Specialized was gracious enough to let us play with their Camber Pro for a good six months. At least five different riders rode it in such varied terrain as Santa Cruz and Downieville in CA and Bend, Oregon. The first thing to note is every rider had fun and walked away impressed with the bike. The second thing to note is we cleaned the chain and oiled the chain. That’s all we did and the bike still performs like the day it was delivered to us.
That’s what sticks out about this bike. It’s very easy to live with. It complements the rider rather than get in the way of riding. With all the decisions about 2×10 or 3x, tubeless or tubed, 120mm or 140mm, 26/29er this bike just works. We just left it alone and we took it everywhere.
At the end of it all, we just looked at it each other and said. “You know what? This is a solid bike.” Give it a task and it will do just fine. That fact that it looks great and is under $3000 is just icing on the cake. It’s not a $7000 carbon trail bike or a 21 lb. 29er with full XTR. Rather what we have here is a carefully conceived and well-executed bike. In my audiophile days, I gained more appreciation for the stereo systems that achieved music Nirvana at the $1000 price point instead of the $20,000 dream systems. We have gained the same appreciation for the Camber Pro over the last few months
So let us explore why we liked this bike. It passed the first and most important test which is: Don’t let any bike or bike equipment detract from the riding experience. But we know that such a zen state does not happen by accident. A lot of thought and engineering went in this bike to deliver such seamless performance.
The Frame – The Camber is a new platform from Specialized for 2011 — sporting 120 mm of travel from an M4 aluminium frame with a similar suspension layout to its Stumpjumper and Enduro lines. The old FSR XC has been dropped from the range to make room for the Camber and give Specialized a legitimate shot at the 120 mm market. Front travel is matched at 120 mm as well.
The 2011 available configurations are:
Camber Pro 29er – $3000
Camber Pro – $2900
Camber Expert – $2400
Camber Elite 29er – $2150
Camber Elite – $2050
Camber Comp – $1750
Camber Pro Carbon 29 -$8300
Camber Expert Carbon 29 -$5100
Camber Comp Carbon 29 – $3800
Camber Comp 29 – $2750
Camber Comp – $1850
Camber Elite – $2200
Camber 29 -$2200
Perhaps, there’s one too many but the consumer ends up the winner as they can really select what’s right for their style and budget.
The Camber Pro is the top model of the Camber line and is available in a 29er version as well. All the Cambers feature the same hydroformed frame with the four-bar FSR suspension design Specialized is famous for. All Camber models get an integrated headset, cable routing for a dropper seatpost, together with replaceable sealed bearing pivots.