Strengths: Light, rigid, fast. Climbs like a mule & can be setup Single-speed or geared.
Weaknesses: The brakes. They feel like the rotors are shredding the pads & the rear brake sounds like wet rim brakes! They also feel somewhat cheap & aren't all that easy to modulate(compared to Shimano XT) Although, they are powerful. It also comes with only one bottle cage mount(17")
An excellent bike for the serious cross-country rider to the competitive racer. This bike weighs only 22.8 lbs Single-speed with pedals & about 25 or less geared. It is a great platform stock & needs no upgrades (outside of the brakes). I might consider carbon handlebars, but that will be about it.
It's fast, with a strong component line. I specifically looked for this bike since it was a 29er & had rear sliding dropouts which allow SS or geared.
a Cross Country Rider
from Cedar Rapids, IA - US
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2010
Strengths: This bike is great! I got this in great used condition, the stock components on this are excellent, the frame is light, it looks great, it rides smooth and fast.
Weaknesses: The chainstays are awfully close to the tire and with the sliding dropouts, the wheel was actually rubbing the frame when it packed up with mud. After adjustment to the sliding dropouts it is OK.
- Also the decals scratch off easily (but the anodized paint is bulletproof)
This bike is amazing. I got a good price, took a chance and love it. If you can still find one of these, buy it!
a Cross Country Rider
from Waterford, Michigan
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2009
Strengths: Frame, components and handling
Best bike I ever owned...If you think you are fast, the bike is faster...I cannot believe what a change the 29er ahs over my old bikes...not that I want my rides to end sooner; becaise I love the trails...it just happens on this thing...I may have to go around the trail network twice.
I honestly never thought I would own a bike from Specialized..I was never into the style or duel suspension designs and price for what you get; but this was a bike I had been looking at since spring... I think its only 24 lbs or slightly less and its a XL... I picked up a new Specialized Carbon Bike today the new version of the Marathon and a swear its a pund or two heavier...who knows who cares...the bike rules.
Oh, I found out another thing...if your feet hurt buy better shoes.
I purchased Specialized Defroster's MTB shoes and they are super comfortable..not super warm; but dig the style and the improved my pedal efficiciancy cause my feet are not sliding and burning with pain anymore...I flew today...
Strengths: Light, fast, and stiff. Comes stock with an excellent groupset: SRAM X-0 shifters and RD, XT FD, XT crankset, XT cassette, and Juicy Ulitmates. Same groupset you can find on 5,000 dollar bikes. I love the fact that I can set it up as a SS, 1x9, or fully geared. This thing is a rocket.
Weaknesses: Only one color. Doesn't come with pedals.
DT Swiss RWS quick release rachet system can easily be overtightened, which can cause misalignment with rear brake caliper and rotor. If done, can cause rear brake to vibrate. Super easy to fix. Tighten quick release to desired tension. Don't overtighten, then center caliper over rotor.
Awesome XC bike. Coming from racing an Epic for 3 years, the Stumpy does take a little more finese on the trail. But it is well worth it. The 29 inch wheels are unreal. Cornering, handeling, climbing, traction, smoothness, and speed have all been improved. The added contact patch of the wheels really does make a difference. I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster on the twisty downhills, which I control. I will be racing this bike SS in Arizona next year. Hopefully CAT1 the year afterwards. I sold my Epic, BigHit, and Zero to get this bike and I don't regret it at all.
Weaknesses: Narrow Bar (600 mm on a 19"-What's up with that?).
