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Enduro Bike vs Trail Bike: Which is Right for You?

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

enduro bike vs trail bike

When selecting the right bike for mountain biking, the most powerful ones and often pitted against each other are the enduro bike and trail bike. These are mountain bikes designed to withstand tough and challenging roads.

But what is the difference between an enduro bike vs trail bike? Enduro bikes are well-fitted when you frequently ride downhill, while trail bikes can be both used on uphill and downhill climbs.

To get to know these bicycles more, read this detailed comparison.

What Are Enduro Bikes


An enduro mountain bike is becoming a popular type of bicycle among mountain bikers nowadays.

The bike is specifically designed to withstand the challenges and complexity of mountain biking, especially on a downhill slope.

Between enduro vs downhill bike, the former combines the prowess and technical capability of downhill biking along with a long trail ride while allowing more comfort when riding on technical tracks.

It can confidently descend as fast as it can on rough, steep, and gnarly downhill. It is a good MTB with a suspension between 150 to 200mm of travel.

Just like the enduro definition, these bikes are named due to their construction being highly durable, they are intended for a multi-stage bike racing format called enduro racing.

During the race, the bikers will climb up to the mountain and race then descend the trail as quickly as possible. The racer will be timed depending on how long they reach back down.

What Are Trail Bikes

Trail bikes are another category of bike used for mountain biking. They are generally full suspension bikes that can go around 130-150mm.

These trail bikes are your all-around mountain biking equipment.

You can conveniently use it for climbing a slope or even going downhill. They normally come in 29-inch wheels, providing better balance, stability, and efficiency during the ride.

When you compare trail bike vs mountain bike, trail bikes look bigger than other cross-country or MTBs.

You will also observe that a trail bike has enhanced sidewall protection and robust knobs to withstand tougher and more challenging terrain.

Differences Between Trail Bike Vs Enduro Bike


1. Geometrical design

Bike geometry directly influences the riding experience, comfort, aerodynamics, and the amount of force or power you need to exert when biking.

  • An enduro bike comes with extra durable components so you can ride it fast over technical and robust terrains. It has extended travel suspensions compared to a trail bike. They also have larger and more robust brakes intended for downhill riding.
  • Trail bike geometry demonstrates versatility since it needs to be ready for both upward and downhill rides. Trail bikes also come with smaller brakes and tires.

2. Frame

Both Enduro and trail bikes typically come with carbon and aluminum frames, the most durable and robust materials for race bikes.

For both bikes, carbon material is more suitable for extended use. As it hits hard rock and cracks, a carbon frame may bend but does not ultimately break. 

  • Carbon frames are lighter compared to aluminum and are made of very strong substances.
  • On the other hand, aluminum frames are much stronger but are irreparable compared to carbon frames. The lightest enduro bike you can find is those made of carbon.

3. Wheels

  • Typically, you will see bike wheels with a size of 29 inches. It is more common to have this size for an enduro bike.
  • However, for trail bikes, recent discussion among users, especially on reddit, that the said size is way bigger, especially when using airborne. Thus, some manufacturers produce trail bike wheels of around 27.5 inches.

4. Suspension System

  • For enduro bicycles, the suspension basically goes from 150 to 200mm of travel. This range goes beyond a basic trail bike, where it can maintain speed even in extremely difficult terrain.
  • Trail bicycles come with a single pivot suspension design for a consistent speed of travel. The rear axle is joined to the primary frame using a swing arm to move consistently while centering on the pivot point.

A single pivot suspension system is the simplest design you could ever have for a mountain bike. It is easy to maintain and can resist bottom out. It has less suspension travel than an enduro system for only about 130-150mm.

5. Dropper post

The dropper post is another component of an enduro bike and trail bike. With this part, the bike can go fast on steep and highly technical descents by simply hitting the bike lever and dropping the bike saddle. So, it is designed rather similarly for both bikes.

