Specialized has always done a good line in affordable hard-hitting bikes, and the Status range is no exception.
The Demo downhill bike might be Specialized’s gravity headline, but the simpler and cheaper Status isn’t stuck playing second fiddle. It’s actually the go-to rig for freeride star Darren Berrecloth to use to jump off cliffs at the Red Bull Rampage. It’s certainly tough.
Frame and equipment: cheapest of a two-bike range
The Status 1 is the most affordable of the two-bike line-up and pairs its 200mm of four-bar rear travel with a 170mm single crown X-Fusion Vengeance fork. The £500 more expensive Status 2 has a 200mm triple-clamp fork.
The low-slung aluminium frame looks extremely classy, with neat lines, a full 1.5in head tube and a neat, welded two-piece rocker link driving the X-Fusion Vector R coil shock. It’s not all mod cons though; the lack of dropper post hose routing hints at the bike’s downhill bias, and the dropouts are open 135x10mm with a bolt-up hub, rather than an easier-to-remove through-axle design.
The coil-sprung x-fusion shock only has rebound adjustment, but it perfoms well: Russell Burton / Future Publishing
Specialized still works with a traditional shop distribution model, and the increased operating costs over the direct-sale brands really shows in the kit fitted to the Status – it’s noticeably lower rent. The X-Fusion shocks are both coil sprung and only have rebound adjustment, so tuning potential is limited, although they aren’t bad performers by any means.
One aspect of the spec that really took us by surprise was the eight-speed cassette skulking on the back wheel, matched to a low-end SRAM X4 shifter up front.
An eight-speed cassette?! what decade are we in again?!: Russell Burton / Future Publishing
Ride and handling: set it to attack mode and enjoy the ride
If you mate the chain device-equipped 34T single ring up front to the largest 32T rear sprocket, pedalling isn’t actually too painful when you’re taking on steady climbs, but the wide gaps between the eight ratios (what is this, the stone age?!) are most noticeable when sprinting out of corners or on pedally descents.
In fact the shifts are so noticeably steppy and rough it soon becomes less painful to just get the bike up to speed and trust to momentum.
Happily, it’s in exactly this circumstance that the Status begins to shine. It’s a bike that manages to create a sprightly riding feel despite its bulk, while the low frame with masses of standover aids rapid direction changes.
Despite its bulk, the status 1 has a sprightly ride feel: Russell Burton / Future Publishing
It’s easy enough to discombobulate the fork when you’re hitting rougher sections, but it deals with big hits in a measured and controlled enough way, and the supple, stiff rear end shines through despite the basic shock. It’s long, low and slack enough to give you plenty of space to move about, while keeping a fun and flickable feel over jumps and in the corners.
The Status’ sorted basic geometry is backed up by Specialized’s own Butcher tyres, which offer excellent, confidence-inspiring grip and feel that has you keen to attack everything – corners, mud, rooty sections and whatever else comes your way.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.