The Specialized Camber is a bike we don’t see too often here on the Shore. Whether it’s because the longer-legged EVO series Stumpjumpers are more popular or just the fact that the local shops don’t bring as many of them in, this is a bike that flies under the radar. With that said, when the box arrived from Specialized Canada last week and I saw what was inside, I was indeed excited. Cam McRae attended the Camber launch in Bend, Oregon last year, and he came away from that experience raving about the 110mm 29er.
As my own riding style is leaning toward longer and longer loops on the Shore, a shorter travel bike with big wheels seems logical. The 110mm Camber is bigger than a pure XC race bike but not quite by enough to put it in the Trail category. Let’s call it XC-plus or Trail-light – or let the ride do the talking. I’ve put three rides into the Camber so far and am very happy with its performance. From here on I’ll let photos and captions take you on a tour-de-Camber. You can scroll through or click to make the photos big (recommended!) and sequence through.
Starting at the front. A big fat tapered carbon head tube and an aesthetically pleasing 10mm riser bar. 720mm wide and a sweepy 10×6º bend. I’ll likely swap this out for a wider bar, but that’s merely a personal preference; the shape of the stock bar is great.
Matte carbon with gloss red and gloss black. The paint on the Camber Pro is reminiscent of the 2013 S-Works bikes, and since there is no S-Works Camber, this is the end of the line.
There’s that gloss black again.
Tidy under-downtube cable routing and internal dropper post routing in the top tube.
What every pedal bike needs: a bottle cage mount. Time to join the weenies with the CO2 inflators.
Direct post mount on the M5 aluminum rear end. The larger Camber Pro Carbon models are spec’d with 200mm front and 180mm rear rotors.
SRAM XX 11-36 cassette, and a dork disc to prevent gapers from wrecking a wheel on a test ride.
Remove the pie plate after you’re absolutely certain the derailleur limits are set properly… a pair of sidecutters will do.
Roval Control SL 29 142+ rear hub with DT star ratchet freehub.
XO Type 2 clutched rear derailleur aka the sound of silence. Standard clutch derailleurs will be an OEM highlight of 2013.
An XX spider and 22-36 rings with bash – hurrah! Did Specialized know this bike was coming to the Shore? Carbon S-Works cranks in the press fit BB.
Fox’s Float CTD Kashima shock with AutoSag controlling the 110mm of FSR travel.
AutoSag sounds good on paper, but this is the third bike I’ve ridden on a longer-term basis with it and it doesn’t seem to leave enough air in the shock for me. Not a big deal, but also not a highlight. Maybe I’m a heavy bastard.
Another look at that 10×6º bar and tidy XO matchmaker clamp. The Pro Carbon comes with a 100mm Syntace stem – too long for this guy, hence the 75mm unit seen here.
Fox 32 Float CTD at 110mm – within the comfortable range of the 32 platform and the new damping cartridge feels good.
The 29″ Ground Control tires are not available in the aftermarket just yet, so this is our advance chance to do some skids. So far, so good. 2.3″ front and 2.1″ rear.
Roval Control Trail SL carbon rims look the part. The Ground Control tires are 2Bliss Ready and the bike comes with valve stems.
200mm front rotor and XO 2-pot caliper. Happy to see real brake rotors spec’d on an XC bike.
My only real spec complaint on the Camber Pro is the 9mm QR fork. Specialized’s system with the big cones on the hub is quite stiff, but I still question speccing a QR on a top end 29er with a big rotor. Not a deal-breaker, and the bike rides just fine.
Blacklite Command Post and yes, that is a tail light – thanks for asking. The Command Post was sticky for the first two rides but seems to have settled into its groove now.
The 2013 Specialized Camber Pro Carbon in all its glory. 27 pounds flat with the pedals shown. The Camber Pro Carbon runs for $7999 CDN, but you can get into an aluminum Camber for as little as $1900.
Edit: Specialized just uploaded a video with some more info about the Camber – enjoy!
All in all, the spec of the 2013 Camber Pro Carbon is very Shore-friendly for what is essentially an XC race bike with a bit more travel. Smart gearing, bash guard, clutch derailleur, dropper post, decent tires… could this be your all day bike?