Nestled in the shadows somewhere between the more successful Epic and Stumpjumper bikes, the Specialized Camber is neither a purebred competition bike nor an aggressive trail bike, so what exactly is it? Could it represent the ultimate compromise?
The Specialized Camber and its big brother, the Stumpjumper, share one main gene: the main frame. Then there’s a host of linkage and rear end details that render them chalk and cheese, meaning they both inherit different travel and geometry. Fortunately, the Camber has also inherited the SWAT box in the downtube, into which you can cram tools and a tube. Thanks to the Autosag valve on the rear shock, it’s the regular Specialized-style breeze to set up the rear suspension. At first glance we’re sold on the spec of the 3,999 € Camber, but its performance on the trails told a different story: the SRAM X1 drivetrain was superb, but the RockShox Revelation RCT3 fork was insensitive, bottomed out on gnarly terrain, and dove when braking. A better option here would be a PIKE fork with 120 mm travel.[emaillocker id=”139658″]
On the trails, the Camber delivers the sort of balance and generous ride we’d expect from a Specialized, and even as a 29er it’s still precise and direct. The low bottom bracket gives a great position for the rider. On the whole, the suspension is pretty softly tuned, and runs through its travel too much on mid-sized hits. Of course, this means it’s comfortable – but more aggressive riders would value more feedback. The Camber’s real show of strength comes on the climbs thanks to the traction from the rear suspension’s sensitivity and its ability to accelerate.
Specs of the Specialized Camber Carbon Comp 29
Fork: RockShox Revelation RC3
Rear shock: FOX FLOAT Performance AutoSAG
Brakes: Shimano Deore
Drivetrain: SRAM GX
Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IRcc
Stem: Specialized XC
Handlebar: Specialized 6000 Alu
Wheels: Roval 29
Tires: Specialized Purgatory/Ground Control
Weight: 13.05 kg
Price: € 3,999
The Specialized Camber is a tolerant trail bike, happily tearing up the trails without much effort and handing out shedloads of confidence to less experienced riders. If you’ve already got finely tuned shredding skills, then you’ll be better looking elsewhere for more feedback and potency.
- Generous handling
- Climbs brilliantly
- SWAT system
- Fork tends to bottom out
- Budget spec
For more information head to the Specialized website.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: 9 short-travel trail bikes in comparison
All bikes in test: Canyon Nerve AL 9.9 LTD | Evil The Following X1 | FOCUS Spine C Factory | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 8000 | Norco OPTIC C7.2 | Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition | SCOTT Genius 910 | Trek FUEL EX 9.8 29
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Words: Photos: Noah Haxel, Christoph Bayer