First Ride: Specialized Rumor Expert 650b - Sea Otter 2015

Apr 17, 2015
by Rachelle Frazer Boobar  

It's no secret that 27.5 wheels are popular right now and Specialized, acting on rider and market feedback have just announced the release of the Rumor 650b to bring the mid-sized wheel format to its female-specific range. Many may be familiar with the Rumor 650b's bigger sister, the Rumor 29er, which we recently reviewed. The new Rumor will not be replacing the big wheeled version, but rather providing another option for those who feel inclined to ride a mid-sized wheel bike over a 29er. Also interesting is that, because all of the bikes in the Rumor range now have more relaxed geometry and an aggressive spec, Specialized has dropped the "EVO" moniker. The Rumor 650b will come in three models, all with the same welded aluminum chassis: the entry level Rumor, the Rumor Comp, and the Rumor Expert. We had the chance to ride the Expert 650b here at the Sea Otter Classic.

Rumor Expert 650b
The 650b Rumor uses the same two-piece forged aluminum top tube as the 29er version - which provides the lower stand-over height that Specialized's womens' bikes are famous for.
Rumor Expert 650b
The Specialized Command Post has nice, clean-looking internal cable routing.

Component Highlights

The top of the line Rumor Expert comes with a 130mm RockShox Pike Solo Air, 125mm rear FSR travel with a Fox Float CTD rear shock in place with Autosag tune. The drivetrain is SRAM's X01 eleven speed and wheels are built with Specialized's Roval Traverse 650b 29mm inner-width alloy rims, and Purgatory Control 2.3" 2Bliss tires And, to round out the women's spec, the Rumor comes with the Myth Comp Saddle, and narrower 700mm bars. All told the Rumor's spec is a recipe, surely intended to make love with the trail, rather than shy away from it.

Rumor Expert 650b
SRAM's XO1 drivetrain helps keep shifting and riding simple and easy.
Rumor Expert 650b
The Rumor's low fuss cockpit is clean looking, the handlebar has a good feel and the XT brakes can be adapted for small hands.

Release Date April 2015
Price $4800
Travel 130mm Front, 125mm Rear
Rear Shock Custom FOX Factory CTD, AUTOSAG, Women’s Custom Tune
Fork RockShox Pike RC 650b, Solo Air spring
Headset 1-1/8" upper, 1-1/2" lower, Campy style, integrated sealed cartridge bearings
Cassette SRAM XG-1180, 11-speed, 10-42
Crankarms Custom SRAM S-2200, carbon, PF30 spindle, 30T, 94mm BCD spider
Bottom Bracket SRAM, PF30, OS press-in bearings, sealed cartridge
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01, 11-speed, carbon cage
Chain KMC X11L, 11-speed, w/ reusable MissingLink
Shifter Pods SRAM X1, 11-speed, trigger
Handlebar Specialized, 7050 alloy, 8-backsweep, 6-upsweep, 10mm rise, 31.8mm
Stem Specialized Stout XC, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise, anticorrosion hardware
Grips Specialized Sip Grip, lock-on, half-waffle
Brakes Shimano XT
Wheelset Roval Traverse 650b, alloy disc, 29mm inner width, 24/28h
Hubs Roval Traverse 650b
Spokes DT Swiss Super Comp, stainless
Tires Specialized Purgatory Control
Seat Body Geometry Women's Myth Comp
Seatpost Command Post IR
Rumor Expert 650b

Ride Impressions:

bigquotesEverything about the Rumor Expert 650b is set up to be easy. The Shimano XT brake-lever reach is easily adjusted, the Fox CTD Autosag shock can be adjusted with the push of a button. The Rockshox Pike's air chart guide sits on the backside of the left lower leg, so with a quick glance, we could tune the fork pretty close with the first try. This is a big win for anyone who might just be getting familiar with setting up and adjusting their own bikes. This ease of set-up also translates to getting quickly accustomed to the bike. Jumping aboard for the first time feels really comfortable and due to the lack of fuss in the cockpit, ride time is spent enjoying the trail rather than fiddling with components, a definite bonus for anyone getting accustomed to a new ride.

The Rumor is a very agreeable climber. The ride position felt natural and efficient which, after a long snow-laden winter, was a welcome discovery. Switching between the three ride modes of the shock, there didn't seem to be a great deal of efficiency lost when climbing in the open mode. We found, however, that with a large water bottle in the cage, it can be a little tricky to access the lever control, due to the cramped space created by the smaller front triangle.

