I’m about to try my hand at my first bike review, bear with me on this one folks!
This is just a first impression of my new 2013 Specialized Status I, as soon as I get some decent saddle time I will post a full ride review. A big thanks to the guys at The Bike Shop on Dimond for partnering with me this season, they have been instrumental in moving my plans forward!
So, first things first, why did I buy a Status when I have a stable full of steeds already? Well, I equate it to the same thing as a toolbox. When you build something it is important to use the right tool for the job if you want the right results. You don’t use a sledgehammer for finishing work. I have a fantastic 2010 Specialized Demo 8 II that is an extremely capable bike that I have had countless hours of fun on. But there are several reasons why I chose to go a different direction.
First, lets address the terrain. This summer I am venturing away from traditional downhill trails found at resorts and in established trail networks and I am heading into more uncharted big mountain free riding where the exposure is higher and trails may not exist. The type of environment where you most definitely want the right tool for the job.
When I built my Demo, I built a bike for straight line speed and stability for wide open trail systems. Which is why I sized up medium frame. The longer wheelbase provided much greater stability at the cost of some nimbleness. The demo runs an extremely aggressive race geometry with an exceptionally low bottom bracket height, making it one of the fastest bike on the world cup and allowing it to corner and handle like a dream. For this new type of terrain, nimbleness was critical to me. I want the bike to read my mind and move with me, there isn’t time for delayed reactions. I thought about sizing down in the Demo to a small to achieve the quickness I wanted but at would still leave me on a race geometry.
The status runs a slightly higher bottom bracket and less aggressive geometry, giving it a more neutral and balanced feel. This equips it better for varied terrain and lower speed handling in technical sections. The demo only really feels alive at very high speeds. The Status has a nicely progressive suspension rate and can shred big lines fast or trick kickers with the best of the free ride bikes.
So onto my specific build:
2013 Specialized Status I $2500 MSRP
I’ll give a breakdown of the major components and the changes I made to customize it for my needs.
The alloy frame sports 200mm of coil sprung travel with a Fusion Vector R shock. The frame is strong, well built and uses Specialized’s FSR technology. It’s a progressive spring rate that can handle anything you throw at it. It runs a 1.5″ head tube to give the strongest build on the front end possible. The livery, in true Specialized fashion, look great. The pictures don’t do it justice, the intricate details only come out when looking at it in person.
The Status I runs matching Fusion suspension front and rear with a 170 mm Vengeance up front and a 200 mm Vector R in the back. The fork is a single crown running a coil with rebound adjust. The rear shock, like the front, is a coil shock with adjustable rebound. These pieces are durable, easy to use but lack the tuneability that is found on some higher end models. But for this build kit, they are reliable, well built, and great for someone venturing into the world of free ride.
I elected to run a dual crown Rock Shock Boxxer World Cup up front. While this may be a heavier option than a single crown I wanted the adjustability that it offered with the high and low speed rebound and compression adjustments. Also, I prefer the feeling that it offers being air sprung versus coil. Additionally, the Boxxer runs 200 mm of travel versus the X Fusions 170 mm. In the back I decided to run a Rock Shock Vivid Air R2C, again for the adjustability and feel. Most people would shy away from running an air shock on a freeride bike because of the risk of heat fade. I am fortunate enough to be a featherweight at 155 lbs so I can get away with it. The Vivid Air also runs a thermoplastic rod through the main chamber that expands with heat and compensates for the effects of heat fade, making this shock run as close to a coil feel as I have ever felt out of an air shock. By running the Vivid air I saved over 1 lbs of weight on the bike as well.
The bike rolls on a set of Specialized P-Disc 32 mm rims with Spesh hubs. While I can’t guarantee it, I think these are DT Swiss rims in camouflage. They may not be the lightest wheel set in the world but they can take a beating, and reliability is important. More to come on this as I put some miles down.
A matching set of Specialized Butcher SX 26 x 2.3″ tires come stock. As freeride tires go, it’s not obscenely heavy and it rolls pretty quick. While I wouldn’t run these for all mountain riding, they are a good fit for high speed descents. The knob pattern allows it to hook up and grip well in most any terrain and roll well. I haven’t ridden these in the wet so i can’t speak to how well they clear mud at this point.
You’ll find a mid range spec from SRAM on this bike. A single 34T ring up on a set of Truvativ Rukitron cranks move you forward and the chain is held in place with a status guide. An X7 rear derailleur moves you through the 11-32 cassette, providing all the gearing you need for freeride or downhill the X7 derailleur paired with the X4 shifter provide reliable shifts and long term durability but at the cost of weight and precision. You may find that the trigger action is not as tight or immediate as an X9 shifter pod. I plan on running the X7 mechanicals out of the box and putting them through the paces to get a true test on them. When (not if) I crash and rip the derailleur off, I will upgrade to X9 or X0.
Stopping is kind of important so brakes are too. Avid Elixir 1’s paired with a 200mm rotor up front and a 180 mm in the rear. The Elixir 1 offers a progressive feel with its taper bore assembly with no real frills. They offer great stopping power in a entry level brake. Brakes are very much a personal thing, which is why I chose to swap the Avids out for a set of Shimano Saints with 203 mm rotors from and rear. I prefer the more “on/off” feel of the saints and they offer a more precise feel and action with single finger braking.
The Status is stock with a 750 mm Lo rise bar that offers a nice wide feel for dropping deep into corners and great steering input with minimal action. Post and seat are standard Specialized DH stock. I switched to Twenty6 direct mount stem out of necessity with the dual crown fork. I am running SRAM thin grips for a more direct contact point with the bike. I also added on some Twenty6 ti spindle flat pedals that offer a stable platform with excellent grip.
So, that’s the first look at the 2013 Status I. Overall, I think this bike is one of the leaders for freeride/downhill entry level/mid range bikes. The geometry and technology that goes into this frame rival the top end designs coming from competitors. The suspension is a good place to start but may lack some adjustability for more experienced riders. The component spec is perfect for what this bike is designed for. You’ll find it reliable and burly.
Stay tuned for a ride report as I begin to put down some miles on it!