What is Enduro Mountain Biking? Everything You Need to Know

You must have heard of the term enduro racing somewhere in the newspaper or on TV and think to yourself what is enduro mountain biking? What makes it different from other forms of mountain racing? Why is it gaining more popularity over the years? This article will cover everything you need to know about enduro biking.

So, stay with me if the thought of riding the same trails does not excite you and want to try something new and fun with your mountain bike.

What is Enduro Mountain Biking?

What is Enduro Mountain Biking

In simple terms, enduro is a type of mountain bike racing that involves both uphill and downhill with only the latter being timed.

Enduro races have somewhat 3-6 timed stages that last for 1-2 days or can also be a week long. In between the timed stages, there are transfer stages that are mainly uphill and I timed. Transfer stages vary from race to race containing sections like hike-a-bike, chair lift, or pedaling.

Well, who came up with this idea? Just like history of mountain biking, if we go into the details of an enduro race, you’ll observe that it has taken inspiration from car rally racing and motorbike enduro racing. The first enduro race happened in the year 2003 in France.

Equipment Needed for Enduro Mountain Biking

You are just getting started with enduro mountain biking and not sure about the essentials you should carry alongside? Here is a list to help you with the equipment:

Equipment Needed for Enduro Mountain Biking
Infographic: Equipment Needed for Enduro Mountain Biking

1. Bike for Enduro Mountain Biking

Starting with the essentials needed for enduro racing, the first thing that you need is a proper bike. But, the question is what kind of bike would be the best? I am here to answer that.

You must be familiar with types of mountain bikes such as hardtail, trail bikes, XC bikes, etc. All of these are trail-specific, meaning you cannot ride a trail bike on cross-country terrain and vice versa. Also you can read about riding a mountain bike on road.

An enduro race does not require a particular bike and you can take your usual bike used for your local trails. However, a bike with the following characteristics would make you stand out during the race:

  • If your bike makes you uneasy when you ride for long in your local tracks, then it would not be wise to take it for an enduro race either and be uncomfortable throughout the race.
  • Although dropper posts are not compulsory, you wouldn’t mind the extra comfort that comes with them as you will experience both steep and flat terrains throughout your journey. Seat posts will allow you to change your body position when it’s time to catch a pedal.
  • A bike with larger brake rotors helps particularly on steep tracks by giving off heat and generating more power.
  • When it comes to tires, the ones with tough sidewalls lessen the probability of a flat tire. The ideal tire size for enduro range between 27.5 to 29 inches.
  • Even though you can use a hardtail (with no rear suspension) for an enduro race, a bike with full suspension is a plus. Keep into account the kind of terrain you will be riding and select the travel range accordingly. The suspension of an enduro bike is in the form of a single crown fork utilizing both air and coil springs. A recommended front suspension for an enduro bike range between 150-170mm while the rear suspension can be as high as 180mm travel. For a steeper track, go for a maximum travel range of 140-160mm.

Moving on, wearing safety equipment is also a necessity during enduro biking whether you are an amateur or a pro as you do not want to get yourself hurt. So, I will enlist some of the safety materials down below:

2. Enduro Biking Helmet

Since the trails vary from steep to flat, always wear a full-face helmet to avoid any damage or crash. Plus, invest in a lightweight helmet so it is easy for you to carry.

Wearing a full-face helmet in hot weather can sometimes be painful. Therefore, recently, full-face helmets that come with removable chin bars are in. So, you can keep your face open when biking up the hill and cover it only when going downhill.

3. Enduro Mountain Biking Pads

You may have a fall when racing downhill and end up hurting the elbows and knees. To prevent this, wear pads to keep your knees and elbows protected.

4. Gloves

Holding onto the bars of your bike for longer can make your hands extremely sweaty, and thus you would feel your hands sliding from the bars. Wearing gloves would strengthen your grip and protect your hands throughout the race. Even in hot summer, you can wear hot weather mountain bike gloves for a stronger grip.

5. Water bottle and snacks

In between the timed stages, you’ll need water and some snacks to munch on as this would help you gear up for the next ride. Thus, always carry a water bottle and your favorite snacks. It’s the best thing about enduro race as you do not come across such opportunities with other forms of mountain rides.

6. Eyewear

When going up and down the hills during an enduro race, bike riders more than often have dirt enter their eyes, making their eyes irritated and vision blurred. To avoid any particles from entering your eyes, keep your eyes protected by wearing glasses or cycling goggles. Hence, you’ll have a clear vision throughout.

FAQs about Enduro Mountain Biking

Since enduro is similar to downhill biking, can I use my downhill bike for the enduro races too?

Going downhill with your bike would be easy but pedaling up would be a hustle. If the area where the enduro race is about to take place has a chairlift or a shuttle, then it won’t be problematic as you can take help from there.

How is an enduro bike different from a downhill and XC bike?

An enduro bike replicates a downhill bike in its geometry with a suspension of nearly 180mm travel. Also, it is similar to an XC bike as it allows pedaling to reach the top of the hill before the onset of the next timed stage. So, you can say that an enduro bike is a mixture of downhill and XC bikes.

Is enduro mountain biking for beginners too?

Yes, you can participate in an enduro race after knowing enduro mountain biking basics even if you are a newbie. It is not like a cross-country race where you have to deal with several riders at a time. Also, the best part of enduro is that the course is the same for both beginner and experienced riders.

Concluding Enduro Biking Guide

Enduro mountain biking is all about exploring new trails with a group of friends instead of a race where you compete against one another. Whoever covers the timed stages first, is the winner and there is no set time in which you have to finish the race.

Besides, stage time also varies, allowing you to choose a less difficult trail if you have no prior experience. Stage time range from the grassroots level of about two minutes to the alpine event of 20 minutes which is quite intense.

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