I'll start by saying I don't have any particular love for Specialized over other bike brands, my favorite shop just happens to carry them. I purchased this bike because I fell in love with 29" wheels while riding my Kona Unit 2-9 and knew I needed a geared 29er. I basically quit riding my Epic after getting the Kona because of not only the preference for 29" wheels, but also that I could stand up and pedal up steep hills without the fork diving (the Kona is rigid). Upon mounting the bike, the first thing I noticed was that the front wheel was farther out in front of me than on my Epic or my Kona Unit 2-9. The riding position is decisively more "between the wheels" than on either of those bikes, both front to back and up and down. On the trail translates to more balanced handling (easier to keep on course)and phenomenal traction both while climbing and cornering. Being an Aluminum hardtail, the bike is ultra efficient already, but the bike seems to somehow put me in a better position to get power from my legs to the pedals. I am a much better/faster climber/rider on this bike. I am also able to stand up on short steep hills without bothersome fork dive. I believe this is because (i) my riding position is farther back than on other bikes and (ii) the Fox 80mm fork is a stellar performer. XT cranks, SRAM shifting, DT Swiss Wheels, Fast Trak tires and Phenom Saddle all work perfect for me. Only 2 minor quibbles, the narrow (600mm) handlebar and why do they ship the bike with valve stems, but not the rest of the tubeless conversion kit? I can't believe I have waited this long to get a geared hardtail 29er. I don't know that I will ever need FS again. This bike is so much more "tossable". It feels lighter than 25 lbs. If you're considering this bike, you should buy one.
Strengths: Light weight, and price. Specialized warranty program. Handles nicely even in the tight stuff. Wheels feel light and fast. An amazing singlespeed! I've been loving the Fasttrack LK's a couple of years now.
Weaknesses: Rear wheel broke in my 2nd race on this bike. S-Works tires are too thin for local rough trails, the sidewalls cut easily. The bolts on the sliding drops are soft. The rear brake, Juicy Ultimate, sounds like a Howler Monkey. There's only one bottle mount on my 17 inch version; Spec should have at least put a second set of holes on the bottom of the downtube.
Although it's my first 29er, I would reccommend it based on spec'ed components, weight, and price. I had considered a complete buildup with another frame, but to top this bike would have cost another $800.00.
Be gentle with the bolts on the sliders. Swap the tires to something more durable, at least the "Control" version fastrack LKs.
29 inch wheels smooth the roughest terrain. The bike flies great and lands smooth. A very stable ride compared to 26ers.
Strengths: Awesome components stock, DT Swiss wheels are only slightly heavier than my Mavic c29ssMax's, specifications seem right on with the top tube lenth and seat/head angles, steers quick too. Plus, a no questions asked, let us take care of your problem, we want you to be happy company.
Weaknesses: Didn't like the specialized stem much so replaced it with a Thomson x4.
I had a racerX for 3 years that never failed me and was dear to me and I would never say a bad word about it. But, I rode a friend's 29er a few months ago to see what the fuss was about and after just one ride I new I had to sell my racerX and get me one.....just like that it went on ebay, sold, then I was in one of the most customer friendly bike shops in Alabama (Bike Link) and we lined it all up.
I've already shedded minutes off lap times at trails that I train/race on. It took me a couple of rides to get my air prssure dialed in but once I got that right everythin else is history. Bike accelerates well, climbs like a goat, and sucks up technical stuff like a 5inch 26 all mountain bike. 29er's aren't just for bigger riders!
Looks like Specialized ran a test in '08 with the Comp 29er to see how it did/sold and see how the public would react. So for '09, they took it and gave in a kewl blue paint job and blinged it out with the components and called it the Marathon. Yes, you could upgrade the crank to xtr or a carbon one, but the xtr is just 70-80 grams lighter and would cost another $200-$250 (I'll just wait until the XT wears out which may be never).
Gotta be one of the best alluminum 29ers going for racing or cross country riding. Also, most carbon frames aren't much lighter than the Specialized M5 alluminum. I'll post up again after I have some local races and some marathon races under my belt with this rig.
Perfect is perfect....5 flaming chilli's all the way around for now!
Favorite Trail: Oak Mtn, Pelham/Syllamos in Mtn View, AR
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Purchased At: Bike Link or Inverne
Similar Products Used: 1st 29er. Other bikes used: racerX, Cannondale Rush, Trek EX8, and the old Stumpjumper Enduro
Bike Setup: Stock except for stem stated above. Bike as is with xtr pedals weighs 24.7lbs. Bike with Mavic c29ssMax'x/Kenka Small Blocks/and xtr rear cassette weighed in at 24.4lbs. So, as you can see it is an awesome stock setup.
I'll start by saying I don't have any particular love for Specialized over other bike brands, my favorite shop just happens to carry them. I purchased this bike because I fell in love with 29" wheels while riding my Kona Unit 2-9 and knew I needed a geared 29er. I basically quit riding my Specialize ... Read More »