Specialized is probably best known for its high-end exotica – and for its attempts to achieve worldwide cycling ubiquity – but its original sport-tourer Sequoia dates back to 1981. The 2017 incarnation is a very different beast though.
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Down-tube shifters have long since vanished, and side-pull brakes have been supplanted by hydraulic discs. But it’s still essentially a ‘sports-tourer’, albeit in a more modern gravel bike-inspired design. And it’s made from good ’ol chromoly, so some things never change – though we doubt ’81-era Spesh would have released a bike in ‘California white sage’. Or very pale green to the rest of us…
Components and handling
The Sequoia’s contact points are comfortable, and they’re colour coordinated too – a sort of charcoal black pairing. But the canvas tape and the canvas-feel saddle finish looked much the worse for wear after one very muddy ride, and neither is as easy to clean as traditional bar tape or saddle.
There’s no doubting that the Sequoia Elite’s braking is head and shoulders above the next model down in the range, as your extra money contributes to Shimano hydraulic disc braking (the entry-level Sequoia has Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes). The thru-axles also contribute to the quality braking.
The downside of the Shimano 105 groupset is the shape of the hydraulic levers, which have a pronounced bump you feel under the inside of your thumb when you’re on the hoods. That said, the 105 gearing is superior to nearly anything else at a similar price point, and the 48/32 FSA chainset paired to an 11-36T cassette will get you up any hill.
The unusual-looking Specialized Sawtooth tyres have a zig-zag pattern in the Gripton rubber compound and are a winner, fast running on tarmac and gripping impressively on gravel, especially considering the minimal depth of the tread. These are up there with the best all-surface tyres and they’re tubeless compatible. Their width helps with comfort too.
Specialized has gone for a flared bar for extra control, particularly when you leave the black top. The distinctive Hover bar also rises either side of the stem, which helps you to achieve a more upright riding position. But it makes fitting lights and computers (and a bell, remember them?) that much trickier.
Specialized Sequoia Elite summary
Specialized’s Sequoia really is an accomplished and versatile bike. It may fall shy of a full-on expedition mount (Specialized has the AWOL range for that), but as a one-bike-for-virtually-all-eventualities it’s well sorted.
Everyday riding, fitness riding, canal towpaths, gravel and even singletrack are within its remit, and it’ll handle all of them with panache, if not necessarily great speed. It also comes with five bottle mounts – three on the frame and two on the fork. So you won’t get thirsty.
|Name||Name, 0, 10, Name, Sequoia Elite|
|Brand||Brand, 0, 20, Brand, Specialized|
|Available Sizes||Available Sizes, 2, 0, Available Sizes, 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 61cm|
|Bottom Bracket||Bottom Bracket, 2, 0, Bottom Bracket, FSA Mega-Exo|
|Brakes||Brakes, 2, 0, Brakes, Shimano RS505 hydraulic discs|
|Cassette||Cassette, 2, 0, Cassette, Sunrace 11-36|
|Chain||Chain, 2, 0, Chain, KMC|
|Cranks||Cranks, 2, 0, Cranks, FSA Gossamer Pro 172.5mm 48/32|
|Fork||Fork, 2, 0, Fork, Carbon|
|Fork Offset||Fork Offset, 2, 0, Fork Offset, 4.5|
|Frame Material||Frame Material, 2, 0, Frame Material, Chromoly|
|Front Derailleur||Front Derailleur, 2, 0, Front Derailleur, Shimano 105|
|Front Tyre||Front Tyre, 2, 0, Front Tyre, Specialized Sawtooth 700x42mm|
|Front Wheel Weight||Front Wheel Weight, 2, 0, Front Wheel Weight, 2010|
|Handlebar||Handlebar, 2, 0, Handlebar, Specialized Hover 42.5cm|
|Head Angle||Head Angle, 2, 0, Head Angle, 71.5|
|Headset Type||Headset Type, 2, 0, Headset Type, FSA|
|Rear Derailleur||Rear Derailleur, 2, 0, Rear Derailleur, Shimano 105|
|Rear Tyre||Rear Tyre, 2, 0, Rear Tyre, Specialized Sawtooth 700x42mm|
|Rear Wheel Weight||Rear Wheel Weight, 2, 0, Rear Wheel Weight, 2600|
|Saddle||Saddle, 2, 0, Saddle, Specialized Phenom Comp|
|Seat Angle||Seat Angle, 2, 0, Seat Angle, 74.5|
|Seatpost||Seatpost, 2, 0, Seatpost, Specialized alloy 27.2mm|
|Shifters||Shifters, 2, 0, Shifters, Shimano 105/RS505|
|Stem||Stem, 2, 0, Stem, Specialized Alloy 100mm|
|Trail||Trail, 2, 0, Trail, 7.2|
|Weight (kg)||Weight (kg), 2, 0, Weight (kg), 11.82|
|Wheelset||Wheelset, 2, 0, Wheelset, Specialized Adventure Gear Hayfield, 32 spoke|
|Bottom Bracket Height (cm)||Bottom Bracket Height (cm), 2, 0, Bottom Bracket Height (cm), 29|
|Chainstays (cm)||Chainstays (cm), 2, 0, Chainstays (cm), 44|
|Seat Tube (cm)||Seat Tube (cm), 2, 0, Seat Tube (cm), 46|
|Standover Height (cm)||Standover Height (cm), 2, 0, Standover Height (cm), 81|
|Top Tube (cm)||Top Tube (cm), 2, 0, Top Tube (cm), 56|
|Wheelbase (cm)||Wheelbase (cm), 2, 0, Wheelbase (cm), 106|
|Frame size tested||Frame size tested, 2, 0, Frame size tested, 56cm|