Specialized Fuse Pro 6FattieEver since I experienced the new Mid Fat genre at the 2015 Scott Bike Week, I have been pretty convinced that the new Mid Fat or Plus sized wheels and tires were going to be the real deal, and said so here in an Editorial.  But I had not ridden them at home on trails that I know and in terrain and conditions that are my ‘norm’.

But now I have, in the review process, a fine example of the Mid Fat experience, at least as it applies to hardtails.  The Specialized Fuse and Ruze line are dedicated Mid Fat hardtails based on a 27.5″ wheel, not 29+.  All of them, Fuse being the mens’ bikes and Ruze being the ladies’ version, are aluminum frames with a trailbike feel to them…slack and with 100mm-120mm forks depending on frame size and model. It is a common formula for 2016 Mid Fat hardtails…long in front, short in back, with a look and build that seems to shout FUN!  So let’s look at what Specialized did for their entry into this new field of Plus trailbikes, what they are calling 6Fattie (presumably for 650b Fat).

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Fuse Pro 6Fattie – $3100.00

The Fuse Pro 6Fattie is the next step in the evolution of trail riding. Now we know that sounds bold coming from a hardtail, but with our all-new 6Fattie Wheel System, the Fuse puts out more traction, more floatation, and better handling, all without sacrificing anything to efficiency. And when teamed-up with a low and slack geometry that keeps you glued to the trail, and our exclusive Diamond Stay design that keeps the chainstays as short as possible for snappy handling and quick accelerations, that “bold” statement above becomes undeniable fact.
  • M4 Premium Aluminum proved to be the right material for the job, allowing a lightweight, durable frame with a low and slack geometry that’s equal parts snappy and efficient on climbs and descents. It also allowed us to incorporate our exclusive Diamond Stay that accommodates the 6Fattie wheels/tires without compromising on our hallmark short chainstays that provide unrivaled handling and climbing prowess.
  • A RockShox Reba RC3 650+ fork was developed to deliver 100/120mm (size-specific) of plush, trail taming travel, while accommodating 15x110mm thru-axles for reliable handling and durability over rough, bumpy, or loose terrain.
  • 38mm-wide Roval 650b wheels are hand-built to provide the perfect tension and a longer lifespan, while an ultra-wide alloy design allows for higher tire volumes that decrease deflection in order to provide more stability and increased traction.
  • 650bx3.0″ 6Fattie Ground Control tires feature a perfectly sized contact patch for life-changing levels of traction and control while cornering, all without sacrificing climbing efficiency or descending prowess.
  • SRAM’s S-2200 11-speed crankset delivers all the ease-of-use climbing and descending efficiency that a one-by setup is known for, but what we’re most excited about is how seamlessly it interfaces with our exclusive Diamond Stay design and bottom bracket junction to form a smooth, natural, and intuitive ride quality.

The top of the heap of three Fuse models, the Pro is SRAM X1/XO based drivetrain with a SRAM S-2200, carbon crank and a 30T chainring.  The fork is a “RockShox Reba RC3 650+, Solo Air spring, compression adjust, rebound adjust, lockout, tapered alloy steerer, forged hollow aluminum crown, Maxle stealth, disc mount”…etc.  The Pro gets you a dropper post, a “Command Post IRcc, cruiser control technology, micro-adjust height adjustable, alien head design, bottom mount cable routing, remote adjust SRL lever, 30.9mm, S: 100mm travel, M/L/XL: 125mm travel”

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

The M4 aluminum frame is used across all the models and sizes and has one trick feature, the Diamond Stay, a pretty cool way to keep the back end short and have room for drivetrain and wide tires.  It is Boost of course, with a 148mm chainline.

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

The geometry is long and slack, with top tube lengths that are very stretched out per frame size, like the Kona Honzo AM hardtail (non-fatty).  The LG size we have here has a 633mm/24.9″ effective top tube, a length much more in keeping with an XL frame.  That allows for a properly short stem, 60mms in this case, and wide bars of 750mm.  The chainstays are short, but not super short, like are on the Trek Stache 9, and measure at a 430mm/16.9″ width.  The head tube angle is trail friendly at 67°.

So, the wheels and tires.  That is the chess move here to take note of.  6Fattie is Specialized speak for what most are calling 27.5+, 650b being the more ‘continental’ term for this size rim diameter.  But this is 650b on steroids as the rim widths are widened to allow for a 3.0″ wide, low pressure tire.  Besides the name difference, Specialized spec’d this bike with the Roval alloy Fattie rims with a 38mm internal width. That is narrower than many other brands rims in this category which are more like 45mms wide (or more) but Specialized ran rims of different widths during the development of this bike and found this width to be a good compromise of weight and support for the tire.  The tires themselves are based on the Ground Control tread, so they are milder than, say, a more aggressive trail tire like a Purgatory (although there also is a Purgatory based 6Fattie tire as well).

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie


Specialized Fuse Pro 6Fattie

Will this be a sweet spot or?  Time will tell as much of this Plus bike stuff is still very much in its infancy, so what is optimum for things like rim design, suspension tuning, geometry (including BB height)…heck, it’s all getting worked out as we ride these things. Are we are seeing the last word in refinement displayed on 2016 model Plus bikes?  Not likely.

I weighed the LG Fuse Pro 6Fattie at 27.5lbs with the water bottle cage and SWAT equipped multi tool in place, so we are in there as far as weight goes, about what a well equipped 120mm 29er FS would weigh.

We have already been out on this quite a bit, so my first impressions will not be long in coming, but suffice to say that I have not been so excited about a MTB in a long time.  It’s a hoot of a ride and is proving out much of what I had predicted from my first sampling of this new Plus deal.

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Note: Specialized provided this review bike at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.