Specialized Enduro Comp 650b first ride review£3,150.00

The best Enduro yet, but still not perfect

Specialized’s Enduro has been a contender in the long-travel category for years now. The Comp is the cheapest model, which this year gets better parts and a slightly higher price than its predecessor.

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 frame

The Enduro’s frame was updated (read: lengthened) for 2017 and then again for 2018, but this year’s bike uses the same frame as last year. That means you get longish, but not boundary-pushing, geometry — Specialized claims a reach of 444mm for the medium size and 489mm for the XL bike tested.

I measured the bottom bracket (BB) height at 330mm, which is super-low. It can be raised by 8mm using an adjustable chip in the shock yoke, but I preferred the low setting. The head angle is a moderately slack 65.5 degrees. There’s neat internal cable routing, a threaded BB and space for a full-size water bottle.

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 kit

Frame geometry stays the same as on the 2018 Enduro, with 170mm of travel
Frame geometry stays the same as on the 2018 Enduro, with 170mm of travel

The component highlight is the RockShox Lyrik RC fork. With its ‘Charger’ damper and smoother air spring, it’s streets ahead of the Yari on the 2018 bike.

I also like the X-Fusion Manic seatpost with its 150mm of drop and inline head, which effectively make the seat angle steeper (this too is an upgrade, over the outgoing Specialized Command post).

Better still, 45mm stems are now fitted on every frame size, along with wide bars and short cranks to complement the low BB.

Unfortunately, the SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed transmission on my test bike soon became reluctant to shift, no matter what I did with the cable tension or b-tension screw, and the brand’s Guide R brakes had a spongy and vague feel, even after bleeding.

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 ride impressions

The Enduro gets into its stride when descending
The Enduro gets into its stride when descending

I soon realised that the Enduro works best when set up with a firm spring rate, corresponding to around 25 percent seated sag. Otherwise the bike feels unbalanced because the rear suspension wallows through its stroke. Even with little sag, it bobs when pedalling with the shock open.

Locked out the Enduro climbs competently, with the steep seat angle helping when attacking steep ascents and the chunky 2.6in tyres boosting traction. But the inefficient suspension, relatively slow-rolling tyres and 15.7kg heft make it less than enthusiastic on rolling terrain.

When descending the Enduro gets into its stride. Its 170mm of rear suspension travel calms the most chaotic terrain brilliantly, while the Lyrik RC fork offers predictable support and superb sensitivity.

Combined with the big, grippy tyres and low BB, this makes ploughing through choppy off-camber roots or big braking bumps a breeze, and means the bike is refreshingly comfortable on fast, rough descents. The low BB boosts confidence in tricky turns, but the flexy wheels and tyres can feel vague if pushed hard into berms.

At 6ft 3in, I felt the XL frame could have been longer, and I couldn’t get the handlebar quite high enough for my liking. The rear suspension also sits high in its travel when braking. This made the Enduro a little harder to handle than some of its rivals when things really got steep and technical.

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 early verdict

Lockout-reliant on climbs and a touch short for some, but otherwise a flat-out gravity bomber.

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 specifications

The new Enduro is an okay climber and tames rough descents with ease
The new Enduro is an okay climber and tames rough descents with ease

  • Sizes (*tested): S, M, L, XL*
  • Frame: ‘M5’ aluminium alloy, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik RC, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RT3
  • Cranks: SRAM Truvativ Descendant
  • Shifters: SRAM NX Eagle, 12spd
  • Mech: SRAM NX Eagle, 12spd
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R, 200/180mm rotors
  • Wheelset: Roval Traverse rims on Specialized hubs
  • Tyres: Specialized Butcher GRID Gripton 2Bliss 27.5x2.6in
  • Bar: Specialized DH, 800mm
  • Stem: Specialized Trail, 45mm
  • Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic dropper, 150mm
  • Saddle: Specialized BG Phenom Comp
  • Weight: 15.7kg (34.6lb), XL size without pedals

Specialized Enduro Comp 650 geometry

  • Head tube angle: 65.5 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 76.5 degrees
  • Reach: 48.9cm / 19.25in
  • Stack: 62.2cm / 24.49in
  • Seat tube: 52.1cm / 20.51in
  • Top tube: 63.9cm / 25.16in
  • Head tube length: 13cm / 5.12in
  • Chainstay: 43.3cm / 17.05in
  • Fork offset: 4.6cm / 1.81in
  • Trail: 11.3cm / 4.45in
  • Wheelbase: 1,252mm / 49.29in
Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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