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Enduro Vs. All-mountain (Is There a Difference?)

These two terms are very often used online in different mountain biking discussions and many people wonder which type of bike is better or to put it more precisely what is the difference between the two.

All-mountain is the type of bike used to race in enduro events, now they are called enduro bikes. These two terms describe the same type of mountain bike and many types are used wrongfully in discussions, leaving the readers with the impression that there are two types of bikes.

Is All Mountain the Same as Enduro?

MTB jumping over a pile of logs
All-mountain MTB

Yes, all-mountain is the former name of enduro bikes until the industry settled for the name enduro bikes.

It all began with the intention of creating a mountain bike capable of riding any terrain possible, for this reason, they were called all-mountain because they are meant to overcome the roughest of trails while still being able to climb the hill.

The main focus of enduro bikes is obtaining the best time downhill because the uphill portions of enduro events aren’t timed but are different from downhill bikes because they still need to have some uphill riding capabilities.

If you want to know what are the differences between the main types of mountain bikes I encourage you to read this article!

Can You Use an Enduro Bike for Downhill?

An enduro bike is perfectly capable to ride downhill but if you are competing in a downhill event you will have a slight disadvantage which needs to be compensated by your skill level.

Using an enduro bike in downhill events will require you to be a little bit more careful when you pick your lines, yes your bike will put you at a slight disadvantage compared to your rivals riding downhill bikes but you can still overcome it with your skills.

The enduro bike is more versatile and will allow you to easily explore more parts of the bike park but on techy stiff descents and big landings is where the downhill bike truly shines.

The downhill bike is like a tank that will give you great confidence no matter how technical the trail is but when it comes to trails that are filled with flowy sections and turns a downhill bike will hold you back compared with an enduro bike.

The bigger travel of downhill bikes will truly shine when you land those big and fun jumps that are a big part of the experience of riding in a bike park.

Can You Race Enduro on a Trail Bike?

Racing enduro on a trail bike will put you at a big disadvantage because the increased climbing capabilities of your trail bike will mean nothing because the uphill portion is untimed and your bike geometry and shorter travel suspension will hold you back.

Practically you will have to compensate for your bike’s disadvantages when it comes to technical downhills riding with your skill level, so you really need to be a good rider, much better than your opponents to finish the event in a good position.

If you are an average rider I don’t recommend participating in enduro events with a trail bike, you may find yourself in very tough spots and you may take bigger risks than you anticipate.

Keep in mind that some enduro events are really technical and if you need to ride on a rainy day the trail may push your bike to its limits and you may end up crashing and not being able to ride for months.

Very good riders even go with hardtails on enduro events to test themselves but remember we are talking about veterans with a very impressive skill level, not the average joe.

Enduro is very gear dependent but still, the rider’s skill level is more important than the bike.

Conclusion

Many people think that enduro and all-mountain are two different types of bikes but stay calm they are not.

Even the lines between long travel trail bikes and enduro bikes are a bit blurry, there is little place to include a different bike category between the two.

If you really want to get the right bike for you, knowing which trails you will be mostly riding is a must, mountain bikes these days have become very specialized and there isn’t a bike that will be the best for all types of trails.

If you plan to race you need the get the designed bike for that type of race but if you are a recreational rider you don’t need to get the perfect bike just get a mountain bike that you think is suited for your riding style and ride. Of course, don’t just blindly pick one but know that you can ride almost any type of trail even if you don’t have the most efficient bike for the job.

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I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.