Mountain bikes have become a popular style of bicycle for many riders. However, the mountain bike that you buy in a department store isn’t going to hold up to the type of terrain you may come across while riding a mountain trail. To find the best Specialized mountain bikes on the market, you should be aware of the different styles of mountain bikes that are available.
Before you head out on your next adventure, choose the best bike for you by first picking the best style.
Mountain Bike Styles
Mountain biking can be fun or treacherous depending on what type of trails you like to ride. The terrain on the sides of a mountain may call for a specific style of mountain bike to handle the demands. The various styles include:
Cross-Country Mountain Bikes
The most common style of mountain bike sold to riders is the XC or cross-country mountain bike. This style of bike ranges from the very affordable models available at bike shops to those specifically designed for competitive or professional mountain bike racers that can cost thousands of dollars.
These bikes pedal efficiently and easily, which means they have fast tires, lightweight frames, and lightweight components. They generally have 80 to 120mm of the front and rear suspension to help them handle the occasional rock or tree root that you may come across on a trail. This type of suspension also provides more grip on the trail and the ability to ride fast with more control over the bike.
Trail Mountain Bikes
Trail bikes are a combination of cross-country mountain bikes and enduro models that can take on almost any mountain terrain. They come in two “flavors”: hardtails or front suspension only bikes and bikes with more front and rear suspension for better control and comfort.
A good trail bike has 29-inch wheels with a 15mm front axle and 12mm in the rear to give it some added stiffness. The suspension ranges from 120 to 160mm, the head angle should be 69 degrees or less, the tire stems should be 90mm or shorter, and the bar widths at least 700mm. These numbers will ensure a bike that is light, but able to take on almost anything you come across in the mountains.
Enduro Mountain Bikes
Enduro bikes have a full suspension with a bar width of at least 750mm and short stems of about 30mm. The head angles are 67 degrees or less to provide the power the bike needs to cut corners at high rates of speed. They also feature telescopic seat posts and chain guides that help keep the bike on the trail. Although a 650b wheel size works well for Enduro bikes, 26- and 29-inch wheels are right too.
These features allow Enduro mountain bike owners to take their rides on steep mountainous trails or race down Alpine off-piste courses. The features are lightweight to allow your average daredevil to pedal back up the mountain after they’ve finished racing down it.
Downhill Mountain Bikes
The most Specialized mountain bike of the five styles is the downhill or DH mountain bike. It allows riders to take on the fastest, steepest courses because it features loose steering with head angles of 65 degrees or less, sticky compound tires that stay on the trail, motorbike style suspension of 180- to 220mm, triple crown forks, and coil spring rear shocks.
However, these bikes are very heavy since they have a frame built for endurance and they lack climbing gears. The best way, if not the only way, to get it back up a mountain is on a ski lift or the bed of a truck.
Dirt Jump Mountain Bikes
If you want to go airborne on a trail, then you will need a tough dirt jump mountain bike. Essentially, these bikes are big BMX replicas that only have single gears and one brake to keep you from crashing into a grove of trees if you stray off the course. It has a heavy rear suspension for hard landings as well.
Specialized Mountain Bikes
Many Specialized mountain bikes are professional-grade bikes that keep endurance in mind. They feature lightweight components with sleek designs to handle the type of mountain trail that you wish to ride. Here are some of the best mountain bikes by Specialized that we ranked for our readers.
Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 – 12-speed
The Stumpjumper trail bike is one of Specialized’s original models that has always been around in some rendition since the company got its start. The current model has many mountain bike experts calling it one of the best trail bikes on the market.
The Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 has the features that are necessary to make an excellent trail bike, as previously noted in this article. It has the same lightweight carbon frame as their S-Works bike, which is the FACT 11m. It is made with the 29 Trail Geometry that gives it a comfortable ride but makes it capable enough to take on some of the toughest trails on the mountainside.
It has a FOX DPS Performance rear shock with Rx Trail Tune that will absorb the pounding you will get on a steep, bumpy trail. The Rx Trail Tune is also available on the fork to provide it with great shock absorption ability.
This bike is a 12-speed that runs on an SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain that allows riders to climb and go downhill efficiently. The drivetrain works with the SRAM Guide R disc brakes and Roval 29-inch tires. It is available in men’s sizes short, medium, long, and extra-long, and features two colors: Gloss Chameleon/Hyper and Satin Carbon/Rocket Red.
The women’s model is the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 27.5, which is also a 12-speed bike, that comes in at the same price point. It has one color: Satin/Acid Lava/Black/Acid Pink.
If you’re serious about mountain biking and want to get into racing, then the Specialized Epic Comp is the bike that you should consider. It is a good bike for XC riders to get started on when taking their hobby to the next level and they also make models for world-class professional racers.
The frame for the Epic Comp is a heavy-duty alloy that includes M5 aluminum to give the bike its light weight for maneuverability. However, it is stiff, and the bike can take a beating on some of the roughest trails on the mountainside. The company’s redesigned Brain suspension, which helped make the Epic well-known in mountain bike races.
The Epic Comp was redesigned to keep up with the demands of modern courses. They re-evaluated everyone on the bike and replaced it to make the bike better for racers. They added full-length dropper posts for the 30.9mm seat tube and slacked out the head angle. It pairs with a 42mm fork to help racers take tight corners and go cleanly through switchbacks.
The bike has 11-speeds with its SRAM GX groupset, which is something XC riders will be comfortable with riding. The RockShox Reba RL fork provides both compression and rebound adjustments, which helps absorb the shock from bumps up front.
