The Merida Ex Enduro tech gallery | What are riders racing at enduros in 2021?

A Murmur, a mullet, a Merida, a Marin and... a Santa Cruz.

Brett hightower

Enduros are a wildly popular race format – and it’s totally understandable why. Who wouldn’t enjoy a weekend spinning up hills with your mates, before descending as fast as you can against the clock?

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Enduro racing can also attract a varied range of bikes. While the top pros racing the EWS might all be on the best enduro bikes – 160mm to 180mm race rigs – at a local race you’re far more likely to see bikes representative of what we all ride, all the time.

And, with race organisers offering multiple classifications, there’s even more scope for bike choice on the start line.

I recently headed to The Merida Ex Enduro, a three-day event on Exmoor, and took a peek at all the bikes being ridden around the 23-stage, 110km course (with more than 4,000m of climbing).

You can also read my Horse for the Course feature on The Ex, where I rode my Marin El Roy long-term test bike. More on that in moment…

David’s Starling Murmur

David with Murmur
David’s Starling Murmur is decked out with a carefully selected spec.
THE MERIDA EX ENDURO / Jon Woodhouse

Steel bikes seem to be all the rage at the moment, especially here in the UK where we have a plethora of builders welding together some beautiful machines.

Local to the southwest is Starling, and its Murmur 29er enduro bike is a simple, single-pivot 140mm frame with classically skinny steel built with Reynolds 853 tubing.

Originally, David wanted a new Orange, having owned one in the nineties, but after reading Steve Jones’ infamous review in Dirt Magazine and test riding a Murmur at Innerleithen, he was sold.

Reliability seems to be the name of the game for on this build, with a supple Cane Creek DB Coil IL shock, RockShox Lyrik fork, Hope E4 brakes with the Tech 3 lever, which David bought in 2014 and has barely touched since, and a pair of de-stickered DT Swiss alloy rims built onto Hope hubs.