Specialized Camber 29 Review
The Specialized Camber 29 range lets you enjoy the full suspension setup of the standard Camber family but with the addition of cross-country friendly 29-inch wheels which enable fast-rolling, low resistance conquering of any terrain type. Encompassing both alloy and carbon-framed models, those looking for a 29er could face a tough decision in 2012.
The standard Specialized Camber 29 takes advantage of an M4 alloy frame with hydroformed tubing and that all-important 29er geometry which lets you make the most of the larger wheel diameter. The full suspension setup is provided by a RockShox Ario RL air spring shock at the rear and a Recon Gold TK 29 fork from the same company at the front with 100mm of travel. Shimano SLX, Deore XT and Alivio groupsets mingle to form the drivetrain and the brakes are customised editions of the Avid Elixir 3 R SL. You can adjust the reach of the brake levers without any tools, which is convenient for the initial setup and the alloy-backed organic brake pads combine with larger 200mm and 180mm rotors at the front and rear respectively on this well formatted disc-brake setup.
Specialized Camber Comp 29
For the Specialized Camber Comp 29 there are numerous upgraded components and an appropriately increased asking price. The M5 alloy frame is just as durable, but with a lighter weight making it easier to bring the bike up to speed. Meanwhile the suspension setup has been given a major overhaul, this time featuring shocks from Fox. At the front there is the Float Evolution RL 29 fork which gives you 100mm of travel, but the real story is found at the rear where the custom Fox Triad II shock can be found. This has a three position compression switch which allows for transitions between full lockout and ProPedal mode as you are riding.
Specialized normally keep their groupset quite compact with regard to manufacturers and models, normally favouring consistency across the components. It is therefore somewhat of a departure for them to combine a front derailleur of SRAM X7 with a rear derailleur of Shimano XT Shadow and Shimano SLX Shifters. The excellent Avid Elixir 7 SL provide the hydraulic disc brakes and Roval the rims.
The Specialized Camber Comp Carbon 29 ditches the all-alloy frame in favour of a FACT 9m carbon alternative, albeit one which also features an M5 rear triangle rather than a complete carbon makeover. Specialized return to consistency on this model with SRAM X7 and X9 components to form the drivetrain while the same Fox Traid II rear shock with its three position compression switch continues the good work.
Avid Elixir 7 SL hydraulic brakes add even more control and longevity at the front and rear, with the quick rolling Specialized Purgatory Control tyres add to the impact-absorbing qualities of the bike.
Specialized Camber Expert Carbon 29
If you want the best of this range then the Specialized Camber Expert Carbon 29 is the way to go. The same semi-carbon frame of the Comp Carbon is onboard, along with the 110mm full suspension setup using the adjustable Fox Float Performance shocks at the front and Fox Triad II at the rear.
SRAM X7 (front) and X0 (rear) components with SRAM X9 carbon shifters to ensure smooth shifting, light weight and longevity. Meanwhile Custom Formula The One R hydraulic disc brakes add even more tool-free adjustability. The 720mm wide XC Mini-Riser handlebars should seal the deal, enabling you to guide the bike confidently whether you are racing across the flat, darting downhill or getting into the groove of an ascent.
The Expert comes in at 12.6kg, making it one of the lightest 29er MTBs from Specialized, who once again chose Roval 29, albeit Control Trail, rims and Specialized Purgatory Control (from) and Ground Control (rear) tyres.