Specialized Fuse Expert Carbon 6Fattie first ride review£3,000.00

Trail-shaped race carbon with hardcore plus rubber

Not content with three Enduro, three Stumpjumper and three Rhyme full-sus options as well as three Fuse and two Ruze alloy hardtails, Specialized has now added a carbon Fuse to its ‘6Fattie’ plus family.

Specialized Fuse Expert Carbon 6Fattie spec overview

  • Frame: FACT 10M carbon
  • Fork: Fox Rhythm Float 34
  • Wheel size: 650b+
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX / X1
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R
  • Head angle: 67.5
  • Seat angle: 73
  • Reach: 440mm (L)

Specialized Fuse Expert Carbon 6Fattie ride impression

Fox’s new budget Rhythm 34 fork has been upgraded with a GRIP damper
Fox’s new budget Rhythm 34 fork has been upgraded with a GRIP damper

Featuring the same Fact 10R carbon construction as the World Cup race-ready Epic Expert hardtails means it has a frame weight of 1,300g (4-500g lighter than most alloy plus frames) despite the extra weight of the unique SWAT storage trapdoor on the downtube.

A 13.2kg complete bike weight is comparable with the other similarly priced alloy plus bikes we’ve tested though and the component spec is a little underwhelming for the price.

Add heavy duty Specialized Purgatory and Ground Control Grid plus tyres and the Fuse is hard work on climbs or when attacking flat or rolling singletrack.

Thankfully, switching the tyres for something lighter puts an immediate pep in its acceleration and altitude attitude, and also improves smoothness and flow over lumpy terrain at slow speed. 29erwheels only give a 7mm change in ride height, which opens up another ride quality option.

Grunt it up to the top of the hill and you’ll be glad you kept the original tyres on — surefooted low-pressure sticky-grip to dirty-drift-stability and rock-shrugging impact-ignorance make it a proper have-a-go hooligan.

What’s under that top cap? A quick link and chain tool, of course
What’s under that top cap? A quick link and chain tool, of course

Fox’s new budget Rhythm 34 fork is upgraded with a GRIP damper to make the most of its surprisingly smooth stroke and the Specialized dropper post helps push the limits on punishing terrain.

While the Guide R brakes lack progressive Swing Link modulation there’s masses of stopping power through the 200/180mm rotors.

The 67.5-degree head angle and 750mm bar combine with a 440mm reach for a well balanced, versatile handling character that reinforces its tenacious trail versatility and potential even if it doesn’t wow on weight and value.

Specialized Fuse Expert Carbon 6Fattie early verdict

Plus size power for the trails but the component spec is a little underwhelming for the price.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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

Related Articles

Back to top