“What sort of stuff do you ride?”
“You know, Enduro trails mostly”

We have all had that conversation with someone on the trails or in the LBS, and it is something I am having increasing difficulty with. Now Enduro as a race format, is still evolving with as many variations and permutations as there are events and race series. Fundamentally it is a multi stage gravity mountain bike race where racers access the timed stages (descents) on the bike via untimed liaison stages (usually climbs), similar to car rallying.

For a more detailed explanation of enduro please watch this primer video.

This style of climbing for the downs is more representative of the kind of riding most of us do, unlike Downhill’s single run or XC’s multiple laps. The explosion in popularity of Enduro has led to the cult of “Enduro Specific“, from bikes and set ups to components and kit, this is what I have my issue with.

Enduro is a race format not a style of riding, when you ride a trail and your not between the tape, it is just riding a trail, no more no less. An “Enduro Specific” chain guide still works when it hasn’t heard you dib in, a 160mm Enduro sled still works when it doesn’t have a number board hanging on the bars.

I once saw an advert for an oven, one of the key features was the view of your food through the HD glass. Now HD is a woolly term at the best of times that refers to the resolution of a video it is also another term that has been misappropriated. Unless that oven’s door was a video screen, saying the glass possesses HD qualities is marketing bullshit. The marketeers have borrowed a word with positive connotations and applied them to a product and sphere that it has no business being in.

This happens all the time, this toothpaste advert is a favorite example.

Can someone please tell me the connection between toothpaste and a specific brand of action camera?

I think Enduro racing itself is some of the most dynamic and varied racing in mountain biking, I have raced Enduro style events and will do again. It is the misuse of the word and its connotations to sell that frustrates. Not because they are trying to sell product, but because of the sales pitch the word has been swallowed wholesale into the MTB lexicon and outside of racing it is an essentially meaningless term just like HD.

One thought on “Enduro by any other name

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