The base model Carve Comp 29 was designed to cruise fast-rolling singletrack. With an 80mm-travel RockShox XC32 fork, plus Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, the Carve Comp 29 is a capable and affordable cross-country machine.
Fully butted, smooth-welded M4SL alloy frame is superlight, stiff, and efficient, with 29er XC geometry, integrated, tapered head tube for front-end stiffness, plus bridge-less seatstays for compliance over bumps
80mm-travel RockShox XC32 29" fork with lockout, size-specific spring rates, and external rebound/preload adjust for quick, fine-tuning plus tapered alloy steerer for precision handling and light weight
Light and stiff, double-walled alloy rims for added stiffness; front hub has cartridge bearings and oversized dropout interface for front-end rigidity
Light and efficient 29" Specialized The Captain Control tires are 2Bliss Ready with aramid bead for fast and predictable speed and control on the trail
Shimano Alivio crankset with forged alloy arms, Octalink-splined BB interface, and alloy outer ring means greater durability, lighter weight, and better shifting performance
Shimano hydraulic disc brakes use 180mm front rotor for increased leverage on 29" wheels, while 160mm rear rotor keeps weight low
Shimano SLX Shadow 9-speed rear derailleur for lightweight, precise shifting, and improved clearance
I owned this bike for two seasons. I rode, trained, and raced on this bike and was my first committed cross country bike. I live and ride in Santa Cruz but have followed my bike all over California for the Nor Cal High School Cycling League. I immediately reaped the benefits of the light 29er. I chopped 6-8 minutes off climbs and noticed the efficiency everywhere else. This bike is bomb proof. I regularly rode down the same trails that I would on my downhill bike as I would on this one. The only up grades I did was one S-Works fast track tire and an SLX Shadow Plus Rearderailluer so it was more or less stock for the entire time I rode it. If you are thinking of buying this bike used, check the trueness of the rims and check the spoke tension. I went through 3 rear rims and replaced them with the stock model. During the 2012 racing season, I rode this bike to a 13th place finish at state championships. This bike left other three times it's price in the dust. After noticing it's durability during the 2011 season, 10 riders on my 15 rider team were riding carves throughout the 2013 season. I would recommend this bike to anybody who can afford it.
Date Reviewed: October 23, 2013
Strengths: Solid Bike
Weaknesses: Avid Breaks
I got a 2013 Expert, right out of the box i loved the bike, but really disliked some of the components. I took away the remote shock lockout, changed it with a variance lockout. Took off all the Avid breaks and put XT breaks and the ice tech rotors on it and also added the XT gears. To be honest, i wanted a solid bike that i could make my own as i race XC. This bike was perfect to start a custom build on, I'm 6 months into this bike and it's currently sitting at about $3600 with all the upgrades i have done to it, but it is an outstanding bike and pretty good value as well. I race and ride with guys on $6000 and up bikes and i smoke em, this bike will do all you want it to and more if you have the time and money.
Strengths: SLX Rear Derailleur
Lightweight for aluminum frame
Captain Tires are grippy as hell
Love this ride. Bought it used for 800 bucks and have ridden the snot out of it since. Ride this thing as a race bike in my local league. Excellent "Baller on a budget" XC racing bike. I am a big guy and the drive train doesn't show it. The boys over at specialized did a good job on this one.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2013
Strengths: Design, frame and Shimano componet and brakes sets this bike apart.
Weaknesses: 80mm RockShox XC32 fork
The bike out of the box is fast and agile, responds quickly to most conditions, it took me a while to find it's limitations, and found was this. I changed the front fork to a 32 Fox Float 29 120 FIT CTD with trail adjust, and I'm running tubeless Schwalbe Hans Dampf 29x2.35, (had to readjust the front derailleur to fit the tires), and the thing is not only fast but I haven't wiped out yet, it's firmly planted on what ever I can throw at it. The Fox and Schwalbe set up has transformed this into a truly racing machine. The remaining components surely holds its own and not to mention the Shimano brakes that provides the ever so slight modulation in the most technical of trails to coming to a grinding halt in the wettest of conditions, these brakes have saved my blistered behind on several occasions. I couldn't say enough good things about the Carve with its original set up from the factory, but now I can't say enough great things about this bikes new transformation and so in closing my rating has gone from 4 Flamin' Chills to 5 Flamin' Chills in the overall rating category.
