Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Specialized Carve SL 29 29er Hardtail

4.2/5 (5 Reviews)
MSRP : $1300.00

Product Description

  • Fork: Specialized Chisel carbon rigid fork
  • Stem: Specialized 3D forged 6061 alloy
  • Grips: Specialized Body Geometry XCT, Kraton rubber w/ gel
  • Cassette: Singlespeed conversion kit, 20t Cr-Mo 3/32" cog
  • Crankset: Custom SRAM 1250, singlespeed specific, GXP

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Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Max a Racer

Date Reviewed: April 11, 2015

Strengths:    Great geometry, sharp handling, excellent brakes. EBB set up is rock solid. Never slips or creeks and easy to adjust. Well spec'd lightweight package out of the box at a good price point.

Weaknesses:    None really.

Bottom Line:   
I have the 2014 "Crave" SL. Right out of the box it has a respectable parts package. The carbon fork is just as good as any Niner or other carbon fork that I have owned. I've upgraded pretty much everything other than the Deore brakes. Yes I could get lighter brakes but these work great.

Very dialed XC geometry IMO. Great feeling up front. Tight switchbacks are easier on this bike than any other I have ever ridden.

The EBB design on this frame is hands down the best chain tensioning method that I have ever had on a SS.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jakerz a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: August 3, 2014

Strengths:    Weight
Overall Components are decently high end
Frame and Fork are awesome

Weaknesses:    Avid Exiler 1 brakes leave a lot to be desired (New models come with Shimano Deore)
Stock Seat is also pretty bad, but this is a personal preference thing I guess.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike to get back into mountain biking as a hobby and as a way to loose a few pounds. Overall this bike is great! I've had it for close to a year and have a few things I'm changing to make the bike lighter and more comfortable to ride (Carbon bars, seat, new brakes). I would like to point out that it functions perfectly well in stock form and with the new (2014) Crave Models coming out with Deore brakes doesn't NEED anything to be an awesome singlespeed ride.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   Eastern Shore Cycles

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Erik Streight a Racer

Date Reviewed: April 29, 2014

Strengths:    Cornering, weight, climbing,

Weaknesses:    Brakes, but you don't need them often on a rigid SS.

Bottom Line:   
Bought this bike to try single speed. I switched from racing gears to SS and love it. First race on this bike was awesome, highest finish to date. The bike corners better than my Epic and has sped up my climbing. Added a fork and set several personal Strava records on this bike. The bike is very smooth once you learn how to pick lines. Riding the rigid fork will really help with finding lines and smoothing out trails. You will want to switch some of the stock components, which is typical for Specialized.

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Duration Product Used:   1 year

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   West End Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Epic Comp

Bike Setup:   Stock except for Reba fork

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Eric Z

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2013

Strengths:    Frame & fork are the highlights of this bike. The aluminum frame is very light yet fairly stiff. The carbon rigid fork is awesome on XC trails but I wouldn't push it too hard on crazy rocky downhills. Very responsive setup which and VERY light. It's akin to flying an F-16 down the trails. The frame & fork alone justify the very reasonable price of this bike.

Weaknesses:    Components. The Avid Elixir 1 brakes are total crap. I don't understand why Avid even makes this junk. Replace ASAP! Also the BB is junk too. It creaks and cracks like crazy. The wheels are just ok but the rims are tubeless ready as are the Ground Control tires. To be honest, I bought the bike for the frame & fork which are KILLER. Everything else on the bike is entry level and really won't hold up well over time.

Bottom Line:   
I LOVE the frame & fork combination and how amazingly fast light and nimble this bike is. It really is a total blast to fly down the XC trails near me. This bike is like the Ferrari of XC. Looks great, fun as heck to ride, but requires significant component upgrades. At its price point, I understand the entry level components, but serious riders will need to invest quite a bit in brakes, cranks, bars, seat and post, BB and maybe a wheels set. The 32/20 gearing is a great place to start. For the $, this is an EXCELLENT base on which you can build out a killer SS 29er. Has anyone else noticed the frame and form look suspiciously like some of the Niner stuff at a fraction of the cost? Hmmm....

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rocnerd a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 9, 2013

Strengths:    Light weight

Weaknesses:    Avid brakes

Bottom Line:   
I picked this bike up this past spring and it quickly became my go to bike. I ditched the bars, seat post, and saddle as they were heavy and uncomfortable. I put on carbon bars, seat post, and a phenom saddle. The bars and post soak up trail chatter as well as reduce weight and the saddle is lighter and more comfortable to me. I also replaced the avid brakes with Shimano XTs (they just work). The gearing on this bike is a good compromise, not too high for climbing but not so low that you spin your legs off on the flats. The carbon fork is great at reducing trail chatter but obviously has limitations when pointed downhill at anything less then smoothish. The 2.3 ground control is really helpful here as well as it aids in softening the trail chunder. Overall a great SS XC bike that won't break the bank even with the upgrades I put into it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3-6 months

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Similar Products Used:   Stump jumper hard tail

Bike Setup:   Xt brakes, phenom saddle, s-works carbon flat bars, carbon seatpost, ESI chunky grips, and S-Works carbon bar ends. Otherwise stock.

Reviews 1 - 5 (5 Reviews Total)

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