A Specialized specialist special

The 2018 range of Specialized mountain bikes contains a total of 59 different models. As such, it needs some clarification for a lot of bike browsers.

Read more: Christmas gifts for mountain bikers (that don’t suck)

Which 2018 Specialized mountain bikes are relevant

As we often do with our bike buying guides, we’re going to first split the range into three categories: hardtail, full-suspension and electric bike. From there, it’s easier to narrow things down further.

>>> Specialized road bikes: which model is right for you

specialized mountain bikes

What sort of riding are you interested in?

After you’ve chosen one of the bike types above you can then narrow things down even further by carefully thinking about what sort of mountain biking you want to do most: cross-country, trail or downhill. Be realistic here.

Once you’ve chosen your bike type and your main riding style, you’ll be faced with a greatly slimmed down shortlist of potential bikes to pick from eg. ‘trail full-suspension’ or ‘cross-country hardtail’.

Not sure what sort of bike you want (hardtail vs full suspension etc) then have a look at our guide called The best mountain bike: what to look for in a mountain bike.

specialized mountain bikes

The Rockhopper Comp. Out standing in a field.

Specialized hardtails

There are four models in Specialized’s hardtail range: Epic Hardtail, Chisel, Rockshopper, and Pitch. The Rockhopper and Pitch also come in Women’s versions (see women’s section below).

They are all made from aluminium apart from the cross-country race bike Epic Hardtail which is made from carbon fibre.

The Specialized Pitch is the entry-level hardtail with prices starting from £400 up to £599. Despite its entry level pricing it is a mountain bike aimed equally at Trail riding as it is Cross-Country stuff or trekking duties. A very capable all-rounder for those who aren’t sure which spectrum of mountain biking they’ll grow into. There are four models in total (Pitch, Pitch Sport, Pitch Comp, Pitch Expert) that share the same frame but have different levels of spec and finishing kit.

The Specialized Rockshopper is the next rung up the ladder – £550 to and is arguably the better choice over the Pitch if you’re certain you’re going to get into this mountain biking lark properly. More Trail focussed spec and ripe for upgrading and rolling with 29in wheels it will see you on some serious mileage. There are X modesl in total (Rockhopper Sport, Rockhopper Comp, Rockhopper Expert, Rockhopper Pro) with the same frame and different builds.

The Specialized Chisel is an aluminium cross-country race bike in two models. the £1,300 Chisel Comp and the £1,700 Chisel Expert 1x. The Chisel bikes are made from Specialized’s fancier M5 alloy (the Rockshoppers and Pitchs are more basic A1 alloys) and the geometry and parts builds are centred around XC speed and climbing efficiency rather than rough descending thrills.

The Specialized Epic Hardtail is a top flight cross-country race bike. Only available in carbon fibre the prices range from £2,500 up to a mind-boggling £7,500 for the S-Works version. Weapons, the lot of them.

>>> All our recent Specialized mountain bike reviews

specialized mountain bikes

Specialized full suspension bikes

There are six Specialized full suspension models: Camber, Enduro, Epic, Stumpjumper, Demo Rhyme. The Rhyme models are women’s models so we’ll deal with those later.

All of them apart from the Epic use a variation on Specialized’s famous four-bar suspension design (the Epic does away with the Horst link pivot on the chainstay so is now a a linkage drive single pivot design as opposed to a four-bar). Four-bar designs isolate the drivetrain and braking forces from affecting how the suspension behaves.

Starting with the Specialized Epic, it’s a uncompromising cross-country race bike full susser with a full carbon frame and 100mm of suspension travel at either end. Despite being designed for Olympics and World Cup racing the Epic can turn its hand to Trail riding as well with an experienced rider on board. Prices: £3,500 to £8,500 for the top end bonkers-bling S-Works Epic.

The Specialized Camber is weirdly split along gender lines with the Men’s Cambers sporting 29in wheels and the Women’s Cambers coming with 650b wheels (see below). The Men’s Camber is a 120mm travel full sus 29er trail bike par excellence, available in aluminium or carbon versions. Ranging in price from £2,400 up to £4,800.

