Specialized FSR XC Comp review

120mm at both ends at a good price

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,100.00 RRP | USD $1,550.00

Our review

The mostly sensible spec is let down slightly by budget shocks, but it’s still a lot of bike for the money
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Specialized were in on the full-suspension revolution at the start, but unlike many of their contemporaries, their first full-sussers actually worked. That’s why, a decade and a half later, the latest incarnation of the FSR XC Comp uses exactly the same suspension design.

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Currency fluctuations have nudged it a bit over the magic £1,000 price point, although it remains one of the most affordable full-sussers out there and is a great introduction to the world of full suspension.

Ride & handling: 120mm trail bike on a ridiculously low budget — and it works well

The short stem and an all-in weight that’s not going to excite gram-watchers don’t exactly hint at a bike that’ll fly up the climbs. Sure enough, the FSR XC Comp’s heft and tendency to bob under hard pedalling mark it out as a plodder rather than a sprinter on smooth surfaces.

But show it a steep, rubbly and rooty slope, and the ground-hugging rear end and tenacious tyres will keep the wheels turning long after hardtail riders have given up and resorted to walking.

Did we mention the bobbing? Yes, despite Specialized’s claims that the X-Fusion shock is custom tuned, the lack of adjustable compression damping means it’s easy to provoke a kind of harmonic bounce on the climbs. More annoyingly, the indents on the rebound adjuster aren’t strong enough to prevent it from rattling into the fully open position.

We found this so annoying that we puzzled out a solution – unscrew the tiny bolt holding the lever and end stop on the adjuster shaft, reposition the end stop by a couple of splines, then retighten – so until X-Fusion gets its act in gear, there’s at least a workable bodge.

It’s also hard to persuade air and coil springs to play nicely together – the X-Fusion air shock is coupled up with a RockShox Tora coil fork – and this means the FSR XC Comp doesn’t feel as balanced as some competitors.

Having said that, point this bike down a fast, rocky descent and it’ll live up to the promise of 120mm at both ends, delivering the rider at the bottom of the trail with a big grin and all fillings still intact. Which, for the money, can’t be bad.

The fsr is a decent, upgradeable trail full-susser : the fsr is a decent, upgradeable trail full-susser
Seb Rogers

Frame: Good looking chassis with proven suspension design

Specialized were one of the first bike companies to ditch welded reinforcing gussets at the junction between head and down tubes in favour of a gently radiused down tube, which disperses stresses away from this vulnerable area and looks good to boot. The FSR XC Comp adds a reverse curve at the bottom bracket for good measure.

The company have an entire department devoted to tweaking the look of their bikes. See the way the top tube’s line continues uninterrupted through the seatstays to the rear dropouts? That’s no accident. It certainly looks the part, although the effect is spoilt slightly by the hollow (and sharp-edged) seat tube brace, which makes for an uncomfortable carrying handle.

Specialized recognised the potential of Horst Leitner’s chainstay pivot design back in the ’90s, bought it and patented it. The independent rear axle is less affected by braking and pedalling forces, although there are newer systems that work at least as well.

Equipment: Decent own brand kit, but shock doesn’t have enough compression damping

Own-brand components are typically well designed and finished, and adorn all of the FSR XC Comp’s rider contact points. Big volume, open-treaded and grippy own-brand tyres dish out stacks of grip, and wide bars with lock-on grips thread through a short stem for plenty of conidence in the rough.

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A Shimano SLX-based transmission and Avid hydraulic discs work predictably well, with only the relatively low-rent chainset giving the bike’s budget roots away. That, and the basic shocks – although the Specialized’s basic RockShox Tora coil fork acquits itself pretty well.

Specialized fsr xc comp: specialized fsr xc comp
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name FSR XC Comp (10)
Brand Specialized

Available Sizes L L L L L L L L L L L L M M M M M M M M M M M M M M L M L XL S S S S S S S S S S S S M S M L S M L XL S M L XL S M L S M L XL S L M L L XL XL XL XL XL XL XL S S M S M L S M L XL S M L XL S M L XL S M L XL M L M L XL M L XL S M L S M L XL S M L XL S M L XL
Rear Shock X-Fusion air
Top Tube (in) 22.5
Standover Height (in) 31
Seat Tube (in) 17.25
Chainstays (in) 16.9
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.5
Weight (lb) 30.8
Weight (kg) 14.5
Stem Specialized variable rise, 70mm
Shifters Shimano Deore
Seat Angle 70.5
Rims Alex Stout SL
Rear Tyre Size 26x2.0
Rear Tyre The Captain
Rear Hub Specialized Stout
Bottom Bracket Shimano Deore
Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX
Head Angle 69.5
Handlebar Specialized alu riser, 660mm
Grips/Tape Specialized lock-on
Front Tyre Size 26x2.0
Front Tyre Fast Trak Control LK
Front Hub Specialized Stout
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Frame Material M4 aluminium
Fork RockShox Tora SL coil, 120mm travel
Cranks Shimano M442 22/32/44T
Chain Shimano HG50
Cassette Shimano HG50 9-speed, 11-34T
Brakes Avid Juicy 3 SL hydraulic disc
Wheelbase (in) 42.2