6. Brakes

  • Enduro bikes come with aggressive stopping power or braking systems. It can sustain downhill slopes and demonstrates a good balance of power and modulation.
  • Trail bikes have hydraulic disk brakes with a sealed fluid system that transfers braking force from the lever to the caliper. You will also notice a piston and a master cylinder that generally keeps the brake fluid intact.

7. Bottom Brackets

Another significant difference between an enduro bike and trail bike is the size of their bottom brackets.

It is the part of the bicycle which attaches the crankset to the bike, and enables it to rotate freely.

  • The bottom bracket of a trail bike usually runs around 25% sag on the bike’s rear shock and 20% sag on the fork.
  • Regarding enduro bikes, the sag is higher, with a range of 30 to 35%. Both bikes can enjoy excellent suspension performance when riding with the sag percentage.

If you have a 27.5-inch enduro bike, the bottom bracket is typically 4mm higher than a 27.5-inch trail bike. This also applies to a 29-inch enduro and trail bike.

8. Head Tube Angle

Both bikes can enjoy more stability with the following angle during high speeds and extremely tight trails.

  • An enduro bike has a head tube angle of 62-65 degrees.
  • This differs slightly from the trail bike with a 65-67 head tube angle.

Pros and Cons of Both Bikes

1. Enduro bike 

 What We Liked: 
  • Great for multi-stage bike racing

Enduro bikes are specifically designed for competition or racing. So, when you use enduro, it comes with a powerful and bigger gas tank to withstand challenging races. When you compare enduro vs all mountain, you will find it slightly heavier and larger.

  • More powerful

An enduro bike is mightier than a trail bike. It is equipped with robust and highly durable features intended for extreme racing. It also accelerates fast and is ideal for experienced bikers.

The bike typically comes at 450cc, meaning it has a higher horsepower range to accelerate or speed up very quickly.

  • Excellent braking system

Since it is intended for downhill riding, the enduro bike has an improved grip. It offers great stability and a high level of safety when using your bike.

 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Heavier and less maneuverable

It has larger components compared to other bikes. It has bigger tanks, wheels, and other features. As a result, it is harder to maneuver than a trail bike.

  • Designed for professional bikers

An enduro bike is not a beginner’s bike. It is made to cater to professionals and racers. Thus, you need mastery of biking skills to use this type of bike.

2. Trail bike

 What We Liked: 
  • All around bike

A trail bike is more versatile than an enduro bike. It can work best for riding tough terrains both uphill and downhill.

  • More lightweight

Since most of the accessories and parts of trail bikes are smaller, they tend to be lighter. The bikes are also compact and easier to maneuver. It has a moderately sized gas tank, so it can climb faster uphill.

  • Excellent braking system

Since people normally use the braking system in terrain with many stops, it comes with a brake that can wear the brake pads speedily.

 What We Didn’t Like: 
  • Not as quick as enduro bikes

Trail bikes do not accelerate more quickly. It has less horsepower since you do not need to go very fast when climbing a hill.


Can you ride an Enduro bike for cross country?

You can use an enduro bike for cross country. However, when climbing enduro bike, it will not work as excellently as a cross country bike uphill. Its 180mm suspension travel will specifically work perfectly for downhill rides.

Will you be riding more cross-country or trails?

Riding trails is preferable to cross country. It offers more versatility where you can use it across different terrains. No matter the slope, you can heavily depend on a trail bike, unlike cross country. You can be more adventurous with a trail bike than using a cross-country one.

Are Enduro bikes good for trail riding?

Enduro bikes are intended for multi-stage bike racing. Enduro bike as only bike for descents as it is particularly designed to withstand the challenges of riding on a downhill slope.

Thus it may not be great for trail riding. You can use it for trail riding, but it will not work as excellently as a trail bike intended for this purpose.


Mountain bikes come in various forms ranging from enduro vs trail vs XC. To not waste your money on expensive equipment, it is important to determine your purpose and lifestyle when buying an MTB.

Whether you love riding downhill, joining competitions, or prefer a versatile bike, there is a perfect bike. May this comparison give you better insights into if enduro bike vs trail bike suit your needs.

5/5 - (3 votes)