The Status 160 uses a no-frills FSR suspension setup for fun on the descents at a modest price
New Specialized Status 160 uses Specialized’s FSR four-bar suspension, but with a simpler no-frills design to the through-shock Specialized Enduro 29.
Specialized Status 160 need to know
- Alternative to the big-budget Enduro, the Status 160 saves money where it can: SRAM NX drivetrain, Fox Rhythm suspension, M5 alloy frame
- Status 160 costs £2,399, comes in just one spec level, two colours, and five sizes
- Mullet wheels, with 29in up front and a 27.5in behind
- Designed for descending not weight saving, the bike features four-piston SRAM Code disc brakes with 200mm rotors, Butcher tyres and 800mm handlebars
We’ve got a soft spot at mbr for great performing bikes with modest price tags. Bikes like the original full-suspension Specialized Pitch Pro, that wowed us a decade ago with its performance on the budget. Or more recently, the Calibre Bossnut that crushes its competition at the £1,000 pricepoint.
The Specialized Status 160 is built in that vein, made from M5 aluminium and built around the brand’s proven FSR suspension design, with signature pivot on the chainstay. It’s a far simpler and thereby cheaper design to the through-shock, multi-pivot system used on the Enduro, or even the sidearm design from the Specialized Stumpjumper.
The Status 160 uses a Fox 36 Rhythm with Grip damper, and there’s a Fox DPX2 Performance shock delivering 160mm travel. It’s a natural fit for the Status 160, delivering decent performance without breaking the bank.
The drivetrain is budget-friendly SRAM NX, which isn’t light, but it’s proved reliable in the past and also helps keep the bike’s price reasonably low. Its big and burly attitude is backed up by SRAM Code R brakes with 200mm rotors, making it useful for uplift days.
The bike also comes in just one spec level, and all this helps to keep costs low, something that can be transferred right through to the eventual retail price of the bike – at £2,399 it’s good value.
Status isn’t a new name for Specialized, the old bike bearing the name was an entry-level downhill bike with 200mm travel and a 180mm single-crown fork. The new reincarnation has taken some of the old bike’s geometry with it, an even surpassed it, with some seriously aggressive numbers. There are five sizes – the biggest has a huge 512mm reach, out-there 63.7° head angle and long 1,292 mm wheelbase.
It’s not all nostalgia though, Specialized has decked the bike out with mullet wheels – a 29er up front and a 27.5in behind – to keep the chainstays short and avoid the wheel buzzing your bum on steep descents.
How it rides
Does it all come together for a bike that’s great than the sum of its parts? In a word, yes – just like the best Specialized bikes it’s a really comfortable ride that just seems to cosset you from the trail, egging you on to charge into trails.
The Status is absolutely not boring to ride though, this is a bike that wants you to loft your front wheel at every opportunity and take creative lines down hills. The mullet back end and relatively long front centre means it’s ludicrously easy to manual and wheelie, and the DPX2 lets you dip into its travel and hold it there.
Faster and rougher trails had the bike chattering a little as the chain slapped about somewhere, despite the guide and decent chainstay protector, but the bike never felt out of its depth, in the Surrey Hills at least. I started off with 195psi in the shock for my 80kg weight but slowly crept up to 210psi and six clicks of rebound, and this proved the sweet spot for me.
At the front end the Fox 36 Rhythm does a decent job leading the way. I’ve never been a huge fan of this OEM fork, it plunges into the travel too readily, but adding volume-reducing spacers makes a huge difference. It does provide good grip on the Status, but it would have been a bold and exciting move for Specialized to stock the coil-sprung Marzocchi Z1 Coil for that extra bomber performance.
There’s plenty to love about the Status, the Deity grips are good, the short stem and 800mm bar are spot on and the Specialized Bridge saddle is really excellent. X Fusion’s Manic dropper post is decent and the lever excellent, although with just 150mm drop on the S4 and S5 sizes it could do with a little more length. The tyres could do with a little more girth too, the 2.3in Butchers simply don’t cut it on a bike like this, and while they don’t kill the bike they certainly don’t let you reach its full potential.
In my mind, the Status 160 is the old Pitch’s natural successor – built to be fun descending, for not a lot of cash, it’s got a lot of things right. In recent years Specialized has made great high-end bikes but few of the more modest offerings have really impressed us. The Status 160 changes all that.