By Matt Kasprzyk
So I’ve spent some time racing this bike, and it forces you to ride fast. Maybe faster than I’re comfortable with. The 1×10 SRAM drivetrain is still shifting smooth and the Rock Shox / Fox suspension combo with Specialized’s Brain creates a finely tunable suspension platform. There’s a lot of good about the bike. From day one the geometry was completely natural and there was virtually no break in period where I had to get use to odd handling tendencies. I keep forgetting that this isn’t my personal bike that I’ve been riding for years.
But with all the praise comes two drawbacks. I hate to say it, but the single most negative experience I’ve had has been dealing with the skipping chain and the front chainring guide. The guide doesn’t seem to, well, guide the chain very well. The skipping chain was almost a sure thing on most rides. I think a lot has to do with the fact it’s a 1×10 drive and I would ride the bike almost like a hardtail SS. Instead of sitting and spinning, I’d stand and hammer uphill. Going over a bump and compressing the rear end while climbing would cause the chain to skip. This happened so often and consistently that it began to effect how I rode.
The other problem I’ve faced was with the freehub body. It already sounds rough. While the DTSwiss wheels themselves seem to handle a beating, the self-contained freehub hasn’t stood up to even brief ordinary wear. The sealed system doesn’t appear to be very high quality.
Aside from those two things however, I’ve had a great time on the bike and look forward to riding it more. If this guy is on your short list, an upgraded chain guide and freehub, along with a solid factory EVO R spec would probably do you right. Full review coming soon.