Enduro mountain biking refers to a race format that follows the lines of timed downhills spread over several different stages where the guy with the lowest time wins. While you can see enduro mountain bike races with chair lift stages, the general premise is that the time it takes you to get to the top of the stage doesn’t count…only the blast downhill. Unlike pure DH courses where there are huge stunts, jumps and features, most enduro mtb setups follow more of a backwoods format that resembles backwood, big mountain riding that most of us have grown to love. Everyone is on the same course and enjoying the same race.
The enduro mountain biking race format has really taken off in recent years and has become very popular at local trails where riders can compete in sections of the local riding spot. The organizers will set several different stages throughout looped trail systems or session spots and the race is on. One of the main reasons this has become so popular at the local level is that enduro opens up the competition to a crowd that isn’t elite xc or full out downhill. It attracts more riders and gives them the fun part of riding.
Are there rules to Enduro mountain biking?
As a general rule, there should be limited climbing in an enduro race stage. I have seen numbers like no more than 10% of climbing thrown around but it is rarely measured.
According to Pink Bike the enduro mountain biking setup originated “from France in 2003, the format is based on motorbike enduro and anyone who has followed car rallying should find it instantly familiar. …Originally the Tribe enduro races in France were over ten timed stages, the Italian Superenduro PRO races are over four or five, the Gravity Enduro races in the UK are also over five, but three stages seems to be more common among smaller, slightly easier races.”
Your typical enduro mtb race setup is typically a larger single crown fork (160-170mm) with a longer travel rear suspension setup (140mm to 160mm depending on wheel size) and around 30 pounds. This isn’t a much different setup than you would find on your favorite technical trails with long climbs to long descents…and that is really kind of the point.
Out of all of the mountain bike racing styles…enduro is my favorite. It takes my favorite style of riding and turns it into a timed race that can be enjoyed by a lot of riders. If you have a chance to try one out…do it. You can even call one of your backwoods rides “so enduro”.
Feature image by nejcbole on Flickr.com