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Spotted: Specialized's New XC Race Bike

Feb 27, 2023 at 11:42
by Mike Kazimer  
photo
Screenshot from Haley Batten's Instagram / Michael Cerveny photo.

It's sock on a shock season, and this time around it's Specialized who are hiding what's likely a shock integrated into the top tube of an unreleased XC race bike. The new bike was raced by Haley Batten at the Shimano Supercup Massi Banyoles in Spain (she took the win ahead of Mona Mitterwallner and Evie Richards), and by Martin Vidaurre at the Tropical MTB Challenge in Puerto Rico over the weekend.

Although World Cup XC race tracks have become increasingly technical in recent years, and more riders than ever are on bikes with dropper posts and up to 120mm of travel, there are still smoother courses on the circuit where a hardtail or a softail makes sense. When Specialized does remove the cover from this new bike it'll be interesting to see how the shock is mounted to the frame. It also looks like Specialized may have hopped on the through-the-headset cable routing train - there aren't any ports visible on either side of the headtube.

photo
Specialized Diverge STR

On the gravel side of things, Specialized launched the Diverge STR last fall, which essentially suspends the seattube to provide 30mm of travel. Considering the narrow seat tube required to make that design work, and the fact that mountain biking requires much more out-of-the-saddle riding, I doubt the new bike will use this design, but it's not totally outside the realm of possibilities.

photo
Trek's then-secret Supercaliber circa 2019.
Daniel Sapp at Dupont State Park

The Trek Supercaliber broke cover in a similar manner back in 2019 underneath Jolanda Neff at the Nove Mesto XC World Cup. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Trek couldn't help but chime in on an Instagram post by ESMTB, writing "Well now that looks vaguely familiar... cough cough #TrekSupercaliber." Of course, the same could be said about Trek's in-frame storage that debuted after Specialized got the ball rolling with their SWAT system.

Look for the full run down on the new bike as soon as we have more information.

photo
Screenshot from ESMTB


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135 Comments
  • 311 4
 If a Specialized looks like a Trek, and a Trek looks like a Salsa, and a salsa looks like a delicious dip, does Specialized make chips?
  • 199 2
 Coming this March: Specialized sues Tostitos for trademark infringement.
  • 36 2
 I think I just read a fever dream..
  • 61 4
 Time to ditch #LooksLikeASession and replace it with #LooksLikeASupercaliber.
  • 17 0
 according to the new TFR video, the 2023 supercaliber wont look like a supercaliber, it will look like a session
  • 27 0
 Yes, flip chips
  • 4 0
 @toast2266:
Let the courts decide who was first, front triangle or chip shape?
  • 1 0
 @user178323: what video?
  • 1 0
 @kinwild: Trek Factory has a pre season video on their insta with blurred out bikes
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: LOLd way to hard at this.
  • 147 1
 I hope they are just trolling Trek and its still just a hardtail.
  • 2 1
 definitely not as you can see linkage just above the BB.
  • 13 0
 @picklesthecat: just a decoy pivot
  • 86 1
 trek's comment on the post is pretty good
  • 89 58
 Pinkbike: *Scrolls thru VitalMTB forums....Spotted !
  • 18 1
 Next pb article will be of the prototype SID
  • 13 0
 We should create a separate thread where we post all the new tech memes to throw them off.
  • 19 7
 not sure why the downvotes.... all the "spotted" content comes from there. Surprised the new SRAM stuff hasn't landed on PB but I'm sure there are some politics there.
  • 54 20
 @jaydawg69, you do know that we have Instagram too, right? It's not like this is truly top secret stuff if it's posted on social media, but it's interesting enough to share with readers who might not have seen it yet.

And we've shown the new SRAM stuff plenty of times already. Drivetrain: www.pinkbike.com/news/spotted-srams-new-mtb-drivetrain-les-gets-xc-world-champs-2022.html. Brakes: www.pinkbike.com/photo/22739534. Fork: www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7MBnBIQCrg&t=124s.
  • 15 9
 @mikekazimer: didn't show the new cranks or new brakes/calibers or Boxxer? But it's easier just to go to one place instead of trolling IG accounts for hours unless you got lots of time.
  • 4 1
 @lyfcycles: Vitalmtb forum
  • 25 1
 @mikekazimer: its always a tough comparison eh... yall write an article and publish it to a main page and whatnot...

VitalMTB just has a bunch of people pooping at work (me included) who can notice and upload the moment something gets out there.

