It's hard to go full on Downhill and, for some, it's boring going up all those XC hills. Something had to give, there needed to be some middle ground for those of us who wanted to go everywhere with very little compromise. If this year's Interbike has anything to say, Enduro is the next big thing of MTB.
Scurra Hard Enduro
No doubt one of the strangest creations at Interbike, this, erherm, creative design was made by a group of Austrian engineers and designers wanting to challenge the quota. It's not unlike systems used in motorcycling, like on BMW's GS1200 or the Bimota Tesi 3D. The system is called TRELEVER® suspension and completely does away with the traditional fork in any telescopic fashion. It is said that the design offers better traction than telescopic forks and, in particular, has better small bump sensitivity. The frame and fork combo has 7-inches of travel at either end. It is claimed to be more stable, but the headtube looks quite offset from the hub and what's really odd, is that it runs a 29" in front and a 27.5" in the back. Is this a trend that we could see many manufacturers implementing? And would you fancy a go? I know I would.
So here is where Enduro gets tricky. The 601 from Liteville ticks many of the boxes for Enduro, such as light-weight, aggressive geometry and long wheel travel. But this last point is also one for contention as the 601 has longer travel than typical Enduro rides at 190mm. Does this exclude it from the new-comer category? For now, let's say not. The 601 boasts a carbon competitive weight of 2.8kg (6.2lbs) while retaining its aluminium, placing it right in the mix with other Enduro racing models.
Perhaps another trend that might make it into the mainstream is differing wheel sizes. As with the Scurra above, the 601 runs a bigger wheel up front than back, depending the frame size. They call it 'Scale Sizing' and it will see the XS frames have a 24"/26" rear/front combo; the medium with 26"/27.5" combo; and the larger, shorter travel frames with 27.5"/29" combos. Theoretically, it's appealing, but only time will show if it works.
Pivot Mach 6 Carbon
The Pivot Mach 6 was no doubt one of the sexiest bikes on the show floor. Featuring 155mm (6") of travel with its dw-link® suspension, it is claimed to have position-sensitive anti-squat that is optimised for Enduro racing. The carbon frame structure is said to be "highly optimised...with the best stiffness to weight ratio in the class". Quite the big claim. But with build quality and finishing details like the polished pivot points, the bare carbon plate underneath the downtube and BB, and linkages with a fantastically clean shockmount, they know their stuff? In good old Enduro form, it also has the fashionable 27.5" wheels (front AND back).
X-Fusion Revel HLR Fork
Remember the single-crown Marzocchi Shiver and Manitou Dorado forks of back in the day? Ever pine over them? Well, thankfully X-Fusion has brought back the pining potential with this new Revel upside-down single-crown fork. Thing is, pine you will, because if you are not of MTB royalty of sorts or quick to the punch with your bucks, you won't ever see these are on your ride. That's because only 200 will be made, and those will retail for $1 776 (+/-R17 600). Exclusivity much? Three options will be available: 140-160mm travel for 27.5"; 120-140mm travel for 29"; and also a fatty version for fat bikes, for some reason. All versions will have 34mm stanchion tubes.
Tech-wise, it has all that you will find on X-Fusion's Vengeance fork, including the twin-tube HLR damper, dual pressure adjustments, high and low-speed compression and rebound. Adjustments can be made to the beginning and end stroke spring rate, thanks to the dual air system. And to protect those stanchions are replaceable carbon guards.
BOX Components prototype 4-Piston Disc Brake
BOX Components is known for its race-bred BMX components, not for MTB artistry, but that is what it is doing. It is taking the game to the big boys -- the biggest boys in fact: Shimano and SRAM. BOX is developing a rear derailleur, shifter and even 4-pot disc brakes. The brakes in particular look beautiful; that form-follows-function sort of beauty.
All the excess has been cut away to air flow can be optimised, keeping the brakes cooler and keeping weight to a minimum. It also has a smaller piston in the front for better modulation -- and get this -- it has two different pad compounds for the same reason, which are separated by an air channel for further cooling. Intended for All Mountain/Enduro use, if they work as well as they look then they will definitely give the big boys a run for their money. Looks like Hope has some serious competition for the CNC award, too.
Ok, not an Enduro bike up there, sure. But Enve went all out this year, covering all the MTB ground in three simple categories, making sure Enduro was taken care of. On show were a number of carbon handlebars, one in each of Enve's XC, AM and DH categories. More interesting, though, is the carbon direct mount stem for DH. It is claimed that it is the first of its kind and has 'unprecedented strength'. And at 112g for the 60mm version, it is crazy light.
There were also an array of carbon wheels on display for all sorts of applications. The XC, AM and DH all came in differing wheel sizes. The XC and AM both in all three variants and the DH in 26" and 27.5". The AM range, though, would appeal to the Enduro sort. That the AM wheels come in all three wheel variants and are available as tubeless is smart thinking from Enve.