After a couple hundred miles on my new 05 Enduro Pro (Large), I've finally found a good setup. I weigh in at 230lbs with all my gear. I prefer rough/technical/challenging downhill more than climbing, but still want a bike that can do both well. These adjustments are what works for me...
Tires: I'm still running the stock Specialized Enduro Pro tires that came with the bike. They seem to work well, and are relatively lightweight. At 30psi the tires would squirm under cornering loads. At 40psi they were good but skipped around too much over fast/rough trails. I'm currently running them at 35psi in the front, 38psi in the rear.
5th Element AIR: I haven't had any problems with this shock, but it always seems too soft. I use 1/3 of the travel in sag, and can bottom out the shock on big hits. But when I do bottom it out it isn't harsh or noticeable, i can only tell by the O-ring on the shaft that shows max movement. I run this at it's max recommended pressure: 125psi in the IFP, 170 in the Main chamber. I'm also running the Rebound 2.5 turns IN, which is halfway.
Fox 36 RC2: A good lightweight freeride fork. The air spring definitely ramps up and prevents any harsh bottoming out. Actually, I can't seem to bottom out at my current settings. I'm also not using much (any) sag in the fork currently. However, if i lower the spring pressure much more, it seems to be too squishy in the middle of it's travel. The recommended air pressure (according to the manual per my rider weight) is 83psi. This was way too much for me, and I'm currently running 70psi.
The LOW speed compression is set to only 1 click in, and the HIGH speed compression is set to 3 clicks in. I know this is very minimal, but it allows the fork to absorb the rough-rocky terrain as well as land big jumps very plushly (is that a word?). There isn't much brake dive, much less than the 03 Super T I'm coming off of. And it still pedals well with little bob.
The Rebound is currently set to 8 clicks in. Over fast terrain I'll speed it up a couple clicks to allow the fork to follow the ground better.
The Travel Adjustment works as long as I have pressure on the fork. Otherwise it will stick sometimes. I've only used this a few times on long climbs, and it makes a noticeable difference how well the front tire tracks when climbing. And if you leave it in the short travel mode when descending the fork still works very well.
My frame came with both shock shuttle/mounts. One "Low BB" one "High BB". The Low one I used for a DH race on a smooth course, and it worked well. The bike really railed the corners and was easy to lean. I have since put in the High BB, and like it even more. While it doesn't allow as much leaning, it does give me a better climbing position and better pedal/ground clearance.
On the note of pedal clearance - Even in the High BB position, I've noticed that I smack the pedals more often than my previous bike. This is probably due to the fact that I'm not used to the lower BB height (compared to my previous bike), and also because I sag into a lot of the rear wheel travel. I've just got to be more careful when picking my lines and watch out for rocks when pedaling through technical sections.
Ever hear the expression, "Jack of all trades, Master of none." Well this is that bike. It climbs well, is comfortable on epic rides, easily can compete in Sport level DH events, and even pedals nicely over pavement. I'm impressed that my bike weighs in at a reasonable 33lbs stock (with pedals). The parts spec is great, the only upgrade thus far is a set of SAINT triple cranks instead of the XT it would normally come with.
I have 2 complaints so far; rear tire clearance and paint finish. First, the rear tire clearance is great, IF you aren't running a front derailleur. Otherwise the derailleur comes within 1/8 inch of the stock tire in the small chain ring. If the rim goes out of true, it could easily rub the derailleur. I bought this frame to accommodate tires up to 2.5", but cannot fit them when using a small chain ring.
Second, the frame has an anodized finish, which looks pretty good with the matching fork. However, it scratches very easily. Generally an anodized finish resists scratching very well, but this is obviously an inexpensive application. Don't expect it to hold up better than a good powder coat. The only thing that saves this finish is that it is a satin/matte/wrinkle finish, and light scuffs won't show as easily as with a polished frame.
Overall, I'm happy with my purchase. The bike suits my riding style much better than my previous bike. I'll probably lighten the bike further with a seat post, handlebars, and stem. Maybe I'll even play around with a triple-chain guide.
Thats all for now, let's go ride.
PS - I would like to thank Wherewolf. His purchase of a new Specialized helped show me the latest designs and quality from Specialized that I might not have recognized before. THANKS!
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