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2013 Specialized Bikes in Bend, Oregon

Jul 11, 2012 at 17:15
by Mike Levy  

Old St. Francis School

Our headquarters during our time in Bend, Oregon, was the McMenamins' Old St. Francis School. And while we certainly took in a few things about Specialized's new 2013 model range, we weren't in Bend to attend any classes. The hotel's name comes from its history as the first-ever parochial school to be established in Central Oregon. The faculty's doors first opened in 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, and the grounds were expanded over the years to include more classrooms and outbuildings. Editors who flew in from all over the globe, including Europe and South America, were treated to McMenamins' self contained movie theatre, vintage tiled soaking pool (ideal for nursing those post-ride, sore legs), and slept in bedrooms converted from the old classrooms. The rooms themselves don't feature numbers such as you'd find in a run of
the mill hotel, but rather are named after the school's more prominent students. Pinkbike stayed in the McMenamins' Nunnery house, once home to the school's teaching nuns. Our walls were hung with portraits of the Sisters and adorned with quotes, many attesting their stern outlook on education. The Specialized camp was likely a much more relaxed atmosphere than the Sisters would have preferred, luckily for us. Plan on sampling some of Bend's supersonic singletrack? McMenamins' Old St. Francis School is a great place to rest your head if you appreciate a bit of history and character.

2013 Specialized
  Ned Overend leading out NSMB's Cam McRae without too much trouble. 'The Lung', who can list being a UCI mountain bike champion, NORBA champion, XTRERRA champion, and even UCI Masters' Cyclocross World Champion on his c.v. hung out with our crew for the week. No, we don't think he broke a sweat once while riding with us.

2013 Specialized
  Editors could choose their steeds for each day from a massive stable of bikes, with many jumping back and forth between twenty six and twenty nine inch wheels.

2013 Specialized
  2013 Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29, our main steed during our Bend trail assault. The bike's progressive geometry and 135mm of rear travel felt like home after a quick bar and stem swap. Specialized also offers a 26'' version with essentially the same build package. It's good to have choices!

2013 Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29 Details

• Lower BB, slacker head tube angle
• Wider tires as stock equipment
• 135mm of rear wheel travel
• Command Post Blacklite dropper post
• Dual ring guide
• FOX CTD suspension front and rear
• Autosag rear shock
• 68° head angle (versus 69° on the non-EVO model)
• 335mm bottom bracket height (versus 338 on the non-EVO model)
New for 2013, the Carbon EVO 29 brings the slack geometry and low bottom bracket to big wheels in a package that leans a little more towards bringing out the smiles on the descents than outright cross-country prowess. Specialized upped the rock and roll factor by way of a slightly shorter shock link that both lowers bottom bracket and slackens the steering, along with spec'ing some wider tires, wider bars, and a proper dual ring chain guide. The smartest addition to the bike, though, and one that oh so many companies seem to lose sight of in the hard battle of cost versus spec, is the inclusion of a dropper post straight from the factory.

FOX suspension is utilized front and back, with a Talas equipped fork allowing the rider to reign in the bike's slacker head angle by dialling down the travel to 110mm. An Autosag valve on the Float CTD rear shock means that there is no excuse to be running off-base pressures - simply over pressurize, get on the bike, and hold down the Autosag button until air is no longer released in order to get the sag at a near perfect level.

2013 Specialized
  The slightly shorter shock link (left) gives the bike its EVO geometry. A dual ring guide comes stock (middle), while a FOX Float CTD shock (right) lets the rider tune the bike's level of firmness via a three position lever. The anodized red air valve controls the Autosag feature.

The Ride

Now, you'll have to keep our perspective in mind here: we prefer wide bars, usually run platform-type pedals, and enjoy going for lengthy trail rides where we try to include burly terrain that may or may not be beyond the bike's intentions. That sort of thing sounds like it might be listed on the Carbon EVO 29er's Plenty of Fish dating profile, so it made sense that we spent our entire Bend visit aboard the new bike.

At this point we have logged time on many different 29ers, some of which quickly reinforced our love for 26'' wheels, others that weren't polarizing enough to leave an impression (which could be a good thing depending on your take), and others still who had us wondering why we would ever ride 26'' wheels on a trail bike again. After a quick bar swap - the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29 comes
with a 720mm Specialized branded bar, but we went wider still - we hit the dirt to find out which category the black, orange, and blue machine falls into. We rode the bike on everything from the sustained climbs and loose descents of the Smith Rocks region, to rocks on Horse Ridge, to the more smooth, Bend-esque terrain found on Phil's trail. A proper sampling, indeed.

