Specialized Pitch Pro review£1,399.00

Pitch is Specialized's new lower priced long travel platform, but they're certainly not cutting any corners with this 'economy Enduro'.

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Pitch is Specialized's new lower priced long travel platform, but they're certainly not cutting any corners with this 'economy Enduro'. 

Frame: Built for stiffness, trademark four bar suspension

The frame follows Specialized's trademark low slung top tube, curved down tube front end, with square section maintubes for added stiffness. The back end uses their long-serving FSR four bar suspension design, with a chainstay pivot just ahead of the dropout. The rocker link connects everything back to the Fox shock in the centre and the frame is neatly finished throughout. 

In fact, the only noticeable difference between this and more special Specializeds is the use of a folded sheet seat tube gusset rather than a hydroformed tubular one. You'll probably be pleased to know that UK models will be a subdued brown rather than acid yellow and blue, too.

Ride: Premium bike handling at a non-premium price

Specialized's rear end ride has been dialled in over a decade of evolution to achieve an easy neutrality. There's noticeable pedal softness if the compression damping is off, but the payback is a consistently connected rear wheel feel. There's plenty of depth and control, encouraging you to let it fly. You can always flick the RP lever to stiffen it up and it's no heavier than more expensive bikes in its class. Specialized's handling is as neutral as the suspension. 

It held lines well across the rocks of Bootleg Canyon, but still turned sharply enough to snap round stalled demo riders. If you really push it then there's more flex in the back end than the front fork, but it's not distracting. 

Typically for Specialized bikes the bottom bracket is fairly low though, which meant regular toe taps on the many off-camber rocks slabs. This does pay you back in better stability in fast sweepers though, so it's a matter of personal preference whether you see it as a problem or not. 

Deep in travel without digging deep into your wallet, the Pitch is a whole new level of bike for Specialized. And you wouldn't know from riding it, as its evolved handling and suspension neutrality mirrors premium bikes. The only difference is a slightly heavier weight, but for the sake of a few lbs you save hundreds of pounds, making this an outstanding, affordable 'extreme XC/all-mountain' machine.

Equipment: Well put together component package

Transmission is almost completely Deore with an LX highlight, so expect reliable Shimano shifting. Avid produce the lighter Juicy 3 SL for Spesh too, while the Control tyres, saddle and cockpit are proven own brand all-rounders. RockShox Pike forks are the perfect hard use all-round fork. They feel a bit reluctant to erase smaller bumps at first but they don't take long to smooth out. The 20mm Maxle QR axle adds impressive steering authority when you need it and U-Turn travel adjust is simplicity itself.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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