Strengths: 2013 model : Rockshox Recon Gold 100mm fork w/ pop lock remote . SRAM x5 FD and X7 RD . Avid elixir hydro brakes.
I have riden the 2013 model for a while now . I am a heavy rider I am yet to find a situation this bike can not handle yet comfortable for pulling all day trips . some people talk down about the Elixer 1 hydros i do not see why! these things stop with authority ! A great bike for the price tag!
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2013
Strengths: Brakes, Suspension, Gears all solid. Pulls itself uphills with ease.
Weaknesses: NIL. For the price the bike does everything that has been asked of it.
I feel lucky to have found this 2012 model in February 2013. Mine was also hidden from stock as my LBS didn't locate it until they did their annual inventory.
I find the Shimano brakes far superior to the Avids on the 2013 model, even if looking at only the adjustable reach in the perfectly positioned levers (for one-finger control). The many benefits of Shimano hydraulic brakes are well known. In fact, there are few other new bikes in this category that have Shimano hydraulic brakes.
The slightly "lower" grade of 80mm coil front Rock Shox (as compared to the 100mm air in the 2013 model) is hardly a deal breaker, especially considering the huge discount in price. It's just fine, seemingly for any rider under 200 lbs.
I also prefer the 3x9 gearing, so it's perfect for me.
My LBS was kind enough to swap out the front disc for a new Avid HSX, which completely solved the slight issue of disc warp.
So far, the bike feels incredibly solid and very much like the entry level race bike I had expected.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Rockhopper Pro, Trek Mamba
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2012
Strengths: Great components
Weaknesses: OEM grips
This is specifically regarding the 2013 Carve Comp....I have read that the differences from the 2012 to the 2013 are quite substantial so be sure you know which you are getting or reading about!!
I've only put about 30 miles on this, my first niner. Moved up from a 26 Trek and I can really tell a difference in the ability to handle terrain and roll over obstacles. Being primarily a road rider, the 2x10 gearing makes a ton of sense for me and makes it super easy to move from road to trail.
I, personally, found that the speed of my riding increased substantially since I was not nearly a picky about the lines I would take through some of the mildly technical areas....I credit this to the 29er setup in general. This frame though really feels "smooth" in somewhat rougher terrain and I, at times, was very surprised by how much smoother the ride was versus the 26 and it even felt much less harsh (almost like it had rear suspension, which it does not) in the rear end....
The air shock with remote lockout is awesome both in handling the bumps and then climbing locked out and the brakes are smooth and shifting is a breeze. The things I upgraded right away were the saddle and the OEM grips, opting for a Cobb DRT saddle and the Specialized upgraded grips.
All in all this bike is a joy to ride and I will update this review if I think of any additional information....
Bike Setup: standard except as noted in the saddle and grips
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 21, 2012
Strengths: Rock solid ride even at high speeds. Looks great too.
Weaknesses: This bike is much slower than I anticipated. The dealer told me that the 29"wheels would be a speed increase over my 26" Trek. Surprisingly, I find my average speed on an average ride to be about 3 mph slower than my Trek. The bike is also very heavy weighing in at 32 pounds with all my gear.
I love the bike. The shifting has been impecable and the bike is geared very high which makes it great for hills (my passion). I have over 800 miles on it and the durability has been great with no repairs necessary. The only hitch is an annoying creak that comes and goes.
The speed issue is not usually a problem as I like to ride alone. However, when riding with others the speed is an issue. On the other hand, the weight is no big deal since it jjust means I'm getting a better workout on the hills.
I'd recommend the bike to just about anyone looking for a solid ride at a reasonable price. The only caveat is the slow speed which may be an issue if you ride with others.
