Specialized Camber Comp Mountain Bike Review

I got into riding again for the fun of it and also to get a healthy hobby. After I bought my first mountain bike ever (GT Avalanche),I quickly got hooked on mountain biking and realized that the bike I had was not the best for the terrain I preferred to ride on. So, I decided to get the Specialized Camber Comp

I grew up riding bmx, and before I got my license, I had probably put thousands of miles on my Diamondback Viper, GT Performer, and countless other bikes.  I used to leave the house early on Saturday morning and not get off the bike until dark.  I was pretty good and pretty fast. Definitely in way better shape than I am now.

Fast forward 20 years and add two kids who want to learn to ride. This gave me a good excuse to get a new bike and start riding again.  For the record, I always put mountain bikes in the same class as road bikes, and figured I would get another BMX bike.  I went and looked around at the bicycle store and I dont know how I rode a 20″ bike.  They were pretty hard to fit on, much less pedal and ride comfortably.  So I started looking at mountain bikes and after much review settled for a GT Avalanche 3.0 with disk brakes.  I got a good deal and was happy….. until I started riding with the guys at the local park.

This particular track is called Sansom Park in Fort Worth.  Its got a reputation of being a “technical” track.  Basically that’s the cool way of saying its pretty damn tough.  Its got a lot of tricky sections, drops, and tough climbs.  I found out I needed a better bike really quick.  Enter the Specialized Camber Comp.

Pricing:

The Specialized Camber Comp retails for $1649.  I did not pay anything near that.  You can haggle the guys at the store, or join a bike club to get a better price.  That will probably get you a couple hundred off the price, but you can also do like me and go through craigslist or check  the “for sale” forum of the local bike clubs.

Components:

The Comp is the entry line of the Specialized Cambers and although the components are miles ahead of the GT Avalanche, they are still considered 3rd tier in this line up.  Shifters and derailers are Shimano SLX and Alivio.  Brakes are Tektro Draco on front and back.  I have not had a chance to ride a bike with Shimano XT’s or Avid brakes, but the comp components are great.  The bike shifts extremely smooth, stays adjusted even in harsh terrain, and I have not had the chain jump on me on steep inclines or declines.  Brakes will stop you just fine, although I have noticed a little fatigue on longer descents.  The rear swingarm has a rubberized guard to keep your chain quiet when your flying down hills too.

Handling:

One of the things I love the most about this bike is the geometry of the frame.  The bike feels like a big BMX bike.  It has a very light feel in the corners and in the air.  You really never feel out of place on it, and if you  do get out of  whack, you will still have the confidence that you can whip the bike around to get it back under control.  Everything feels low and tight, even though its got pretty good clearance on the cranks and components.  The GT Avalanche felt like my dads old 10 speed in comparison.  The frame is just too tall in the back and it doesn’t feel as lively.

Suspension:

The suspension front and back is provided by RockShox.  The front is adjustable with a lockout, which I have only used once on a short commute.  The rear shock is also adjustable and has a lock out too, but no smart brain for help on those climbs.  I have taken some pretty big drops and I have bottomed out a couple times but the suspension has never made me feel like it couldn’t keep up.  The hits I took were not harsh even when pushing the bike to its limits.  I had heard that a full suspension would hurt performance on climbs, but I actually felt like I hooked up better on the hills compared to the Avalanche.

Appearance:

Now lets talk about looks.  This thing is flat out sharp.  I really like the color.  It does show some dirt, but the anodized finish on it really keeps down on the scratches and I think it will hold up for years to come.  The frame gives the impression of an all-mountain bike and is laid back but still looks fast as hell.

Final Thoughts:

If you go to the bike store you will probably get a salesman trying to sell you a higher priced bike.  They are trying to make money after all.  All I will say is don’t leave the store without running this one around the block.  I did go to the store and ride a few of the higher grade Cambers, as well as some Stump-jumpers and other brands of bikes.  They were all some pretty nice bikes, but way more expensive.  At this point in my riding career, I chose this bike for is simple functionality, great feel and handling, looks, and lastly price. I can’t see paying 2-3k more on a bike just to get a little slicker shifting and shave a few pounds off.   You may hear guys tell you you can’t get a decent full suspension bike for less than 2k, but I can guarantee if this is your first venture into full suspension you will not be disappointed.

Comments

  1. Hi!, can i ask, those graphics self-made or purchased at some stocks?
    I am sorry for my poor english, neverthless i believe that you will
    know what is important in my question.

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