to do.