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2013 Specialized Enduro Expert EVO

180mm Coil Sprung Enduro

Words by Garrett Thibault. Photos by Morgan Taylor.
June 10th, 2013

NSMB Team rider Jerry Willows was recently featured in a video from Matt Dennison on a pretty black and red Specialized Enduro EVO frame you may recognize below. The Enduro EVO gives you 180mm of travel front and rear so you can try and go Jerry speed while still being able to pedal up to the trail heads. Specialized has it for sale with two different builds this year; the one being tested here is the Enduro Expert EVO which is the more expensive build sporting rather high end bits you can read about further under each of the following pictures.

I immediately questioned where this bike would fit in with the popularity of full-on downhill bikes for shuttle and lift access mountains, and the increasing ability of short travel all-mountain bikes on descents. With the review not yet being complete I will refrain from making any conclusions, but I can say the EVO still has a place. The climbing ability so far has been impressive. While the bike’s 35 lbs weight and lack of water bottle mounts can’t be hidden on long ascents, I am happy pedaling the long-travel Enduro. It helps that the extra travel and coil-sprung squishy bits are worth bringing up for the descents.

I feel like I’m in far more control when things get gnarly on the Enduro Expert EVO compared to my personal ride: a 2010 160mm Specialized Enduro. Back to back laps with my test bike and personal bike, six days in the bike park, and many local loops have made up my first four weeks on the EVO, with more of the same planned in order to finalize my opinions. I’ve become very comfortable on the test bike over this time and am pleasantly surprised with the way it is handling my abuse. I’m continuing to ride the EVO a few times a week; expect the full review soon.

2013, Specialized, Enduro, Enduro EVO, review, test, whistler, garrett thibault

The 2013 Enduro Expert EVO is meant to go up and down. The 5” 3-position Command Post BlackLite, 175mm 36/24 geared SRAM S2200 carbon double All-Mountain crankset, and mix’n’matched two by ten SRAM shifting keep the climb comfortable, while meaty Specialized Butcher SX 2.3″ tires on Roval DH 26 rims keep you rolling on any descent.

2013, Specialized, Enduro, Enduro EVO, review, test, whistler, garrett thibault

You’re looking down at a 65 degree head angle and tapered headtube in this pic, and at a beautiful Kashima coated FOX 36 Van RC2 Kashima 180mm coil-sprung fork that feels as good as it looks.

The Cane Creek Double Barrel coil shock comes with increasingly heavy springs on each of the 3 available frame sizes. The large frame comes with a 600 pound spring and mandated changing the spring in the fork from medium to heavy to achieve good front-rear balance. If you look above the shock, you see the dropper cable going into the top tube, while the rest of the cables run along the underside of the down tube.

2013, Specialized, Enduro, Enduro EVO, review, test, whistler, garrett thibault

I really like the Avid X0 Trail World Cup brakes so far. The power and modulation meet all my needs, and best of all they haven’t needed to be bled at all in the four weeks they’ve been out of the box. That being said, they do need new pads – welcome to the bike park.

2013, Specialized, Enduro, Enduro EVO, review, test, whistler, garrett thibault

Although not totally obvious, the clutch system on the X0 derailleur makes for a really quiet ride even on the big hits. The Cage lock is another neat feature that, paired with the quick release, makes pulling the rear wheel off super easy. The 2013 Specialized Enduro Expert EVO retails for $5299 CDN, while the less expensive Enduro EVO comes in around the $3K mark.


What are your thoughts on the 180mm coil sprung bike? Being pushed into obsolescence by excellent 8″ and 6″ bikes? Or still relevant?

  • Bryce

    I’d ride it. I’ve always thought its strange how there are tons of 100m, 120mm, 140mm, 160mm, and 200mm bikes and very few 180mm bikes.

  • Orb

    This is great all around bike and is defiantly up to the task of any bike park. I had the bike for a few months now. The rear suspension is truly amazing. The comments about the fork spring are good one as they bike should come equipped with a matching for spring or at least a recommendations for anything other than a medium which has the proper front and rear spring rates. Cane Creek does make 650 lb/in spring and it well matches to the yellow fork spring (x-firm) for the heavier riders like me with 20% front and 30% rear sag. Not so good stuff. The dropper post is claimed to be 5” travel but it is 4” WTF. The command post clamp mechanism slips easily and one day at the bike park you find this out in hour or less since they seat cannot be dropped enough (slipping fixed with some fiction paste). The XO brake levers flex way too much but the X0 trail levers with a front code calipers has proven to be much better upgrade. The stock brake pads are aluminum backed organic pads and need to go. No sure why specialized messes with the specifying downgraded brake components as they do. The FSA headset bearings are already done and replaced with Cane Creek. The butcher tires are not so great but the 2.5” DH clutch tire is excellent. The steer tube is cut way to short so you will be lucky to get a 40 mm stem stack with no spacers to fit.

  • ryando

    Great review Garrett! Needs a video though.