Arguably the most important part of any bike, the frame received an extreme makeover from the engineers at Specialized
. Beginning with manipulated M5 tubes, a frame with a low center of gravity, sporting more curves than Oprah was crafted in the Specialized lab. The 2009 SX Trail
has undergone many changes over previous versions. The new version still uses O.R.E.(Optimized Radial Engineering) tubing, however the profile of these tubes has changed drastically. On the previous generations, much of the tubing had a square or triangular profile. On the 2009 version, there is still some square shapes, but the corners have been rounded heavily to give the bike a softer look that blends well with the curves. New to Specialized bikes, a tapered headtube design was used on the SX Trail. With a 1.5" lower cup, and 1 1/8" top cup, the design takes the stiffness of a 1.5" steerer without adding much additional weight. We first saw this with Trek, but it has become a staple for some frames, and with such big name suspension manufacturers like Fox and RockShox supplying tapered steer tube forks, this technology looks like it is here to stay.
The linkage and suspension system also received a lot of attention during the re-design. Still using FSR technology, a new two piece linkage design replaces the old system, with many new advantages. A big plus for us "wet coast" riders, is the absence of a DU bushing. Specialized designed a linkage for the SX Trail 1 that moved the traditional pivot at the rear of the shock, into the linkage itself. Cartridge bearings now serve the purpose of the DU bushing, which will cut down on the need to regularly maintain the pivots. A new butting process was developed, and it was put to good use on the chain stays and seat stays. Contrary to 2008's 2 piece chain and seat stay, 2009 now features a 1 piece butted seat and chain stays. Essentially this new process cleans up the overall look of the chain and seat stays, while also increasing structural strength.
No More DU Bushing!
With the new linkage, the shock was moved forward in the frame, and an uninterrupted seat tube was added. The new seat tube allows plenty of adjustment, and a telescoping post is no longer needed to get some extra height for climbing. With the shock now lower in the frame, the top tube was given more slope, and more stand over height was achieved, without sacrificing bottom bracket clearance.
Plenty of room for adjustments
Not only was the re-design a chance to introduce new ideas, it gave an opportunity to tweak the geometry of the bike. On the 2008 and earlier models, there was two different forward mounts for the rear shock. These mounts allowed the headtube angle to be set at either 66.5° or 67.5°. On the 2009 frames, there is only one position, and the headtube angle is fixed at 66°. Although the top tube and chainstays were shortened for 2009, the wheelbase has actually been lengthened slightly. This will maintain the cornering abilities of earlier models, while gaining stability through the longer wheelbase.
09 Forward Shock Mount
07 Forward Shock Mount
One thing I wish Specialized had changed was the cable routing. Yes, the exterior of the bike looks clean, but when it comes to shuttle trucks, cables routed on the down tube seems like a recipe for disaster. It's too easy to kink, bend, or even close up a brake or mech line on the way up, and that could make for a pretty sketchy ride down. For 2009, the SX Trail
line up will only consist of two complete bikes. The SX Trail 1 is built up with a slightly more consumer friendly parts kit, to keep the price down, while the SX Trail 2 comes decked out and ready to rock. The XL size has been dropped from the line-up for 2009, and the other sizes have been adjusted slightly to allow for this. The SX Trail is also available as a frame only option.
SX Trail 1
SX Trail 2
SX Trail Frame
|Frame and Size||Specialized SX Trail 1 Frame|
•21.7" Top Tube
|Rear Shock||Fox DHX 4.0|
•Adjustable Rebound and Propedal
|Fork||RockShox Domain 318|
•160mm of travel
•1 1/8" to 1.5" Tapered Alloy Steerer Tube
|Headset||1-1/8" to 1.5" Threadless|
|Chainring||24T, 36T, Gamut Bashguard |
|Bottom Bracket||Truvativ Stylo|
|Pedals||Specialized Lo-Pro alloy|
|Chain||SRAM PC-971, 9-speed w/Power Link|
|Cassette||Shimano HG61, 9-speed, 11-34t|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X-9, 9-speed, mid cage|
|Shifter Pods||SRAM X-5, trigger, 9-speed|
|Handlebar||Specialized Enduro mid rise bar|
|Stem||Specialized Aggro stem|
|Grips||Specialized thin lock on grips|
•Alloy bar ends
|Brakes||Custom Avid Elixir R|
•203mm Front rotor, 185mm Rear rotor
|Front Wheel||Custom DT Swiss F550|
•Specialized Hi-Lo disc Hub
|Rear Wheel||Custom DT Swiss F550|
•Specialized bolt on Hub
•Hollow 10mm Cr-Mo axle
|Tires||Specialized Clutch SX 26x2.3"|
•Soft dual compound
•8mm Cr-Mo rails
|Seatpost||6061 alloy, Black|
|Extras||Gamut Shift Chainguide, Molded plastic chainstay protector|
As you can tell by the component list Specialized has spec'd the SX Trail 1 with a fair amount of in house parts. This has a couple benefits to it. Specialized can offer a cheaper overall bike price, while still offering the same frame benefits. Also, Specialized gets some R&D done on their components, and possibly launch a component line in the future. All the Specialized branded components have a clean, well designed look to them, and match the bike well.
I have ran into some hickups with my test on this bike already. First ride I managed to do some damage to the front wheel, including blowing some spokes out, and bending the hoop really badly. Also, I managed to crack the Gamut Shift Guide's bash ring, but it did what it was supposed to and saved my rings from getting destroyed. I have since replaced the front wheel with one of my own front wheels, and adjusted the guide so it wouldn't rub.
has provided me with the chance to get down and dirty with this bike for the 2009 season, so look for the full review including photos, videos, and even more info coming soon, so stay tuned to Pinkbike.com.