When descending, the Rumor does not shy away from trail, but rather tackles it and then dares you to give it more. We really liked that Specialized chose to run wide rims in combination with 2.3" tires and felt as though this choice really helped set the Rumor apart from the typical trail spec that can sometimes leave a bike acting skittish. The extra contact area provided adds confidence to the Rumor's ride and, combined with the suspension design of the bike, it just felt so responsive, self-assured and fun. We wish we were able to spend more than an afternoon on the Rumor, as we definitely did some hooting and hollering on the ride out. From what we can gather, the Rumor is a bike that leans towards the female who wants to get a little serious and progress her skills, as it has the right elements to elevate confidence in just about any situation on the trail. If it's anything like its big-wheeled sister, the Rumor 650b will likely get you up and down the trails without a fuss, allowing for a ton of fun. - Rachelle Frazer

Rumor Expert 650b
  A big thanks to our Specialized Women's ride guides Hannah Barnes, Kate Courtney and Lea Davison.

MENTIONS: @Specialized


  • + 36
 "When descending, the Rumor does not shy away from trail, but rather tackles it and then dares you to give it more.”

Classic 130mm FS bike review.
  • + 48
 Because if you want to make a non classic 130mm FS bike review a punchline, you must go in the ways of: bike climbs like a chicken who's leg been put into a toaster and then dives down like it's mother that wants to tear the brain out of a skull of a deviant trying to hurt her baby with kitchen equipment .

What else can we expect? It's a freaking bike! It gets ridden up and then down, end of story Big Grin
  • + 24
 toasted chicken leg sounds delicious.
  • + 7
 wait, you can toast chicken legs ? ive beendoing it wrong all this time
  • + 16
 Your parents probably told you countless times to not put body parts or knives, or anything else other than toast bread, into the toaster... but you are an adult now! Make use of your independence!
  • + 3
 I would still not recommend toasting knives. Or spokes. But chicken legs in the toaster are actually pretty darn good.
  • + 2
 Cold chicken & pickles. freaking amazing.
  • + 9
 Don't think women will like the auto sag feature.
  • + 3
 I'm sorry. This isn't even about a bike anymore- I can't stop thinking about what a chicken would do if you stuck it's leg in a toaster
  • + 1
 "All told the Rumor's spec is a recipe, surely intended to make love with the trail, rather than shy away from it."

Where are you riding?! Bike metaphors have reached a whole new level.
  • + 0
 @BaeckerX1 Now that you point it out, pretty sexist too.
  • + 1
 I'm glad they're now giving women the same modern geo and spec options throughout the range as the men's options though.
  • + 1
 mmmm ...toasted deviant brain!
  • + 26
 And during that time, we still want the 26 "
  • - 12
flag rosenbaum-j (Apr 17, 2015 at 5:34) (Below Threshold)
 uhh no. rumor has it that the year 2000 called and said they want their 26ers back.
  • + 4
 Rumor has it that you're a fanboy with no sense of perspective. Any idea how many people who walk into a bike shop know what 650B means? Relatively few.
  • + 13
 Any women commenting on this? Or just the men that don't ride because they're commenting on pinkbike so much?
  • + 10
 you sound like a woman with your comment!
  • + 7
 I'm not 100% sure why women specific bikes exist anymore,correct me if I'm wrong though. I thought the low top tube was to allow riding with a dress on. Modern day riding doesn't require this design, at least not for a high end mountain bike where dresses don't exist. Little bit confused
  • + 3
 yes, the low top tubes were for dressed. but the bike industry claims women "ride differently" and they "use their legs more to power through things" so i guess guys don't ever lean back. its pretty ridiculous because everyone rides differently. so they are just B.S. marketing. i know a lot of women that do great on Bronsons and SJ's
  • + 4
 Would it help if they were called "people who are generally shorter and a slightly different shape to the average man specific bikes"?
  • + 2
 Sometimes male sizes just fit girls funny. I work for a Specialized dealer and when girls sit on guys bikes they just look off, even going down in size.
  • + 3
 yes. but sometimes guys fit funny on some frames. the geometry is different for every frame. and thats what i am saying. it is ridiculous to cater to women like that because you're not going to hit the perfect geometry for every woman, if anything just make female sizes in guys frames, because i know I myself can't have some bikes because i have super long arms and legs and they don't always fit me right. I just feel like women get ripped off by getting a women's specific bike. usually shit components for a similar price.
  • + 3
 @ADhGuy you are justified to be confused. We're all different sizes and to put one gender into a certain category is doing a disservice to riders. This is becoming very clear to me as we are currently shopping for a mid-level bike for my wife. There are plenty of men who are shorter and women that are taller.

