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This Is Not An Enduro Ride

It's Really Just Mountain Biking

Words by Paul Stevens. Photos by Mason Mashon.
August 6th, 2013

On after work shop rides, it is not uncommon to rant about certain experiences or customers from the day. On one such ride recently, somebody dropped the “E” word as we left the shop, which provided some good fuel for the rest of the evening. The subject of the ranting? The “enduro rider”. Now I am not talking about Jerome Clementz et al here, hence the quotation marks. I am talking about the guy who thinks he is an “enduro rider”. In breaking news, enduro is not a new sub-category of riding, any more than “all-mountain” (or all-marketing as it should have been called) was when that became the buzz term.

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

Shaun Fry leads the ride out of the shop and into the rocks, as the ranting commences.

Sure, enduro is a new and rapidly developing style of racing, and don’t get me wrong, it is great for the sport of mountain biking (with the exception of goggles paired with an XC helmet, but that’s another story). It is a super fun race format, tests a plethora of skills and fitness, and enduro racing has helped with the development of some exceptional bikes, which ultimately we all get to benefit from.

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

Going for an enduro ride on my enduro bike. Wait, haven’t I been doing this for years?

However, if you buy a 160mm carbon 650b XX1 specced bike next year (don’t worry, unless you want Specialized, your favourite brand will have one), and take it out on the trails, this does not mean that you are going for an “enduro ride”. And unless you are being timed on the downhill stages, and this is your race bike, it is not your “enduro bike”. Claiming enduro as a new category of riding (not racing) is, as Stephen Matthews so eloquently puts it, like playing baseball and calling it shmaseball. Riding up hills and racing your friends back down again is nothing new. It has been happening since mountain bikes had derailleurs bolted on to them.

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

Matt Delany leading the Arbutus Routes enduro train.

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

“Hot on your heels” Enduro winner Leonie Picton knows a thing or two about riding and racing bikes.

At Arbutus Routes there is a slight irony with the “enduro riding” buzz, as the majority of the staff are actually strong enduro racers, but after work, we don’t go “enduro riding”, we just go mountain biking, like we have been doing for years! Either way, we are happy to pedal past the guys on their “enduro ride” putting their goggles over their XC helmet at the top of the descent. After all, without them, what would we talk about on our shop rides?!

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

Luke Garside slaying an enduro turn.

Paul Stevens, NSMB Team, Mason Mashon Photo, Arbutus Routes, Enduro, race, mountain bike

This enduro riding thing feels a lot like mountain biking.


Do you like to pedal up hills with your friends and ride fast going downhill? You might just be experiencing enduro riding!

  • dawgee

    Call it what you want as long as your having fun who cares?

    • boomforeal

      this. life is full of little disappointments. happiness is learning to ignore them

  • FlipFantasia

    sick enduro ride pics, brah!

  • Oldfart

    Looks like a Train Wreck. ;) true words. Enduro is a type of race, not a riding style.

  • Buster Bluth

    I am calling my LBS to ask if they have a Specialized “Mountain Bike” in stock.

  • LostBoyScout

    This is basically exactly what I’ve been saying for a good while.

    Enduro is a style of race, not a riding style. It is most similar to all mountain.

    And ‘all mountain’ means just riding your bike on whatever, where ever. It is a label that removes the need to label – it is simply riding your bike. It is the equivalent of the do-it-all bike of yesteryear.

    Ironic, being that it was the tipping point for huge outcry about having too many terms for different types of riding – obviously fueled by bike manufacturers to help increase the average rider’s quiver.

  • Oldfart

    I simply call it mountain bike riding as opposed to road riding. In other words I only have two kinds of rides. Looks like Train Wreck which is one of my favourite rides.

  • j4ka

    ah, yes, but what if your bike is actually the enduro made bu the big S? can it be called endure then?

    /troll

  • awesterner

    I find the term ‘trail” strange. I stumbled across a tire discussion on another site, where one poster categorized a tire more XC/trail than trail/all mountain. I think of trail in the sense that it is something we ride and hike on, and in the mechanical termology. But when defining a riding style, really? That’s a bit of a stretch, no?

  • cunningstunts

    me and the buds are heading for an epic enduro ride ourselves tonight…

  • Bradical

    Gotta wear goggles with an open face, its way more fun.
    Seriosly though , I was a hater regarding the look…but the vision I gain and the sense of protection helps (I’m wearing Oakley Airbrake MX with unbreakable lenses) However’If my Oakley Jawbone glasses would just sit comfortably and not bounce around on the bridge of my broken nose, I would have never gone to goggles.
    So now I consider myself not just a gearwhore but also an Enduro/trail riding, mtn biking Poser.
    Goggles-4-ever

  • Vikb

    My buddies and I are heading out to do some All Mountaining tomorrow! Should be rad.

    Only an idiot would call it Enduro Riding! ;)