WHAT’S THE specialized STATUS?
When pro freeriders Darren Berrecloth and Martin Soderstrom both turn up to a high–profile event like the Red Bull Rampage on something other than the de rigeur Demo, you know they haven’t done so without Specialized (their sponsors) and themselves having full confidence in that choice of bike. It’s a big statement.
DIRT ISSUE 131 – JANUARY 2013
Words by Ali Todd/Steven Jones. Photos by Ben Winder
That assertion gets even bigger when you think about the price of the Status. At £2,500 its main rivals are the YT Tues, the Kona Operator or the Canyon Torque, yet at Rampage it was up against bikes costing that three times over. It’s got to be something special then…
Looking at the bike and the listed specs, none of the kit immediately comes across as incredible. The shock (Fox Van RC) and the fork (RockShox BoXXer RC) look like the weak links on the bike performance–wise, coming in at the budget end of their company’s respective ranges. From there on it looks distinctly utilitarian, with plenty of own–brand Specialized products fitted and mid–range drivetrain products from SRAM. The wheels could be lighter and the bars could be a bit wider, but that’s about all the criticism available: the tyres are some of the best out there and the X5 and X7 drivetrain, while not being as light as X0, is perfectly functional. The same goes for the Avid Elixir 5 brakes: they’re what’s needed to get the job done without spending too much money on saving little bits of weight here and there.
Moving over to the frame, on paper it seems surprisingly similar to the Demo. The 64.5º head angle is only half a degree steeper on the Specialized Status, while there’s only a 6mm difference in the wheelbase on our large test model. It’s around the 40lbs mark (a few pounds heavier than the Demo), but still in average downhill bike territory. It’s higher than the Demo in standover and the back end is 5mm longer and less complicated, but no huge difference. Specialized have a long and successful history with the FSR link, and with the heritage of the Big Hit behind them, they know what they’re doing with downhill bikes at what they call an “accessible price level”. Wheeling it out of the door then, odds are that it will be a well–designed frame with average kit and slightly sub–standard suspension relative to the higher price point offerings.
Specialized, what have you done? This thing flies! Having to eat my words is an unfortunate habit of mine (Ali Todd), but rarely have I ever had to change my mind this quickly. I had to make sure that the fork and shock hadn’t been surreptitiously changed between the office and the trail centre – the Specialized Status felt just as balanced and smooth as a lot of £5,000+ bikes we’ve ridden. This might change slightly in the hard conditions of summer where the compression might be slightly lacking, but it’s still fantastic at any price – never mind this one. It feels much more nimble than the 40lbs it weighs would suggest – as happy getting sideways in the air as it is dodging trees. The FSR linkage is predictable, and works well right the way through its travel. The rest of the kit does exactly what it’s designed to and little more…though the extras aren’t really on your mind when you’re fast approaching a tree.>>
Open Gallery10 Images
I could get lost for hours with just the Status and not care a bit. This isn’t just a neat hyperbolic phrase either – I found myself in the woods at half past eight on a rainy, windy, misty Saturday morning having the time of my life when every sane soul was in bed. On a short section of track full of corners and roots the Specialized Status was smashing through the turns, rattling through the roots and finding lines I’d never seen before. Fast, fun…I love this thing.
Without sounding too gushy, this is one fantastic bike. It’s not just a lot of bike for the money – it’s a lot of bike full–stop. Every detail of this bike says that the guys at Specialized must have put a lot of time and care into it. You could spend more money if status was your primary concern, I fully expect that this bike can win races too, but most people will just use it to hammer out run after run at the weekends. If that’s the case, I couldn’t imagine many more suitable bikes than this.
|FRAME||Specialized Status, 200mm travel|
|REAR SHOCK||Custom Fox Van RC|
|FORK||RockShox BoXXer RC|
|HEADSET||Semi–integrated, cartridge bearings|
|STEM||Specialized Direct Mount|
|HANDLEBARS||Specialized DH low–rise bar, 750mm|
|GRIPS||Specialized Sip Grip|
|BRAKES||Custom Avid Elixir 5 R|
|REAR DERAILLEUR||SRAM X7, 9–speed, short cage|
|SHIFTERS||SRAM X5, 9–speed, trigger|
|CASSETTE||SRAM PG–950, 9–speed, 11–28|
|CHAIN||SRAM PG–971, 9–speed|
|CRANKSET||Custom SRAM Descendant, GXP 165mm|
|BOTTOM BRACKET||SRAM GXP|
|RIMS||P-Disc, 32mm, 36h|
|HUBS||Specialized Hi Lo disc|
|TYRES||Specialized Butcher DH, 60 TPI|
|POST||Specialized 6061 alloy|
More Specialized stories? Here you go:
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