There’s little doubt that in Italy Enduro mountain biking is getting more and more popular. A whole series of new races are appearing on the calendar each year, with more and more professional riders trying their luck to get to the top of the ranking. Similarly, more and more bikes are being designed and built specifically for Enduro mountain biking.
Open a bike magazine or a visit an online forum and you’ll sure to find endless reports and pictures about this new area of mountain bike riding. But just what does ‘Enduro’ riding involve? And what exactly is all the fuss about?
There are a number of questions you can ask about Enduro riding. You might think you have to be a hip youngster to try it. Maybe you’re even already an Enduro rider without even realizing. And if not, just how do you go about trying it out? Luckily, we’re here to help you find out more.
Italy is well known to be a country of bike racing fanatics. The Italians are always racing, wherever they can find a stretch of road or track to do it. Even though the road bike is their traditional bike of choice, it was in Italy Enduro mountain biking first started to appear.
It is the home of the ‘SuperEnduro’ (www.superenduromtb.com) a race that’s even more than just Enduro. It’s a killer combination of cross country and gravity endurance. It’s never fun to ride up steep hills but imagine doing it up a huge cross country track. Imagine the bike equivalent of a marathon and then times it by ten. That’s roughly the kind of pain we’re talking about.
As most enduro courses have some downhill sections too, you may be asking yourself how this is different to normal mountain biking. When describing it, it does sound very similar but there are some key differences.
Just check out the SuperEnduro series, with races all over Italy finishing up at the famous Liguria seaside, to see why. Riders come from all over the world creating a really special atmosphere. Ahead of the main race is the ‘prologue’, a short ride through the middle of town backed by a soundtrack of pumping beats and cheering spectators. But this is just a little fun taster of what’s to come the following day, which quickly gets a lot more serious.
It’s on race day that you start to get an idea of what Enduro is all about. The track combines 1,500 metre climbs with several demanding downhill stages. Racers often climb together but once they reach the start of the downhill sections, the real competition is on, as they head off on timed descents.
Full protection gear is mandatory and most riders will use full suspension to manage the really tough downhill sections.
Enduro racing is exhausting. The uphill sections are not timed like the downhills and can be tackled at your own pace. That’s pretty much the only saving grace here as when you’ve got full suspension and several pounds of heavy-duty protective clothing on, it’s not exactly easy to kick back and enjoy the view.
Enduro is a interesting mix of great atmosphere, community spirit, tough trails and tougher competition. Essentially it takes the very best from several other forms of mountain bike riding and fuses it together.
More and more riders across Italy and Europe are modifying their bikes to take on Enduro racing. Wide handlebars, maneuverable seat posts and strong brakes are essential for anyone thinking of giving it a go. But be careful because once you start getting into the Italy Enduro mountain biking scene, you might just end up getting hooked.