2013 Specialized
  Up, down, or around, the EVO 29 was simply easy to ride fast.

Confidence In Spades

It only took a few minutes of parking lot shenanigans while setting up the bike to feel that the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29 has that 'sit in' feel of a well sorted bike. That confidence inspiring feeling of being in the bike, rather than on top of it, is a symptom of a number of geometry numbers coming together: bottom bracket height and drop, top tube, head tube, and down tube length, and let's not forget about the wheelbase, all need to be balanced in order to find that special feeling. The EVO 29 ticks all of those boxes, letting us jump on and charge on a bike that we had never ridden just ten minutes prior.

Pointing the bike down slope revealed an easy to get along with personality that seemed to always have room for rider error, likely thanks to the relatively slack 68° head angle and low-to-the-ground rider position. Many sections of trail seemed to be laid out to allow riders to approach landspeed records on their bikes, but we don't recall feeling squirrelly at any point. Rough and rocky outcroppings were handled well, with the FOX CTD dampers doing well to eat up much of the chatter. The bike's agility surprised us outright as well, with quick changes of direction feeling very 26''-esque and a personality that was constantly asking us to back it into corners and play more than any other 29er we've ridden previously. As with our previous experience with CTD, we found ourselves preferring the middle 'Trail' setting more than the under damped feeling of the 'Descend' mode. This setup also added to the EVO 29's kick when it came time to put down some power, although the bike pedalled quite well with the suspension set to full open as well.
bigquotesAlthough Bend, Oregon, is lacking when it comes to steep and rooty terrain, the EVO 29 felt more capable in every situation during our three days on it than a longer legged 26'' wheeled bike.

2013 Specialized
  We had never spent so much time in the big ring - to say that Bend's trails are fast would be an understatement.

Although some of the climbing was rough and rocky, not much of it was overly technical, meaning that we'll have to refrain from commenting on how the bike tackled tricky elevation gains. One thing we can speak about, though, is the bike's neutral feeling over loose terrain. With 455mm long chainstays (nearly 18'') we expected the rear tire to ask to be weighted quite a bit in order to bite on loose climbs, but this wasn't the case. Traction was there whether we were standing or sitting, proving to be much more forgiving than the on/off sensation that we've come to expect of bikes with similar length rear ends.

2013 Specialized
  You'll only find the 2013 Camber with 29'' wheels. The 110mm travel bike utilizes a stiffer co-pivot shock linkage and lower than ever stand over height, as well as a brand new Autosag equipped RockShox rear shock.

2013 Specialized at Deschutes Brewery

Deschutes Brewery

Our group was lucky enough to attend a private, after hours tour of Bend's Deschutes Brewery where we were given a run through of how they create their beer. Deschutes is known as a 'craft brewer', meaning that they produce more than the 15,000 barrels of beer per year that a 'micro-brewer' puts out. 2011 saw Deschutes manufacture 222,000 barrels of goodness, an impressive figure considering their humble beginnings as the small brew pub that opened in 1988 (they sold 310 barrels in that first year).

We went from holding hops in our hands, to seeing the massive, seamless steel vats, and even watching the bottling line at work, to sampling the brew at the end of the tour. The process is impressive, not to mention much more involved than an outsider might at first suspect.

2013 Specialized
  Cog Wild looked after our group's guiding duties, with owner Lev Stryker (above, right) showing us the goods.

Cog Wild Tours

With editors visiting from countries such as Brazil and Italy, both locations with amazing riding in their own right, Specialized wanted to be absolutely positive that we'd be sampling the best of what Bend has to offer. What better way to have the trails on lock-down than engage the services of the area's eminent guiding company, Cog Wild. Lev Stryker, one half of the Cog Wild partnership, acted as our ride leader, shepherding our multi-national herd up, down, and around the area's eye-watering fast trails. This was a treat for the Pinkbike crew who call British Columbia home - we don't often get to spend our singletrack time in the big ring. Lev is, of course, strong as an ox on the bike and with handling skills in tune with Bend's high-speed trails.

2013 Specialized
  Going to a Specialized bike launch means keeping up with this crew, a task that is harder than at any other of the company launches we attend. There is something comforting about knowing that the guys behind the bikes and components can shred harder and faster than most. From left: Sam Benedict, Brandon Sloan, Joe Buckley, and Chris Wyatt.

