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My Quest for a new Mountain Bike

Crave!

It’s been around 13 years since I got my Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike and this spring I finally made up my mind that it wasn’t worth repairing any more.

Besides, it has 26” wheels and that’s so last year. The last 4 years I raced it I was running it as a single speed on the East Coast. That’s right, just one gear. There is something very pure about having two speeds; go, or don’t go. I made many good memories on my Stumpjumper, but that didn’t change the fact that it was time for a new bike.

The search came with some constraints: budget, ride characteristics, and weight.

I wanted to keep the same competitive geometry of the Stumpjumper in the next bike I chose. The Specialized Rockhopper and Hard

rock didn’t have the geometry or the level of components I was looking for. The Stumpjumper FSR is lots of fun, has great shocks and can climb as well as it can descend, but it was a little more suspension than I needed. The Epic and Stumpjumper hardtail were more my speed with their cross-country oriented gearing and suspension. Unfortunately, both the Stumpjumpers and the Epic were way outside my budget.

What is left in the mountain lineup from Specialized? The Crave! (formerly Carve) With geometry very close to the Stumpjumper hardtail I found it well suited to my needs, and it was much faster than my old rig.

The level of components on each bike was a large deciding factor for me.  No, I’m n

ot a weight weenie, (Okay, I am) but I was looking for something that I didn’t feel would drag me down.  I went back to my roots; single-speed.

Specialized offers the Crave in an “SL” model: Carbon fork, single speed

aluminum frame.  My size (15.5″) with all stock parts weighed in at 21lbs 11oz, respectable for $1300. I decided to go tubeless (everyone should) and I trimmed the weight to 21lbs, getting rid of more than half a pound by doing not a whole lot.

My first real ride on the Crave was in Hood River, Oregon. Verdict: AWESOME.  I look forward to racing it.

By Reinout Schooldermann