The all-new Specialized Camber has landed in our laps, and hot damn it is a VERY fine steed! A completely new bike for 2016, Specialized went to town with this one giving their super popular all-rounder a new frame with loads of very tidy features.
The not-so-minor details
Specialized Camber Expert Carbon 29
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Totally dialled parts spec.
Trademark Specialized quality.
Let’s take a quick look at the new Camber before we get it real dirty. Full review coming soon.
The Camber is available in carbon and aluminium, ranging from $2799 up to the S-Works for $12999, check out the full range here: Specialized Camber.
Our review of the 2015 Camber Expert Carbon EVO: Camber EVO review.
Read our review of the new 2016 Stumpjumper too, she’s a real beauty. Specialized Stumpjumper review.
Seen the new 6Fattie range? Worth a look if you’re a fan of traction. Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie review.
Slotting in between the lean and mean Specialized Epic and longer legged Stumpjumper, the Camber has grown to be a mighty popular trail bike with its ability to suit just about any mountain bike rider with its neutral ‘just right’ on-trail character.
Two wheel sizes: The Camber is now available in both wheel sizes (previously only 29″), 650b and 29er. 120mm travel for the 29er and 130mm for the smaller wheel 650b version. We’ve got the 29er on test, the Expert Carbon Comp 29.
Tighter numbers: It’s all the rage, shorter rear ends for a zippier ride. The new Camber 29er drops from a previous length of 450mm to a short and snappy 437mm. The head angle slackens off slightly to 68 degrees.
Internal routing: We really appreciate a clean bike, and this new Camber is so damn fine it’s just a dream. The cable routing is even neater than before, and everything just seems to be so tidy.
SWAT: What? Storage, Water, Air and Tools. The new Camber uses the SWAT Door, a storage compartment under the water bottle cage. It’s Specialized’s new thing that nobody else has even come close to, you’re able to mount small repair tools on the bike, there’s always space for a full size water bottle and now even a storage compartment INSIDE the down tube takes it to another level. Match that up with their excellent SWAT Bib (that we’ve reviewed and swear by) you can leave your hydration bag at home and carry all the essentials you need for shorter rides on your body or on/inside your bike.
In addition to the SWAT Door, there’s a nifty little allen key set hidden under the tup tube and a chain tool integrated into the headset top cap, now that is clever! We’ve used the SWAT Door plenty of times, and it is actually a really great feature executed very well.
Stiffer and lighter linkage: The new Camber is a lighter and stiffer frame than its predecessor, chiefly due to a new linkage that connects the rear shock directly to the seat stays, said to improve lateral rigidity whilst losing weight. The bike weighs a very impressive 12.34kg out of the box, not bad at all.
Position-Sensitive Micro Brain: Specialized have used their Brain rear shocks for yonks, made in collaboration with FOX it uses an inertia valve housed down towards the rear hub which can differentiate between impacts from the ground and the rider’s inout pushing down. Over the years our relationship with this system has improved, earlier versions whilst very efficient they would lack feel.
The latest version of the Brain is said to be a vast improvement in this regard, with a greater range of adjustment with more sensitivity. This is of particular interest to us, we’re looking forward to testing it out on the dirt.
Wide Rims: YES! 29mm wide rims, winner. Specialized got the memo about wider rims are better rims a couple years ago, and now offer good width on so many of their bikes. The Roval Traverse wheels on this Camber have an internal width of 29mm. Thumbs up.
The classic tyre combo of a Specialized Purgatory up front and the Ground Control out the back is a real winner in our eyes, and they’re all set up tubeless.
34mm FOX: The new 2016 FOX Fit 4 forks are sweet, and with the 34mm legs leading the way everything is stiffer and more precise.
Shimano meets SRAM: In what Specialzed must call ‘best of both worlds’ the brakes are done by the Shimano with the new XT brakes that are winning everyone over with their light feel and heavy power, read our review on them here: Shimano M8000 XT tested. And the drivetrain comes from the other corner, SRAM.
The SRAM 11-speed drivetrain uses a tiny 28 tooth chainring on carbon cranks up front, with the base level 10-42 tooth SRAM GX cassette out the back, that’s a nice and low range of gears.
It’s all looking pretty good so far, but we couldn’t help but gasp at the price. $8799 is pretty massive, the prices of bikes just keep on going up, and it seems Specialized are particularly effected. Only a couple years ago the same version was closer to $6000, crazy.
We’ll be putting in the testing miles on the Camber this summer, so stay tuned for more.