Looking for more 2013 Specialized bikes?
Check out our in-depth look at the brand new Demo 8 Carbon
Or if riding the park and local jumps is more your style, you'll want to see their 2013 P. bike lineup.

Photography by Sterling Lorence

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 109 13
 Its high time company's like Specialized realised that a lot of the riding community still prefer the ride of 26" wheels, I'm its lovely to have 29" wheels, but i personally would do unspeakable things to the carbon EVO and other bikes if they were 26" wheeled. Rant over. Bring the neg props.
  • 41 8
 One day 29... the next... 36" wheels, then...

  • 7 2
  • 24 3
 I was about to say that Razz I hate the way companies like specialized are almost completely shunning 26" all together, they're even bringing out a 29" version of the hardrock! I understand that 29ers are more stable etc but I still love the twitchyness of my 26" and don't see why you would want to loose that.
  • 16 2
 Im with you monkey dude! 29 inch wheel just feel too big and slugish to me. Plus coming off a DH bike with 26 inch wheels, xc bikes with the same size wheels feel more natural. You just have to be more creative rolling over stuffSmile
  • 15 1
 As far as I know the Stumpy carbon EVO comes in a 26in flavour as well. I also know I want it.
  • 3 1
 I agree but at the same time, want to be wooed by 29", it just hasn't happened yet. I constantly wonder if the Stumpy EVO is enough bike for me, and maybe it would be if I had two bikes. But with one bike pulling DH, Enduro and Trail duty, the Enduro EVO gets it done. Although if they offered a carbon Enduro Evo with X-fusion air suspension front and back for under $6000, I would be buying a new bike this year.
  • 6 1
 I completely agree. I thought the 2012 Camber Comp was a great deal for a full suspension bike and even debated picking up a 2013 model once they came out, but now given that they are only 29 inch wheels I can't say I will be anymore.
  • 6 1
 Don't worry, the Stumpjumper EX EVO is available in both 26" and 29" versions. There is also the aluminum 26" Stumpjumper COMP EVO. And I'm here to tell you, it's fun as f*ck!
  • 28 3
 No offence to anyone here, but I'm pretty sure Specialized's marketing department (and those of the other large bike manufacturers) know more about the market than we think we do. The fact that more manufacturers are putting out more 29ers every year would indicate to me that they are selling just fine. Manufacturers don't push products that don't sell. What would be the point? There is no conspiracy driven by large-wheeled-manufacturers to push a product that people don't need or want. People vote with their dollar, and a lot of people are voting 29er. But don't worry kids - a lot of people still vote for 26, so it's not going away.

Pinkbike != The rest of the world.
  • 1 0
 if the 2013 line up is anything like previous years, they will still have plenty to offer in the 26" variety. After my enduro got stolen out of my house this year, i think ill be looking at a 26" stumpy evo as a replacement. Although it looks like the 2013 enduros will be coming with a fox 34 fork, www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/First-Look-2013-Specialized-S-Works-Enduro-Carbon,3995/Slideshow,0/bturman,109, so thats looking like a good option for me as well. My 2010 enduro just seemed a little bit like overkill
  • 3 5

His name is Chris Sugai. I've never heard of anybody as koolaid-soaked as him. Well... Except maybe Jacko (Jack Thompson) or a few other weirdos.
  • 5 2
 Well, then when we see Specialized go bankrupt in a few years, we'll finally be able to say "WE TOLD YOU SO!" Wink
  • 1 0
 @betsie that scares me on soooo many different levels.
  • 6 0
 Bend Oregon is a Kick Ass home town with sick trails and awesome views! i suggest every one to come and ride here!
  • 4 0
 I don't know about the rest of you, but I am tired off all the back and fourth between 26' and 29'. I will never give up my Enduro but it seems sadly like the realm of 26' bikes are over. With that said lets stop bashing 26 and 29 inch bikes and talk shit on "fat bikes" like the pugsley
  • 10 1
 I work at a Specialized dealer in an area where the mountain bike customer base is composed trail riders and endurance racers. Out of the higher end mountain bikes we sell, I'd say at least 80% of them are 29'ers. Mountain bike companies aren't trying to blast riders with new standards, there's a huge segment of the market that wants these bikes. Pinkbike obviously has freeride/dh/pick an aggressive mtb discipline leanings, all of which lean towards 26" wheels.
  • 2 0
I fricken love shuttling cline butte here haha, soo fun on an SX trail
  • 1 0
 Sorry to be a little off topic, but how many days of riding is there in Bend before one finds oneself doing trails unworthy of a flight from Australia?
  • 2 0
 Giant's best selling bike is the Anthem X 29er (at least here in their biggest market) to the point that I hear they are discontinuing the 26" versions of both the Anthem X AND the Trance X.

