The rigors of enduro racing make it an excellent proving ground for new products.
The first round of the Enduro World Series in Nevados de Chillán, Chile, presented a perfect opportunity to take a sneak peek at products still in their development stages and being put to the test under professional enduro racers.
Here’s a rundown of some of the new gear we spotted while trolling the pits – be sure to click through the photo gallery for a complete look at the first stop on this year's Enduro World Series.
Giant Reign 27.5 prototypes
While the updated Trance is a capable machine, and was successfully raced on the enduro circuit by Giant-sponsored athletes such as Adam Craig and Josh Carlson, it's not on par with some of the slacker, longer-travel machines ridden by their many of their peers.
Giant racer Josh Carlson with a prototype 27.5 Reign prototype
It looks as if Giant has stepped up to develop a 27.5in version of the Reign. “This is the bike we’ve been asking for,” said Craig.
While Giant is being tight-lipped with specifics, the aluminum prototypes the team has been riding for several months are equipped with 160mm RockShox Pike forks, and the same frame fitments as the current 27.5 Trance. Given the intended use, we'd put the head angle in the neighborhood of 66-65 degrees and the rear suspension travel around 160mm.
New wheels, tires and saddle from Specialized
Specialized enduro racer Curtis Keene was riding a carbon Roval wheelset that looked a bit wider than what is currently on the market. The existing carbon Roval Traverse SL rims have an external width of 28mm and an internal width of 22mm. The rims Keene rode looked to be substantially broader.
We expect to learn more about these new hoops when Specialized unveils its 2015 line this summer.
Keene was also testing a new saddle shape and ran Specialized’s fast-rolling rear tire, the Slaughter.
Fox Racing Shox under wraps
Many times it is quite easy for suspension companies to hide suspension prototypes plain sight. After all, most of the changes are hidden within the shocks themselves. That does not appear to be the case with whatever suspension unit/linkage design was being used by the Canyon Factory Enduro Team.
All the team members were riding bikes decked out in a black and white swirl paint scheme, presumably to mask the contours of the carbon frames, and had what appeared to be Fox Float X shocks covered along with the upper rocker link.
The fact that all members of the team were riding the same setup leads us to speculate that whatever is under the cover is unique to Canyon.
Santa Cruz now making components
Santa Cruz appears to be dipping its toes in the component market. This 35mm carbon handlebar was bolted to a bike belonging to Santa Cruz engineering and quality director Joe Graney. It looks to be in the neighborhood of 780-800mm wide.
Old tread, new tire from Panaracer
Santa Cruz racer Cedric Gracia rode this prototype 650b tread based on the venerable Fire XC tread. It’s a 27.5x2.35 tire and features a dual compound.