I waited all last year to have a go on Pearce Cycles Enduro test bike, but it never happened, it must have been the most popular test bike ever. In fact, the only time I saw it back in the shop was when it came in for repair, and even then it was already booked out again. So when I had the chance of being the very first person to test the 06 bike, I took it.
The look of the 05 Enduro was radically different from previous years, and aimed at a different rider group. The 05 Enduro was now more of a freeride bike, and cross-country fans of the old style enduro were pointed toward the new Stumpjumper FSR. Travel front and rear had been incresed to 6 inches. The fox forks had a bolt through axle, while the beefier frame had the shock mounted much lower in the frame. It looked closer to a downhill bike than a cross-country machine. The main differences between the 05 and 06 models are the shock, which now has a ‘pro-pedal’ setting, the brakes, which are now Avid Juicys, and the gears, which are now Sram. As far as I know the chasis stays the same. Oh, and where the 05 test bike was a lovely bright yellow colour the 06 test bike is the most disgusting shitty brown colour imagineable.
Jumping onboard for a quick test of sag/suspension settings the bike felt good, it doesn’t show its 35lb weight. The Sram shifters worked pretty much like Shimano (apart from the levers being in different), and the Avids felt in need of bedding in. So, all set, riding gear on, and away.
I rode around Kinver, and the Million. After two hours of mixed singletrack, bridleway, lanes, and cheeky trails, my impression was…..
This is a great bike once the trail points downhill, even only slightly downhill, you pick up speed really fast, and the bike comes to life. It’s so easy to ride fast, and so well behaved. Places I normally have to ride with care, I just floated through. Even although the head angle is a lot slacker than my cross-country bike the Enduro was still accurate. But but but but but. I could go so fast so easily downhill that riding on the falt, or uphill felt rather dull. Try to hustle this bike along, and it’s hard work. Not to say that this bike can’t climb, it can, in fact riding up hill was very easy, and you could ride stuff sat down without thinking that you would have to ‘finesse’ on an XC HT. It’s just that you’d be going slower. Like wise on the flat, you float and flow along, but not in a hurry.
If you’re a downhiller, or extreme freeriding nutter, who can’t always get to uplift sessions, or who doesn’t want to ride where the uplift is, then this is the bike for you. It’s easy enough to ride to the top, and a blast to ride back down (which is why you’ll be doing it right?). Trouble is, you’ll end up going faster and faster, searching out even more radical terrain to satisfy your adrenalin addiction. Yeah, you’ll probably end up going to the Alps, or Spain where you’ll be able to ride downhill for an hour or more over incredibly technical terrain, and who wants to do that eh?