I own a 26er and a 29er. Strava is logging how many km I do on each and at the moment the 26" is winning 2.75:1. I'm voting with my calories.
  • 14 5
 Let’s say this in a more straightforward way: f*ck 29ers, 26ers are the sh*t.
  • 8 1
 That's funny, coming from a guy named "Rider-of-many-bikes" Wink
  • 5 3
 How about you guys vote with your wallet, not your words. Buy 26ers, and they will continue to produce them. If you don't the 26ers will get dropped. It appears too many people disagree with the idea that 26ers are better. Ithink in future it will be almost exclusively 650b and 29er. If you haven't tried a 650b, you are missing out. 29 is take it or leave it, but not 650b.
  • 4 0
 iamamodel...I live in bend..There is easily a weeks worth of hard riding before you start repeating yourself...mid summer can get very dusty though...timing can be tricky...too early and the higher terrain isnt clear and if you come too late your riding in 2 inches of silt...bring a fast bike..its not uncommon to be pedaling the flats at 20-25 mph... If you plan a trip look up cog wild..even if you dont use them as a guide they are the ones that clear alot of higher trails so they always know trail conditions...PS..There is alot of VERY technical riding here too..almost trials at times in rocky sections ..
  • 6 1
 Who cares what size wheels the bike has. Ride a bike, if you like it awesome. The only time wheel size matters is if you have to replace something. Ride more, whine less.
  • 2 0
 I just want to try a 29er that i can pedal for awhile to see what the hype is about. I just bought a yeti asr 5 though and I am completely amped about it. At the end of the day does it really matter because honestly that 29er evo looks hot!
  • 2 0
 having a lot of fun riding my Stumpjumper Carbon 29er

no complaints from me, Specialized really got their 29ers dialled right, and they have a playful feel that many other brands 29er were lacking that I tested

all I care about is having fun riding dirt, and the Stumpy 29er is a really good bike on the dirt = lets me go quicker (more fun!) than any of the 26" bikes I have owned in many years
  • 2 4
 It's funny that a company as big as Specialized, who pretend to be so progressive, completely missed the 650b trend, which is awesome, and instead put all their eggs in the 29er basket, which everyone is now realizing is gay and no fun.

I love Ned, but he looks like a dork on those big of wheels. They are bad enough as it is, but when someone short rides them it looks awkward and strange, could never look smooth or flowy.

29er: the future of clothes hangers, their best use in the garage. They are taller so you can hang clothes off them without hitting the ground. Enjoy burning in heil, Specialized.
  • 5 0
 I do not think that a company like Specialized missed the 650b trend. They like some other companies may feel that they have not had enough time to develop a 650b chassis that preforms and handles well. Keep in mind Protour, that any one that can actually ride a bike, and rides bikes often, do not love or hate a wheel size. Instead they love and hate bikes. I have thrown a leg over, and spent a lot of time on different bikes. Some 29er handle very well, some 26 wheel bikes handle poorly. It has nothing to do with wheel size, but design. A properly packaged bike is the important factor. I am glad that companies like Norco are bringing some really neat bikes to the market next year with 650b wheels. At the same time I am glad that companies like Kona are not. I love the fact that the bike industry is finally giving people the choices they want, not forcing everyone into one particular size. Ride bikes more.
  • 3 0

very apt observation!

I have ridden some horrible 29er that, if it was my first experience of 29er, would have turned me off the bigger wheel size for ever!

I have also ridden some awesome 29er that made me question my snobbish attitude towards the big wheels, with the result I sold my Devinci Dixon 150mm all-mtn (26") and bought the Stumpjumper 29er without even test riding the bike - no regrets.

