Riding the 2012 Specialized Camber 29

By Shannon Mominee

The Camber 29 is a XC/trail full suspension platform with 110mm of rear travel. It features in-line rear suspension to align the seatstays, shock and top tube with one another, so bump force travels directly to the shock for a supple feel. Because it’s offered with a carbon, M5, or M4 aluminum frame in a variety of parts packages, it covers the widest spectrum in the Specialized line from beginner to expert.

I rode the Pro Carbon build and it uses an alloy M5 rear triangle. Specialized Roval Control SL carbon rims are spec’d to reduce rotational weight and increase stiffness over their aluminum rim counterpart. They are 28mm wide and accept tires up to 2.5” in width. They’re also tubeless ready and have a rider weight limit of 240lbs. The front carbon and alloy hub has interchangeable end caps (included) to accommodate 15/20mm thru-axle and quick release. The rear alloy hub has DT Swiss 240 internals and is 135/142mm compatible. (The rear triangle is spaced at 142mm).

Fox Kashima coated Float rear shock and Kashima coated 32 F29 FIT RLC fork provide the suspension. Other bits include a SRAM 2×10 drivetrain with 36/22 front chainrings, and a Command Post dropper seatpost with 120mm of adjustment on size medium and up. (Size small frames have 100mm). Internal cable routing is a nice touch too. Claimed weight for size large is 25.8lbs.

I got a little lost on the Monterey trails, or maybe I was just exploring and enjoying the day, but in any case the trail headed up for a good 15 to 20 minutes. The Camber climbs well, maintains traction, and using the ProPedal meant the rear suspension behaved so I could stay seated and grind my way up the sandy terrain. The 720mm wide bar gave great leverage for standing and pumping and the frame felt torsionally stiff.

The Camber felt good on the downhills too. The head tube and bottom bracket are definitely stiff and maintained my intended line. The in-line suspension gives a descent amount of trail feedback and I didn’t feel any harshness or bottoming out. Plus one for Fox for the Kashima coating, it operated smoothly with no stickyness even as the dust accumulated. The Pro Carbon retails for $6,500-$7,000 and its aluminum cousin begins at $1,700.