Blog: 4.29.15’s 26" Enduro Bike V2

Posted on 29 Apr 20:02


Check out our latest enduro bike build. Listed below is the bike’s specification list, some notes on our thought process, and photos of the build. We have also included a handful of product links that we feel are great deals right now on used, closeout and new product. Overall this bike was built for fun. We know alot of shredders out there are asking themselves if they should upgrade from their 26” alloy bike to 27.5” carbon bike. We think the answer for most is to stick with the 26” alloy bike, and maybe make some well chosen upgrades. A few smartly chosen upgrades for your 26” bike will keep the fun to cost ratio in off the charts territory! This bike was built to showcase how a few upgrades to a great alloy 26” bike can produce a ride with highly desirable performance characteristics for shreddin’ your local trail.  

If you missed it, you can check out the 26” Enduro V1 build here:

Our 26” Enduro V2 build came in a little under  29 pounds. If we built up a carbon fiber bike we could certainly lose another pound or so. We still understand why the serious racer would want to do that, but we think for most riders it is difficult to make the case that to save a pound in weight and maybe have slightly larger wheels you need to replace your whole bike, especially when most of us (we will define “us” as mountain bikers who have been in the sport for more than a year) already have a pretty nice bike. 

Spec & Notes

Frame: 2013 Intense Tracer 2 6.5/5.5 travel 26”

We aquired this frame used as we did with the previous build. In comparison to the Tracer VP the Tracer 2 has a stiffer swingarm and the rear end is further siffened up by using a 142x12mm thru axle (as opposed to the bolt-on hub we were running in the 135mm quick release dropouts of the Tracer VP). The quality of the rear travel is also improved by running slightly lower leverage on the shock: 6” of rear wheel travel is the same but the stroke of the rear shock is 2.5” on the Tracer 2  versus 2.25” on the Tracer VP. We decided to go with a lighter shock the Fox Float CTD vs. the heavier big hit DHX 5 air.

We have always liked Santa Cruz Bicycles’ and Intense Cycles’ virtual pivot platform (VPP)

It delivers a unique plush feel, climbs well, and seems to unload forward.

We have sold a good number of used VPP style bikes: facebook photo album

Fork: Fox Float 36 RLC fit -

-No changes to the fork. Axles sizes may be changing around but there was nothing that made us feel like we absolutely needed to upgrade the fork. We do have some magnetic feelings about MRP’s Stage fork.

-We have always loved Fox’s suspension forks and shocks. We have noticed the FIT models sliders seem to get less oil so we try to keep ours oiled before each ride. The FIT cartridge does make the fork lighter. (RLC is unusual for the 36 fork, but we like the lockout and use it on the climbs)

Headset: Chris King 1.5” to tapered

has oversized bearings on bottom and top

Stem: 45mm stem (unknown manufacturer, a reader suggested it is a DMR model)

we like this stem because it has a really low stack height and looks like a direct mount stem

Handlebars: Level 9 Carbon race 31.8mm -

One of our favorite suppliers is located here in Bend, Oregon: Kenny at hooked us up on the bar and saddle for this build. RadSportUSA is another great cycling company that has chosen Bend, Oregon has their headquarters. Level 9  is a new brand we are excited about. The bar has a great shape, the bars are made in the same factory as some of your other favorites, and is very lightweight. We think you will be seeing a lot more bikes specced with Level 9 soon. Check them out at: and we will be listing them on soon! Thanks Kenny!

Saddle: SQLabs 611 active Ti -

WOW! we love this saddle - We often feel most bike saddle science is more sales pitch than science, not here. If you follow the fit process and get the right size this saddle does a better job of putting your weight on the “Sit” bones and not on the soft tissue. The saddle as seems to flex side to side at the right times to give more comfort. There are some cool features here also, the saddle came with two color trim kits: orange and black - we swapped ours out for the black trim (see photo) also there are 3 elastomer like inserts for the back of the saddle we started with the medium kit thinking we would would swap out to firm as the rider is 250lb but we ended up swapping out to the soft kit because it seemed to give the saddle more of the flex it has. That was even more of the good stuff. After riding with saddle our test rider felt noticeably less sore in the lower back area. This saddle line is definitely worth a try interesting tech here:

Brakes: Sram Guide RSC -

-We think this is THE BEST value in 4-piston hydro disc brakes. 4-piston give you the power and modulation you want and price won’t bust the wallet. Check out the deals we have on Guide brakes here:

-We think the R model at $199 a pair is a smokin’ deal - and the RSC model at $299 a pair is not bad either- The silver models say “Bling” to us (see the photos)

The RSC model (as opposed to the RS and R) has a new feature called contact point adjust which allows you to dial in the point where pads make contact - We are still playing with this one but we will let you know what we think.