Specialized rarely make mistakes, and the market agrees as 29er is the fastest selling sales category by some margin

650 has some great potential for longer travel (140mm+) full suspension bikes, but the majority of the MTB market (not the hardcore Pinkbike readership) is interested in trail riding, specifically hardtails, and the 29er is a fantastic choice for trail riders
  • 46 5
 i cant wait for people to stop complaining about the 26 vs 29 thing. Ride what you like. End of story.
  • 7 1
 Can't get behind that enough...vive la différence.
  • 2 0
 yeah, the reason all the companies are pushing the 29rs is it's a new platform with a new market. it's not like they are giving up on 26", it's just a way to sell more bikes and get more people stoked. They've worked on 26 for so long, it gives them something new to work on. The 29rs are getting the love in the press because they are new.. that's why they call it "news"...
  • 3 0
 RVD604 ...agreed...however if they stop making a 26 in favour of a 29 then that isnt allowing some people to ride what they like. i dont like 29ers. i tried, it just wasnt for shredding the way i like to. End of story.
  • 1 0
 yeh bro
  • 25 2
 Am I the only one that looked at the title and was expecting to see a line up of 2013 models, including the new Demo, SX Trail, and P-bikes among others, not just a review of 2 XC rigs?
  • 6 0
 P. bikes shown here first on June 8th: www.pinkbike.com/news/2013-Specialized-P-Series-Bike-first-look.html
The new Demo Carbon was shown here first on June 4th: www.pinkbike.com/news/specialized-demo-8-carbon-2013-first-look.html

I should have linked to them at the bottom of the article, sorry =) Added now.
  • 3 0
 Demo Carbon also shown in my garage!
  • 1 0
 thanks for the links!
  • 1 7
flag Protour (Jul 14, 2012 at 7:43) (Below Threshold)
 Not just two xc rigs, two really lame and boring xc rigs.
  • 3 0
 Mike I really likes this article. It was a great read. You did a good job of giving the overall feel of the product launch, and provided enough words and pictures to keep me entertained. There will always be those who want pinkbike to stay pigeon holed into DH and Freeride only. They rest of us are glad that it is growing up into a full fledged Bike website and forum. I believe their are a lot of mountain bikers who ride XC AM DH free ride and road bikes. Thanks for the progression. Although I am not sure if the pinkbike community is ready for photos of Mike Levy in a skin suit testing out the latest crop of Aero bikes.
  • 17 0
 Specialized, if you are listening, please stop making special rear shock lengths/ strokes. There are so many good air shocks out there, but only one works on my '11 Enduro.
  • 2 0
 My RP2 died and I had to scour the internet to find a used RP23 as replacement. Way to go Specialized. Such an amazing bike (2010 Enduro S-Works) with such a weird design oversight.
  • 5 0
 Proprietary equipment on popular bikes means more money for the manufacturer. Next time, don't buy their product. If you convince enough people to join you, they'll stop.
  • 4 2
 Proprietary equipment does not necessarily mean more money for the manufacturer. In fact, many times it doesn't. Proprietary sizes and parts mean smaller manufacturing batches, which equal higher manufacturing costs. It does NOT mean higher retail prices. So if anything, profit margins are lower. The only time it makes sense to use proprietary parts and/or part sizes is if they believe it makes the product better. Otherwise, why would there be any standards at all? Why wouldn't every manufacturer use proprietary equipment if it meant more money? Because other companies aren't interested in profit? Don't kid yourself.
  • 2 0
 Bike companies as big as Specialized will not pay the prices for parts that small niche companies do. They have the buying power that would be the everyday equivalent of the supermarkets. This means they can apply the pressure when purchasing these proprietry parts to get whatever deal they want. Granted they don't seem to pump up the price for these parts at the beggining (point of origianl sale) but you do have to go back to them in a time of crisis for replacements when, say for instance, the shock size on the bike they supplied you doesn't match up with anything else in the market place. I've experienced this myself like 'alexin' above. It really grinds when you have a little thing like choice taken away from you and It doesn't matter how you dress it up it smacks of a marketing ploy.
  • 3 1
 I had my foot outside the Specialized door until this carbon EVO 29er showed up; damn sexy bike; I keep returning to this page to look at it! I'm waiting for the Yeti SB95C to show up before I decide.
  • 1 2
 LindLTaylor nailed the solution; DONT BUY THEIR BIKES!
  • 18 4
 I really dislike autosag.

It's just adding more complexity, money and weight to something which worked perfectly well already.

I can't believe people exist who are too lazy/stupid to put the correct pressure in their rear shock without it being done for them.

That is all.
  • 12 1
 Technology more for the lazy man than the true shredder.
  • 5 4
 just like 29rs really....bikes for punters...not shredders
  • 4 2
 "I can't believe people exist who are too lazy/stupid to put the correct pressure in their rear shock without it being done for them." - preach
  • 2 1
 Well yes, but it's my opinion. You didn't have to read it or comment...
  • 2 1
 generally speaking, it means that I agree with you
  • 2 2
 Oh dear, I think my lack of understanding of Canadian language is obviously been highlighted by that comment.

