Skip to main content

Big bike refinement, mid-range revamps and equipment goodies for 2009

Image 1 of 50

You'll be seeing a lot more of this ribbon

You'll be seeing a lot more of this ribbon (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 50

The revamped SX Trail platform

The revamped SX Trail platform (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 3 of 50

New for 2009 is a completely revamped FSR XC chassis

New for 2009 is a completely revamped FSR XC chassis (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 4 of 50

The FSR XC (and many other models) will come with Shadow-style

The FSR XC (and many other models) will come with Shadow-style (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 50

The new Roval Contrôle SL wheelset

The new Roval Contrôle SL wheelset (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 50

Last year's grippy Captain tread

Last year's grippy Captain tread (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 50

The new Tactic helmet

The new Tactic helmet (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 50

The Pro MTB shoe has been thoroughly revamped this year

The Pro MTB shoe has been thoroughly revamped this year (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 50

The revamped SX Trail platform sports more standover clearance and seatpost adjustment range along with improved performance in square-edged hits.

The revamped SX Trail platform sports more standover clearance and seatpost adjustment range along with improved performance in square-edged hits. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 10 of 50

The new shock linkage eliminates wear on the rear shock bushing and improves rear-end sensitivity by transferring that movement to cartridge bearings.

The new shock linkage eliminates wear on the rear shock bushing and improves rear-end sensitivity by transferring that movement to cartridge bearings. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 11 of 50

How many cartridge bearings can you count here?

How many cartridge bearings can you count here? (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 12 of 50

The two sides of the link are rigidly tied together simply by moving the mounting hardware away from the center of rotation.

The two sides of the link are rigidly tied together simply by moving the mounting hardware away from the center of rotation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 13 of 50

As usual, Specialized uses a sizeable helping of aluminum forgings in putting together the SX Trail.

As usual, Specialized uses a sizeable helping of aluminum forgings in putting together the SX Trail. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 14 of 50

The new Big Hit also gets a new rear suspension layout that allows for lower standover heights and more seatpost adjustment than before.

The new Big Hit also gets a new rear suspension layout that allows for lower standover heights and more seatpost adjustment than before. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 15 of 50

The 40mm-diameter steel stanchions on the RockShox Domain fork and the newly tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end should make for monstrous stiffness.

The 40mm-diameter steel stanchions on the RockShox Domain fork and the newly tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end should make for monstrous stiffness. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 16 of 50

Cartridge bearing pivots keep things running smoothly.

Cartridge bearing pivots keep things running smoothly. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 17 of 50

The 2009 Enduro SL platform is essentially unchanged for 2009.

The 2009 Enduro SL platform is essentially unchanged for 2009. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 18 of 50

Revised internals in the E150 fork should improve reliability for 2009.

Revised internals in the E150 fork should improve reliability for 2009. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 19 of 50

Complete 2009 Enduros will also include a new telescoping Command post.

Complete 2009 Enduros will also include a new telescoping Command post. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 20 of 50

Unique collet-type internals allow for 35mm and 110mm drops.

Unique collet-type internals allow for 35mm and 110mm drops. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 21 of 50

The bar-mounted remote includes a large paddle for easy access in dicey terrain.

The bar-mounted remote includes a large paddle for easy access in dicey terrain. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 22 of 50

2009 Enduros will also be fitted with dedicated routing hardware for use with the Command Post.

2009 Enduros will also be fitted with dedicated routing hardware for use with the Command Post. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 23 of 50

The 2009 Demo is also essentially unchanged for 2009.

The 2009 Demo is also essentially unchanged for 2009. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 24 of 50

Last year's superb Stumpjumper chassis carries on for another year but gets some significant componentry changes.

Last year's superb Stumpjumper chassis carries on for another year but gets some significant componentry changes. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 25 of 50

New for 2009 is a completely revamped FSR XC chassis which upgrades to the Stumpjumper's rocker link-type suspension layout and upgrades to 120mm of travel.

New for 2009 is a completely revamped FSR XC chassis which upgrades to the Stumpjumper's rocker link-type suspension layout and upgrades to 120mm of travel. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 26 of 50

The FSR XC's new double-bend one-piece seat tube is lighter than last year's split design and also allows for far more seatpost adjustability.

