It’s easy to dismiss 650b+ wheeled bikes as something dreamed up in the marketing rather than the R&D department. Sling a leg over a plus-wheeled hardtail, however, and even the most ardent cynic will soon succumb to their chubby charms and flubbery fun levels. But plus-bikes like the Specialized Fuse Comp are more than just boisterous playthings — despite their portly appearance, the best of them are capable of going seriously damn fast.
Specialized Fuse Comp spec overview
- Fork: 120mm SR Suntour Raidon
- Rear derailleur: SRAM X7 Type 2.1, 10-speed
- Cassette: Sunrace, 10-speed, 11-40t
- Brakes: TRP T4 brakes
- Rims: WTB Scraper i45 650b
- Front tyre: OE Purgatory Contro
- Rear tyre: Specialized 6Fattie Ground Control
- Handlebars: Specialized Stout
- Saddle: Body geometry Henge Comp
Specialized Fuse Comp frame and equipment
The Fuse Comp is based around a well-constructed aluminium frame with a short-ish reach of 440mm (size large) and 67-degree head angle, and short 430mm chainstays help keep the ride poppy and lively.
A 120mm Suntour Raidon fork, WTB Scraper i45 rims, TRP T4 brakes, SRAM X7 1x10 gearing, 120mm TransX dropper and Specialized’s own brand finishing kit completes the package. Total bike weight is a reasonable 13.4kg.
Specialized Fuse Comp ride impression
On paper, the Raidon fork is a spec disappointment for a bike of this price — even if this is the air sprung rather than the more basic coil version. On the trail though, the fork does its job pretty well and any lack of subtlety is helpfully masked by the high volume Specialized 6Fattie Ground Control 3in tyres.
This fast rolling rubber works well in dry and damp conditions, though the rear is prone to sliding out on corners, even under gentle braking. Our 69kg tester ran fairly low pressures to make the most of the grip that’s available — unfortunately this strayed into pinch-puncture territory and a blow-out saw him eating a hefty slice of trail pie. We’d definitely ditch the inner tubes as a result, and helpfully the rims come taped and tubeless-ready.
On pretty much any trail you like, the Fuse Comp is a bike that’s eager to charge as hard as you’re able and outperforms what is only average spec for the money. Its speed-hungry and capable nature will leave doubters flailing in its wake and is a fine example of why plus-sized hardtails can work so well.
Specialized Fuse Comp early verdict
Ignore the spec, this is a capable plus-hardtail ideal for letting loose on fast flowing trails.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.