What's that all aboot, eh?
  • 11 0
 Oregon is the ideal place to test any new bike!
  • 7 0
 why do manufactures insist on running the cables and hoses on the bottom of the down tube.?
  • 3 0
 "With 455mm long chainstays (nearly 18'') we expected the rear tire to ask to be weighted quite a bit in order to bite on loose climbs, but this wasn't the case. Traction was there whether we were standing or sitting, proving to be much more forgiving than the on/off sensation that we've come to expect of bikes with similar length rear ends."

I know you were praising the bike's balance, but comments like the one above beg for an explanation. Are you implying long chainstays, on other bikes, required you to weight the rear (26" or 29er wheel size) on loose climbs? What techniques did you exactly use to weight the rear? What's this on/off sensation you get with similar length rear ends (26" or 29er wheel size)? What you seem to say seems to be worded in a way that goes against convention--you probably have the feel, but the way you communicate it seems to be unclear and can be interpreted in a way that that you didn't intend. I honestly had to scroll up to see who authored it--if it was RC, I'd just simply just go "O RLY?"

I thought both 29er wheels and longer stays (up to a point) improved climbing performance on steep inclines. 29er wheels help by toning down the acceleration, which can cause spin out from the torque exceeding frictional grip. Longer stays (than the typical 16.9" or lower) help by moving the point where the tire contacts the ground to be further back, so it will be aligned better under your weight on a steep climb with the seatpost at "full climbing" extension, especially when there's a rock or step up that pitches you up even more.

Convention extends beyond mtn biking, so going against it defies that as well. Hill climbing motos have such long swingarms/chainstays for the steep and loose stuff they go up--would they perform better with shorter? If not, why? For small "robots", designers often try to find the max wheel size it can fit on their robots, within limits of the motor's torque, for it to climb off road hills better.
  • 1 0
 I think you'll find that by kicking the BB forward (look at seat tube angle) the rider gets positioned a bit differently relative to the rear axle. The rear axle is closer to the rider's hips when seated, and closer to the rider's COG when hovering or standing. On the horizontal plane, I mean.

If the seat tube were straight and the BB aft of where it is, the familiar barge-like rear half behavior of a long CS bike would be more prominent.

That's my guess at it. I'm probably wrong.

Hill-climb motos aren't the best key for what to do with CS length. They're driven by engines that are far more powerful than even the strongest sprinter alive today. You can do things with the throttle that a pedaling effort just won't achieve. The surplus power on tap means you can put the rear wheel way back there.

On a bicycle, the further back the rear axle, the harder it can be to get the driving traction sweet spot body position right. That's how it works for me. Stand-climbing is a real hassle for me on long CS bikes. But that's assuming straight line from seat tube to BB.
  • 1 0
 Last night I did a couple of laps of one of those hills so loose and steep that the only option is to remain seated - I would spin out the moment if I even thought about standing. If the chain stays on my XTC 29er were any shorter, the front wheel would be popping up off the ground at every pedal stroke, as per Varaxis' third paragraph.
  • 2 1
 18" chainstays? WTF? I wouldn't even bother test riding that. Give me 16.5" inches for a bike that is fun to ride. It shouldn't feel like work to get the front wheel off the ground on a mountain bike. Who cares about optimum chainstay length for climbing? I don't mind earning my turns, but climbing is not where the most fun is.
  • 1 0
 But surely if climbing is the least fun aspect for you then improving this is a good thing ? That is of course as long as it does not affect the really fun stuff , like descending.
Is the overall wheel base longer than average or just the CS ?
  • 1 0
 "Who cares about optimum chainstay length for climbing?"

Anyone who wants to make the climbing less painful? Would you like shorter CS even if that meant you had to tuck your torso so tight that your chin is on the stem any time the trail pitches up, in order to get traction and keep the front end down?

Anyways, the point is more about balance. The longer stays happen to help bikes stay stable at speed too (AKA the descent and fast trails). Might be time for some to get away from DJ, Trials, BMX, pumptrack, and street geo for trail riding and go more for a more capable bike, if they want "1 bike that does it all". You might have fun doing whips off of little air with your short CS bike, playing with all the little bumps and dips of the terrain, but the truly fast and skilled people are doing them off of the big stuff, and simply flying over the terrain, on bigger and longer bikes.

