Specialized 2012 Pre-View: by Grannygear

We received some images of the new 2012 Specialized 29″er Mountain Bike line but not too many details, and we still do not have all the bikes that will be available in big wheels. One thing is for certain…Specialized is moving down the trail in 2012 with more 29″ers than last year, including two new women’s models, one, the Fate hard tail, in all carbon. In fact, carbon is more present than ever as shown by the carbon main framed Camber Pro and the carbon FSR. The S Works FSR is all carbon tip to tail!

So, here are some pics and a bit of info for you so you can plan ahead for 2012!

Control Trail SL 29
Control Trail 29 wheels (Image courtesy of Specialized)

Many of the bikes in the line retain the OS28 hub/fork dropout interface for 2012. With 15QR becoming the standard, it seems a bit awkward to stay with the ‘old’ 9mm quick realease standard. However, in its defense, the OS28 is a light and remarkably stiff interface and lab tests show it stiffer than a 15QR. The only issue is, that if you want to upgrade your wheels to something better/lighter/blingier, then only Roval hubs/wheels offers that OS28. A bit limiting in that sense. However, the high end Rovals on the 2010 Epic Marathon have been absolutely flawless. Good thing.

Stump Jumper_FSR_SW Carbon 29_
Stumpjumper FSR Carbon 29 (Image courtesy of Specialized)

The Brain is back and now has the Fox Racing Kashima coating on the shock. As well, there is the new Auto Sag which is intended to do the thinking for you by auto-setting the correct amount of Sag in the rear shock based on rider weight. Time to toss the shock pump? Not likely, but it is interesting as I imagine the average rider is not up to the task of getting the typical 20% sag setting right without some sort of help. I predict that newbies will love it and old timers will look askance and do it the old fashioned way, but who knows?

CAMBER_Pro Carbon 29_GlossSatin Blk Carb Red
Camber Pro Carbon 29 (Image courtesy of Specialized)

The Camber grows some longer legs and stretches to 110mm of travel front and rear besides offering a carbon main framed model. It also has a tapered steerer now, but no Brain rear shock. The high end Pro with the carbon frame also comes with carbon Roval Control SL wheels, those being 27mm wide (external) and 1350g. They come ready to go tubeless but carry a 240lb rider weight limit. There is also a Roval Control Trail SL that is 28mm wide and has 32 spoke drilling for an even beefier bike like the FSR, The biggest issue this past year was being able to actually get them as they were darn scarce. Hopefully 2012 will be better in that regard. The Camber is poised to step into the role of all around XC trailbike, lighter/lower than the FSR and burlier/slacker than the Epic. Great place to be.

FATE_Comp Carbon 29_
The Fate Carbon Comp 29 (Image courtesy of Specialized)

The ladies selection of 29″ers just grew a bunch with the addition of the aluminum Jett hard tail (the men get the new alu Carve HT 29″er) and the all FACT IS carbon Fate. The Fate gets all the goodies with a Specialized/RockShox 80mm travel SID 29″er with Brain tech inside. Tapered steerer, of course. Interestingly, the 15” version has a 51mm offset crown to keep toe/wheel overlap issues from happening.

CARVE_PRO 29
Carve Pro 29 (Image courtesy of Specialized)

The Blacklite adjustable-on-the-fly dropper seat post which we looked at recently on The Cyclist is appearing on more bikes including some of the Cambers and I even have heard that there is internal cable routing for the Blacklite release cable on the carbon frames. Cool.

Something else I noticed that I applaud…all the hard tails I have seen so far are spec’d with 27.2 diameter seat posts. Yay! Much more comfy, all other things being equal. I am also seeing a fair amount of Shimano brakes on the bikes, which is a departure from the all nearly all Avid of previous days.

Is there more? I am sure there will be including real specs and details as time goes on. We are looking to be in France for the official roll out of the 29″er line at the 2012 Roc d’azur. If that happens, we will do our best to ride some of these and report back.

Till then, enjoy.

We’d like to thank Specialized Bikes for the images and information for this post.