Specialized Status Downhill Bike Review

The Specialized Status is a mountain bike designed for downhill runs and it is brand new for the 2012 season, coming into the market and filling the position previously occupied by the Big Hit model. It is priced and equipped to sit in a more affordable position on the scale than the Specialized Demo, but thankfully the Status is not a cycle which has been compromised in any way by the cost-cutting measures. In fact for enthusiastic amateurs this is almost certainly a better choice than the Demo because it is easier to get to grips with and offers plenty of frantic downhill fun in the process, even if you are not in a competitive mood.

The frame of the Specialized Status I is M4 alloy with hydroformed tubing and it is tailored to the needs of the serious downhill cyclist. The geometry will give you the clearance necessary to pound down the slopes and take the big hits without damaging the frame while the combination of custom X-Fusion shocks on the front and rear will be more than enough impact-absorbing power for most situations. The rear shock has been fully modified for the 2012 Status, while the X-Fusion Vengeance coil spring fork gives 170mm of travel for unrivalled downhill performance at this price point. The Specialized Status II is the more expensive big brother (pictured above), which comes with RockShox Domain Dual Crown R front forks that give you 200mm travel. At the rear is the Fox Van RC which is an excellent choice, strong and very capable.

As you might expect this bike is not quite as pert or composed as the Demo, but at half the price it more than makes up for it with handling that is predictable and never flighty. This means you can get onboard and break it in with relative ease, taking on jumps and powering across obstacle-strewn terrain while remaining in total control. The Demo sees it equipped with the SRAM X0 on the rear derailleur whereas the Status bikes, both the I & II, come with the SRAM X7 which is effectively two tiers lower on the SRAM equipment scale.

Specialized Status Downhill Bike Specifications

SRAM X Series gearing and Avid Elixir hydraulic disc brakes work well together, making sure that you can manage the bike’s speed and wind it up for epic assaults in equal measure. The Specialized Butcher tyres (SX on the Status I and DH on the Status II) with their dual compound construction are a nice touch since they are soft and supple enough to aid in the face of impacts but also wide and grippy, improving the overall stability of the bike.

Most of the remaining components are created by Specialized itself but you will never feel like you are riding a vanilla, bland bike because the Status is entirely capable of delivering seat-of-your-pants thrills with the added sense of security that comes with riding a well put together bike. The handlebars deserve a mention because they are of the Specialized DH low-rise variety and are a generous 750mm wide, letting you grasp them for greater balance and stability in the straights and allowing you to get more control in the turns.

The Specialized Status has made an impressive first showing on the market ahead of 2012, presenting itself as a compelling option not to choose the costlier Demo because it is more than able enough to tackle the most daunting of downhill runs. This makes it ideal for riders who are developing their skills and want a bike that can grow along with them.