Back Issue | Specialized S-Works Enduro 650b Review
This year the American bike brand Specialized was not represented at Eurobike for the first time, and instead presented its new products before the show. Amongst them was the brand new Enduro 650b, which replaces the successful 26″ model.
S-Works models have one thing in common at Specialized: they represent the peak of the relevant product category. A superb parts spec on the S-Works Enduro 650b left absolutely no room for upgrades. Whether the SRAM XX1 gears, or the classy Roval Traverse SL Fattie carbon-rimmed wheels, every component impressed us with outstanding function.
But it’s not just the parts which are noticeable — if you take a look at the geometry chart, the super short 422 mm chainstays grab your attention. And even though you can’t reduce a bike’s handling to numbers, it is exactly this short rear end which defines the bike. Descending, the bike feels extremely agile, almost playful. At the same time, the slack head tube angle of
65.5 ° degrees delivers the necessary stability, keeping the bike on course even at high speeds.
The balanced handling is underscored with the high quality of the suspension, made up of the
RockShox Pike RCT3 fork and the new Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline shock. The latter does require a degree of patience and experience in set-up, but wows you with its great performance. The rear end of the bike feels very smooth and almost sticks to the ground like glue, yet still offers plenty of feedback. Diving is never a theme, even on the climbs, where the switch lever easily prevents any suspension bob.
The rider sits relaxed on the bike, and the low overall weight contributes to the feeling of light-footedness on the climbs. The tyre combination, made up of a Specialized Butcher front and new Slaughter rear tyre, impressed the testers in dry conditions with great grip and low rolling resistance.
Using the small golden lever on the Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline shock, drivetrain influence can be effectively suppressed. At the same time, the slower rebound damping generates more traction.
The Specialized Command Post dropper seatpost is reliable and solid, but was criticised by testers due to its setback saddle mount.
The new remote lever for the dropper post is positioned like a shift lever and is super easy to reach. It impresses with low actuation force and great ergonomics.
The new Specialized Slaughter tyres impressed the testers on the Ötztal trails. The flat middle knobs and strong side knobs achieved a great compromise of low rolling resistance and great cornering grip.
Wide and Classy:
Light, wide, and stiff — that’s how to best describe the new Roval Traverse SL Fattie wheels.
The 30 mm internal rim width allows the tyre to sit solidly on the rim and you feel less tyre movement.
What a bike! The Specialized Enduro 650b impresses with fantastic suspension performance and outstanding handling. No other bike manages to combine such agility and stability in one package. It comes at a price though … € 7.999 is a serious number!
Price: € 7,999
Weight: 12.50 kg
- Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air
- Shock: Cane Creek DB Inline
- Drivetrain: SRAM XX1
- Brakes: SRAM Guide RS Carbon
- Handlebars: S-Works All-Mountain 750mm
- Stem: Syntace F109 75mm
- Tyres: Specialized Butcher 2,3″ / Specialized Slaughter 2,3″
- Wheels: Roval Traverse SL Fattie
- Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IR
Größe: S / M / L (Tested) | Top tube (horizontal):610mm | Seat tube: 74,5°| Chainstays:422mm | Head tube: 65,5°| Wheelbase: 1188mm Reach: 443mm | Stack:603mm | Wheelsize: 27.5″
Text & Photos: Christoph Bayer