Sucks for ya, and I think when you make the effort to present more information on the subject, as an article, it compensates. VitalMTB might have it first, but pinkbike will have it in full
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: Dude, you're complaining they didn't show the new Boxxer in reply to a link of a guy in a video 9 months ago filming and talking about the new Boxxer?
  • 5 2
 @jaydawg69: if you don't like what PB does then piss off. Prett simple huh?
  • 1 0
 @wingguy: your reading comprehension is failing.... PB hasn't posted lots of the new SRAM stuff leaked on the other site.
  • 2 1
 @devlincc: I'm just pointing out some things but you don't have to read what I say. Simple eh?
  • 1 0
 @Lookinforit: there's nothing "in full" about this kind of article Wink
Besides, there's even more info out there now.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: Your writing comprehension is failing. You said they didn't show the Boxxer in reply to a comment containing a video link from PB showing the Boxxer.
  • 1 0
 @wingguy: brakes and fork links are buried in other stuff.... 99.99% of the readers wouldn't even see. Why not create a whole story about it that every one see? I just think there is some politics behind it not showing everything new in an article. PB usually not shy about posting spy shots.
  • 22 3
 I get the desire for a lightweight fully, esp. since the new "standard" looks to be 120mm of rear travel, but also have some sort of ultra light soft tail with 80mm or less travel, but the Trek Supercaliber is heavier (frame for frame) than "normal" XC fullies like the Scott Spark. If you're doing some weirdo softail design, that frame better be meaningfully lighter than a normal XC frame.
  • 1 0
 frame + shock or just frame?
  • 13 1
 @baca262: Manufactures claimed weights for size M including rear shock and mounting hardware:

Scott Spark (hidden shock, 120mm rear travel): 1,870g
Trek SuperCaliber (sliding shock, 80mm rear travel): 1,933g
Specialized S-Works Epic EVO (100mm rear travel): 1,659g
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: That is absolutely wild, how the heck does that happen?
  • 11 1
 @plustiresaintdead: If you watch Treks marketing video of their slider design, they show the FEA (computer-aided strength calculations) of their carbon layup. The slider moves away from the pivot point pretty far, so the design requires a lot of flex and strain on the rear triangle. They had to really over-engineer the seatstays to allow for this, which probably accounts for its relatively high weight. The top tube probably is also overbuilt. Also, since there is no linkage, the leverage ratio is very low for the slider shock, requiring a longer rear shock stroke. Visually you can see how large the shock has to be compared to the competition. Despite this you can image search "broken trek SuperCaliber" and find many unfortunate results.

Honestly, I'm shocked trek ever came out with this design. I get prototyping it, but once you discover that its not any lighter than a "normal" design with 20mm more travel, it should have been abandoned. Maybe prototyping in carbon is so expensive they figured with all that money spent they might as well make a production run.
  • 7 1
 @hamncheez: I think the biggest benefit it’s it turns into a hardtail on lockout. it’s kind of like how aero road bikes might weigh more than climbers but they go faster in certain circumstances where the weight is used in a way to bring aerodynamic advantages or for a supercaliber efficiency advantages
  • 11 0
 @hamncheez: Good thing Henry Quinney just wrote that article about weight not mattering.
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez: The Epic EVO has 110mm rear travel.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: O lot broken supercalibers? You mean like 3 pictures on entire internet?
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: It is also pretty unique, which could be key for a top brand even if its not something 100% proven to be better. I really think the Epic Evo, Orbea Oiz, Megamo Track...are ther right design for light XC weapon right now, until someone delivers something else. For very tricky tracks maybe the likes of the new BMC or other virtual pivot may be better.
  • 2 0
 @kinwild: doesn't look to be unique anymore!
  • 24 3
 Incoming complaints that it's not slack enough...
  • 59 0
 It's definitely not slack enough.
  • 5 4
 Seattube will go as slack as you want depending on how much weight you put on the saddle. If you reached the limit, get a smaller rear wheel. If you want a slacker heat tube angle, wait another season until the downtube gets a sock too.

Need more socks in your life? www.youtube.com/@SockPuppetParody
  • 4 0
 Nothing is anything enough and everything is too expensive.
  • 21 1
 they better call it the "super epic"
  • 10 0
 Epicaliber?
  • 5 0
 Supercaliberdurablisticepicalidocipus. But only because you can’t have fragile in the name.
  • 1 0
 ...how about the Epic'ly Epic \m/
  • 19 1
 No one's complained about the headset routing yet.
  • 10 0
 it's an XC bike...
  • 5 0
 Your mistaken, xc comments are always that it isnt slack enough, or the rider is on the wrong size due to the saddle position and cockpit.
  • 1 1
 I saw it. Bike goes off my nice to have list. Wankers
  • 15 2
 Has spesh sued trek for patent infringement yet?
  • 3 11
flag jaydawg69 FL (Feb 27, 2023 at 13:08) (Below Threshold)
 jokes from 2010?
  • 12 0
 Socks on shocks
and shocks in shots
Fox in socks
or shots of Shox?
  • 2 0
 Fishy squishy for blue gooey goo-ing,
Question is what is that Kaz chewing?
No sir no sir, I won’t play. No more rhyming, what can I say
  • 12 1
 Brought to you by vitalmtb tech rumors
  • 9 0
 Looks like a …….. t …… t …… t …….
No, I can’t bring myself to say it.
  • 7 1
 oh boy, as a i grow older i see these XC bikes and i feel like getting one, is anyone on the same boat? time to ditch Enduro or at least put it aside for a moment just to race XC...?

