Interbike 2011: Specialized

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Specialized always has so much stuff on its booth that it’s hard to know where to start.

…so we’ll start in the middle…

That Robert Egger (Specialized’s creative director) has a lot to answer for. Not only is he behind a lot of the unified look and feel of the brand, he helps develop the organic shapes of the bikes and helps turn the engineers’ visions into flowing lines. However, he also gets to play in the giant creative centre at Specialized. It resembles a sixth form art studio, with sketches and magazine cutouts on the walls and bits and pieces of half-built projects all over the place. Every year Robert and his team come up with some other new, completely impractical, but great fun plaything. This year was a grown up version of yet another American scooter bike that we never got to see in the UK. We love the racing go kart tyres…

Back to slightly more real world stuff. There’s a new tier of bikes in the Spesh mountain bike range called the ‘Evo’ range. These are production bikes that have bits added to resemble the kind of changes that Specialized saw riders making to their own bikes out in the real world. So for race-level Epic bikes, they gain 1×10 gearing and more racy components – and for more trail-level bikes, like the Stumpjumper, they gain slacker angles from the get-go, a longer fork, Command Post seatpost, shorter stem, wider bars and a chain device.

The Evos are coming.


Slacker and longer, the Stumpy EVO

Wider, shorter cockpit

Command Post for those steep moments

And a Gamut chain device for the double-and-bash gearing

We’ve seen a few companies recently working hard to make their suspension as easy to set up as possible. As bikes have got more complex, yet more supple and efficient, the difference between a badly setup shock and a good one can be a few PSI. In order to remove this guesswork, Specialized has come out with a clever ‘Autosag’ system on its Stumpjumper FSR models. You open up the compression to open, pump up the shock to 50psi over rider weight…

…then you press the plunger on the second valve, releasing just the right amount of air. Cycle the suspension, give it another push to be sure and you have your perfect (starting) air pressure. Just set up compression and rebound to suit and go ride…

Not the air filler valve, this is for the Autosag

We did like the S-Works race shoe in the last issue of the magazine, however, it is pretty race specific. Here now is the S-Works EVO shoe. It’s got a little more armour to protect shoe and foot and has a little more tread for when you’re off the bike.

And here’s a new version of the Defroster winter boot. It’s got a fleecy lining and more insulation than the previous model, which was waterproof, but a little spartan. This one looks like a winner. Inevitably, it’ll be out just in time for the end of the winter. Next year though, watch out!

Here’s the new Propero helmet – it basically has all of the technology of Specialized’s top of the range helmets from three years ago, all for about £70

Specialized S3 – the super duper road helmet. We were big fans of the S2 when it was out a few years ago. This is obviously one better…

But there’s yet another tier above it… Here’s the Prevail, the current ultralight racing helmet…

Roval wheels: Here are the Roval Control SL29 wheels – featuring a carbon rim and built using DT hub internals. Multiple axle options too.

Radial non-disc spokes. You don’t see that very often…

 Specialized Tyres

Specialized has always made a wide array of tyres, and with a great team of fast people on hand to advise on treads, there’s no end of ideas floating around. Here’s the Fast Trak 2.0 hardpack and racing tyre.

The Renegade ‘racing in California’ tyre…

And welcome back to the Ground Control name – here in a 29in x 1.9in guise

Some more burly tyres: The Storm mud tyre, the Clutch and the Purcatory – all chunky 26in tyres.


Tubulars; Specialized has three new tubular tyres for cyclocross racing for hard, medium and muddy terrain.

In 33mm widths to be UCI legal too.

Specialized has angled the Tri-cross into being more of a utility bike while coming out with the Crux, which is more of a pure ‘cross bike. Here it is with Avid discs.


And here for super light full-on racing…



And now a look at the Carve models. A 29in bike with good specs from around £1900 and up…



A brace of Epics...



Here's the Vice mountain bike helmet in a 'this year's colour' green

Specialized for Women


Specialized now has a top level shoe for women. Yay!

