What's an Enduro?

Enduro is a form of mountain bike racing, that started out in Europe with influence from car rally racing and motorbike enduro racing. The concept was simple: get yourself to the top of a mountain and race to the bottom time-trial style.

In general, modern enduro races involve anywhere from 3-6 timed stages. The timed portions of the race are mostly downhill but can vary in steepness, length, and difficulty depending on location. Between each stage, there will be untimed “transfer stages” that are mostly uphill.

Enduro combines elements of all racing disciplines from the physical fitness necessary for cross-country racing (XC), the mental stamina necessary for XC-style stage races and the bike-handling skills to navigate technical gravity-fed singletrack.

You’ll find out that each enduro race has a different style, fitness and skill requirement, but for the most part, enduro is meant to be a fun, approachable and exciting form of mountain biking.

© Ray Stuart (Deeside Camera Club)

Is Enduro Only for the Pros?

Definitely not!

While enduro does require some physical fitness and skill to complete the course, it is one of the most approachable disciplines for an amateur rider. Here are a few reasons why enduro is awesome for all levels of riders:

  1. When racing on timed stages, it is just you, your bike and the clock. There isn’t much worry about having to pass or get passed, because you are sent off down the trail at 30 second. If you do get passed (or need to pass someone), it is usually just one person at a time, which is much easier to handle than a whole group of riders in an XC race.

  2. You’re only being timed on the downhill stages! Transitions give you the opportunity to catch your breath, talk to your mates and even eat!

  3. It is basically a normal bikel ride! Think of enduro as a ride you would normally love to do, just with a bunch of new friends and a little more motivation to push your limits on the descents.

  4. The people are amazing. More than any other form of racing, enduro is known for having a friendly atmosphere. Wait for your buddies to finish the timed stage runs and then ride to the top together. And of course, celebrate with new and old friends at the finish line with race talk, good food and a tasty beverage.

© Harry Scott (Deeside Camera Club)

What bike do I need?

Unlike downhill racing and XC, a dedicated bike is not required for enduro. The same set of wheels you pedal at your local trails will likely do the trick. You’ll want a bike that you can ride up and down hills all day! So, if you aren’t comfortable riding the local trails for an hour, you’re not going to be comfortable racing enduro on that rig but doesn’t mean you can’t do it!

© Harry Scott (Deeside Camera Club)

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