The FSR XC's new double-bend one-piece seat tube is lighter than last year's split design and also allows for far more seatpost adjustability. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 27 of 50

The FSR XC (and many other models) will come with Shadow-style rear derailleurs.

The FSR XC (and many other models) will come with Shadow-style rear derailleurs. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 28 of 50

Juicy brakes on the FSR XC are custom-configured for Specialized and include handy tool-free reach adjustments.

Juicy brakes on the FSR XC are custom-configured for Specialized and include handy tool-free reach adjustments. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 29 of 50

The women's-specific Myka gets the same basic suspension layout as the new FSR XC but sticks with 100mm which Specialized feels is more appropriate for the segment's typically shorter and lighter riders.

The women's-specific Myka gets the same basic suspension layout as the new FSR XC but sticks with 100mm which Specialized feels is more appropriate for the segment's typically shorter and lighter riders. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 30 of 50

This preproduction seat tube was a welded two-piece unit but will ultimately be a double-bent one-piece tube as on the FSR XC.

This preproduction seat tube was a welded two-piece unit but will ultimately be a double-bent one-piece tube as on the FSR XC. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 31 of 50

Custom-tuned RockShox forks should make for better ride quality for lighter riders.

Custom-tuned RockShox forks should make for better ride quality for lighter riders. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 32 of 50

The new Roval Contrôle SL wheelset drops 40g from the standard Roval Contrôle.

The new Roval Contrôle SL wheelset drops 40g from the standard Roval Contrôle. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 33 of 50

The carbon-tubed front hub can now bear the world championship stripes courtesy of Christoph Sauser.

The carbon-tubed front hub can now bear the world championship stripes courtesy of Christoph Sauser. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 34 of 50

Specialized claims the massive 28mm-diameter end caps on the Roval Contrôle front hub yield a lighter and stiffer front end than a 15mm quick-release setup. The caps can be swapped for smaller ones for use with other makes of 9mm quick-release forks.

Specialized claims the massive 28mm-diameter end caps on the Roval Contrôle front hub yield a lighter and stiffer front end than a 15mm quick-release setup. The caps can be swapped for smaller ones for use with other makes of 9mm quick-release forks. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 35 of 50

Last year's grippy Captain tread is fast and grippy…

Last year's grippy Captain tread is fast and grippy… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 36 of 50

…and now it's available in a meatier 2.2" casing size in both 26" and 29" diameters.

…and now it's available in a meatier 2.2" casing size in both 26" and 29" diameters. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 37 of 50

The all-mountain Eskar tread is now offered in 29" as well.

The all-mountain Eskar tread is now offered in 29" as well. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 38 of 50

Specialized aims its new Purgatory tread at muddier and wetter conditions.

Specialized aims its new Purgatory tread at muddier and wetter conditions. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 39 of 50

The Rhythm Lite is purpose-built for the dirt jumper crowd.

The Rhythm Lite is purpose-built for the dirt jumper crowd. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 40 of 50

The new Clutch downhill tire sports big and widely spaced knobs to clear mud.

The new Clutch downhill tire sports big and widely spaced knobs to clear mud. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 41 of 50

The Pro MTB shoe has been thoroughly revamped this year with a new upper and a new full-length carbon sole similar to the S-Works version.

The Pro MTB shoe has been thoroughly revamped this year with a new upper and a new full-length carbon sole similar to the S-Works version. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 42 of 50

The grippy outsole wisely includes a patch in the middle of the foot in case you miss a pedal.

The grippy outsole wisely includes a patch in the middle of the foot in case you miss a pedal. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 43 of 50

The new Tactic helmet is just US$60 retail but sports a far more expensive-looking appearance.

The new Tactic helmet is just US$60 retail but sports a far more expensive-looking appearance. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 44 of 50

The full-coverage rear is aimed squarely at the off-road crowd.

The full-coverage rear is aimed squarely at the off-road crowd. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 45 of 50

Specialized moves into the casual arena with its new Strafe optics.

Specialized moves into the casual arena with its new Strafe optics. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 46 of 50

Female riders will likely appreciate the flattering lines of the new Roulette.

Female riders will likely appreciate the flattering lines of the new Roulette. (Image credit: Specialized)
Image 47 of 50

You'll be seeing a lot more of this ribbon on Specialized D4W (Designs for Women) product in 2009; the company plans to raise US$250,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

You'll be seeing a lot more of this ribbon on Specialized D4W (Designs for Women) product in 2009; the company plans to raise US$250,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 48 of 50

Specialized will expand its range of pink ribboned products to include bikes, shoes, gloves and other women's-specific gear. Ten percent of all applicable sales will be donated to the Komen foundation.

