Unveiled: the new women's Specialized Camber mountain bike

A performance trail bike for women

It's goodbye Rumor, hello Camber, as Specialized unveils the latest edition to its women's bike lineup. The performance trail bike gets female-specific finishing kit, based around the same frame geometry as the men's Camber. 

Designed for all-round trail performance, the Camber is a 130mm-travel 650b bike. It's existed in the Specialized lineup for a number of years, and for 2017 the company has launched a women's version, which takes the place formerly occupied by the Rumor. 

In a bike design move that echoes the approaches of other mountain bike brands such as Juliana, Specialized created a bike based around the same frame as the men's (or unisex, depending on your point of view) Camber but with narrower handlebars, a women's saddle, and shorter cranks on the smaller models. 

Why no women's specific geometry? Specialized has access to a sizable database of biometric information, from thousands of individual bikes fits performed at Specialized dealers and in-house in Morgan Hill, California. From this, Specialized claims it can determine not only what the physical differences are between men and women on average, but also if and how those differences impact on the ride experience, based on the type of terrain and riding style. 

In the case of the Camber, the team at Specialized analysed the data and came to the conclusion that although there are differences, for example with women tending to be a lighter weight for the equivalent bike size, these aren't of the kind that mean a different bike geometry would improve the feel and performance of the ride. Instead, Specialized claim, a lighter suspension tune and the appropriate contact points are enough to ensure rider comfort and bike handling performance. 

The bike is decked out in a matt blue sparkly paint job with orange highlights:
The bike is decked out in a matt blue sparkly paint job with orange highlights:

This extends to the colour schemes, which could only be termed 'girly' by an extreme stretch of the imagination. The entry-level model comes in a stealthy matte black. The strongest nod in the direction of a feminine colour palette is the top-of-the-range Camber Comp Carbon version with comes in a matte blue with glitter finish and isn't even slightly as sparkly as the electric blue glitter men's version. 

Another advantage: should a shorter male rider wish to take advantage of the compact fit, they won't have to process an internal struggle around using 'women's' kit, though they may want to change the saddle and shock tune. 

There are three bikes in the lineup, starting with the £2,900 Women's Camber Comp Carbon 650b with carbon frame, Fox Float Performance Shock, Rockshox Revelation RL Solo Air fork and SRAM/Race Face 1x11 gearing. Below this sits the Women's Camber Comp 650b at £1,900 with alloy frame, Rockshox Revelation RL Solo Air fork and Fox Float Performance shock. 

Interestingly, Specialized are also offering a £1,450 version, the Women's Camber 650b, which is the lowest price bike in the range out of both the unisex and women's option. It features an alloy frame, Custom X-Fusion shock, RockShox Sector Silver RL fork and SRAM 1x10 gearing. 

The men's range consists of 6 bikes ranging from top-of-the-line S-Works Camber 29 at £6,300 to the standard Camber Comp, available in both 29er and 650b versions at £1,900. US pricing was not immediately available.

Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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