2012 All Mountain Bike Tests at Interbike Outdoor Demo

26er 27.5 29er Enduro

Specialized Camber 29er Comp with Rotor Q-Rings

This is one of those times when Craig and I should’ve communicated better. We split to seek the Genius 700 or 900 and the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc and when we were unable to score the bikes of our dreams ended up opting for essentially the same bike unbeknownst to each other. Oh well, such is life in the hectic free-for-all that is Interbike Outdoor Demo. Sometimes you grab what you can.

The Camber Comp 29er we scored was both heavier and had less travel than the SJ 29er but probably cost about a third as much. Was it only a third as good? Of course not but you can certainly appreciate the extra niceness of all that carbon and XO stuff. The trails we rode with these two bikes probably didn’t allow us to appreciate the advantage the SJ would have in the rougher stuff, but the Camber comported itself admirably against the SJ. The law of diminishing returns certainly applies here. Pretty nice entry level/intermediate bike that benefits from most of the technology of the higher end Specialized offerings without the stratospheric price.

The Rotor Q-rings were interesting. They are oval-shaped chain rings that are designed to optimize your pedal stroke. The first thing that you notice about them is that you don’t notice anything. There’s no funny hitch or uneveness in the stroke as you pedal. In fact it feels very smooth and even all the way around your stroke….. and that is exactly the point. You don’t notice anything until you get back on a bike with normal chainrings and you feel the unequal distribution of power that is characteristic of your natural pedal stroke. I thought they had merit and now that you can mount them to any crank/spider they make more sense financially. Not an overwhelming improvement in efficiency but if I were doing long endurance races or just long long bike packing distances where every ounce of conserved energy pays dividends in the end, I’d have to consider them.

With the bash guard on here and chain wrapped around them it’s impossible to appreciate the ovalness of the rings but you can see the rings bounce up and down slightly every stroke as you look down while pedaling.

About the author: Kent Robertson

Kent Robertson (better known to Mtbr forum users as KRob) is just a guy who likes to ride. A lot. Kent’s 52 and has been riding mountain bikes for almost two decades, though he says his love of two-wheeled conveyances began when he was 5. His favorite trail type is any, be it fast and flowy, steep and chunky, or jumpy and droppy. Even a mellow bike path cruise with his wife makes him happy. “If I’m on two wheels it’s a good day.” Kent calls Ely, Nevada, home, but he’s ridden all over the western U.S. from Moab and Fruita, to Tahoe and Oregon, to a bunch of places in between. And while Kent focuses on the ride more than the bike, he’s ridden and tested a ton of bikes and knows what makes for a good ride — and a good bike. You can read more from Kent on his personal website, www.stuckinthespokes.com

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