What is the difference between Enduro bike and Trail bike?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

TRAIL VS ENDURO

BIKE COMPARISON

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ICAN P1

icancycling_p9

ICAN P9

If you're new to mountain biking, and even if you're not, then you might be confused by the difference between a trail bike and an enduro bike. To be confused is understandable, as, at first glance, both styles look pretty similar. Once you take a more in-depth look, though, you'll be able to quickly see the differences and work out if you need a trail bike or an enduro bike. Sit down, and we'll guide you through the choice you need to make for buying your next mountain bike.

Quick Guidance

  • Mountain Bike Standards

  • What is an Enduro Bike and What is a Trail Bike?

  • What About the Wheelbase Difference on an Enduro Bike and Trail Bike?

  • Should I Pick an Enduro Bike or a Trail Bike?

Mountain Bike Standards

Mountain biking has been growing phenomenally over the last decade. The growth has led to lots of new standards and lots of new styles of riding. Some of these new styles already existed. It was just that bikes started to get designed around how people rode as opposed to what professional riders needed.

The growth has seen 26" wheels grow into 29" wheels then shrink to 27.5" wheels, then to a mix of 27.5" wheels and then back to 29" wheels. We've seen pressfit bottom brackets appear. Head angles have got slacker, but set tubes have gotten steeper. Suspension has developed more travel. Mountain bikes are no longer rigid bikes similar to road bikes but dream machines that make riding offroad fun.


All of these changes, though, are what have caused enduro bikes to evolve from trail bikes.

What is an Enduro Bike and What is a Trail Bike?


The definition of a trail bike for many people is quite nebulous. The simple definition we like is that a trail bike is a more fun XC bike. It is a bike that can climb but really wants to be flicked around on the downhill section of trails. Similarly, an enduro bike is like a downhill bike that can be ridden uphill.


For these types of mountain bikes to be able to be ridden in this manner, there are a few differences that set them apart. The first difference is the easiest one to see, and for many people, it is the most significant difference between an enduro bike and a trail bike.

Enduro Bike Suspension Versus Trail Bike Suspension

Enduro bikes have more suspension travel than trail bikes. An enduro bike will generally have between 140 and 180 mm of travel. A trail bike will have up to 140 mm of travel. A quick rule of thumb here is that because of the longer travel an enduro bike will favor heading down a trail over being a truly efficient climbing machine.

ICAN P1 Travel

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ICAN P9 Travel

The reason for this is enduro racing. Enduro racing involves both climbing and descending trails. You are, though, only timed on the descents. In between the timed descents, you'd have transfer stages, which would include climbing. These transfers generally have a time limit, but the time taken does not affect your overall time. Since you're only timed on the downhill section, it makes more sense to use a big that is designed to make downhills faster.


Trail bikes are not about competition. They are more for going out and having a blast on local trails with your friends. Generally, here you'll be wanting a fun bike, not a race beast. You'll want a bike that can handle drops and still be a dream to climb.


It is also worth noting that enduro is now the name used for all-mountain. These terms are pretty interchangeable. All-mountain bikes conjure up images of flying off cliffs and firing down steep slopes. The extra squish available on an enduro bike means that you'll still be able to do this if you don't want to race. The additional travel is helping to make sure that you stay on your bike and not be spending your time meeting the trail with your face.

Enduro Bike Versus Trail Bike Head Angle

Geometry plays a part in the difference between trail bikes and enduro bikes, and one of the most important numbers is the head tube angle. Your head tube angle is the angle of the head tube in relation to the ground. 90° would be a right angle and, therefore, super steep. Going down from 90° makes your head tube angle slacker. The way to think of your head tube angle in relation to riding is that the steeper the angle, the better the bike climbs. The slacker the angle, the slower your steering, and the bike will have a longer wheelbase. These make your bike more stable and more fun when descending.

ICAN P1 Geometry

ICAN P1 Geometry

ICAN P9 Geometry

ICAN P9 Geometry

Now, if we look back on our suspension travel and include the fact that adding travel to suspension will also slacken a head angle, then we can see that an enduro bike will have a slacker head angle than that found on a trail bike. The slacker angle forces your front wheel out, and this is one of the reasons why the wheelbase is longer.


Remember though. The slacker angle will make your mountain bike harder to climb. That is one of the reasons a trail bike will have a steeper head tube angle. The easier a bike is to climb, the more fun you'll have on your day in the saddle.

What About the Wheelbase Difference on an Enduro Bike and Trail Bike?