Specialized will expand its range of pink ribboned products to include bikes, shoes, gloves and other women's-specific gear. Ten percent of all applicable sales will be donated to the Komen foundation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 49 of 50

Specialized pledged a minimum US$10,000 for the Susan G. Komen foundation last year through this special edition helmet but steps things up big time for 2009.

Specialized pledged a minimum US$10,000 for the Susan G. Komen foundation last year through this special edition helmet but steps things up big time for 2009. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 50 of 50

Like pink? Now your color preferences can have a bigger impact as ten percent of sales of specially-labeled Specialized items will be donated to the Komen foundation.

Like pink? Now your color preferences can have a bigger impact as ten percent of sales of specially-labeled Specialized items will be donated to the Komen foundation. (Image credit: Specialized)

Tech feature: Specialized 2009 MTB introduction - Part II, July 11, 2008

You didn't think we were only going to talk about the new Epic, did you? Cyclingnews tech editor James Huang wraps things up from Camp Tamarancho, California with more highlights of Specialized's mountain bike and equipment lineup for 2009.

Go big

Last year's popular SX Trail gets an all-new M5 alloy frame and four-bar rear suspension linkage that offers increased standover, more seatpost height adjustment, better square-edged bump performance and more progression at the end of the stroke for improved bottom-out resistance. Rear wheel travel stays at a versatile 170mm and in contrast to last year's version, geometry is now fixed. A 100mm-travel version optimized for slalom and four-cross will be on hand as well.

Not to be outdone by its shorter travel cousins, the new SX also receives a tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end and a clever shock mounting arrangement that eliminates wear at the rearmost DU shock bushing. Specialized fits the bottom bracket area with both a DMD front derailleur mount and standard ISCG tabs to accommodate a wide variety of setups and, as usual, tosses in a healthy dose of cold forgings throughout for durability.

Value-oriented riders also get a new BigHit for 2009 whose revised linkage arrangement provides similar improvements in standover clearance, seatpost adjustability and shock bushing wear as on the new SX. Travel on the four-bar rear end has been brought down a bit from 208mm (8.2") to 191mm (7.5") but the front end beefs up with a tapered-and-oversized head tube to accommodate the new crop of burly single-crown forks. As on the SX, the BigHit will also include DMD and ICSG mounts as well as fixed geometry.

Changes at the mid-range for FSRxc and Myka platforms

Trickle-down technology arrives at the FSRxc level for 2009 with an all-new M4 alloy frame that bumps up rear wheel travel to 120mm, thus moving it more into the trail bike category than last year's 100mm-travel model. The rocker link-style arrangement bears strong resemblance to the premium Stumpjumper frame and provides the same benefits: more standover clearance, greatly increased seatpost height adjustment range and a lower center of gravity for better handling. Riders living in muddier climes should also note that the rear shock is now shielded from debris kicked off of the rear wheel by a double-bent full-length seat tube.

The women's-specific Myka receives the same revised chassis and suspension layout but travel remains at 100mm to better suit the segment's typically shorter and lighter riders. As is the case with Specialized's other D4W (Designs for Women) bikes, the Myka gets smaller and lighter tubing, women's-specific geometry and segment-appropriate componentry.

Componentry offerings for 2009

The Enduro SL platform will carry over essentially unchanged for 2009 but a few upgrades in componentry should improve reliability and versatility over last year. Specialized's dual-crown E150 fork internals have been revised with fewer o-rings for easier (read: more reliable) assembly at the factory while a new telescoping Command Post will come as standard equipment on top models.

The three-position Command Post will provide 35mm or 110mm of drop via a convenient bar-mounted remote and the internal mechanism uses a clever collet system developed by in-house suspension guru Mike McAndrews. Just a single 30.9mm size will be offered for now and total weight is pegged at around 430g. Pricing is yet to be determined but Specialized says its Command Post will be competitive with other similar products from Crankbrothers and Gravity Dropper.

