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Specialized factory rider Ned Overend tests new Carve 29" alloy hardtail at Sea Otter

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Just like at last year's US mountain bike nationals, Specialized factory racer Ned Overend used a relatively low-end aluminum 29" hardtail frame in the men's elite cross-country race at this year's Sea Otter Classic.

Just like at last year's US mountain bike nationals, Specialized factory racer Ned Overend used a relatively low-end aluminum 29" hardtail frame in the men's elite cross-country race at this year's Sea Otter Classic. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Command Post remote integrates neatly with the company's lock-on grips.

The new Command Post remote integrates neatly with the company's lock-on grips. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized has revamped its Command Post dropper seatpost.

Specialized has revamped its Command Post dropper seatpost. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized's revamped Command Post continues to rely on a mechanical rather than hydraulic mechanism. Pulling the cable releases the expanding tension on the collet (the shiny silver bit in the middle) and allows the edges to snap in and out of three preset positions.

Specialized's revamped Command Post continues to rely on a mechanical rather than hydraulic mechanism. Pulling the cable releases the expanding tension on the collet (the shiny silver bit in the middle) and allows the edges to snap in and out of three preset positions. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized factory rider Ned Overend used a new 1.8"-wide version of the company's fast-rolling Renegade tire at the Sea Otter Classic.

Specialized factory rider Ned Overend used a new 1.8"-wide version of the company's fast-rolling Renegade tire at the Sea Otter Classic. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Specialized Carve will use a conventional telescoping seatpost. Factory rider Ned Overend uses a carbon fiber post here to gain a little more rear end flex.

The Specialized Carve will use a conventional telescoping seatpost. Factory rider Ned Overend uses a carbon fiber post here to gain a little more rear end flex. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Carved seat tube allows Specialized to run slightly shorter chain stays. Ignore the big gap between the tire and seat tube in this case, though, and Overend had skinny 1.8" tires mounted here.

The Carved seat tube allows Specialized to run slightly shorter chain stays. Ignore the big gap between the tire and seat tube in this case, though, and Overend had skinny 1.8" tires mounted here. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized skips the seat stay bridge on the new Carve. Check out the rack mounts, too.

Specialized skips the seat stay bridge on the new Carve. Check out the rack mounts, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cables are run on the underside of the top tube on the Specialized Carve.

Cables are run on the underside of the top tube on the Specialized Carve. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Stay construction and layout is decidedly straightforward on Specialized's new Carve alloy 29" hardtail.

Stay construction and layout is decidedly straightforward on Specialized's new Carve alloy 29" hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Specialized Carve will feature a tapered head tube.

The new Specialized Carve will feature a tapered head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized's upcoming Carve 29" alloy hardtail will use post mount brake tabs.

Specialized's upcoming Carve 29" alloy hardtail will use post mount brake tabs. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Long-time Specialized factory racer and brand ambassador Ned Overend uses a clever combination of Zipp cups and Specialized's own FACT carbon cranks in his Carve alloy 29er hardtail.

Long-time Specialized factory racer and brand ambassador Ned Overend uses a clever combination of Zipp cups and Specialized's own FACT carbon cranks in his Carve alloy 29er hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Specialized Carve will use a conventional threaded bottom bracket shell.

The new Specialized Carve will use a conventional threaded bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fluted mast walls on the Specialized Command Post help shave a few grams.

Fluted mast walls on the Specialized Command Post help shave a few grams. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Racing legend Ned Overend won the US national singlespeed championship last summer aboard a mid-range Specialized Rockhopper SL SS 29er and he continued the trend at this year's Sea Otter Classic, racing the men's elite cross-country event on an as-yet-unreleased 29in-wheeled alloy hardtail called Carve.

The all-aluminum frame is TIG-welded using Specialized's M4 manipulated tubing and features a tapered front end, post mount rear brake tabs, bridgeless seat- and chainstays for maximum mud clearance, a kinked seat tube to help tuck in the rear wheel, and a standard threaded bottom bracket shell. Cables are neatly routed on the underside of the top tube and in a nod towards the frame's multipurpose intentions, there are even mounts for a rear rack.

Overend said he wasn't at liberty to disclose specifics on the new model but based on the similar Rockhopper SL SS 29er frame, we expect a medium frame to weigh around 1.8kg (4lb) and cost about US$500. Built up with the right mix of parts, this could make for a very capable and yet bargain-priced privateer racer.

Renegade 29

Specialized look to be expanding the size range for their speedy Renegade 29 tire. Overend had 29x1.8in Renegades mounted to his Carve that were well suited to the non-technical and pavement-heavy course at Sea Otter. Again, no details were available but based on the weight of the 1.95in version, this smaller casing should yield a weight of around 420g.

Command Post Blacklite

Also new from Specialized is an updated version of their dropper seatpost called Command Post Blacklite. This continues with the original Command Post's adjustable air spring and three-position (fully extended, 35mm drop and full-drop) mechanical internal collet system. It adds a new bonded one-bolt alloy head, an energized wiper seal and underlying quad ring seal for improved durability, an internally fluted shaft to save a few grams, and a cleaner cable anchor system and actuator arm that's both easier to separate from the lever if needed and less finicky to set up.

Included with the Command Post Blacklite is a new remote, which uses a standard derailleur cable and housing, and has a noticeably less sloppy pivot. The low-profile clamp takes up very little space on the bar, and also doubles as a lock-on collar when paired with Specialized grips.

Specialized will offer the new Command Post Blacklite in both 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters, each with 125mm, 100mm and 75mm total drop options to suit a wider range of bike and rider sizes and preferences. Actual weight of a 125mm-drop, 31.6mm-diameter sample with remote, cable, housing and all associated hardware is 580g.

This article first appeared on bikeradar.com.