Specialized S-Works Mountain Bike Review

4.83 out of 5
By Leah Barber    on Oct 7, 2008

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Product Options (23)
Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon Disc
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Carbon
Specialized S-Works Enduro SL Carbon
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR
Specialized S-Works Era FSR Carbon
Specialized S-Works MTB Shoe
Specialized S-Works Renegade
Specialized S-Works Fate Carbon 29
Specialized S-WORKS EPIC 29
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29
Specialized S-Works Camber 29
Specialized S-Works Enduro 29
Specialized S-Works Demo 8
Specialized S-Works Epic
Specialized S-Works M4
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper HT World Cup 2014
Specialized S-Works Enduro 2014 26"
Specialized S-Works Epic WC
2005 Specialized SWORKS Enduro
Specialized S-Works M2 (1998)

October 8, 2019
Pros: Responsive, light, heavy duty, long travel suspension

Cons: Alloy nipples on spokes corrod with tire sealant.

Recommendation: Of all of the bikes I have owned this is by far the most well rounded one. It is exceedingly well built and takes all the abuse I throw at it as a clydesdale rider. It is by far one of the most responsive bikes I've ever ridden.

December 26, 2016
Model/Year: 2009

Pros: Light, corners great, Fast as hell.

Cons: What's a con ?

Recommendation: Yes

June 21, 2012
Model/Year: 2012

Pros: Literally honored to be the first to review this shoe. Speechless would be my first impression. A head above the rest. The BOA technology provides literally a perfect fit, as if the shoes were cast from a mold of your own foot. Designed to eliminate hotspots.

Cons: Cost

Recommendation: If you can afford these, it's a no brainer. I am running them with SPD, but I'm sure they would shine with any pedal/cleat system. Here are the details that make it so amazing:

Designed for the demands of World Cup XC racers Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander, this ultra-light and stiff carbon shoe offers Body Geometry performance and Boa dial adjustability. The S-Works MTN shoe is the pinnacle of cross-country performance.
Light and stiff FACT carbon midsole runs the full length of the shoe, with thermoplastic replaceable tread for confident traction: 11 stiffness index
Full BG features in outsole and BG High Performance Footbed combine to reduce hot spots and improve knee/foot alignment
Lightweight Boa S1-M incremental zonal closure allows on-the-fly adjustments for a dynamic fit; L/R shoe forward rotating
Four times more micro adjustment than a standard buckle closure
Replaceable high-strength braided steel lace
Open-back lace guides for easy on/off
Engineered Micromatrix upper is light, durable and supple fitting, with welded reinforcement on medial heel for durability
Ultra-vented tongue for breathability
Velcro front strap adjusts forefoot width and volume

March 19, 2012
Pros: Light, great traction, tubeless ready

Cons: pricey, will wear fast if you ride them on pavement

Recommendation: love them for trails. I swap out wheelsets for road rides

March 10, 2011
Model/Year: S-works Stumpjumper 2010

Pros: Light, quick, well-balanced, plenty of cushion to handle big hits going downhill

Cons: Carbon frame really easy to crack - just takes one hit in the right place & you need a new frame or part thereof; Fox front shock loses pressure every cpl weeks - may be just mine;

Recommendation: If your budget can stand it at all, you won't be sorry

December 10, 2010
Pros: Light, stiff, strong, climbs great, descends well. There's little to complain about on this bike. The E150 fork works great... the travel adjust is perfect and the compression/rebound adjust is very effective.

Cons: the proprietary 25mm front hub's kind of a pain when it comes to wheels. Fortunately the Rovals that come with the bike are awesome.

Recommendation: If you can afford it... it's a very fun ride that can literally shine on 80% of the trails.

August 3, 2010
Pros: This is the best bike I've ever owned - full suspension, yet still very light! I'm 5'3 and own the small frame, and it fits my frame like a glove

Cons: whats not to like!

Recommendation: I would recommend this bike to all women out there! It's fast, yet comfortable to ride and having a bike as good as the boys, but just for us girls is brilliant. I love the colour scheme also

July 29, 2010
Pros: 2006 model: Light. The frame weighs less than 10 pounds. Remote brain is great once you get it dialed in with the rear Fox shock. Comfortable. The ergonomics on this bike is great. I don't feel like I'm cramped into a small space. I can ride this bike all day long and not have any of the aches or fatigue that I had on my hardtail. The steering geometry is a little slow so it takes time to get used to but once you do you can bob and weave with the turns instead of darting into them. This bike is a great XC bike and an even greater trail bike. You really do get the best of both worlds. I have the front fork set on 130mm and paired with the Fox rear I've hit some jumps and drops that would have smashed the wheels off a hard tail. The S-Works Stumpjumper takes them like a champ. You feel like you are landing on a cloud of fluffy puppies. And everyone loves puppies, right?

Cons: The bottom bracket is a little lower than I would like. I've bashed my chain ring on some logs that weren't that big. There is some pedal bob if you don't dial in the remote brain and Fox shock. I've reduced it to a minimum now, but still there. The welds on the 2006 downtube extend almost all the way to the bottom bracket housing so finding a derailleur to fit is difficult. I finally found a dual pull, top swing, low mount Shimano XT front derailleur to fit it after 3 tries.

Recommendation: I built this bike after buying the frame off of Ebay on accident. I was amazed when the bike showed up in a box and the label said 10.5 pounds. There was at least a pound of cardboard so the frame weighs way less than 10 pounds. I put my SRAM X-9 shiftpods, Avid BB7 mech-brakes, Mavic wheelset, Easton stem and bar and egg beaters, and a temporary Rockshox Tora that I had already purchased and took off to the trail. I pumped the rear shock up to the designated pressure at the trail and it was like riding on a marshmallow. Pedal bob was insane. It wore me out on the first hill. I adjusted preload, rebound and the remote brain and the bike came alive. The first day I rode for over 9 miles. On my previous Trek hardtail I would be completely bonked after 6 miles on our wonderful rooty NE Tenn trails. The bike is so comfortable and the Fox Rear Brain and shock are so efficient that I almost never have to get out of the saddle. If you can find a deal on one of these bikes or frames on ebay then do it, get a build kit from pricepoint.com and make it easy on yourself and your wallet. I love my sworks.

August 15, 2009
Pros: It's light so flies uphill but tough enough to eat up any downhill with ease. Sophisticated suspension gives the rider great confidence.

Cons: Expensive, obvious! Carbon frame needs to be respected & inspected regularly. Fiddly to get the fork & AFR settings right & then check or adjust before each ride but it's so worth the effort.

Recommendation: Look out for those end of season bargains - apply 4mm sticky back neoprene to underside of frame to avoid stone chips - then ride it with a little less fork & shock pressure than Specialized recommend.

November 16, 2008
Pros: Much lighter than the Specialized Epic alloy frame I used to ride; 23 lbs vs 27. Brain also seems quicker to react or maybe that's my brain, because I'm a lot more confident on this machine. Find myself able to get up tricky rock climbs and execute quick uphill switchback turns I could not handle before.

Cons: What is it about rear deraileurs on Specialized? Can't seem to do more than a couple rides without it getting banged into the spokes, broken off or otherwise mangled. Also, price obviously; $7400 is a lot, even for people who live to ride.

Recommendation: If you can work it out at all, ride this bike and then think about it. I rode a demo from the Specialized van at an event in NJ. About 3 hrs in, I decided to make them an offer for that bike. They didn't refuse.