Specialized announces all-new Fuse trail hardtail for 2020

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Introducing the 2020 Specialized Fuse – a new hardtail mountain bike with attitude

Having debuted way back in 2015 (when plus tyres were still becoming a ‘thing’), the Specialized Fuse is receiving a complete overhaul for the 2020 model year with brand new frames, new components, and refreshed geometry featured throughout the three-model lineup.

Compared to the Specialized Epic and Chisel hardtails, the Fuse takes a decidedly more trail-oriented approach. In fact, with its chunkier tyres, longer travel fork and slacker geometry, you can think of the Fuse as less of an XC bike, and more of a hardtail version of the latest Stumpjumper.

There have been some significant updates for the new Fuse, so let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights from the range.

2020 specialized fuse expert hardtail
The new Fuse frame gets a longer and low-slung top tube that provides more standover clearance.

Fresh Alloy Frames

There will be three Fuse models coming into the UK this year, which includes the Fuse 27.5 (£950 / $1,800 AUD), the Fuse Comp (£1,250 / $2,300 AUD) and the Fuse Expert (£1,600). The two top models share the same M4 hydroformed alloy frame, while the cheapest model gets an A1 alloy frame.

As of right now, Specialized says there are no carbon Fuse models planned.

Visually, the new Fuse frame is sleeker and more compact, with a drastically sloped top tube that increases standover clearance significantly over its predecessor. This is also made possible by shorter seat tubes, which follow in the footsteps of the latest Stumpjumper and Enduro models by moving up to a fatter 34.9mm seat post diameter.

2020 specialized fuse expert hardtail
Loads of tyre clearance through the back end.

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Chubby Rubber Ready

Whereas the previous Fuse was designed specifically around 27.5+ wheels (or ‘6Fattie’ as Specialized confusingly called it), the new frames are ready to roll with either 29in or 27.5+ wheels.

Specialized has equipped the Comp and Expert models with 29in wheels along with chunky 2.6in tyres – a Butcher up front and a new Purgatory out back. As you’ll have no doubt guessed, the Fuse 27.5 features 27.5in wheels, which are wrapped with 2.8in wide tyres for a proper plus setup.

specialized fuse
There’s a threaded bottom bracket shell in place of the PF30 unit on the previous Fuse.

Adjustable Dropouts

One of the neatest features found on the higher-end M4 alloy frame is the adjustable dropouts. These allow for up to 15mm of horizontal adjustment to the chainstay length, which can be set as short as 420mm. That is very short for a 29er, and particularly one that has clearance for properly wide rubber.

Aside from adjusting the rear centre length and overall bike geometry, the adjustable dropouts also mean the new Fuse can also be setup as a singlespeed.

specialized fuse brake sram
You get 15mm of chainstay length adjustment via the dropouts.

Of Course It’s Also Longer, Lower & Slacker

Who would have thought right?

As well as getting 10mm more fork travel to make it 130mm, the new Fuse slackens out the head angle a degree to 66.5°. If you want more squish, you can go up to a 140mm travel fork – the frame will take it. Specialized has also moved to a shorter 46mm fork offset, which has helped to increase ground trail to 113mm (up from 95mm on the old model). In theory, this should provide it with greater high-speed stability.

Other geometrical tweaks include a lowered bottom bracket (60mm drop vs 51mm) and a steeper seat angle (74° vs 73°). Top tubes have grown across the board, with reach measurements going up by 20mm.

For the new bike, the reach measurements are as follows: 400mm (XS), 420mm (S), 440mm (M), 460mm (L), and 480mm (XL).

2020 specialized fuse expert hardtail
Fork travel bumps up to 130mm, and the offset comes back to 46mm for added high-speed stability.

All The Mod-Cons

To match the up-to-date frame design and geometry package, the 2020 Fuse is decked out with a suitably contemporary cockpit. That includes 780mm wide riser bars and a stubby 45mm long stem for every frame size, across all three models.

There’s also an internally routed dropper post on each bike, which is particularly impressive on the sub-£1000 Fuse 27.5. The droppers come from TranzX and are linked up to a very neat under-the-bar remote lever.

