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2015 Specialized Enduro Carbon 650B (27.5") Mountain Bike Review

Specialized Enduro Carbon 650B Review
Ariel Kent
Well Specialized has finally gone and done it, and produced a 27.5(650B) wheeled bike just two years after saying that the 26 inch standard was fine, and that they would only produce 29er and 650B bikes if the customers demanded it.  Well they’ve finally done it, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.  Behold, the 2015 Specialized Enduro Carbon Mountain Bike, available in 650B and 29 inch wheel sizes.


Specialized states that the Enduro 650B was made solely on customer demand but, if that’s the case they’re surely being humble because this is probably one of the best mountain bikes they have ever produced.  Now if you have only ever ridden on a 26” wheeled bike, getting use to a larger wheel base takes a little time.  A bigger wheel base has a longer cornering radius, forcing you to pick a higher line through a turn.  But once you get it, it’s nothing short of awesome.  For me, I’m 5’9” and 138 pounds but have always felt I really needed to put extra effort into initiating my turns on a 26” wheeled bike.  On the 650B wheel however, it felt almost effortless.  I could really lean the bike over, and it would easily hook up for me.  One of the other bike shop employees tried the same bike and said that he struggled to get the bike to hook up in turns and, that he wasn’t having to use the same amount of effort used on a 26” wheeled bike.  The bike seems to know where it needs to be in a turn, making it fun to ride for even the most beginner of riders, you just have to be in the right position.  We both agreed though, that the Enduro was incredibly fast once it got rolling, and that the 650B wheel is going to be what puts the 26” wheel into retirement for good.
Uphill travel is another amazing feature on this bike.  The light carbon frame and larger wheel base makes uphill travel effortless and smooth.  You can now ride up a hill and not be tired at the top of a climb.  The Enduro lets you push yourself harder and ride faster than ever before.  Both the front and rear highly talked about Pike Shocks have lockout options that also help uphill travel.  I was able to test ride the Enduro at Pine Hill Park in Rutland, VT and though the uphill here isn’t horrible, the false plateaus and switchbacks generally have you catching your breath at the top.  On the Enduro however, I made it to the top and wasn’t even winded.  Making it to the top of a run and not even being tired, is definitely a great way to get you excited for a the rest of the ride.  Once at the top, I lowered the seat using the brilliantly simple SRL dropper post lever and was off down the trail.

 Again, this bike is nothing short of amazing.  It only takes two or three solid pedal strokes to get this bike engaged and rolling.  Where a 26” bike would absorb a bump, the 650B floats over it.  It’s quick, very quick, and with the amount of travel in the shocks and bigger wheel base not too many trail obstacles are going to slow it down. 

So why should you consider this bike as your next trail bike? You can pin it through a turn without having to worry about whether or not your tires will hook up.  It’s light carbon frame and bigger wheel base allows for easy, efficient uphill travel that will not leave you feeling winded at the top of a climb.  The extra travel in the suspension is also a nice addition, allowing for you to take bigger drops and ride faster in technical areas.  There is no doubt in my mind that the 650B wheeled bike is what will put the 26” mountain bike into retirement.  Having ridden a 26” wheeled bike for many years and then riding this bike for a day has really made me consider it as my next trail bike.
For more info on the Specialized Enduro, call True Wheels Bike Shop at Basin Sports and one of our Bike Mechanics will answer any questions you may have.

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