6 Best Enduro Mountain Bikes for 2021 Reviewed

Not sure which enduro mountain bike is worth your money in 2021? You are in the right place. After testing out 10+ bikes, we picked 6 that are worth every penny.

Let’s jump right into it.

Best Enduro Mountain Bikes for 2021

1. Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory

Not to be confused with Nukeproof Mega 290, the Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory bike is one of the best rides for enduro fanatics.

It’s has proven to be the champion of the trails, and if you cannot help but admire the looks of this bike before jumping on it for a smooth and quality ride.

It runs on 29er wheels with a long travel rear suspension that hits the obstacles like a boss.

Many racers call it the world’s best enduro bike, better than its sibling, the Mega. The geometry and the sizing to start with have been tweaked in the rider’s favor.

It’s versatile and sharp with every pedal stroke.

Besides the excellent geometry, its carbon frame is out of this world. You get a 12-speed Shimano XT drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels, and FOX 36 forks, and FOX Factory suspension with 140mm rear travel.

Be sure to leave your bank account dry for this awesome bike.

The Mega 290 is the only close sibling to the Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory. Both bikes have dominated the enduro scene for good reasons.

Many champions, including the Australian Sam Hill, prefer these bikes as their weapons of choice for good reasons.

2. Specialized Stumpjumper Evo

Another bike that tops the list is the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, which is one of the best Specialized enduro bikes.

Other bikes from the manufacturer to look out for are the Specialized Enduro Comp Carbon and not-so-popular Specialized Fuse.

The Stumpjumper Evo comes with FOX 36 Factory forks and FOX Float rear suspension.

The most exciting feature of this bike is the SWAT box, where you can carry your tools instead of having a backpack on your back.

The Evo is all you can ever want in an enduro bike. Suitable for climbs, versatile to ride on trails, downhill, XC, name it! In short, it’s a do it all bike.

You’d want no one to come between you and the bike. However, some racers say that the bike hardly keeps up with other bikes on the descend.

A better alternative from the same manufacturer is the Specialized Enduro Comp Carbon.

This year, the Enduro was completely re-designed and looks much different from its predecessors. It’s one of the fastest bikes with outstanding capability on steep descents.

This two have a SWAT compartment. Both bikes run on SRAM GX Eagle groupsets.

3. Trek Slash 9.8 29

Trek bikes are a mix of versatility and taste. Trek bikes dominate all disciplines, including Enduro.

The Trek Slash defies trends, and instead of coming with FOX 36 forks and Float suspension, it comes with a 170mm RockShox Lyric Ultimate and a RockShox Super Deluxe Select rear shock.

I have ridden this bike, and I know that it has a phenomenal rear suspension, no lie! It also has an incredible high control cockpit.

The geometry is also out of the question with its easy setup. The only complaint I have about this bike is the wheels. It deserves a better set.

The Slash was designed for tracers with a Thru Shaft Technology for a well-balanced ride that makes the bike seriously grounded instead of playful.

All Trek Enduro bikes, including the Slash, have a stretched geometry, going up to 490mm.

Besides the obvious great features you find on a high-end Trek bike, such as Bontrager carbon handlebars and wheels, the Trek Slash has some additional features.

It has a Knock Block which stops the bars from spinning around when you crash. It also has a Control Freak internal routing running through the carbon frame.

4. Santa Cruz Megatower

It would be unfair not to have a Santa Cruz on the list. The Californian brand is the epitome of mountain bike engineering.

They have demonstrated how far they can go in matters of creativity with the enduro’s Santa Cruz Megatower.

The bike comes with either 650b or 29er wheels, and it’s one of the best climbers out there. It’s also a versatile bike, meaning you can ride it downhill, trail, or cross country.

With its FlipChip feature, you can adjust your cycling style to fit any of the disciplines.

Instead of the usual rear suspension technology, you find in most bikes, Santa Cruz has uses the lower-link VPP suspension, the shock being the Rockshox Super Deluxe Select. On the front, you get the RockShox Yari RC fork.

On the propelling side, you get an SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain which many see as a budget choice, but it does an incredible job, helping the rider push the bike up the steep climbs.

If you can overlook the groupset issue and perhaps upgrade to Shimano SLX or Shimano XT, then this Carbon C bike can work things out for you.

Another noticeable feature about the Santa Cruz Megatower is the slack head angles and seat tube angles.

5. Scott Ransom Tuned 900

You were probably bored with the usual yellow color that the Swiss, Scott Ransom, used to come with. The good news is that the manufacturer will no longer hold you ransom to the color.

However, you get all the other incredible features that came with the bike and even better, including being lightweight.

So, while you lean on sharp corners, you will not have to worry about controlling a weighty bike because the Scott Ransom is a carbon 29er bike weighing less than 29 pounds, which is quite a plus for a full-sus bike.

With a 170mm FOX 36 front and FOX Float 170mm rear travel, you would think that this bike is not such a good climber, only to be surprised by the Scott’s Twinlock system.

This feature practically makes you an owner of three bikes in one by just hitting the switch.

You can let the bike run on 170mm for the descends, push the button to set 120mm to make climbing more effortless, and lock all the suspensions while on the road.

Another outstanding feature of the Ransom is you can change the wheels from 29er to 27.5 inches at a snap of a finger, of course, if your service guy will be doing the job.

Some bikes would have the whole geometry altered for downsizing or upsizing the wheels, but the Scott Ransom comes with an adjustable geometry.

The bike runs on the SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain to give you the most beautiful experience on the trail. This bike was definitely for the enduro hype.

6. Transition Patrol

You must have been asking yourself. “Why I’m not seeing a bike with a rear coil spring on this list?” Well, I reserved that for last.

Yes, this is the last enduro bike we will review, and I hate to imagine the look on your face right now. Let’s transition back to the review as we end the list with the Transition Patrol.