I am just egging Mike for his technical explanations. I personally know what he meant to say, but knowing the readers, I just didn't want to see more misconceptions about CS length popping up. Mike is totally on the right track by saying that the balance of the bike made the bike feel more capable than he thought, despite the geo numbers and what he knew from riding other bikes with similar numbers. Balanced bikes are versatile, but there will be bikes out there with more personality, that compromise at many other aspects, to get select aspects to feel better.
  • 1 0
 I agree with foghorn1. But I also disagree. I think the point where I disagree is when climbing for 2 hrs or more.

Where climbing is concerned, it gets hard to keep the front wheel planted with really short chainstays unless you can work with the rider and the rider is willing to try certain things. If the rider wants really short CS and wants to use, say, a 35mm stem, you're going to have to lengthen the top tube to put the rider in a good (but more traditional, not sit-up-and-beg) climbing position.

A steeper seat tube angle can improve this, but some folks' anatomy and general base cycling power might not work with the hips being so close to the BB plumb line. Short femur folks find it easier, long femur folks less so.

Or the rider can say "I don't care about climbing position" and then he'll have to work extra hard to keep that front wheel planted on a long, technical and steep climb. On shorter climbs it's easy just to stand up all the time, and then the frame front half + cockpit geometry aren't as critical.

As the HA slackens the front wheel misbehaves even more when climbing, the rider's weight is less direct and more oblique relative to the contact patch on the trail. It's more noticeable the steeper it gets. Ironically a longer stem can counter this, but those of us who have ridden 120-100 stems know what kinds of funky tradeoffs come with a long stem.
  • 3 0
 I'm a Giant rider and I must admit, Specialized's 2013 bikes looks very very nice. It's ashamed that Giant DOES NOT put more effort into their 'graphic design' team. From what I have seen so far from their 2013 MTB, Giant needs help....ie. the new Trance x 29er looks like a bike from Wal-Mart....I guess Specialized pays top dollars to their design team!
  • 1 1
 What? I've never looked at any bike and thought "looks like a bike from Wal-Mart." Sounds like your bike is a status symbol, rather than something you just want to enjoy riding. Does it really matter whether your bike's looks are impressive to others? Is that the best reason to buy a bike? Its looks?

I guess it is, for some people.

I think the Giants look better than the Specialized, and the Specialized to me look like they're trying to look "space age" or "futuristic" or something. But Specialized bikes have always struck me that way. They ride great, but they seem to prefer complexity in design, over simplicity. Like a Nicolai, but mass produced. Still, not as bad as the old Quad Link Marins, or the Whytes. Those things look like the designer wanted to imitate an insect from a horror movie.
  • 3 1
 Did anyone else just scroll down in hopes to find a bike with 26" rims? Yeah that's what I thought... I'm all for evolution and sure some people love 29's but come on 90% of people here love the good ol' 26's. Its what we grew up on (for the majority) and it feels amazing. Please don't stop the 29's for people who love them, but please offer something that is more suitable for the majority of mountain bikers. I honestly just want to ride, I have been on a 26 for so long I simply don't want to change, 26 to me feels perfect... Just my opinion really though.
  • 1 0
 I was a little intoxicated while typing my initial comment. I know that Specialized (and most other companies) still make bikes with "smaller" wheels, and they are simply trying to attract the interests of another group of riders by designing and building 29er's. Basically, I just don't want to have bike companies forget about the people who love 26's as well.
  • 3 1
 I love how people act like companies marketing and changing focus is some kind of conspiracy. Specialized is a company: it produces things in response to market demand and as such it produces and markets the products that it's customers want to buy. The shop I worked had all these bikes 26 AND 29 and encouraged customer to test ride both before picking. And fact is: we sold 4:1 29er v 26 last year. People of all skill levels just like them, maybe it's not for you fine, but your an idiot to bash anything that gets more people out happy on their mountain bikes
  • 2 0
 As for going over to the much-hyped new wheel size of 650b (27.5in), Specialized openly said that they were reluctant to make the switch while there’s limited size-specific equipment available (forks, wheels, tyres, and so on) to let them do what they want.

On top of that, they also remarked on the minimal difference you get jumping from 26in to 650b wheels compared to going from 26in to 29in wheels.

this extract is from bike radar yesterday, is this another con?
  • 1 0
 Special Ed just doesn't get it. The"minimal difference" is what makes 650b work! They still feel fun, but are faster.

What fork manufacturer isn't making a 650b fork in 2012? All the big one's are. Nice lie.
  • 1 1
 Thank you very much for including (not one person) from the local Specialized dealer (with 4 decent sized shops in the immediate area) during your trip to our fair city. I enjoy getting my information about new product I'll be ordering and selling in the coming months/year from the same place the general public does- and even then, it's usually after a full day at work selling bikes (not surfing the web).

