Specialized – tentatively – embraces 27.5

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Carbon and alloy models to be available soon

Not previously known to have been a fan of the mid-sized format, Specialized telegraphed their entry into the 650b market earlier this spring with the release of several tyres in the size.  Today, the company is announcing their first-ever 27.5in-wheeled models: the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 650b and Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b.

Featuring 150mm of travel at each end, the Stumpjumper EVO range is ‘aimed at ambitious trail riders.’  Bearing the longest-running name in the business, the bikes’ suspension is laid out in Specialized’s trademark four-bar FSR arrangement, keeping the bike active under both pedaling and braking.  While the Comp EVO is built of M5 Alloy, the Carbon Expert sweetens the deal with a FACT 9m carbon fibre front end and nicer build.

Carbon frame, mid-sized wheels, and lots of lime.
Carbon frame, mid-sized wheels, and lots of lime.

The Expert model is outfitted with a well-considered combination of RockShox Pike RC fork, Shimano XT brakes, and a 1×11 SRAM X01 drivetrain.  The carbon front end also allows for internal routing of Specialized’s Stealth-type Command Post IR dropper.  Wheels are from Roval’s underrated line: tubeless compatible and built around DT Swiss freehub internals.  Rear suspension is handled by a Factory-level Fox Float CTD rear shock with the company’s easy-set Autosag feature.  Pricing, in acid green or black, has yet to be set for the UK- but should be roughly in line with similarly spec’d 26in and 29in Expert Carbon EVOs.

Half the price- but much more than half the bike.
Half the price- but much more than half the bike.

The Comp EVO is more accessible thanks to its full-alloy construction, externally-routed dropper, and (still very good) 150mm RockShox Revelation fork.  The Deore brakes and a SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain are solid performers while wheels, tyres, and cockpit are provided by the Big S’ house brands.  The FSR Comp EVO should sell for just over half the price of its big brother.

Both bikes’ 26in equivalents are currently on the Specialized UK website, so it would not be unreasonable to expect the 650bs to come to the UK as new 26in models become less and less common.

Does the availability of racier 27.5in tyres from Specialized mean that more XC-oriented models are on their way?  It’s hard not to think so.  More as it becomes available at Specialized.com, with full spec’s currently available on the German side.

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