Drop a bike on a hard enduro course, you can pick it up again. Flip an ATV, and that could be the end.
Hard enduro is astonishing enough on two wheels, but on four it’s an entirely different animal. Riders tackling hard enduro courses on bikes are typically not using extremely big, heavy machines. While bikes (and riders) frequently fall down, they’re usually pretty low to the ground when they do. Bumps and bruises are normal, but in most cases, you probably don’t feel as though you’re in mortal peril if you go down.
ATV hard enduro, on the other hand—ooh, boy. Crawling all four of those wheels over obstacles is impressive, but there’s always the instinctual knowledge that if you stand up too far and/or fast on those rear wheels, you’re going to flip the whole thing over backward. That’s incredibly dangerous because even the best helmet will not save you from getting crushed.
That sense of inherent danger makes it a different experience to watch, as in this video. In motorcycle hard enduro, most of the time, if riders and their bikes slide down the way they came up a hill, they’re the ones who pick their bikes back up again. In extreme circumstances, a spectator or even another competitor might help them pick their bike back up again—but not most of the time.
In ATV hard enduro, you regularly see spectators bounding over the caution tape that demarcates the course path, doing things as mundane as holding the front end of a given ATV down so it doesn’t flip over backward. At what point do spectators become participants? Maybe that’s part of the charm of this style of competition?
In any case, the balance points and body weight shifting involved in piloting ATVs over courses like this are interesting to observe. Although motorcycles and ATVs all handily nest under the greater powersports umbrella, the way the two things operate is so completely different.
Still, it seems like the two sports have at least one thing in common: Romania. Why is Romania the place where all the extremely bonkers, hardcore competition takes place? Maybe that’s like asking why Erzbergrodeo—a notoriously hard mountain course—takes place in Austria, a land full of mountains.