It was the first morning of the 2008 Interbike Demo and with temps in the low to mid 80’s with a slight breeze I was ready to roll. But what to ride, what to ride? Like a kid in a candy story with mom’s wallet I went straight for the money bike – the 2008 Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon SL. And money it was.
A quick note on the service. I’ve gotta say that the Specialized booth was one of the best demo booths that I experienced with friendly staff, very fast fulfillment of a demo bike and what looked like a dialed system for getting people sized, shocks filled properly, pedals on and out the door with speed. Some booths were complete junk shows but this experience before getting on the bike left an impression.
Riding the Enduro Pro Carbon SL as my first bike of the show wasn’t really fair to all other bikes I would ride as the bar was set high. Dubbing the bike, “Dr. Smooth” I must have commented multiple times to Jason how much it felt like a Caddy but responded like a Porsche.
Quick Review of the 2008 Specialized Enduro Pro Carbon SL
Going into the show the Enduro had seen some momentum with a reputation for being a solid bike. One technical aspect that achieves a ride worth talking about has to do with the TSI (Total Suspension Integration) approach to building this bike.
Essentially they develop the chassis, suspension design and components in unison rather than toss together pre fabricated parts in hopes that the combination will yield a good ride. The goal of this approach? To give you better control over any trail and that’s exactly what I found. Both climbing, which I enjoy quite a bit, and descending the ride was smooth and stable with maximum absorption of the varied terrain that Bootleg Canyon dished up.
The front and rear shocks are Specialized with the rear shock adjusting on the fly (if you’re a talented rider). The FutureShock forks have a spring and damping rate that are tuned specifically to the geometry of the bike they are built for. This makes all 6″ of travel work in your favor without ever really nearing the “bottom” but not giving up any precision in steering either. I was stoked at how nimble yet how stable this bike was going around tight corners and shooting through S-curves with speed. And the carbon frame helps to lighten and dampen things up.
The rear FSR geometry features 4 pivot points that keep the suspension independent and active throughout all riding styles – weather you’re coasting, climbing or descending hard, it’s built to keep the tire on the ground and your pedal force and momentum moving forward rather than downward.
The Bottom Line
Believe the hype. All the engineering and technical lingo adds up to a very smooth and forgiving ride that can take on any terrain or speed. Although it boast 6″ of travel and may make the cross country crowd steer clear, all around I think this bike is designed with enough forgiveness and features to be your one and only. This coming from a guy who is a roadie that loves to climb, that’s saying something.
Find a retailer near you on Specialized.com to get your hands on any of the Enduro models. The Enduro Pro Carbon SL that I rode and as pictured comes in at $5400 fully loaded.
If you’re interested in more technical images and verbage in a informative slide-show go to the Specialized Suspension Museum.
I know you guys loved the 08 Yeti 575 too. Either the 575 or the Enduro SL will be my next bike. Care to compare and contrast the two for strengths/weaknesses? Thanks!
@cocheese – man, that is a very tough question. The Enduro SL was the first bike that I rode and the Yeti 575 was the last one. I was suprised at how similar the two bikes felt. Let’s see 575 weaknesses…there aren’t any?
Ha, actually in comparing the two bikes the one thing that may be intagible but stood out was that the Enduro SL felt more “stiff” and rode like a bullet bike – fast and smooth yet very responsive. The 575 was more “supple” and the ride was smooth over all terrain. If I was going to ride fast and hard most all of the time I’d grab the Enduro SL. If I was doing more technical and tough rides where speed was moderate more than “balls to the walls” the 575 would fit that style a bit better.
Does that help or just muddy the waters even more?
I am a very happy brazilian owner of an Enduro SL. This bike is the best bike I ever rode, and I am 47 years old. I`ve ridden Cannondale, Kona, Merida, Caloi, Monark, Dahon, etc…
This bike is resistant, it is amazingly light, it has lots of different controls on suspension so you can edit it to suit your personnal way of riding. You dont get tired, no matter how long you ride. It climbs wonderfully well, it descends even better. Thanks God I could by this bike, and mainly thanks to you people at Specialized for having manufactured such a MAGNIFICENT bike.
My last bike = Whyte 46
My Present bike = Specialized Enduro S.L. Carbon Pro
My Next bike = Yeti 5.75 Pro build
My Dream bike = Santa Cruz Nomad
Any body else see a patern building here , 6 inchers – I just love -em.
I have The Enduro SL 08, and i need to tell you all that you will never say the word sorry that you get this bike, with this bike you will never stop, the amazing suspension and the F150 controls, this bike will go up and descends like god is with you for the ride,Specialized Enduro SL is just for the best that need the BEST.
Bennett – Thanks for the feedback on the bike. Sounds like you’re in love! You basically summed up my review in one comment.
I have had my 08 sworks SL for 2 years in Sept. I love it as much now as when it was straight out of the box. Recently upgraded the seat post to the command post. Thought about changing, but to what? Interested to see the ’10 enduro. The E150 is great, get it serviced and it will live on.
Great to hear! Yeah, not much in the way of need to upgrade, but I’ll keep an eye on the 2010 models going into Interbike.
Hi interesting comments above. For my sins i have both an alloy and a carbon version . The alloy bike was bought brand new and had a very spotted early life 3 months of absolute bliss then continuous fork failure which didnt deter me from buying the carbon model second hand which coinsided with specialized sorting the forks on the alloy bike and as a bonus they helped out with an upgrade for the other bike end result TWO great bikes that have subtly different ride qualities. To date havent ridden anything that makes me want to fork out a lot of $ to maybe be better than what i already have. I get some interesting lines from bike shops about why the new models are better so far these machines are just as good if not better. Still keen to try 27.5 wheeled Genius or Intense though !!
Hi.27.5 wheels or bigger are a complete waste of time on any trails. 26inch is a proper biker’s wheel.both the rider and bike get a proper work out. Bigger wheels just roll over or bounce over terrain not what bikers are meant to do so guy’s sort your heads out and stop cheating yourselves out of the fun.
To each his own, but I’m not giving up my faster, grippier and funner 29er wheels.