Specialized’s new Status promises big fun and big grins without the big price

Specialized majorly overhauls its budget big hitter, following in the new Demo’s footsteps with mixed mullet wheel sizes

Pack shot of the Specialized Status 160 full suspension mountain bike

The original Specialized Status was designed to offer riders a more affordable downhill/bike park style machine, with more than enough suspension travel and a burly build to take a real pounding on the trails.

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We last reviewed a Status back in 2014 and it impressed us on many levels, but, since then, we’ve not seen an updated version of its cheaper big hitter. Until now.

You can read our first ride review of the new Status. Here we’re going to run through all the tech details.

Five things you need to know about Specialized’s 2021 Status

  • The Status 160 is only available in aluminium
  • It’s designed to use mixed wheel sizes (29in at the front, 650b at the rear)
  • There’s 160mm of travel on tap at the front and rear
  • Specialized is offering the Status in five sizes (using its ‘S’ sizing system)
  • There’s only one model of the Status available in the UK, but Specialized will also offer a Status 140 (with 140mm of travel) in other global regions

Filling the void

With Specialized putting so much focus on its headline downhill bike, the Demo, and its Enduro enduro bike in more recent years, it seems the Status was destined to quietly fade away into obscurity.

Although the Enduro managed to plug the gap the Status left for many years thanks to its wide range of builds and price points available – plus it was a burly do-it-all machine just as at home at the bike park as it was on backcountry trails – you could argue that it remained a different proposition to the Status with different intentions.

And when the US brand announced its latest Enduro line up – the cheapest of which, the Enduro Comp, costing a staggering £4,500 – it was clear that the void beneath the Enduro was bigger than ever.

Angle pack shot of the Specialized Status 160 full-suspension mountain bike
Built around mixed wheel sizes (29in front and 650b rear), the new Status 160 is designed to be a rough-and-ready big hitter for big days on the hill or in the bike park.
Russell Burton/MBUK

That being the case, it seemed to make sense to resurrect the Status as a more affordable big-hitting option and, at £2,399, the latest Status 160 certainly fits the bill.

2021 Specialized Status geometry

Unlike the entire Enduro line-up of bikes, which are exclusively made from carbon fibre, the Status is only available in aluminium.

Specialized has made both the front and rear triangles from its M5 aluminium alloy in a bid to make it both “hard charging and hard wearing”.

What’s really interesting, though, is the new Status is sold as a mixed wheeler, or mullet bike, as they’ve commonly become known.

This enables the Status to offer plenty of surefooted stability yet keep the back-end nice and tight, for maximum manoeuvrability, or so the theory goes.

What is a mullet bike?

Mullet bikes use a 29in wheel up front and a smaller 650b or 27.5in wheel out back. We tested a mullet wheel setup and pure 29in wheel setup against the clock to find out which is faster: What’s faster? A 29er or a mullet bike?

Just like the Enduro, the Status 160 comes in a range of five sizes (S1 to S5), with reach numbers ranging from 417mm (in the low setting) to 512mm.

If we compare the Enduro and Status in the size S3, the Status is just 2mm shy in terms of reach, at 462mm. And, just like the Enduro, there are two geometry settings to choose from.

Flip chip allows you to change between the Status’s high and low settings
A simple flip chip located in the rearmost shock mount allows you to alter the geometry of the Status 160.
Russell Burton/MBUK

Thanks to an easy to access flip chip at the base of the shock, you can change between the Status’s high and low settings in a matter of minutes. This gives you the ability to adjust the head angle by 0.5 degrees and shift the bottom bracket up or down by a massive 9mm.

In the low setting, the head angle sits at a super-slack 63.2 degrees, which is even slacker than the Enduro and not a million miles from the Demo DH bike.

The bottom bracket sits at 338mm, which should help with cornering stability, while the chainstays have been made incredibly compact at 426mm to help keep this beasty agile enough to get through tight and twisty sections of trail.

And we have to mention the seat tube length because it’s also really important. Specialized has ensured it’s kept the seat tube as short as possible on all sizes.

In fact, the seat tube is identical (400mm) on both the S1 and S2 frames, meaning riders can choose to size up (or down) without the worry of not being able to drop the saddle low enough on the larger sizes. The seat tube then jumps up in 20mm increments from the S3 to the S5.

Specialized sells the bikes with varying amounts of dropper post travel dependant on frame size. The S1 and S2 frames come with a 150mm dropper post, while the S3 to S5 frames use a 170mm drop post.

Fox DPX2 Performance shock on a full-suspension mountain bike
Fox takes care of the rear-end courtesy of its DPX2 Performance rear shock. The piggy-back design should help to keep the 160mm of travel feeling consistent, even on longer downhill runs.
Russell Burton/MBUK

Of course, it’s not all about going down, and Specialized has made the Status’s effective seat-angle relatively steep at 76 degrees to help keep climbing as efficient as possible.