Quietly unveiled at this year’s Dalby XC World Cup, the Fate is a race-level 29er for women. It manages to cram big wheels into a frame that goes down to 15in without resorting to upside down stems or backwards seatposts. An integrated headset and 80mm travel fork helps here.


For 26in fans, here’s the Safire trail bike. It has 120mm of travel with a Brain shock and looks like a lot of fun. Although we’re not sure that all women want their bikes in black with extra black.

OK, how about black with some green?


The Jett 29 is a more recreational 29in women’s hardtail. Low standover and an 80mm fork again. Will 2012 be the year of that we’ll see more (or any!) women on 29ers?


Downhiller on a budget? We’ve always been fans of the Big Hit, but the Status looks like it’s going to take over the crown. Priced at £1800 or £2300 it features dual crown forks, a 200mm travel (and 170mm or 200mm on the front) and a full FSR suspension system. One for next summer in the Alps we think.


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (24)

    A winter boot with boa laces?

    That’ll last about a week. Even with a lace-cover, step in or ride through one bog and the stupid laces will stop working.


    Grumpy ex-boa, now velcro shoe user

    the cruz is lovely as is the vice helmet, can’t say the Mountainbikes are blowing the wind up my skirt

    Stumpy Evo looks like a great modern mountain bike. Well done to a Big Brand knowing the score.

    Sorry to be a predant but Evo’s were available this year, n’est pas? Though from your description the Evo Epic now seems to be aimed at more racing, while the 2011 was more a short travel trail bike? But I hear elsewhere that the Epic Evo is not UK bound? But then that Stumpy Evo looks much nicer for 2012. Though it is “too much bike” pour moi!

    I have a Stumpy EVO from last year, the may spec change seems to be different shocks and bolt through rear…..

    Agree that its too much bike for general riding i only use it for riding abroad and will maybe use it at some trail centres and Peak/Lake district riding…… so look elsewhere if you need general xc bike.

    Epic was/is available in 2 versions – an uber race EVO and a more Traily EVO with 120mm forks.

    But, why oh why are Specialized UK not bringing in the Stumpy EVO frameset that is available in the US? And why have they canned all the Enduro’s except the uber rad EVO versions in the UK too? For a company that’s making bikes so in touch with what people ride, that seems a major faux pas for Specialized UK.

    Sorry to be a predant but Evo’s were available this year, n’est pas?
    We’ve not talked about them on here, so they’re new to us 🙂

    have to say im very excited about the 2012 range!! looks awesome!!…..loving the Propero 2 helmet.
    I have always been a a huge fan of Spec although I thought the 2009/10 were a bit dull but they have certainly upped the game for 2012.

    STW in shock 12 months behind the times revelation. I always knew it was the home of the retro grouch (said he of the rigid SS).

    The Carves are in shops now from £1000, top one being £1500 from what I have seen.

    “manages to cram big wheels into a frame that goes down to 15in without resorting to upside down stems ”
    Is that why the pics have the stems upside down?

    i never thought i’d see the day….taht scooter has zero “specialized” stickers all over it!

    any sign of a disc equipped singlecross? I’m feeling a somewhat perverse need for one

    “status” is an awful name

    Will today ever end….picking up my shiny Stumpy FSR Comp tomorrow from Total Fitness Bath!! absolute bargain and £600 off.

    The scooter is pretty much a Huffy Green Machine, available from at least ’78, and as sold by Halfords for the last 5 or 6 years. They are great fun.
    The Huffy ones have rigid plastic rear wheels to encorage over steer skidding, which is great, but makes them pretty much uncontrollable above walking pace.

    I didn’t see any Pitches, and there are none on my UK pricelist…

    Pretty sure I read somewhere that the Pitch has been discontinued this year in favour of the Enduro EVO.

    Ground Control tyres – they were my favourites in 1987!

    I love Specialized
    I need a carbon Stumpy
    and a winning lottery ticket

    Love the Status… pretty sure it’ll be the nuts.

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