Yours truly, and in all honesty,

Your biggest fan (now with a broken heart)
  • 1 0
 Lets see, when I go somewhere in the summer, would I rather spend my time riding or hanging out in the local bike shops?
  • 2 2
 maybe the reason more 29ers are selling is the fact that for less aggressive people, who no offense may have a slightly lower skill set ie beginners, or for people who prefer to keep the wheels on the ground, 29ers make the most sense. what doesn't make sense is forcing the majority of people to follow this platform. you wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a GOOD sub 1300$ 26" aluminum xc front suspension bike Last Year! I guess it just comes down to a matter of tAste but when the market is limiting the choices for the old taste, therein lies the problem. would we be having these arguments if there were an equal number of 26" bikes available from the big S as 29ers? I don't think so.
  • 1 0
 Very nice painting job on Specialized frames!!! Every year better and nicer!!! Can't say same thing about stereotype style of Santa Cruz, Intense, Pivot etc. bikes.
  • 4 1
 why is that glass of beer so tiny?
  • 5 0
 It's for tasting.
  • 11 0
 It's not - dude's just got a MASSIVE hand.
  • 6 1
 For tasting ? I'd need to taste about 40 of 'em :o)
  • 1 0
 Taste test size. Most brew pubs in Oregon give tastes for free, usually 2-4oz.
  • 3 0
 the day they stop producing 26" is the day i stop buying Mtb bikes.
  • 1 0
 I did this identical thing around Memorial day week. Would love to test something at Northstar.
  • 3 1
  • 3 0
 Bend- Home to MTB!
  • 1 1
 WOW! YOU SUCK Specialized!!! Nice to steal the same color scheme as the Intense Carbine SL!!! www.pinkbike.com/news/Intense-Carbine-SL-Released.html
  • 1 0
 More marketing? Selling your soul to the bignames?

Levy, you`re a mediawhore :-).
  • 2 0
 Ned is the man. That dude just goes...
  • 1 1
 My old man used to say stick with what you know ! ....... 26ers still in 29ers still out - for now
  • 2 1
 everything about this page is damned sexy! Beers and Bikes.
  • 6 1
 Only thing thats missing is the "hot babes"....
  • 1 0
 We have those too
  • 1 0
 decent amount of babes
  • 2 1
 great bikes, but the design is a deal breaker from my side....
  • 1 0
 Very very sexy......i like!
  • 1 0
 I'll have that bike when you're finished with it Mr. !!
  • 1 0
 Any problems with the spesh hubs / bearings / freehub ?
  • 1 0
 Those colorz are freaking sick!
  • 1 0
 It's a carbon copy of the Carbine SL by Intense!
  • 1 0
 Damn. I love my 26" Camber. Looks like it is outdated now...
  • 1 0
 God i love living in bend
  • 1 0
 bend is sick, and with bachelors addition as a bike park soon will complete it!
  • 1 2
 I couldn't find any good DH trails when I was there.
  • 1 0
 Try Cline Butte
  • 1 0
 Try Whoops trail
  • 1 0
 Some say 29ers are the work of satan. I think.
  • 1 0
 Massive walls of marketing text = /yawn
  • 1 0
 29'er. let them build demo 29' Razz
  • 2 1
 wait for 27,5 Smile the perfect size
  • 1 0
 A 650b enduro.... Ehremerhgehrd
  • 1 0
 new stumpys are looking good
  • 1 0
  • 1 1
 Thought the title said 2013 "bikes" ?? Not 29" bias test???????
  • 1 0
 How low is the BB?
  • 4 0
 "335mm bottom bracket height (versus 338 on the non-EVO model)"
  • 1 0
 Thanks, bought the bike already, love it
  • 1 0
  • 3 4
 Whoopdie doo! Specialized comes out with nothing special yet again. Drop FSR already
  • 1 3
 I would take Bend over anywhere on the north shore any day, and if u think differently, you have not yet visited Bend
  • 1 0
 Are you seriously comparing riding in the U.S. to riding in Canada. No contest. Damn I wish I could meet and marry a Canadian girl! I don't even care if she's fat.
  • 1 0
 Hey dude: Fat chicks only wind up getting fatter. Bend is easy riding for us Tahoe guys. We are used to rocks and steep hills.
  • 2 3
 love them wagon wheels soo cool !
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