While the Status 160 comes with a 160mm fork (with a 44mm offset), we think there’s scope to bump it up to 170mm without throwing the geometry out too much.

2021 Specialized Status suspension details

The 160mm of rear suspension is delivered via the FSR, four-bar linkage layout, similar to that of the brand’s popular Stumpjumper, and with fewer links and pivots when compared to the Enduro.

Links between the shock and stays
The burly links help to keep the back-end feeling solid.
Russell Burton/MBUK

But while the layout of the rear end might be similar to the lighter, more trail-orientated bike, the Status gets a burlier rocker link and shock yoke to ensure it feels reassuringly solid when it’s taking the battering it was designed for.

2021 Specialized Status frame details

Considering that Specialized says the Status is all about “fewer frills but all the thrills” and wanted it to remain nice and easy to ride or work on, the brand has still opted to internally route the cables/rear brake hose.

Internal cable routing helps to keep the Status looking slick, but does add some time to maintenance jobs down the line
Internal cable routing helps to keep the Status looking slick, but does add some time to maintenance jobs down the line.
Russell Burton/MBUK

While it helps maintain cleaner lines and does protect the cables and hoses from flying debris, there’s no doubt it’ll add some extra workshop time when it comes to replacing parts or carrying out general maintenance – which does seem to go against the ethos of the Status to some extent.

The bottom bracket is a threaded number though, which is handy.

2021 Specialized Status models and specifications

The Status comes in just one build and although the kit might not be particularly droolworthy, it seems Specialized has done a good job on spending its money wisely.

SRAM Code R brake lever on full-suspension mountain bike
It’s rare to see brakes of this quality at this price point, but we’re pleased Specialized has bolted them on the Status 160. The SRAM Code Rs are great stoppers.
Russell Burton/MBUK

Just look at the brakes. It’s not often you’ll see SRAM Code Rs bolted to a bike at this price. Considering just what this bike is intended to do, these are likely to fit the bill rather well.

Fox takes care of suspension duties with its 36 Rhythm fork up front, which uses the tried and trusted GRIP damper (there’s a two-position compression lever and a rebound adjuster to tweak air spring pressure and air spring volume), while a DPX2 Performance rear shock helps to tame the 160mm of rear wheel travel.

SRAM NX 12-speed drivetrain on a full-suspension mountain bike
SRAM’s NX 12-speed drivetrain offers up a decently wide range of gearing to keep you spinning up the hills. Interestingly, this is the same drivetrain offered on its cheapest Enduro Comp bike, which will set you back £4,500.
Russell Burton/MBUK

SRAM’s NX Eagle drivetrain helps to boost gear range thanks to that 11-50t cassette (giving a range of 455 per cent, rather than the pricier 10-50t, which gives you 500 perc ent) and should help you up most climbs.

Just as you’d expect from Specialized, there’s a multitude of own-brand parts bolted to the Status, including the bars, stem and Butcher GRID Trail tyres.

Specialized Butcher tyre on Roval Traverse wheels on full-suspension mountain bike
The Butcher tyres are reasonable all-rounders. Specialized supplies valves so you can get them setup tubeless if you wish.
Russell Burton/MBUK

Specialized has opted to spec a 2.3in tyre up front (on the 29in wheel) and a more bulbous 2.6in tyre at the rear (on the 650b wheel). These are mounted to Specialized’s Roval Traverse rims, which have a 30mm internal width.

The Status comes with this Satin Charcoal paint job or in a Satin Maroon colour, if you’re looking for a little more colour in your life.

Our Status 160 (in size S3) weighs in at 16.3kg (35.9lb).

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Cyclist riding in red top riding a Specialized Status 160 full-suspension mountain bike
Lofting the front wheel up and over obstacles is easy on the new Status 160 as Rob proves here.
Russell Burton / MBUK

2021 Specialized Status 160 specification

  • Frame: M5 aluminium alloy, 160mm travel
  • Fork: Fox 36 Rhythm GRIP, 160mm travel
  • Shock: Fox DPX2 Performance
  • Crankset: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed
  • Cassette: SRAM NX Eagle 11-50t
  • Shifter: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R (200mm rotors)
  • Wheelset: Roval Traverse 29 (front) and Traverse 27.5 (rear)
  • Tyres: Specialized Butcher GRID Trail GRIPTON 29 x 2.3in (front), 27.5 x 2.6in (rear)
  • Handlebar: Specialized, 800mm
  • Stem: Specialized Alloy Trail, 40mm
  • Grips: Deity Knuckledusters
  • Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic, 150mm drop (S1 and S2), 170mm drop (S3, S4 and S5)
  • Saddle: Specialized Bridge Comp
  • Price: £2,399