On a side note Giant does a laughable and border-line insulting job marketing women's specific bikes. Their names include "Lust", "Obsess, "Enchant". I'm not sure who they hired to position themselves there but I can't imagine they are having a lot of success.
  • + 3
 Well the Juliana models are the exact same as the male Santa Cruz models if I'm not mistaken, so at least in their case it's all marketing.
  • + 4
 ^^^^^^^^^^ This is correct. They just changed the names and put out some sweet colors. I talked to one of their reps last year at Fruita Fat Tire fest and she was very quick to criticize the notion of women's specific geometry.
  • + 1
 Are you guys serious? Women are built differently than men. The vast majority of women have longer legs and shorter torsos. The Specialized bikes are made for that.
  • + 4
 a lot of guys have long legs and short torsos. a lot of guys have short legs and long torsos. adjust.
  • + 1
 Yeah no kidding, since when do men and women not come in different shapes and sizes...
  • + 3
 Unlike the standard frames the standover height is THE KEY feature for some small women weather the bike frame will fit or not. My wife for example has a very short inside leg (about 26 inch).

We searched for about a year till we finally found a frame where she could get off the saddle and normally stand over the frame without "hurting" things you don't wanna hurt.

And the 650b s**t doesn't help here it's actually a curse because the whole frame gets lifted a litte bit more than with 26'. So I hope that women specific frames will be built in the future. Another problem is that there are no Enduro women bikes around...
  • + 8
 26" is still awesome.
  • + 1
 duh! it has been for years. news flash buddy 27 and 29ers are awesome to brah
  • + 1
 But I guess that's lost on you, eh bro?
  • + 1
 sure? where did we go from mountain bikes are awesome to it being lost on me?
  • + 6
 Fingers crossed there is a redesigned 650b stumpy there! No 29er frame with a spacer bullshit.
  • + 2
 I was about to buy an Enduro here in Brazil and when i saw that spacer in a 29 frame I decline.
  • + 0
 Enduro 650b doesn't have the spacer. .
  • + 2
 Same here guys. It's been 2 years already and no new bike. I dont think spesh will do it.
  • + 1
 Indeed @lumpy873 you are correct. I want an actually 650b stumpy since they killed off the 26 stumpy evo. Hoping to see some ohlins stuff on a stumpy this year too and a more modern geo on the 650b stumpy (long reach and slack headtube angle).
  • + 2
 Lampy aluminum Enduro has spacers bit the carbon dont. I was looking to the al one
  • + 2
 This is what I want to see stumpy evo is my current rig and I love it. 650b version that wasn't a freakin frankenbike would be sick!
  • + 7
 Mmmmm, i've heard some rumors about this bike...
  • + 3
 If you're running 700mm bars, for a rider who is likely to have less upper body strength, why not save a few hundred grams and run revelations? particularly at 130mm... you're never going to notice the stiffness difference, and a revelation under a lighter rider will be just as sensitive at very low air pressures
  • + 2
 Better small bump compliance on the Pike.
  • + 2
 They seem to be positioning the Pike as a do everything fork which is smart. because then they can get better economy of scale on production. So it's probably a Pike because SRAM gave Specialized a better deal on Pikes than Revelations.
  • + 2
 My wife purchased the stumpy evo small ( she is 5'2) for a much better price... The sizing is great with the small being seemingly smaller than in years past. Women's specific seems like a waste of money.... She is very happy with her new bike and again the price was great!
  • + 2
 5"3" male 190 lbs. have standover height issue. Got on a Sapphire and never looked back. As soon as I sat on I I felt like I was finally riding the right bike. like being a kid and riding a BMX bike over everything in the neighborhood instead of a converted 10 speed in the woods. It is cockpit length. Bottom bracket drop etc. that are adjusted. Geometry of most bikes is designed for the pro racer not average Joe . I ride a Glory size small for DH which fits fine but most XC bikes are somewhat oversized for the general population. Only problem I have found is that the head tube angle feels slightly steeper but may just be because of swapping back and for from Glory which has a very shallow one.
  • + 1
 I brought a small rumour 29 home for my 5'5 wife to demo and it was ridiculously big and awkward, Ended up with a Safire instead. This wheel size should be much more appropriate. I think Spec wasted time trying to cram big wheels on small bikes
  • + 2
 If any gender needs a low top tube, it's men... nobody rides in dresses anymore.
  • + 2
 #sigh. It's to give women better standover height.
  • + 5
 So short men don't need that?
  • + 0
 Do I really have to explain that there are greater consequences in the event of a top tube strike for men vs women?
  • + 2
 So does it climb like no tomorrow?
  • + 2
 Looks about as good as Rumor Willis
  • + 1
 Why theres no riders profile?
  • + 1
 Hi, Hannah (insert somewhat flirty but not creepy whinky face here)
  • + 1
  • - 2
 What makes this female specific other than spesh saving a couple of dollars on narrower bars?
  • + 2
 Look at the low slung top tube for starters, has a really low standover height. Unlike all these other "women's specific" bikes where they just shrink it.
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