The Specialized Stumpjumper comes in two essential versions based on wheel size/type: 150mm travel 650b models and 135mm travel 29/6fattie models (which can be run with either 29in wheels or 27.5+ wheels). Within these guises there are aluminium models and carbon fibre models. Stumpjumper is the archetypal Spesh trail bike and there are nine models in total (Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 650b, Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 650b, Stumpjumper Expert 650b, S-Works Stumpjumper 650b, Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 29/6fattie, Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29/6fattie, Stumpjumper Expert 29/6fattie, Stumpjumper Coil Carbon 29/6fattie, S-Works Stumpjumper 29/6fattie). Price ranging from £2,500 up to £7,999.

The Specialized Enduro models are divvied out much like the above Stumpys; nine models, based on wheel size/type and frame material. The 650b Enduro bikes have 170mm travel, the 29/6fattie models have 160mm. As the name suggests, the Enduro is designed for enduro racing or tough trail reckoning. A very popular model but arguably OTT for a lot of riders. Price ranges from £2,999 up to £8,000. You can buy the Enduro as a frame-only and build one up yourself (or get your bike shop to do it).

The Specialized Demo is Spesh’s downhill bike. With a whopping 200mm of travel it can be confidently sent down any track or DH course you care to point it at. The current men’s World Champion bike no less. Available in £3,500 alloy version and two carbon versions (£5,500 or £8,000) and also as a frame only for custom builds.

specialized mountain bikes

Specialized electric mountain bikes

Up until recently there were only one name of Specialized electric mountain bikes: Turbo Levo. Turbo Levo e-bikes are available in hardtail and full-suspension versions and now they’ve been joined by a Turbo Kenevo long travel full suspension e-MTB.

The hardtail Turbo Levo Hardtail Comp 6fattie costs £3,250 and comes in a Men’s version and a Women’s version. They are aluminium hardtail frame bikes with 120mm suspension forks, 27.5 x 3in Plus tyres and trail bike geometry that is more capable than you might expect for an electric hardtail. The motor and battery is Specialized’s own proprietary system.

The full suspension Specialized Turbo Levo FSR 6fattie/29 range all* have 135mm of rear travel with 150mm travel forks up front. The lower priced models are aluminium framed while the more expensive Levos are carbon fibre. They all have 27.5 x 3.0in Plus tyres and Specialized motors and batteries. Prices: £3,500 to £8,999. Turbo Levo FSR bikes are electric-assist trail bikes with geometry and kit capable of almost anything.

*apart from the Women’s Turbo Levo FSR Short Travel 6fattie which is 120mm travel at both ends.

The wild one-off that is the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6fattie is a monster of an e-bike. 180mm of suspension at either end and progressive geometry that is more often found on pro enduro race bikes than trail e-bikes. The tyre volume comes down from full-on Plus; the frame uses 27.5 x 2.6in rubber. The price for such a beast is £5,500.

Specialized Women’s mountain bikes

Despite the general growing attitude that women’s bikes don’t really need to be any different to men’s bikes – apart from the saddle – Specialized do still offer various ranges in a women’s version.

Why are ‘women specific bikes’ falling out of favour? basically the consensus is that bikes fit humans, not genders. Humans of differing heights. The quasi-theory of women having differently distributed torsos and/or legs is a myth, as such the only things different on women’s mountain bikes is the colourway options and the saddles.

So if you want to consider a women’s mountain bike from Specialized, your options are as follows…

  • Specialized Women’s Pitch 650b – entry level trail hardtail
  • Specialized Women’s Rockhopper – mid-range trail hardtail
  • Specialized Women’s Camber 650b – 120mm full suspension trail bike
  • Specialized Women’s Rhyme Comp 6fattie/29 – 150mm full suspension trail/enduro bike
  • Specialized Women’s Epic Hardtail – XC hardtail carbon race bike