I would be happy racing XC one weekend, going Enduro the next one... keep it like that for the next 10 or 20 years. lol.
  • 1 0
 Sorta. I bought a Spur.
  • 7 0
 Will be the first mountain bike to top out over $20K .
  • 7 0
 I love my Supercali! Best XC bike out there.
  • 4 0
 100% agree with you. my 2022 9.8 gx is the fastest bike I've ever tried I absolutely love it. I might even call it my favourite bike ever and I've owned several different types of bikes over the years from a Kona stab deluxe an empire ap1, gt zasker le, various konas, commencals, transition smuggler carbon, orbea Alma carbon M30 plus several lightweight xc bikes and a couple freeride/park bikes and although I love them all for different reasons the way this thing accelerates and covers ground is so very fun to experience. When I don't feel like riding some days it's THE bike that tempts me to head out for a few more miles.
  • 5 0
 Those shoes don't exist in the wild yet. And looks like the new AXS stuff will have brake lever reservoirs that hug the handlebars for more better headset cable routing.
  • 2 0
 look like sworks recon s to me
  • 2 0
 Those look to be the SW Recons in the Team Edition white, they’re available.
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2: I think they are an update to the Recons. Like the new SW Torch road shoes the pictured shoes don't have a velcro strap. The sole is also more aggressively treaded than the current Recons.
Blevins has been riding the same in pictures on his social media.
  • 1 0
 @jdfifield: interesting, didn’t see a strap but also not the best photo. Dropping the Velcro was definitely the right call on the Torch, glad to see they did the same on the Recons.
  • 12 7
 Bontrager rips off Big Red S components. I see no issue here.
  • 4 0
 And trek saying that it looks familiar,how about Liteville saying that to trek ?
  • 4 1
 Shock bra ! Keep that slop off your Kashima coated jewelry. Put on a shock bra . Still working on fork pajamas. Stay tuned !
  • 1 0
 I struggle to see the advantage of the “30mm of travel” the likes of that Diverge offer. The geometry of it all means vertical travel (i.e. the useful kind) is dwarfed by rearward travel of the saddle.
For a 700mm bb to saddle, starting at 75 degrees, 30mm of rearward travel gets you just 9mm of vertical. (That’s assuming they’re claiming the bigger number, rather than the useful number). If the claim *is* for 30mm of *vertical*, that would require 111mm of rearward.
  • 2 0
 Also take a look at that SID. In most of the pics I've seen of this new epic/caliber it looks as if the fork is like 80mm (not 100)?
  • 3 0
 Brake dive in the close-up. Difficult to say in the start-line photo ... it does look low, but difficult to know the cause.
  • 3 0
 How can Trek take a pop at Spesh when they nicked the dope stash downtube idea?
  • 3 0
 Can't wait for my #Epiccaliber
  • 3 0
 I think it will be similar to arc8 evolve.
  • 5 1
 is it super boost?
  • 4 0
 I'd love it if they made their XC race bike 157 when the DH bike is 148.
  • 2 0
 If they go to something like the Supercaliber I'll be keeping my Epic Evo for a few years.
  • 2 0
 This seems to be the next Epic hardtail or softtail. The Epic and Evo are so successful there's no reason for them to change them back to less travel. For XC racing, depending on the course sometimes you still want a hardtail for speed. A hardtail with more capability is extra nice.
  • 2 0
 I wonder if the superepics seatstays will break every year like the supercalibers
  • 1 0
 Does that rear brake go through the bar/stem? Or is the headtube just real small for headset routing? I can't make out anything zooming in.
  • 7 4
 Specialized is over priced and their gimmicks disappoint me.
  • 8 3
 have you looked at the alloy models? How does SWAT disappoint you?
  • 5 4
 All the big box brands are marketing and overpriced bikes nowadays.