The Patrol is just like any other carbon 29er. The modern technologies incorporated into the bike make it stand out from the rest, including GiddyUp 2.0 suspension and the Speed Balanced Geometry.

The bike comes with a RockShox Lyrid Select + RC fork with 170mm of travel and a 160mm RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select +, making it one of the perfect bikes for your enduro endeavors.

With such a balanced geometry, the bike will offer you the smoothest ride with enough stability and pedaling efficiency like you’ve never felt before.

The Patrol goes into the box with an SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, which is better and lighter than the SRAM NX eagle by half a pound. The SRAM GX is sure a pusher uphill and also turns the bike into a jet on drops.

The bike also uses SRAM Code R disk brakes which are more than effective in stopping the bike on its tracks, even on a slope.

For the wheels, you can expect this high-grade carbon fiber bike to have Maxxis Minnion tires which offer an excellent grip and traction to allow you to ride with confidence.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Enduro Mountain Bike

The Frame Material

The frame material is crucial, but don’t be compelled to ride a bike because you are on a budget. There are two types of frames, namely, alloy, a lighter version of aluminum, and carbon.

As you already know, carbon frames don’t come in cheap, but it’s not like it’s a must for you to have a carbon bike. Don’t stretch further than your financial muscle.

That said, there are reasons why riders prefer carbon frames over aluminum. They are lighter, stiffer, and reduce vibrations.

There has been a steady rise in popularity for carbon frames, but aluminum frames are resurging due to new technology.

Aluminum is affordable for sure, and you can save on money and channel it towards better suspension, wheels, brakes, or tires.  So, whatever frame material you go with, ensure you have money left for upgrades.

Geometry

Another factor to consider when purchasing your new enduro bike, whether as your first bike or an upgrade, is geometry.

The latest enduro bikes come with a longer, lower, and slack geometry, and they’re gorgeous to look at.

You get lower bottom brackets and slack head tubes for better handling, which translates to more confidence while descending on hills.

The bike allows you to evenly distribute your weight between the wheels.

All bikes usually have different levels of suspension travel. Bikes with shorter travel have a slightly higher bottom bracket.

That goes without saying that a 29er will have a higher BB height than 640b wheels. Longer geometry makes these bikes a little slower in turns, and a rider may have to re-adjust their technique to have more control.

The geometry, however, works in their favor when descending.

Suspension

The design of the rear suspension is very crucial.  You may never see a hardtail enduro bike unless the rider uses a trail bike or XC hardtail for the wrong job, and it can’t be as fast.

But there’s one thing those new to enduro racing are not aware of.

Your rear suspension can experience a shock fade due to overheating, especially during long stages.

Therefore, you should go for a frame that provides enough shock clearance. The shock should also have a piggyback reservoir.

Alternatively, you can use a coil shock instead of an air shock, but here comes the challenge. If you opt for a top-end frame, then brace yourself for not having the option to use a coil spring.

These bikes are sophisticated and only work with specific shock types.

For frames that offer the versatility of using a shock you want, please do your research before fitting a different one.

The information will help you understand the effects it may have on your bike’s suspension kinematics.

Forks

While enduro and downhill bikes have many similarities, two features make them different. They are the groupset and the single crown forks for the enduro, while DH uses double crown forks.

The enduro’s forks usually have 160-170mm of travel.

These forks are available for the 27.5 inches/650B wheels size. For 29ers, though, you can expect the travel to be shorter by about 20mm.

Don’t be cheated that these forks cannot tear through a terrain that downhill bikes dominated a few years ago. You may already know that nowadays, forks don’t only come with the suspension feature.

They have compression and rebound damping settings meant to change your entire feel. Forks like RockShox Lyrik, Fox 36, Manitou Mattoc, among others, have this helpful feature.

If you don’t have any of these forks, you can upgrade to either of them when the time is right.

The Wheels

Long before the bikes with 29-inch wheel size started dominating every MTB trail, well, except downhill where it’s not much popular, 27.5 inches/650b was the thing.

Riders preferred it over the slower 26-inch wheel size and the cumbersome 29ers.

Back then, the 29ers were dominating the trails and cross country races. But as geometry is evolving, the 29ers are now taking the 650b’s position fast, and they have proved to be the beasts of fast speeds.

Each of these wheel sizes has its advantage, and it matters a lot if you are an enduro racer. A 27.5 wheel size bike has a shorter chainstay which provides more improved stability.

A 29er, on the other hand, has a large diameter which means they roll better over obstacles.

Other Components

One of the most must-haves of an enduro mountain bike is the dropper seat post. It allows the rider to adjust the seat length remotely without having to come off the bike. Another important thing is the controls.

These bikes have shorter stems of 35-50mm and wider bars of over 750mm, while some extend to up to 800mm.

Enduro bikes are also taking the trend of trail and XC bikes in terms of the drivetrain. They have also switched to 1x setups with 12 speed rear due to the nature of the rides.

You can get anything from a 12-speed Shimano XT drivetrain to a Shimano SLX of the same speed. Your bike can optionally come with an SRAM NX Eagle or SRAM GX Eagle, all being 1×12 drivetrains.

For the brakes, expect a set of powerful SRAM or Shimano hydraulic disk brakes. The rotors are usually 180mm for a more effective stopping power.

Lastly, for the pedals, you get to decide whether you want clipless or flat pedals. Many prefer the clipless pedals, ignoring what may happen if they crash.

Final Thoughts

We only mentioned six bikes that I thought are worth checking out because I have experienced them personally.

Some other bikes may be better than a few of the bikes we reviewed. Don’t be afraid to try them out if you get a chance.

It’s the only way to know the right bike for you. In case you have any questions, we are here to help.

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 10+ trails across the globe, for Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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