-Shimano ICE-tech brakes were an innovation in  heat management tech, but we see other companies are stepping up their brake game. Kool-Stop are showing their tech in the heat management area. Check out  to see their new line of heat managment pads called Aero-Kool. We are stoked to be trying a set of Aero-Kool pads for the Sram Guide brakes on this build. We are not engineers here but we gotta beleive the pins on the Aero-Kool pads have way more heat sinking surface area than finned pads. We will be listing these pads for sale soon. We have no official connection to Kool-Stop but we our stoked they are are a great cycling company and they are located in Oregon.

Rotors: Brakco 203mm front / 180mm rear  - Brakco is a high quality parts company. Like Shimano they are located in Japan. We are trying out a set of their floating rotors and we are considering importing them. We like their chunky motocross looks and they would be more affordable than other companies floating rotors.

Shifter: Sram X7 right only 10-Speed for 1:1 actuation

We think the x7 shifter is solid and a  great deal - why buy a shifter set when you only need one rear shifter for you 1x10 setup - Check out the deal!:

Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 125mm travel w/ left hand remote

We love dropper posts. We run full extension for climbs, 100mm drop for descents

The reverb is still the king of the dropper seatpost market and we have just about every size and option available:

Crankset: Sram X0 175mm GXP

This build was about well chosen upgrades -

We decided to spec a Sram’s X0 carbon crankset - It is very light, plenty stiff, and little more affordable. We have a great deal on a used set right now, check it out:

Cassette: Shimano SLX 11-36 -

We think the SLX cassette is a solid performer at a reasonable price. We like the increase range over 11-32 and 11-34 clusters. We will be upgrading this soon to an even wider range cassette, review coming soon. We are excited about Tickstuff’s 11-41T Shimano compatible cassette

Chainring: RaceFace 34T Narrow-wide chainring

A narrow-wide chainring is probably the single best upgrade you can make to most all-mountain, trail, and enduro bikes. We love the simplicity of the 1x style drivetrain. We feel this works so well we wonder why anyone would run anything else. If you don’t know what narrow-wide is, all you need to know is it is a tooth profile that makes your chain stick to the ring like glue. This surprised us how well it works. We decided to We swapped the crank mounted bashguard for a MRP ISCG5 bash plate

Pedals: CrankBrother’s Candy

We have always been a fan of Crank Brother’s pedal design and low profile cleat. This is the chromoly spindle version and we think it is a good value. We have a gold finished spring because we love gold! (see handlebars)

Front Tire: Specialized Butcher SX 26” x 2.5” folding

“The Butcher” form specialized is our favorite front tire tread pattern right now. The “SX” version is a lighter folding casing. Tires have a large impact on the feel of your bike’s ride, choose wisely.

Rear Tire: Specialized Control tubeless 26” x 2.3” folding.

The Control tire seems to compliment the butcher front well.

Wheelset: Easton Haven Carbon 26” wheelset 20mm front and 142x12mm rear

27.5” wheels may have captured the racer’s and the industry’s heart, but we think there is still allot of value to be found in 26” wheels. 26” wheels are the wheel size of fun! People say 26” wheels’ benefit from being nimble and playful - We think making them lightweight carbon further brings out these benefits. We are super stoked to be a Easton dealer. We have always liked Easton’s harmonically tuned straight pull spokes. We feel like these wheels just stay straight forever. We have a deal right now on the 29” version and hope to have other sizes soon. Check out the 29” version here:   

We are running our wheels tubeless using Orange Seal sealant - Did we forget the ODI Vans grips that remind us of skateboarding in the early ninties? 


We think we made an already radical bike more radical by three choice upgrades:

  1. carbon crank arms: lightweight, stiff, lightweight ;)
  2. 26” carbon tubeless wheels with straight pull harmonically tuned spokes- more of everything good
  3. 4-piston brakes with aftermarket heat sink pads

Thanks for checking out our build - Let us know if you have any question:

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