Strengths: 100mm Recon Gold Fork with remote lockout, Sram 2x10 drivetrain, Climbs very well.
Weaknesses: Wide handle bars but nothing a hacksaw can't fix.
I have been riding my 2013 Carve Comp for about a month now and love it. The 2x10 drivetrain is spot on and I will never go back to 3 gears up front. I came from a full suspension 26 and really like how the bigger wheels just role over everything. My medium frame weighs in at 27 pounds and flys right up the hills. At this price point the bike has no flaws.
Strengths: Love the Frame, 29er set up, Shimano components.
Weaknesses: On paper the front coil spring shock is definitely a weakness, but really so far on riding it, the fork has done fine, also would be nice to have the 10 speed rear cassette.
Really like the bike, a big step up from my 96 GT Tequesta. The bike is great value for the money, they did an awesome job mixing components keeping it reasonable but still nice. I'm 5'9" and my GT is an 18" frame and the specialized is the 17.5" fits perfect with the 29er set up.
Strengths: Good Climber, fast, comfortable geometry
I just picked this bike up and have been riding about a week. I cannot brag enough about how well this bike climbs hills. I have been riding in loose sand and gravel and this thing just chugs right up the hills. And on the way down... Good fit, nimble at speed and decent braking make this bike a blast to ride.
The shock is so-so, but for the price I can't really complain. It certainly doesn't inhibit my riding, but a better shock would probably compliment the bike.
Bottom line is this bike is great for someone getting into MTBing. A descent build kit makes it a great value.
Bike Setup: Shadow Conspiracy platform pedals, Salsa grips.
a Weekend Warrior
from south africa
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2012
Strengths: Big upgrade from my trustee specialized hardrock I had for around 4 years.This bike is fast and handles really well.I'm very impressed with the handling of the new 29er Carve. I have already raced with this bike and go some really good results.
Weaknesses: The from fork could be revisited.
Looking for a well priced bike and want to do some X-Trail over the weekend,then this is probably the way to go.I was weary of 29ers initially but now feel so much more confident riding it.This bike is better for X-Trail than technical riding.
Bike Setup: Look pedals and specialized Tahoe shoes.Rest is standard carve comp.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2012
Strengths: Love the new bike. Going to a 29er is such a huge step up from my old mountain bike.
Weaknesses: The fork lockout seems a bit weak, it feels like it reduces the travel by about 50% and I was expecting something like a stiff fork when locked out.
I've been riding the bike for about a week so it's not really broke in yet. I am completely happy with the big wheels. It seems to get up to speed quickly with very little effort. I was warned about the frame geometry on 29ers not being able to make tight turns at slow speeds but it feels pretty nimble to me. I was considering buying the Trek Cobia which was $200 less and similar in componantry but am totally happy with the Carve. If you are in the market for a new bike, going with this 29er will definetly be the right choice. I would reccommend this bike to anyone!
Ive been looking at a 2012 Carve Comp 29 on Craigslist and need some advice. Seller is asking 1k but that's not happening. I looked up on BBB and it values at $747. Ive seen the bike in person and it is basically brand new. He said he rode twice on the road and I see no reason to not believe him. Wh ... Read More »
At this point in time (early 2013), would you buy a 2012 Carve Comp 29 if the price is discounted? I've heard the 2013 model has improved front fork, but either model already seems very lofty to me. Yeah, so the 2012 XC32 has only 80mm travel and doesn't lock as much. Does it really matter at this b ... Read More »
How high end am I going to have to go to get a bike with a set of rear gears that shift OK when applying power?
It has a shopping list of problems, all directly attributable to improper setup, so I suppose I should give it a chance but I've taken an immediate disliking to certain aspects of it. ... Read More »
I am ready to purchase a new bike and find myself jumping up in levels everytime I do more research. At first I was set on getting the Carve Comp, then research has worked me all the way up to the Pro.
Now the Carve Pro has an MSRP of 2000 so that leads me to wonder if I should spend the extra 20 ... Read More »