Five things that weren't cool - until enduro happened
Since being invented as a rally-style mountain bike race format by some fast Frenchmen, enduro has taken over the mountain bike world. The surge of interest has also led to a whole load of enduro specific products and fashions, some of which we're pretty sure we've seen before.
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So, come with us as we journey through just a few things that were decidedly uncool before someone dug them up, dusted them off and shoehorned the word 'enduro' into them...
1. The hip pack
Also known as the bum bag or, much more hilariously for non-Americans, the fanny pack, this is an item of luggage that was incredibly popular during the 1990s, both off the bike and on it. Since then it's been mostly been associated with fashion-free American tourists noisily pointing at stuff in historic cities across Europe and further afield.
However, given the enduro racer's need to carry spares and clothing without wanting the full bulk of a backpack, the bum bag has been rebranded as the 'hip pack' and has become increasingly popular in normal trail riding too. In fact, we do like an enduro fanny pack here at off.road.cc...
2. Goggles and an open lid
To be honest, we're not sure if this one is cool, even now, but it's certainly grown in popularity since those 1990s mountain bike pioneers decided that racing cross-country in a set of massive Oakley goggles with face dust mask and open helmet with a cover on it was a cool and chill thing to do.
Nowadays, it's a look sported everywhere the sweet call of enduro is heard, with a particularly high density in the woods of Surrey - it's just something to do with mountain bike riders there, we heard.
3. Pedalling long-travel bikes uphill
Rewind a few years and things were pretty simple in the mountain bike work. Those that wanted to push their limits on descents bought downhill bikes and pushed them to the top before plummetting back down, all dressed in baggy moto gear. Those that wanted to push their fitness bought cross-country bikes and rode them up and down hills for mile upon mile wearing lycra. Each was a distinct tribe and crossover was infrequent.
Along came enduro and suddenly the cross-country crowd had bought big travel bikes and the downhillers were out riding all day on shorter travel bikes. Suddenly, you needed to be cross-country fit and downhiller fast on descents and the normal tribal boundaries started to blur...
4. Convertible helmets
The first generation MET Parachute was a bit of safety kit that split opinion more effectively than the horrible/delicious brown goop that's left over from brewing beer. Loved by some, absolutely hated by many others, it allowed you to turn a kooky looking open helmet into a kooky looking full-face helmet by attaching a chin guard. Despite being sold for many years, it eventually fell out of production and nothing more was heard - even it's modern namesake dropped the convertible element and just went straight to being a lightweight full-facer.
However, many enduro races require you to wear a full-face helmet on the race stages, which can be a pain when going back uphill, when you're still required to wear a helmet. That means your options are to sweat a lot, carry two lids with you or have a helmet you can convert - something now offered by a whole load of different brands, including Bell, Uvex and Giro. The jury is still out on the looks...
5. Strapping loads of stuff to your bike
There was a time when the on bike accessories meant the sort of stuff a person that'd crashed their commuter through a bike shop and come out covered in bells, baskets, mirrors and at least four different cycle computers and phone mounts fixed to their bike, along with all the street cred that afforded, e.g. none whatsoever.
However, the enduro-ists aversion to a full-size pack (as above) meant that the bicycle was the ideal place to start hanging the stuff you needed, with water bottle mounts making a strong comeback, shortly followed by a plethora of straps to attach tubes and CO2 cartridges.
Onboard storage then went into overdrive with various toolkits that can be plugged into your steerer tube, crank axle or even the special butty box that lives in the downtube in the case of Specialized's SWAT storage on some bike models. There's even this neat Sahmurai Sword tubeless repair kit that fits in your bar plugs...
Heh, yup - I'm sure the enduro seat pack will come along soon enough - and be entirely different to what the roadies have been using for years...
But doesn't strapping your tube/multi-tool, CO2 inflator make them prone to getting covered in crap? What is the problem with a mini seat pack? Takes too long to get your bits out? Bet it's quicker than cleaning off crud from exposed spares etc.