Conserving energy is a big part of Enduro racing and many pro riders turn to walking sections for just this reason. Shimano athletes have been running a short cage XTR derailleur paired with a 12 speed 10-45t cassette for this and other reasons.
On the Enduro World Series circuit, race tactics center around saving energy on the untimed transfers between each stage. Unlike your average weekend warrior trail riders, who typically push themselves to exhaustion on climbs, pro enduro riders are often content to get off their bikes and push.
“When the top pros are racing, it’s all about energy management and trying not to overdo it on transfers,” explained Shimano Marketing Specialist Joe Lawwill, himself an elite level enduro racer. “So anytime it gets really steep, racers will choose to walk instead of pushing a bunch of watts. That saves their energy for when it matters, on the timed downhill stages.”
Along with being content to spend a little time on their feet, most Shimano’s sponsored pro enduro racers, including Jesse Melamed, and the entire Yeti and Ibis teams, choose to run Shimano’s short cage rear derailleur and the 10-45-tooth cassette that goes with it. Rides do not need the wide range 10-51-tooth cassette, which provides an easier climbing gear, but also requires Shimano’s long cage rear derailleur.
This setup also gives them a little bit more clearance with rocks and other obstacles as the cage is shorter in addition to some minor weight savings.