For 2014, Specialized brings the EVO to the 29er Camber lineup as well as new models to fill the upper (S-Works Carbon) and lower end Camber range. The Camber features 110mm of travel while the EVO model Camber’s feature 120mm of travel and offers lower / slacker trail-style geometry.
S-Works Camber 29
The Camber range in our opinion has been overshadowed shadowed by the Stumpjumper product line up in the past. Specialized has put some additional attention into the Camber product lineup this year and it shows in the final product. The Camber is Specialized’s answer to what an aggressive XC-bike should be.
At the top of the food chain of the Camber lineup for 2014 is the S-Works Camber 29. Carbon and spec’d up to the nine’s (including the price).
This new S-Works model gets the carbon fiber treatment and is outfitted with a very high level part-spec trim.
SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain is impressive. It offers a smooth gear range (11speed 10-42) without the need for a front derailleur or chainguide.
The bike is fitted with a high end build that includes Formula T1 Racing brakes that have revised levers (much more comfortable lever sweep for riders with shorter hands), SRAM’s XX1 1×11 drivetrain (10-42t rear cassette), FOX AutoSag shock (helps automatically get you in the right sag location for the rear shock), and much more.
The Camber S-Works 29 comes with the new Specialized Commpand Post IR. It takes less effort to actuate this new dropper post than in previous models and uses internal routing as well. It takes less PSI than previous Specialized dropper posts so you can get this post to return a little bit slower than previous models but it isn’t quite as slow as other options in the field. The Command Post IR offers 3 set positions to pick from. Air can be easily added right at the top of the seat post and the revised seat clamp holds onto the seat more securely and easily.
The Camber S-Works 29 frame is also available as a frame option.
Additional Details / Models
We got a chance to ride a lot of the new 2014 Specialized and this new Camber is quite fun. It’s a responsive bike that really comes alive on the trail. It’s not quite as XC-specific as the Epic lineup and it’s a nice bridge between the Epic and Stumpjumper families. It’s a fast and lightweight XC trail shredding machine. The shock actuation felt smooth with the cartridge bearings nested nicely in the linkage assisting the suspension actuation. Travel felt supple and you can feel some of the compliance they’ve added to this model in comparison to a XC-specific bike. The suspension rate seemed to ramp up a decent amount once you progressed into the travel which kept things closer to the XC-side of the spectrum. Although I didn’t have a ton of time on the setup of this bike I felt it would take a hard to hit to really get into that last bit of travel with the way the rear suspension was setup via AutoSag.
The S-Works model (and Expert EVO / Expert Carbon) also comes equipped with Specialized SWAT waterbottle caage which gives riders an easy way to store a tool on their bike. You can see additional shots of the Camber in the gallery.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more aggressive than the Camber, the Camber is also available in an EVO 29 version. Key chances include beefier wheels, beefier fork, more travel (120mm vs 110mm), as well as slacker / lower geometry. The bike you see below only rang in at 27lbs which was quite impressive for what it can do.
The Camber Expert Carbon EVO 29 is the top end EVO model and features a pretty high level part spec. It features a carbon front triangle, internal cabling options, wide bars, the new RockShox Pike fork, and SRAM’s new X01 11speed gruppo. Specialized also saw fit to make sure things stay quiet with their internal routing as these bikes were silent when riding down the hill.
The blacked out cassette and drivetrain was a very nice touch as well.
SRAM’s new X01 takes cues from their XX1 family of products. The shifting on this system was very impressive and the death of the front derailleur on mountain bikes seems more and more imminent with products like this. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the X01 shifting wasn’t quite as smooth as the XX1 system, but boy was it close. With a trim level like this, it continues to make it harder and harder to not suggest buying a complete like this if you’re in the market for a lot of new parts.
No dropped chains during our thrashing about on any of the new XX1/X01 bikes. The X01 crankset also is offered in a more traditional 104 BCD (chainring) size. This means easier fitting of a bash guard should the need arise.
If you’re on a tighter budget, Specialized also offers the Camber 29 in lower trim levels as well. While you may not get some of the benefits like an included dropper post or high-end part-spec you still retain geometry and other ride qualities of the Camber lineup.
Be sure to check the gallery for more shots of the 2014 Camber and Camber EVO.
Stay tuned for more 2014 Specialized coverage.