Q: My bike is a 2002 Specialized Enduro.
I had been out of mountain biking for several years and got back in the saddle last
year. I was thinking about getting a new
bike until I read the shootout.
My bike runs great. Fox replaced the rear
shock two years ago. The Marzocchi fork
is still going strong, and I converted it to a
In 2003 I paid $1000 for this bike. All
the bikes in the shootout were well over
$2000 and, to my surprise, they all (except
the single bouncers) weigh the same as my
old steed— 30 pounds.
So, why would I buy a new bike? Can
you guys give me any reason to buy a new
—Ed, who likes it old school
A: I’d never recommend that someone
run out and buy a bike just because it’s
new. In fact, the Enduro you’re riding is still
a very trail-worthy bike, and that’s a testa-
ment to its build quality. We’re impressed
it’s lasted this long, but that’s probably
largely due to your diligent maintenance.
It’s true that the bikes in the shootout
were around 30 pounds; however, just
because they’re 14 years newer than your
Specialized doesn’t mean that they also
should be 14 pounds lighter. In fact, the
June issue—a $10,000 superbike—still
comes in at nearly 26 pounds. Weight is
only part of the equation.
The new bikes in the shootout feature
a wide range of new technologies and
could suit just about any kind of trail rider
out there. Here are some things on the
new bikes that you won’t find on your
—Modern geometry with a longer front
end, shorter chainstays and lower bottom
brackets for better handling.
—Thru-axle forks and frames for
—11-speed drivetrains with clutch-style
—Oversized bearings throughout.
—Tapered head tubes and current axle
—Wider rims (in most cases) for better
— 27. 5 wheels for better rollover
I could go on, but I think you get the
point. The bottom line is, if you’re truly
happy with your bike, that’s awesome.
Keep shredding it. But, if you’re considering
buying a new rig, don’t let the fact that you
won’t be dropping several pounds from
your current rig deter you. You’re getting
improved performance in nearly every part
of the bike.
As a last point, I’ll say that while your
WIDER IS BETTER
bike might be running well now, it will
become increasingly difficult to find
replacement parts for it. Your Marzocchi
fork and frame bearings might feel okay
until you go to overhaul them. At that point,
you might find the cost to keep your bike
running in tip-top shape for the long term
isn’t worth it. This is just my opinion based
on my years of experience as a mechanic.
—Mike Wirth, editor
Q: I want to upgrade my handlebars
to something wider. If I go carbon, do I
use the same torque on the stem as with
aluminum? And if I go wider, do I need a
shorter stem? Just looking for good advice.
—Daryl McLean, whose hands are
built-in torque wrenches
A: Good call trying a wider bar. Chances
Photo by Katie Wirth