We've mentioned that an enduro bike will have a longer wheelbase than a trail bike. One of the reasons for this is the 

slack head tube angle. The next is the longer travel of the fork. The final way to create a longer wheelbase is to create a longer frame.


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In days gone by, bikes used to have their chainstays lengthened to make this happen. Now bike manufacturers tend to lengthen the top tube rather than the chainstays. The benefits here are that the bike is easier to throw around with the rear wheel close to the seat tube, and you have more room to move your body around when you're descending at speed.

Bottom Bracket Height on an Enduro Bike Versus a Trail Bike

An enduro bike will generally have a higher bottom bracket height than that of a trail bike. There is a simple reason for this. The longer travel suspension helps to raise the height of the bottom bracket. Now, the thing to remember is that this number can change due to the number on a spec sheet being static, but when you're on the bike, it is a little more dynamic.


Your weight can change the height of your bottom bracket. The reason for this is that your tires will sag when you sit on the bike. Your tire sag can be affected by the pressure your on your tires at as well. Your suspension sag will also affect this number.

Should I Pick an Enduro Bike or a Trail Bike?

If you love going big and burly, then you'll want an enduro bike. If you're going to go ride with your buddies for skids in the woods, then you'll probably want to get a trail bike. The good news is that we have two perfect options for you.

The ICAN P9 Enduro Bike

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The ICAN P9 is the perfect enduro bike to help you tame the gnarliest of terrain. ICAN is gaining fame in the road bike world for its high-end carbon fiber frames at a price that most of us can afford. The good news is that these qualities can be found in the enduro focused P9.


Being constructed from Toray T700 and T800 carbon fiber means that we can use a word that is not often used to describe enduro bikes. We can describe the P9 as light. On transfer stages, you'll save energy when riding the P9 to the next downhill stage. Helping you to set fast times, especially with a 160 mm RockShox Lyrik and 150 mm rear travel through a RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 helping to keep you rubber side down.


For flying downhills, you'll find that P9 comes with a 66° head tube angle. Slack enough to make sure that the bike loves flowing downhill but not slack enough to make pedaling back uphill a complete chore. A slacker head angle means that the bike truly performs when you get it up to speed, heading down. Exactly what you need if you want to race enduro.


To make the bike flickable and help you keep your speed up round berms, you'll find a rear chainstay length of 452 mm. Bringing in the rear wheel allows you to throw the bike around and keep manuals from being a pain rather than out and out fun. It also offers just enough length to keep the bike stable when your jumping big doubles or redlining downhill. 

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The ICAN P1 Trail Bike

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The ICAN P1 is constructed from Toray T700 carbon fiber and is designed to help you slay your local trails. Like our P9 enduro bike, it is a high-end bike at a price that us mere mortals can afford. With a 130 mm RockShox Yari paired with 130 mm RockShox Monarch, you'll find your local trails quivering in fear from your bike.


One of the crowning jewels of both the P9 and P1 is that out the box, they come with carbon fiber wheels. Both bikes come with Toray T700 AM rims. These wheels will help you conquer slops but will also be more than strong enough to survive the toughest of descents, and how many bikes straight out the box come with wheels you don't need to upgrade?

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The P1 comes with a steeper head tube angle, 68.5°, than the P9. The steeper head angle means that you don't quite need to be going at rocketship speeds downhill to make the P1 a lot of fun. It also helps to keep you in an excellent position for climbing. You don't want your front wheel lifting and wasting your energy for skids and manuals down a hill.

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ICAN P1 Tail Head Tube

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ICAN P9 Enduro Head Tube

Comparative Summary

Talking about manuals, the P1 comes with shorter chainstays than the P9, 443 mm. You'll find this makes it possible to manual the P1 at slower speeds. You may prefer a shorter back end for more technical trails where you have to lift the front wheel over obstacles. It makes Scandanavian style flicks a piece of cake.


One of the crowning jewels of both the P9 and P1 is that out the box, they come with carbon fiber wheels. Both bikes come with Toray T700 AM rims. These wheels will help you conquer slops but will also be more than strong enough to survive the toughest of descents, and how many bikes straight out the box come with wheels you don't need to upgrade?

ICAN P1 Chain Stay

ICAN P9 Chain Stay

Now you know the difference between an enduro bike or a trail bike, and you'll find it easier to get the bike that suits you. So is it a P9 or a P1 for you?

  • Sep 16, 2020
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0
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