When I can build up a frame with custom specs for under $6k, I can't fathom who the heck is buying these $7k+ cookie cutter boring AF bikes.
  • 2 1
 @jaydawg69: have you seen the water bag designed to go in it?
  • 2 1
 @theredbike: don't have to use the water bag but not having to wear a pack is a game changer.
  • 3 3
 @jaydawg69: i mean you could just use a water bottle cage, or a larger bottle, some bikes even allow you to mount two bottles. The bag doesnt even hold much water. specialized also did not invent internal frame storage.
  • 1 1
 @theredbike: the water bag is an add-on to the water bottle(s). You can also put in tools, tubes, etc but you think it's a "gimmick" while other manufacturers are copying it. What other gimmicks you don't like? Is the Stumpy EVO Comp Alloy overpriced? Do you think bikes should all be 26" and 5k max?
  • 3 2
 @jaydawg69: did you look at that photo of the diverge? Forcing a shock in the head set spacers of almost all of their drop bar bikes sucks. They also used to put these rubber inserts in their road bike forks and chainstays that they claim damped vibration. Their old epics had the brain shock that they claimed knew when you were pedaling but literally did nothing. Their magnesium SL ebike motors have a gortex liner that makes them impossible to service and costs thousands to replace if they are available. Carbon run bike. Stumpy Evo alloy is probably the best thing they have ever done.

I'm tried of a mediocre brand claiming it is special. They justified laying off 8% of their staff after a series of horrible pandemic business decisions by saying “We are transforming the company around our purpose to Pedal the Planet Forward”. No self awareness out of specialized and it feels like they want to tell the market what is good rather than respond to the needs of their consumers.
  • 2 1
 @theredbike: You have made some valid points, however, all large manufacturers have had their weaknesses in the past, present and future. While it is commendable to attempt to raise awareness of these weaknesses, it is not accurate to make a sweeping statement that all their bikes are overpriced and the technology is a disappointment.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: they do make some nice stuff and I have had a few. They just aren't that special. Stumpy Evo alloy is a nice bike.
  • 1 0
 The brake levers on the final photo look like they sit closer to the bar than the normal level levers. Maybe to make them work better with headset cable routing.
  • 2 1
 I watched Martin Vidaurre race in Puerto Rico, he was riding a regular epic but with the unreleased SRAM drivetrain. He did do some pre riding with the unreleased frame
  • 2 0
 Next news headline; "Specialized invents short-travel, aero, hot tub time machine to retroactively sue Slingshot"
  • 2 1
 what happens if you BREAK the rear triangle on these desings? Possibility to change it? How do you dismount it? You cannot removeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it AhAh
  • 1 0
 The EVO was already being used last season with remote lockout. This bike should be the new Epic, maybe a little more travel, but in a different configuration.
  • 1 0
 Anyone hear about Cervelo's suspension XC mountain bike? Pinkbike posted pics then retracted them. Nothing online as far as I can tell.
  • 1 0
 The leaks which I've seen seems like it's a full shock but it's Ina cutout in the top tube
  • 1 1
 Didn’t specialized had a frame in the 2000’s with a shoc in that position,but with a brain that had many problems ? So what’s new the no brain?
  • 4 1
 #LooksLikeASupercaliber
  • 1 0
 "One-eyed monster, come and see the..what is that? It looks like a giant.."
  • 1 0
 Can confirm thru the headset routing. Saw another pic of it on Vital recently.
  • 3 2
 I'm just surprised there's still a rider of some sort left on Specialized's payroll.
  • 1 0
 Soon Sram will release an all-in-one carbon bar with everything internal except for the actual levers.
  • 1 0
 Curtis Keene is requesting his with a pike, a super delux shock and a custom bracket.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: dude i own two speshes but they were so egregious in their suits that they are fair game forever.
  • 1 0
 #validated. as the lesser evil, barely, I actually hope Trek sues Specialized very hard.
  • 3 0
 Looks like an Arc8 also.
  • 1 0
 This new suspension is likely to have an impact on my rider selection for the PB's XC fantasy league for 2023...
  • 1 0
 I was at Target the other day and saw bikes there with two wheels. This new Specialized? Also two wheels. Hmmm.
  • 1 0
 There's been leaks of the bike
  • 5 3
 “Down country”
  • 3 0
 Up Cross
  • 3 1
 Itl prolly have 100mm
  • 1 2
 Trek thinks they have the patent on stealing ideas from other companies and people…cough, cough, Dave Weagle, cough, cough Split Pivot…
  • 1 3
 Specialized paid for patent access to use the DW link and they call it "fsr".
  • 6 0
 @MutleyAdams:

I think you mean to say Horst Link…
  • 1 0
 Specialized DTW. Destroy the wallet.
  • 1 0
 Those legs tho..smooth like butta!
  • 1 0
 Still has a chain and sprocket =old school
  • 1 0
 No Brains were harmed in the making of this one.
  • 1 0
 SpecialisoStrut
  • 1 0
 looks flexy
  • 1 0
 Looks Epicurious







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