Specialized SX Trail

Specialized SX Trail Review

The Specialized SX Trail is a full suspension mountain bike which has been revised for the new year, giving you more augmented features than you can count and revamping an already capable downhill trailblazer. While it may be able to stave off the effects of gravity on the downhill courses it is also intended to be a rider’s best friend when you want to pull off some impressive tricks on ramps at the park, so agility is not completely lost to shock-absorption.

The frame is made up of M5 manipulated alloy and in total can provide you with a whopping 180mm of travel with which to experiment. The Fox 36 Van R fork at the front combines with a custom Fox Van RC rear shock which has been intentionally tailored to work wonders on the Specialized SX Trail. You can adjust the rebound externally in order to give you suitable compression levels when you are going to be travelling at relatively low speeds. This also makes it simple to prepare the bike for particularly rocky terrain, encouraging it to be as adaptable as the rider.

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Both the frame and the suspension setups are intended to make the bike as manoeuvrable as possible so you will never feel like you are wrestling with the SX Trail in order to get it pointing in the right direction. This also transfers into a controllable experience whether you are practising stunts or jamming downhill at a fast pace.

Hydraulic disk brakes from the Avid Elixir 7 range follow the rear shock in being customised for the Specialized SX Trail. These brakes use metallic pads to improve the precision with which you can control the bike and also make the whole experience a little more consistent so that you know how the SX Trail will respond in every situation. The SRAM X7 groupset is also present to make gear changes smooth each time you flick the levers.

Any downhill trail bike needs solid wheels and this year there are some brand new Roval DH rims onboard the SX Trail. Paired with Specialized hubs and DT Swiss spokes there is a great deal of strength to be found here. When the big hits are approaching you will feel confident that nothing is going to buckle beneath you.

This particular downhill bike wears its credentials on its sleeve, with the bare coil of the rear shock making no bones about where you feel most at home. Specialized has not gone for a particularly flashy style this year, opting for a simple black frame with white detailing and minimalistic decals. The low rise handlebars and chunky Butcher SX tyres give it an aggressive stance.

While this is certainly a specialist bike it does have enough flexibility to make it more than simply suitable for mad descents at high speeds. Muddy trails and purpose build parks will welcome this model into their midst and taking a ride on the Specialized SX Trail will leave you grinning every single time.

Specialized SX Trail

Rating by Mark Taylor: 4.5 stars
****1/2

Like many cyclists, I've been riding since I was very young and despite now being less-young, I love it just as much. I've done my time on road bikes, have cycled throughout the UK, including Lands End to John O' Groats (yes, uphill!) and now have fun on a mountain bike, in the hills and doing charity bike rides.