The “I just rode it in circles around the basement but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a wicked fun bike” review
If you’re reading this you likely fall into one of two camps. The first being, “oh my god, finally some first hand info about this bike…I want one!!” The second being, “wtf is the Status? Didn’t Specialized kill that bike like, 5 years ago?”
For those in the latter group, here’s a bit of backstory: the Status was originally released around 2012ish (or something) as an affordable alternative to the Demo 8 downhill platform. Fast forward to spring 2020 and the statustmtb hashtag started popping up on Instagram alongside pics of a heretofore unseen frame design from the Big Red S: Mullet setup (27.5” rear wheel, 29” front), aggressive geo that was hard to pigeonhole, and basically no other info (particularly where to get one).
Turns out our co-conspirators at Ranch Camp in Stowe are one of about 25 shops in the entire US to get these bikes. The price, spec, and geo on the new Status instantly resonated with us and warranted a first hand look. Given the current state of bike affairs, this bike could also tick a lot of boxes for a breadth of riders.
Pedaling a bike in tiny circles in the basement of a bike shop is by no means an appropriate barometer by which to measure a bike’s performance, but there’s two feet of snow on the ground so that’s about as high as we can set the bike testing bar right now. So first impressions:
- At first glance it’s hard not to think, “I want one.” It just plain looks fun. Not necessarily fast, or even efficient, but really freakin’ fun. The cockpit feels roomy but the short rear end seems like it’ll keep it from steering like a cruise ship.
- Hot damn this thing is insanely affordable. In this age of electronic shifting and bluetooth robot bikes, at $2599 the Status shows up ready to party. Shod with bike park-worthy components, and every bit as capable as bikes priced north of $4000, you’ll be hard pressed to find a bike as well kitted at this price. Components highlights include: Sram Code stoppers, an NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, Fox 36 up front, Fox DPX2 out back, and mismatched wheel sizes shod in beefy rubber.
- The S-sizing seems to make a bit more sense with this bike given how long the reach is: Specialized has started to lean more in the S-sizing of late, which allows people to choose a bike based more on reach than seat tube length. I’ll admit that part of me could be downsizing for a super playful ride, whereas another part of me is leaning toward tried-and-true sizing for a bit more stability at speed given those short chainstays.
- Don’t sleep on the 140mm version. I think most people will gravitate toward the 160mm for a pedalable, bike-parkable all ‘rounder. But the 140mm version retains that same geo and price tag in an ostensibly more pedalable and well rounded package. Slack and affordable but with geo that allows for friendly trail riding and confidence in steep / gnarly terrain.
- It’s available in 5 sizes with geo that’s tough to put into a single category: long reach, super short chainstays, steep(ish) seat tube, and hella slack, bro.
So who’s this bike for? That’s a tough question to answer. We spent some time aboard the 2020 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo which sports similar numbers in terms of reach and wheelbase, the big difference being the 443mm long chainstays on the Evo vs. the 426 mm on the Status. That Evo is a bike that just about anyone can ride though, despite it’s aggressive geo. And the Status has a similar feel — in spite of the slack headtube angle our sense is that for this price, this bike could be a quiver of one, leaving enough extra dough in the rider’s pocket to kit it out with some lighter and fancier bits.
What it’s not is almost more important than what it is: it’s not an enduro bike, it’s not a trail bike, it’s not available in 25 different kits, and it’s not expensive (comparatively). The beauty of this bike kinda lies in its simplicity. It’s built for fun and defies categorization.
Time will tell but initial impressions are very positive: Specialized have done a commendable job of bringing what looks to be a very capable bike to the masses for well under $3000. As of now Ranch Camp is the only shop in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania that’s got the Status so give those guys a call if you want to wrangle one of these unicorns yourself…
Vital Status Stats:
- Available in five sizes from S1 to S5
- Mullet only
- 140mm and 160mm options
- Retail price on complete bikes: $2599
- Retail price on frame-only: $1000