Everyone knows what basketball, football, or tennis is. They're the world's biggest and most popular sports. Some have an insight into what motocross is, or perhaps a select few know what downhill racing is all about.
But when asked if they know what enduro MTB is, for sure, you’ll get a rising eyebrow or worse, a snub. Why is this so? Well, it’s because it’s an underrated sport, literally speaking.
In fact, it isn’t even yet included by sports bookmakers in top online betting sites such as Connecticut sports betting.
Let’s put it this way, enduro MTB or enduro for short is one of the three major disciplines in mountain biking, with downhill and cross-country being the other two. There are other disciplines too such as dirt jump, trials, and free ride, but we won’t delve into those for now.
Smash down insanely gnarly and steep World Cup tracks in downhill with a couple of jumps, drops, and skids, while on the other hand, you put your body to extreme cardiovascular pressure while racing across miles of varying terrain when you’re into cross-country biking or XC.
The thing is, most of us want a balance between those two worlds. You can’t pedal a DH bike up a mountain, and you surely don’t want to ride an XC race bike on a downhill track. But what about those of us who just want to be in the “middle”?
Well, that’s where enduro kicks in.
The simplest definition of this insanely fun sport is timed downhill runs and untimed uphills. Racing is done in a series of mostly downhill stages. The one who finishes fastest is the winner, and the gap between its so-called special stages is called transitions or liaisons. They’re untimed but are set with time limits.
Also, take note that it isn't enduro if the timed stages aren’t very downhill-y. Specifically speaking, enduro races should have uphill phases of no more than 10% to 15% of the entire track.
The point of this is convenience. Of course, you wouldn’t want to race a 30-pound enduro bike with 170mm of travel fork and rear shock and dual-ply 2.4 tires on a flat field or gnarly uphill trail.
The same goes the other way if you’re showing up on a race with a 20-pound carbon XC bike. It’s either you or your bike that gets broken.
Road cyclists or XC bikers take aerodynamics seriously. Yes, this law of physics might have a factor on speed, but it’s simply useless in enduro or downhill racing. Enduro and other gravity disciplines are all about skill.
Riding through gnarly sections full of jagged rocks and decomposing roots along the side of a 50-foot drop cliff is pretty intimidating. Air flow is simply out of the equation when you’re racing in terrains like this.
Instead, enduro MTB requires you to get a good set of full-face helmets (half-shell trails will do), full-finger gloves, and of course, the ole’ important knee pads. Be comfortable with what you wear. Any dri-fit tops, long-sleeve or short-sleeve will do, and couple it with a set of weather-proof enduro-specific shorts.
So there you have it — a short, but in-depth guide on what this exhilarating and adrenaline-filled sport is all about.
If you find it interesting, then feel free to try it yourself. There are a number of budget-friendly enduro bikes out in the market.
Just remember always to ride safe.
Oh, and yes, prepare to spend countless hours in the trail. Because we tell you, this sport is highly addictive. Trust us.
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