2020 specialized fuse expert
The top-end Fuse Expert comes with a burly 130mm travel RockShox Gold 35 fork and a 2Bliss ready wheelset.

2020 Specialized Fuse Expert 29

Built around the sleek M4 alloy frameset, the Expert is the top-end model in the Fuse range. The big upgrade here over the cheaper models is the beefier RockShox Gold 35 fork, which gets fatter 35mm diameter stanchions for greater torsional rigidity. You also get a full SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, lighter wheels and a more powerful 4/2-piston brake combo.

  • Frame // M4 Hydroformed Alloy w/Adjustable Dropouts
  • Fork // RockShox Gold 35, 130mm Travel, 46mm Offset
  • Wheels // Roval Stout Trail SL, 29mm Internal Rim Width, 2Bliss Ready
  • Tyres // Specialized Butcher GRID Trail 29×2.6in Front & Purgatory GRID 29×2.6in Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 w/30t Chainring & 11-50t Cassette
  • Brakes // SRAM Level TRL Brakes w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost // TranzX Dropper Post, 100mm (XS, S), 120mm (M), 150mm (L, XL)
  • RRP // £1,600
2020 specialized fuse comp
Specialized builds the Fuse Comp around the slick M4 alloy frame, which features adjustable dropouts and a 1×12 drivetrain.

2020 Specialized Fuse Comp 29

Using the same frame and geometry as the top-end Expert, the Fuse Comp 29 manages to lower the sticker price by £350 while still featuring a 1×12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain, and the chunky 2.6in Butcher/Purgatory tyre combo. The RockShox Recon RL fork is heavier and simpler, but it still features the Solo Air spring, adjustable rebound and compression damping, and a tidy bolt-up thru-axle.

  • Frame // M4 Hydroformed Alloy w/Adjustable Dropouts
  • Fork // RockShox Recon RL, 130mm Travel, 46mm Offset
  • Wheels // Roval Stout Trail, 29mm Internal Rim Width, 2Bliss Ready
  • Tyres // Specialized Butcher GRID Trail 29×2.6in Front & Purgatory GRID 29×2.6in Rear
  • Drivetrain // SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 w/30t Chainring & 11-50t Cassette
  • Brakes // SRAM Level Brakes w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost // TranzX Dropper Post, 100mm (XS, S), 120mm (M), 150mm (L, XL)
  • RRP // £1,250 / $2,300 AUD
2020 specialized fuse 27.5
Despite the sub-£1k price point, the Fuse 27.5 still gets a dropper post and a RockShox Judy fork.

2020 Specialized Fuse 27.5

To bring the price below the £1k barrier, Specialized gives the Fuse 27.5 an A1 alloy frame that skips out the adjustable dropouts of the more expensive models. It’s still compatible with 29in wheels, though it comes fitted with chunky 27.5+ wheels and tyres out of the box. There’s a RockShox Judy fork, Shimano Deore 1×10 drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and a stealth-routed TranzX dropper post with a legit under-the-bar remote.

  • Frame // A1 Hydroformed Alloy
  • Fork // RockShox Judy Silver TK, Air Spring, 130mm Travel, 46mm Offset
  • Wheels // Roval Stout Trail 38, 38mm Internal Rim Width, 2Bliss Ready
  • Tyres // Specialized Butcher GRID Trail 27.5×2.8in Front & Purgatory GRID 27.5×2.8in Rear
  • Drivetrain // Shimano Deore 1×10 w/30t Chainring & 11-42t Cassette
  • Brakes // Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc Brakes w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost // TranzX Dropper Post, 100mm (XS, S), 120mm (M, L, XL)
  • RRP // £950 / $1,800 AUD

The 2020 Fuse range is due to hit Specialized dealerships in the coming weeks. In the meantime, head to the Specialized website for futher info.

Want to know how it actually rides? Then make sure you check out our first ride review of the 2020 Specialized Fuse Comp.

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Comments (1)

    a Trek Roscoe with a different name on only more expensive

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