Gram-shaving is the name of the game for Specialized's 2009 Roval Contrôle SL wheelset which sheds 40g courtesy of a new carbon-tubed front hub. Bladed straight-pull DT Aerolite spokes replace the standard Contrôle XC's DT Revolution spokes, too. The Stan's NoTubes-like M5 alloy rim carries over for easy tubeless compatibility while the quick release skewers have been upgraded to all-metal construction. Claimed weight for the pair is 1385g without skewers.

Last year's versatile Traversée wheelset carries over but yet another set of interchangeable end caps will now allow for compatibility with 15mm thru-axle forks. Likewise, the standard Contrôle XC Disc wheelset continues on for another year but Specialized will add a stealthy black finish to the palette for 2009.

Most of the saddle lineup is mostly unchanged as well although the popular Alias will get a smoother stitch-free cover to reduce irritation. New to the lineup is the mountain bike-specific Format SL which uses a similar profile to last year's Rival but with a more rounded rear profile for easier movement off the back and a cutout shell in the nose to relieve more pressure. Hollow titanium rails and lightweight foam padding bring the weight down as low as 230g.

A few new treads

Specialized will expand its healthy range of tread designs by three for the coming season and add key sizes to fill in missing gaps. The new Purgatory is the wet-and-loamy analogue to the Eskar with a meaty 2.2" casing width and open tread blocks designed to shed mud and debris. Similarly, the new DH-specific Clutch is intended for wetter conditions with an aggressive open tread and soft 40a/42a dual compound rubber but will be available in even bigger 2.3" and 2.5" sizes. An optional SX casing will bring the weight of the Clutch down to a light (for DH) 1000g.

For the dirt jumping crowd, there's a new Rhythm Lite with a low-profile and fast-rolling tread design. There will be just a single 2.3" casing size but it's relatively light at 600g.

New sizes for existing treads include 2.2" casing widths in both 26" and 29" diameters for the versatile Captain, a burly 29x2.3" Eskar, a more usable 26x2.0" SauserWind and 29" versions of the FastTrak LK. Conveniently, all of the new tires for 2009 will be tubeless-ready.

Covered from head to toe

Off-road riders looking for a bit more protection can tap into a new Tactic helmet for 2009 which offers additional coverage around the base of the skull like last year's Instinct but with a far more flattering shape and neatly integrated aFIX removable visor. Specialized also includes a vertically adjustable ProFit 270 retention system and InnerMatrix internal reinforcement structure all for just US$60 retail.

The rest of the lineup is mostly carryover including the top-end S-Works helmet which still weighs in at a near-record setting 200g or so. US-spec models are subject to tighter safety standards, though, and were beefed up last year as a result, adding about 20g as compared to other markets.

On the optics front, the Roulette is essentially a women's version of the Arcterra with a similar one-piece NXT lens and hingeless stainless steel frame but in a more stylish shape. On the other hand, the Strafe is more of a ‘lifestyle' piece with its more casual look and road-oriented rose tint. Both continue to use Specialized's NXT lens material (claimed to be stronger and more optically pure than polycarbonate) and are available in either in either Adaptalite photochromic or fixed tint versions.

Last year's popular Pro MTB shoe gets a complete overhaul with a full-length carbon plate and more aggressive outsole borrowed from the top-end S-Works model. The new Micromatrix synthetic upper gains an easier-to-use SL buckle as well as a synthetic heel cup liner for better hold, improved feel and reduced water retention. The men's version will be offered in narrow, standard and wide widths and female riders will receive their own specific version as well.

Winter is still a way off for most of the world but those planning on playing in the snow might want to take a look at Specialized's new Defroster MTB shoe. Specialized claims the ankle-high Defroster is completely waterproof (it's even sealed at the cleat inserts) and it's also insulated. The injection-molded plate is fitted with a softer tread for use in colder temperatures, too, and unlike some other high-end offerings, the Defroster will be available in both whole and half sizes.

Not to be overlooked is Specialized's apparel lineup for 2009. The new BG Pro RBX chamois is thicker and larger for longer-distance riders while the BG Pro SL pad is intentionally lower profile and thinner for those that prefer less of a ‘diaper' feel. Both are offer in men's and women's versions and use multi-thickness and multi-density padding.

The corresponding RBX and SL shorts are also built with those rider types in mind; the RBX is constructed with heavier-weight fabrics while the SL uses lighter-weight materials, more mesh and lower-profile grippers at the leg openings.

Off-road riders of all types also get a variety of baggy shorts, tops and even knickers.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1