I really like the idea of enduro racing but I cant currently afford an enduro specific bike. Is it acceptable to enter an enduro event on an aggressive XC/trail hardtail mountain bike? Are there any rules against it or would it not be recommended due to the terrain?
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Yes, unless they say no.
The "Spirit of Enduro" is to include all riders, of all abilities, on all bikes. Since there are guys who can ride crazy fast on a hardtail down a downhill trail, you can certainly ride yours in an Enduro race. However, you might be putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to the pro's or if you are looking to be competitive.
That said, if you take a carbon-fiber XC race bike to an enduro race, crash, and break the frame, that's your own fault. There is such a thing as having the right tool for the job. Taking an AM hardtail with a more raked-out head angle and med/long travel fork would be the best thing.
There's also the trail itself and this can vary widly. Within one race I rode trails that were fairly tame, but fast and flowy, to trails that were super steep and loose with a lot square edge rocks and whatnot. An all around trail bike will be a happy medium here. Plus, look at how much climbing you will be doing. A 2 hour pedal to the race start on a mushy 150mm FR bike isn't that fun (trust me, I did it), where as on a hardtail you'll just think of it as a nice warmup!
Yes, no*, yes.
Enduro racing is a hybrid sport, but the timed aspects of it are almost all downhill. As such, you're going to want a bike that can handle that the best, which would most likely be a full suspension frame. There aren't any specific rules (yet) against hard tails, although a few events may dictate no hardtails for their race specifically.
One thing that I would consider essential is an adjustable seatpost with a remote, to lower your seat for downhill sections. This would be both for comfort and safety, as well as the speed of not having to climb off, lower/raise seat, get back on and go.
I don't know if you currently have a bike, or are shopping, but the newer rear shocks are designed to help with pedaling, especially on uphill sections without needing a lockout, so even if a majority of your pedaling is on easy trails, it won't hurt to have a full suspension for everyday use, and then be able to use it for enduro as well.
Added: So, yes, you can probably use a hardtail for enduro, however it may not be the best fit, and you run an increased risk of injury and/or frame damage depending on the course, technicality and skill of the rider.
I've raced several Super D events on an aggressive hardtail and did just fine. I'm usually middle of the road on my time, of course these are not pro races. I'm doing several more Super D and Enduro races this spring and summer, I say have a blast on the hardtail!!!