The all-new Carve Pro 29 is a competition-inspired aluminum hardtail 29er with an 80mm-travel RockShox Recon Gold 29 SL fork, Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes, and Shimano SLX shift levers.
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 Recon Gold 29" air-sprung fork features aluminum stanchions and steerer for even lighter weight, plus remote lockout for additional efficiency when climbing
Light and stiff, double-walled alloy rims for added stiffness; front and rear hubs have 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
Two-piece 10-speed Shimano crankset with outboard-bearing BB features oversized spindle for increased power transfer and lighter weight
Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes feature Servo Wave technology for more pad clearance with light weight XT 6-bolt rotors (180mm front, 160mm rear)
Shimano Deore XT Shadow 10-speed rear derailleur for lightweight, pro-level shifting, and improved clearance
Strengths: * Long top tube - good fit
* Upgradeable frame
* Good selection of parts - Fox shock, XT Shadow Plus rear mech, etc.
* Great traction on wet & rooty and dry & packed surfaces
Weaknesses: * Could be lighter, but reasonable. The 2013 bike is supposed to be much lighter than the 2012
* Seat rails were loose after ~ 100 miles. Replaced under warranty
* Handlebars are so wide that I catch trees
The Carve Pro replaced a 17 year old 26" front suspension Rocky Mountain steel frame with a mix of Deore, XT, Ritchey parts. In spite of a 1 pound weight penalty, this bike is light years better than that one.
First of all the fit is better. The 29er has a more upright riding position compared to the cross country position of the 1990s. Much more comfortable for the back. You sit "in" the bike and not "on top" of the bike.
Traction is fantastic due to the slightly wider tires, lower pressure with tubeless (the Carve is tubeless ready), and larger wheels. I can clean trail sections that I always wiped out on on the old bike.
The Fox shock with 3 compression settings (almost rigid, lots of low speed compression, little low speed compression) works well.
There is no chain jump or slap riding over roots or rocks with the Shadow Plus derailleur.
Besides the wide handlebars, this bike really feels as agile as my previous 26er. Over similar terrain, this bike is about 10% faster, looking at GPS speed.
Fit is more stretched out than a similar Stumpjumper Comp. Cost is almost the same. Between the 2, buy the bike that fits better.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2012
Strengths: Rolling over rocks, roots, ruts,climbing
Love the way it handles
Won't go back to a 26er
Weaknesses: Brakes squeal like a banshee stuck in a trappers foot trap
Wish it had at least more fork travel
A bit heavy for racing at 27 lbs with candy pedals
I love the way it handles in tight or fast single track. Gotta back off the speed when things get rough as it only has 80 mm of travel in the fork. The 29er size gives you another inch so it's comparable to a hard tail 26ernwith 3" of travel. But the ride at speed can be jarring when the going over rock gardens, ruts and multiple roots.
Handling is smooth and predictable. It's a joy to ride and climbing while rolling over obstacles is so much easier on a 29er vs my old 26ers
However, my biggest complaint is the squealing, howling brakes. Been on line and did every recommendation so solve the problem. Brought it back twice to Trailhead Cycles in san jose, CA and they couldn't solve the squealing. They suggested switching out the pads to resin xtr pads, but I would have to pay for the pads at $29 a pop for each set. I explained that the brakes squealed from day one, but they kept insisting that the brakes needed to be bedded in and to give it a few rides. Well after 6 rides, they got worse. So I purchased the pads and it solved the problem. My problem is I feel I shouldn't have to pay for new pads since the bike is new. So Trailhead let me down, so my next bike purchase I will spend my hard earned dollars at a different LBS with better customer service.
Overall, I am very happy with the bike. Won't ever go back to a 26er as I'm sold with the benefits of a 29er. Now I'm looking for a FS 29er.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Superlite
Salsa hard tail
Santa Cruz Blur
Litespeed "forgot the name" hard tail
Bike Setup: Left everything stock
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 13, 2011
Strengths: Light, geometry, customer service, standard kit, shocks, wheels
Weaknesses: None yet. Seat not the most comfortable but will wear nix next time
First 29er. A lot more nimble than I thought - was concerned at first about coming from a 26 inch 2009 Trek 6700 which I loved. But no complaints - I am more confident on this than the Trek. I am sure a lot of than had to do with the fact that Specialized store in Chatswood too heaps of time (two hours) to run a proper fit on the bike for me. I was impressed. I was originally leaning towards a Trek 6700 or Trek 8000 again, but shocking service and little room for move by Trek dealers (CBD, North West of Syd, North Shore of Syd) who all just jumped straight to "here, save $100 and be off with you" sealed the deal to the company willing to go the extra distance.
Back to the bike... I was told that the best thing to upgrade first would be the chain and at $60 for a top of the range XTR chain, I did so pre-purchase. I also got the upgraded shifters, cassette, front derailure and pedals all included in the $2000 price, rather than haggle for money of the price itself (is it $1999 RRP).
Would go back and get another. I haven't put the computer on it yet, but it feels faster on the firetrail's for less work.
There really isn't too much of a difference between 29er's and 26er's I don't think. Maybe once I do some 100km+ rides I will change my mind. But if you look at it from the point of view that you're learning a new bike type, it's not too difficult.
Frame is great. Drivetrain is excellent. Brakes are good. Wheels are surprising good in that they are withstanding a lot of punishment that usually sees me out buying custom rims within about 2 months of purchase.
I'm a weekend warrier - maybe firetrails of 80km or so once every fortnight. 24 Hour enduro's will come, and only done one. I can't comment on what it's like for a pro - but I love it.
And it's rare to get this level of service in purchasing a bike (other than the fit, but the knowledge, future services that I can sit in on, advice etc etc from Jeff was great).
Bike Setup: Standard plus - XT front derail (rather than standard SLX), Cassette is SLX (rather than base model), Shifters are XT rather than Alivio/ acera, Pedals XT, chain is XTR rather than non-shimano cheapie