It's that time again! Time for another Steed Cycles staff bike check. Part of the allure of working in a bike shop is access to really cool bikes and parts, and being able to build some really sweet and interesting bikes. The last couple of years have been a little tricky in that regard, but we're finally back at a place where we can build ourselves and our customers some awesome bikes.
This week we're looking at Ben's custom-built Specialized Enduro. This story starts with tragedy but ends in triumph, as just over a year ago Ben's Norco was stolen from his storage locker in his apartment's basement. Thanks to having a great insurance plan, Ben got a generous payout to cover a new bike, and so he decided to custom build his dream bike - a Specialized Enduro with Fox Factory suspension. Built up from frame-only in the stunning Satin Blue colour, Ben had the frame Ridewrapped but it still retains the blue/purple shift.
Specialized's Enduro does what it says on the tin. Despite being around a lot longer than the race discipline, it is their flagship Enduro bike, both the discipline and the bike having evolved a lot over the years. The current iteration of the bike runs 170mm travel front and rear - it's a real sled of a bike, with the capability of winching the rider to the top of the mountain, it's happiest when it's going back down. A big plush bump-eater of a bike, it truly is a capable machine that does an incredible job of ironing out even the gnarliest trails.
With a bit of time waiting for parts while building this bike, Ben was able to make some pretty fun spec choices. Starting with suspension, Ben decided that since the Enduro is all about ground-tracking bump-devouring performance, that it makes sense to put good money into high-end suspension and to go down the Fox Factory route. For the fork, he's running a 170mm Fox 38 Factory with the orange lowers because Factory - it'll be big and stiff enough to handle anything from Seymour shuttles to days in the bike park. Out back he went for the new Fox DHX Factory with an SLS spring, giving that supple coil feel but without all the mind-boggling damping combinations of the DHX2 but still a useful range of adjustments and a 2-position climb switch.
For Drivetrain Ben is running Sram's GX AXS wireless electronic groupset. Bringing wireless shifting to the masses it's relatively affordable as far as wireless shifting goes and really tidies up the look of the bike, as well as being a whole load easier to fit and maintain, especially for the home-mechanic. GX eagle is one of those price-meets-performance groupsets where it performs well enough that it wouldn't be out of place on a race bike, but it's affordable enough to spec on almost anything without getting upset if you smash a derailleur every now and then because let's face it, it happens. For cranks, Ben is running Raceface's sexy new Turbine cranks with their CNC machining and anodized black finish. Truly a classy touch.
Keeping things rolling are a custom set of wheels that we built up for Ben. At the time, parts were scarce but we made the most meaning he couldn't get matching coloured hubs, but he did manage to make them match the bike in some way. Rocking a set of Raceface Vault hubs, they feature a massive hub shell with chunky bearings - a great base for a stiff and strong enduro wheel build. That big hub shell also leaves room for a massive ratchet ring, meaning a nice strong drive connection and many points of engagement. A blue front hub matches his frame, and silver rear hub matches 50% of his spokes.
For maximum style points we built the wheels with alternating black/silver spokes and nipples. A subtle but really nice custom touch. Finishing the build off are DT Swiss M502 rims - strong, light-ish and affordable. The cheaper version of the excellent EX511 rims, the M502 is pinned rather than welded and has spoke eyelets, but shares the same rim profile and DT Swiss build quality, making a really good budget-minded option for a tough wheel build.
For brakes Ben opted for the ubiquitous Sram Code RSC. One of our favourite brakesets for a reason, they have amazing power and modulation and are incredibly reliable. Other finishing touches include a OneUp carbon handlebar and stem combo for their vibration-damping ability. A super reliable OneUp V2 dropper post, all of which makes Ben extremely happy.