Been on this wee beast for about a month now, with rides about 5 times a week (maybe more). The majority of riding is on our chunky/punchy terrain with a couple trips up north to super-buff singletrack. I also took it down a pretty rugged DH level trail. I have it built up to 27 lbs. w/dropper, 2.2TK's, CTD shock, REV150 fork, the complete build is listed on the site here somewhere. Here are my thoughts...
Thought I'd get this out of the way 1st. The BB on this bike is LOW. It's the 1st thing I noticed about the bike when I took it on the very 1st ride. It is kinda weird but it's what makes it so stable and so fast in the turns. Once you come to terms with that you're OK but if you live in a rocky area and ride with flats it takes some getting used to.
Stiff but forgiving we'll call it. Stiff enough to really get some acceleration when peddling but forgiving enough when you come flying into some bigger chunk going faster than you think you should. The CTD does a decent job overall. At 1st it felt overly stiff to me. I messed with a bit and now I think I have it dialed the best it will go and it probably has broken in a bit. It doesn't have the wallow that most XC/Trailbike's with airshocks have. It uses its travel well and has a nice progressive bottom out at the end. I wouldn't mind if it were a hair plusher on the small stuff but I can get over that with less pressure in the tires. I'm actually pretty happy with the CTD functionality. I've had RP23's in the past and there was always something off when actually using it. I always ended up using it like a lockout. I actually use the settings now on different trails and they work like they should. After all these years they finally got it right. However, it's still tempting to throw a CCDBA on it but I really want to keep this thing light.
This is where you really feel the benefit of the low bracket and stiff frame Man this thing can carve. It corners like no other. I'm leaning way farther than I ever have putting a ton more into the tires. It was a little hard to ride at 1st because of this but now that I'm used to it I'm amazed.
Like the others have said it feels like there is a good bit of platform built into the bike. When you step on the gas it really rockets forward. There is minimal shock movement and if you put the shock in T it practically goes away and in C it's gone, both sitting and standing. Also, your body is in a pretty comfortable position for peddling. One thing I noticed was that when peddling with fats it feels like my feet creep forward on the peddles, almost like the seat is too far forward. But overall a very comfortable all-day type of bike.
Also, like others said the bike feels like it glides on top of things vs. the Chilly which sucks up and digs in. This combined with the lighter weight and lower BB bracket make it a bit harder in the really chunky lines. It's not unbearable but you do have to pick your lines better and kinda zip through things vs. plowing like you do with the Chilly. I also think I'd fare better with different treads. The TK's seem great in hardpack and loom but they don't seem to grip too well to our mix of granite and roots.
Very confidence inspiring on the downhills. It feels very much like a Chilly, minus the forgiveness of the extra travel and bullishness. I have a 36t front ring so I can accelerate even when already going pretty fast and you really feel the bike shoot forward. Oh and did I mention the thing can turn? Does even better when the bike gets faster.
Yeah, this is no DH bike. You can still go fast but you REALLY have to pick your lines. You don't want to be bottoming this thing out in full on chunk. I've hit some smaller drops to flat and some bigger drops to tranny but you run into it's limits pretty quickly. Definitely not what the bike is intended for.
The Yeti ASR5C is a similar type of bike. I'd say it's more XC than Trail but it does have a 67 HA, and a thru-axle, and a 140mm fork so it's not pure XC. Besides weight the Endo out classes it in every other department. Way stiffer, WAY more fun on the downhills, easier to throw around, more forgiving, better suspension traits, about the same climbing but a better peddler overall. After awhile you really noticed the wallow and feedback from the single pivot action. Nothing crazy but definitely noticeable.
Yes, these are 2 totally different bikes. I've done a few rides with the Chilly interspersed with my Endo binge and it really brings to light how different they are. The Chilly plows over things and digs in deep while the Endo zips over and around things. You can hammer the Chilly straight into a steep granite slab and power up things, with the Endo you really have to finesse the same move but it's not as draining finishing it off. The Chilly gives you forgiveness when you pop off a lip and land funny while on the Endo you better be on your game because that same pop throws you more than you were expecting. You love having the light, fast zippy Endo at the beginning of the ride but at the end your wishing for the plushness and traction of the Chilly while you punish your crushed legs through the last few rock gardens. So both are awesome bikes and are great tools to have in the arsenal.
Overall this is a superfun bike. I'm finding it more of my goto bike even with my chunky terrain. There are times when I'm riding that I wish I had the Chilly's forgiveness or I'm wishing I had it to hit the big jump/drop/ttf but I'm generally stoked to have the lighter zippier Endo. This bike is totally in it's element on the faster flower climbier all day kind of rides but can easily hang when the trail turns ragged.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: Endo in New England Review