The men’s model is available in sizes short, medium, long, and extra-long, which translates to sizes that can fit men who are five foot two inches to six foot four inches. It comes in two colors: Gloss Light Blue/Rocket Red and Satin Slate/Nordic Red.
The women’s Epic Comp Alloy is available in sizes extra-short, short, medium, and long. These sizes translate to women who are four foot 10 inches tall to 6-foot-1-inch. It comes in one color, which is Satin Gloss Black/Acid Lava/Acid Purple.
If you need an affordable mountain bike, many experts and riders recommend the Specialized Ruze. The Ruze is a women’s hardtail bike, meaning it only has a rear suspension, and the men’s version of this model is the Fuse. This model is designed for women no matter their skill level, so almost any female mountain biker can ride it.
The Ruze features an A1 Premium aluminum frame that gives the frame its light weight to better climb mountains but its 6Fattie Wheel/Tire system provides the traction and handling the bike needs going downhill. Although the frame is light, it is built to be durable with Women’s Trail Geometry, which makes it snappy and efficient on both descents and ascents.
The SR Suntour XCM 6Fattie 80mm fork is paired with the wheel/tire system to absorb bumps on the trail, and the Women’s Custom Tune helps make lighter riders more comfortable on the bike. It has an SRAM GX derailleur gears that allow the bike to take on rocky areas and rough courses while still allowing it to shift accurately and smoothly.
The bike also features strong alloy rims and a one-by drivetrain that can take a beating out on the trail and keep going. It has many women-specific components available, and the bike provides everything that is necessary to ride hard and fast without equipping it with parts it doesn’t need. The bike comes in four sizes: extra-short, short, medium, and long.
It also is available in two colors: Gloss Nordic Red/Light Turquoise/Turquoise and Satin Graphite/Tarmac Black/Rainbow Flake Pink.
Fuse Comp Carbon 6Fattie
If you want a hardtail bike with climbing ability and durability on the descents, then the Fuse Comp Carbon 6Fattie may be the model you need. The FACT 10m carbon frame provides both lightweight and stiffness that helps it move efficiently. It also has a hidden storage compartment amongst the routing tubes with a SWAT™ door.
The bike has a RockShox Reba RL 120mm fork that absorbs the bumps you’ll come across on the trail to provide a comfortable ride. It also comes with an SRAM GX 11-speed gear range that makes more ascents and descents efficient. They save weight on the bike by using a one-by setup instead of a two-by like on other mountain bikes.
This men’s bike is available in four sizes: short, medium, long, and extra-long. It is also available in two colors: Gloss Carbon/Chameleon and Satin Gloss Rocket Red FADE/Black/Charcoal.
The Rockhopper series of mountain bikes from Specialized are entry-level bikes that you can take on mountainside dirt trails or for a ride in the city. The Men’s Rockhopper Sport is the company’s first entry into this type of mountain bike.
It features a lightweight A1 aluminum frame that supports their cross-country, XC, Sport 29 frame design. This design allows riders to climb to ascents on the bike as easily as it descends. It also features customized SR Suntour XCT forks, which are available in several sizes like 80, 90, and 100mm.
A Shimano Acera rear derailleur takes care of the rear shifting, and it has a wide gear range of 11 to 34t. The gear range allows riders to be comfortable in knowing they have the correct gears to tackle whatever the hill has for them.
This men’s bike is available in four sizes, short, medium, long, and extra-long. These sizes allow teens and men from five feet two inches 152 pounds to six feet four inches 193 pounds find the right size bike for their leg length and weight.
The Rockhopper Sport is available in two colors: Gloss Hopper/Black Clean and Gloss Tarmac Black/Flo Red/White. There is also a Women’s Rockhopper Sport available in three sizes: extra-short, short and medium.
S-Works Demo 8
If going fast down a mountain is your desire, then you may wish to consider the S-Works Demo 8 downhill mountain bike. The mountain biking experts at Red Bull named this Specialized model as one of the “Fastest Downhill Mountain Bikes” on the market. The bike won the UCI World Cup in Downhill Mountain Bike Racing in Cairns, Australia.
It has the features that you want in a downhill bike, such as a carbon fiber FACT 11m frame that makes the bike durable for those hard landings after jumps on the course, but light enough to make the bike fast. The S3 Geometry used to make the frame gives it better maneuverability and responsiveness when steering the bike.
It is also equipped to absorb the shock of landings with a RockShox BoXXEr Team 27.5 fork that provides the stiffness that is needed and a 200mm Ohlins TTX rear shock helps lessen each impact with the ground. The Roval 27.5-inch wheels can take a beating and the tires, which are Butcher & Slaughter DH models, give the bike the traction it needs to stick to the trail.
The Demo 8 also sports an SRAM X01 DH 7-speed derailleur that keeps the chain in place, so it provides the power you need to move the bike forward on the toughest of downhill courses. Preventing snags as you brush past tree limbs and other course obstacles, the cabling threads through the frame of the bike.
The S-Works Demo 8 is available in one color: Gloss Blue Tint Carbon/Acid Mint/Cosmic Black. It comes in men’s short, medium, long, and extra-long.
Specialized Mountain Bikes Buyer’s Guide
Before rushing out to buy one of these Specialized mountain bikes, you should first determine what type of mountain biking you’ll do. If you want a bike that can take on asphalt and dirt, then stick to an XC style bike. However, if you’re more of a daredevil, then a trail or enduro bike may be your best choice.
Also, consider if you’re going to be a casual rider or if you’re interested in joining the professional ranks. Specialized makes models for both the occasional weekend warrior and professionals who go out to win World Cups, Olympic Trials, and races all over the world. So, consider how and what to ride then pick from the best Specialized mountain bikes for your needs.