INTO THE RIDE #64
The Endeavoring Enduro
by Randy Schlitter
After the return of the F5, it would only be natural to re-vamp and re-introduce the Enduro. The concept of the bike is sound and well accepted: build in utility and versatility by making the frame adaptable to other tire and wheel sizes, and brake types. The stock bike will come with dual 26” wheels and 1.5” tire sizes, and disc brakes. Frame and fork tire clearance will allow for up to 1.95” tires. The Hoagie is the stock seat on the F5, but the new Sling Mesh Seat is stock on the Enduro. The Sling Mesh sports wider seating, cushion sling bottom, with the tourist or commuter in mind. Either seat is significantly lighter than our current seat, with the Sling Mesh comfort level comparable to the Standard Mesh (more on this later). The Hoagie seat will be offered as an option on the Enduro for a few bucks more.
Seat Weights (including Sprint Braces and mounting system):
Standard Mesh Seat w/ Rad-loc………………………….6.00 lbs.
Sling Mesh Seat w/ V-Clamp Cross Pin…………….…4.35 lbs.
Hoagie w/ V-Clamp Cross Pin……………………..………3.55 lbs.
Hoagie w/V-Clamp Cross Pin and Cushion…….……4.25 lbs.
The inspiration for the Sling Mesh came from interactions with Rolf Garthus at the Hostel Shoppe. Rolf and I have combined forces on projects in the past, and this one started with us wanting to build a touring seat as simple, low-cost, and light as possible. The only existing seat out there that fit the description was Rolf’s fine seat on the Volae recumbents. And after a call to Rolf we had a sample Volae seat to study, and this re-invention of course had to have a few twists to create its own personality.
Sling Mesh Seat Features:
Adjustable back and sling tension
Removable seat horn, also can be fitted with different sizes for different seat pan angles
Knock down feature – remove the horn via a quick pin and reduces thickness by 3.5.”
Dual water bottle mounts
Accepts several RANS seat bags
Welded cro-moly steel construction
Cross pin quick-release system
V-Clamp seat mount
Cro-moly steel frame (may be offered in Ti)
Hoagie Seat Features:
Dual water bottle mounts
Headrest mounts (head rests to be made available)
Full length Velcro to secure cushion
Cross pin quick-release system
V-Clamp seat mount
Cro-moly steel frame (optional Ti)
Two new seat choices in the offering; both feature weight savings and excellent comfort.
Aluminum attach angles snap over the cross pins and are retained by two quick pins, for easy on and off.
Remove the horn and the Sling Seat becomes a more compact package. Cutting the horn off a bit will also change seat pan angle.
The new mono-tube frame has been a departure in design we dared to make only after coming up with a super-strong main junction between the stays and main tube. The frame is lighter than the original Enduro by about .5 pounds. The ease of manufacture of this style of bike has allowed either lower priced or more value-packed offerings.
Light mount under boom
Braze-ons for special under seat racks (soon to be announced)
Disc brake mounts
Canti Brake mounts 26”
Integral Idler mount
Oversized joint junction at main tube to stays
700c road brake mount (see more below)
The braz-ons on the underside of the boom allow attachment of our light mount. Light mounts are available at ShopRANS.
Seat heights of each configuration are given below. Note the 700 height is not that bad, since it starts out lower than some of our competition.
|Enduro 26||Enduro 700||Giro 26||Volae Expedition|
|Weight||30.2 lbs||25 lbs||31 lbs||30.5 lbs|
*A word about seat height: On a high racer seat height is often touted as a critical measurement. But the real story is how well your legs reach the ground. Seat design critically effects leg reach. You can get away with a higher seat height provided the seat is compliant, or “hinges” to allow the required articulation. A double benefit can be created when a favorable seat height for a given rider and articulation are present.
The way seat height is measured is also not standard. At RANS we measure accounting for the cushion compressed to what the weight of the average rider will be. Some bent makers measure to the bottom-most surface of the seat. This difference in measuring methods could mean as much as 1.5” in seat height.
Riding the new Enduro will delight those used to the handling of the previous model; we feel that ride quality has been retained, if not improved. What I like about the bike is the weight savings; it is lighter than the earlier version and only shy 15 pounds on the rider rating (260 vs. 275). That may even go higher as we gain experience with the mono-tube frames.
The new Sling Seat is key to making this bike work well as a high racer. Putting your feet down at stops and starts is where this seat shines; the compliant nature of the sling bottom really helps here. The pan size (if it could be said there was a pan) is the same as our Short Stop seat. What is interesting about the Sling Seat is how well it works leaned back to shallow aero angles, and also more upright. In fact we have test ridden this seat on the Stratus at steeper angles and found it to be very comfortable. The horn that holds the sling angle is removable (to knock down the seat a bit), and can be trimmed or replaced with other sized horns to get different pan angles, so tuning this seat to your particular fit can be very precise.
The frame for the Enduro is set up with a 700 road brake mount, offering 3 ways to mount brakes. We have created a headset spacer that extends the head tube to the correct length for using any standard 700c road bike fork. The spacer presses into the bottom of the head tube of the stock Enduro frame, becoming an integral part of the head tube. Converting the bike back to a dual 26” set up only requires removing the spacer.
Insert the headset spacer and the frame is ready to build up as a dual 700.
There is something about the American Classic 350 Sprint wheels that goes beyond the science and math. Even despite the fact that the 650 350 Sprint wheel is lighter by .25 lb. and less aero drag, there is a particular ride quality. They roll smooth, accelerate well, and give the bike second-nature handling. The combination of the new HR 3way bar, new frame geometry, low weight, and 700 wheels make this set up an especially enjoyable ride.
With a dual 700 setup the Enduro takes on a strong road bike personality, exhibiting a smooth ride, excellent speed and handling.
What about a Dual 20” Version?
We set up the Enduro with dual 20” wheels just for fun, and it was just that. The handling is a bit quick, and offers nothing outstanding over the Rocket, other than a bit lighter frame, and higher bottom bracket. It was a fun experiment that ended with us liking the Rocket as the better dual 20” solution for a bent.
As a dual 20” bent the Enduro does not outshine the Rocket, but it was a fun experiment that could lead to a serious attempt to top the Rocket at some point in the distant future.
Price and Delivery
This month the new version of the F5 and Hoagie seats have started shipping. Like the F5 we have chosen to build the Enduro at our factory in Kansas. Production of the Enduro and the Sling Seat is beginning, and we should have product arriving in stores in less than 4 months. The exact specs and price for either version are not locked but will be released sometime in the near future.
We are glad to have the Enduro back. It is hard to predict how the many fans of this bike will compare it to the new design, but we think it is a darn good argument for a bike. Until next month ride safe and stay into the ride!