What is Enduro in Dirt Biking?

Every motorbike enthusiast will tell you that there is always a battle of supremacy between Motocross and Enduro including other types of biking sports. For a newcomer in this field, you might find the two terms to be strange or rather confusing. The two sports are very similar because they involve identical looking motorbikes but with slightly different features.

However, their differences are not of great concern now given that our main focus is on what enduro entails as far as dirt biking is concerned. More often than not, different people talk about enduro races or enduro dirt biking in particular. If you are not familiar with these terms, you might find yourself with very little to contribute in a meaningful conversation about this popular dirt biking sport. Learn more about enduro dirt biking in the following sections of this article.

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What is Enduro in Dirt Biking?

What is Enduro?

Enduro is actually a type of dirt biking sport that is conducted on an extended cross-country terrain or rather, an off-road course. Normally, enduro consists of several challenges and obstacles that every participating biker needs to pass through. In other words, enduro means racing or riding dirt bikes a long difficult and challenging terrain.

So, what is the origin of the name “Enduro”?. The term enduro is derived from the word, “endurance”. This is due to the fact the races are somehow long, difficult and involve varying types of racing terrain. In the beginning, this popular dirt biking sport was used collectively to refer to a number of cross-country dirt biking races. At the moment, enduro is only used to refer to that moment when a biker is racing along the rough off-road path. Unlike “Trials”, enduro follows a very long and a little bit difficult trail.

Often times enduro refers to either the race itself or the type of dirt bike used in this sport.  The term is used to give a clear description of the challenging racing trail in relation to this type of sport. At this point, you can confidently stand up and say that enduro is a long distance dirt bike riding on typically difficult terrain. The terrain requires bikers to endure all the challenges on their way to emerging winners or close to that.

What Exactly is Enduro Riding?

The term enduro is used by different people to refer to quite a number of different things. Just like any other ordinary word, enduro has different uses in reference to different aspects of dirt bike sporting. Here are a few examples of how this term is used:

  • First of all, the term is popular when referring to off-road rather than an official track.
  • Enduro is commonly used when talking about longer distances than those covered in trials bike riding or on track.
  • Also, the name is a common reference to the normal dirt bike used in this type of sport as opposed to the bikes used on trials.
  • Enduro in dirt biking involves riding along the track or path that is likely to pose some challenges to the riders. Usually, the paths or trails used are characterized by rocks, creeks, meanders, mountains to climb, hills to descend or any other obstacle on the riders’ way.

What are the Enduro Bikes?

When you think of enduro bikes, you should visualize a type of dirt bikes designed and built to suit all the needs of riders taking part in this type of sport. And one feature of interest that every biker notices on enduro bikes is the weight. The bikes are usually heavier compared to motocross motorbikes. This unique feature is a common thing given that these bikes need some extras to make them what legal experts call ‘street legal’. In simple terms, enduro bikers will at some point of their racing be compelled to ride their bikes on the highways or roads, thus making the extras an essential part of these dirt bikes.

During the manufacturing process, there are some features added to the design to make enduro bikes what they are today. Manufacturers add rear and front lights including the handlebar switches, brake light switches (on the levers), direction indicators, speedometers, horns, number plate holders, rev counters and ignition barrels. All these features are included to enhance the security and safety of the riders as well as the bikes.

Other features that add some weight on the enduro bikes are thicker seats stuffed with foam, kickstands, bigger fuel tanks and hand guards among others. Older enduro bikes had heavier metallic fuel tanks simply because the plastic fuel tanks were bound to fail evaporative emissions regulations test. But at the moment, dirt bikes are fully equipped with some special plastic fuel tanks that cannot allow the gas vapor to go through them when they are in operation.

Enduro bikes need road legal tires. However, these tires should also display outstanding off-road capabilities. This is a very important requirement considering the nature of the sport and the terrain with which these bikes have to be ridden on. If such crucial measures are not taken into account, chances are, the bikes will experience frequent breakdowns or become potential safety hazards to bikers. As such, these tires are designed to withstand the difficult terrain or trails that enduro biking has to take place on.

Still, on the legal requirements, a steel exhaust system is mandatory for all enduro bikes. In this regard, the exhaust is meant to bring down noise levels for all bikes. The use of a steel exhaust system makes dirt bikes to be slightly heavier than most other models of motorbikes especially those for motocross sports. In fact, most of the weight comes from the larger silencer on the steel exhaust fitted on the dirt bike. There is also the need for a spark arrester. This is a requirement by the law in order to help in the prevention of sparks coming out of the exhaust.

Keep in mind that sparks from the exhaust are likely to cause forest fires and this is detrimental to the environment. Addition of spark arresters is yet another way of adding weight on the enduro dirt bikes.  Most importantly, spark arrestors will help in zapping engine power of the bikes. But the suspension is not that heavy as you would have expected. This gives the enduro bikers some comfort when riding for long hours.

Different types of models exist on the market today, although there is a handful of dirt bike designed for enduro racing. Some of the common ones have the following specifications:

  • To begin with, there are often 250ccs models to choose from. While these engine capacity dirt bikes are a common trend, some bikers prefer riding those with 300 ccs with just a few trying their skills on 450ccs enduro bikes.
  • Some enduro bikes are considered street legal and they range in 500cc engine capacity. A few of them are not street legal but the street legal ones are equipped with all necessary security features to ensure that riders stay safe all the time regardless of where they are riding their bikes.

Enduro Racing

When it comes to enduro racing, you will be surprised to find out that the courses are natural terrain or trails marked out through forests, rugged terrain, and woodland. Occasionally, the man-made obstacles are strategically placed along the way to spice up the whole enduro race. As a matter of fact, these are some of the most exciting races one can think of.

The races can last for more than seven hours which makes it difficult to watch them continuously from the start to the end. Nevertheless, it is always exciting to watch riders pull out near-impossible stunts, negotiate scary downhill boulder passes, cut sharp corners, ride through muddy meadows or go atop some obstacles. All these scenes make enduro racing an exciting sport to watch let alone participating in it.

Most of the courses for enduro racing range from just a few miles to hundreds of miles. As mentioned earlier, the courses may cover small woodland areas or go through forests and terrains in what can be said to be a cross country. For dirt bikers, the courses need someone with skills. Most of them are completely off road and if you are not an adrenaline junkie, you may find yourself giving up prematurely.

Much to your surprise, shorter courses are somewhat difficult compared to longer courses which always feature road crossings, riding on separate stages and along the highways. Therefore, there is a need for using street legal enduro dirt bikes all the time.

If you are fond of short courses, then the hare and hound races are a good choice for you. This is because they are really funny and quite entertaining, to say the least. Most of them vary from place to place with some covering 5 miles or even longer, consisting of not more than 200 enduro dirt bike riders. Just remember, enduro races are almost carried out as time trials.

Final Thought

To answer the question properly, enduro dirt biking is a long distance race that goes through the most challenging and difficult of terrains away from the paved roads. You need to be a skilled and highly experienced rider for you to make it through these interesting racing. Anyway, it is incredible what you can do if you are a skilled enduro bike rider when racing your way to the final destination.

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

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