Words by Flow | Images by Carson Blume Photography/Specialized

Not long after Specialized revamped the classic Stumpjumper and introduced the Rhyme, we’ve been handed the exciting news that a whole new Camber will also be on its way for 2016. Do these guys sleep? So many new bikes, so much work!

The new Camber is a completely fresh bike, but its position in the market remains the same. Filling the gap in Specialized’s line up between the racy Epic and all-mountain Stumpjumper, the Camber is a popular one for riders seeking a lightweight, short travel dually with a confident feel on the trail.


We recently tested the Camber’s bigger brother, the brand new 2016 Stumpjumper FSR – hear our thoughts. 


Camber 1

The top tier S-Works Camber FSR Carbon 29. A whopping $12999!

Highlights of the new 2016 Camber range

– Available in TWO wheel sizes, 650b and 29″.

Previously a 29″ only model, riders will now have the ultimate choice, two wheel sizes. Choose between smaller diameter 650b wheels for a fun and flickable ride, or 29″ wheels for speed and confidence.

The 29er uses 12mm of travel, the 650b has 130mm.

We’re all about choice, as no two riders will want to ride one trail the same way, so having the same bike in two wheel sizes is a great option. The 29er will have shorter travel (120mm front and rear) and sharper geometry than the 650b model (which runs 130mm-travel front and rear) to play to the strengths of the bigger wheels.

In an effort to simplify the large range, there will be no Camber EVO model, with the 650b version filling that void with slightly more travel a more aggressive riding style.

Camber 12

– All-new geometry with shorter chain stays and a slacker head angle. 

The 2016 Camber will have a wheelbase of 1119mm (650b) and 1135mm (29″). But most interestingly to note is that the chain stays on the 29er drop from a previous length of 450mm  to a short and snappy 437mm,the  same length as the upcoming Trek Fuel EX 29. The 650b version is much shorter again.

The all-new 650b model will have very tight 420mm length stays which brings it right in line with other fun and playful bikes. I It’ll be a sweet bike to ride, for sure.

Head tube angles are slackened off, too. With the 29″ Camber moving from 70 degrees to 68, and the 650b version will sit at 67.5 degrees. The low bottom bracket height remains the same, 329mm (650b) and 335mm for the 29er.

Camber 5

– New Concentric Link FSR, for a stiffer and lighter rear end.

The linkage arrangement has been given a big shakeup. The new Concentric Link is allows weight to be saved from the seat stays and is said to be a stiffer arrangement.

Camber 8
Camber 3

The fat carbon stays bolt onto linkage centred around one pivot. It’s all lighter and stiffer than before.

– New Position-Sensitive Micro Brain rear shock.

Short travel suspension bikes from Specialized use their proprietary inertia valve suspension design – The Brain. Constantly evolving, this very clever system has the ability to give your rear suspension ultimate efficiency – it ensures your suspension is only activated when an impact occurs from the ground upwards (i.e. hitting a bump), and not from you pushing down on the bike (i.e. pedalling). You can dial in how much damping you want from the Brain, from almost totally non-existent, through to super firm.

The Brain concept has been around for yonks, but for 2016 we will see the Camber with its own special variant called the Position Sensitive Micro Brain, and we like the sound of it very much.

The Position Sensitive Brain will let you feel the trail underneath more. The inertia valve will only engage when you’ve reached the sag point of the travel. The first 25% of the travel will remain open and plush.

Whilst the Brain has always been great in that it let’s you hammer hard on the pedals without the rear suspension bobbing bob as you do, we’ve found it it can be somewhat unpredictable and intrustive at times. For instance, when pumping the ground, or pushing into the bike to preload the suspension to make a jump, we’ve often found the Brain can make the rear suspension feel a little funky.

So, with this new 25% of ‘brainless’ portion of travel at the top of the stroke, we can envisage this letting the rider feel the terrain a little more, not skimming over the top of it.

Camber 9

The new Micro Brain operates along the same lines as earlier Brain shocks, but the inertia valve is always kept open in the initial 25% of the travel.

Camber 11

The blue dial adjusts the firmness/sensitivity of the Brain, so you can adapt its performance to suit your trails.

– SWAT Door.

Like the new Stumpy and Rhyme, the Camber gets the new SWAT Door. There’s literally a hinged door, that gives you access to the the big space inside the downtube for storage. Understandably, we’ve heard many people deride the new SWAT Door (or Glovebox as we like to call it) but we’re sure it’ll end up being super useful. It’s all part of Specialized’s goal of freeing the ride of the need to use a hydration pack, as you can mount a water bottle, tools, and spares on/inside the bike.

Camber 10

The SWAT door. A handy place to stash your spares, you sandwich, or hide your Euros if riding in Greece.

– Taco Blade front derailleur system.

Following suit of the Enduro and Stumpjumper range, the Camber will now use Specialized’s trick front derailleur mount, the Taco Blade. This allows the bike’s rear end to be super short in length, whilst still allowing the use of a front derailleur if needed.

Camber 6

Details are a little light on the Camber at this stage, but stay tuned as we attempt to find more out about this sweet new bike. In the meantime, have a flick through our reviews of the original Specialized Camber.


S-Works Camber 29:  http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-specialized-s-works-camber-29-finished/

Camber Expert Carbon Evo 29: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-specialized-camber-expert-carbon-evo-29/

Women’s Specific Rumour Expert Evo 29: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/shred-ette-specialized-rumor-exper-evo-29-reviewed/


Australian Retail Pricing

S-WORKS CAMBER FSR CARBON 650B $12,999

S-WORKS CAMBER FSR CARBON 29 $12,999

CAMBER FSR EXPERT CARBON 650B $8,799

CAMBER FSR EXPERT CARBON 29 $8,799

CAMBER FSR ELITE CARBON 650B $7,799

CAMBER FSR ELITE CARBON 29 $7,799

CAMBER FSR COMP CARBON 650B $5,799

CAMBER FSR COMP CARBON 29 $5,799

CAMBER FSR COMP 650B $3,499

CAMBER FSR COMP 29 $3,499

CAMBER FSR 650B $2,799

CAMBER FSR 29 $2,799

CAMBER FSR GROM $2,999


 

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