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Editor’s Note: Yes, this is a long story, but it’s awesome. Even the Specialized folks liked it. *wipes nervous sweat from brow* But if you want just the tech facts (plus claimed weights and more), we have a Cliff’s Notes version here with additional info.

The first words out of anyone and everyone’s mouth when they got wind that I was at a Specialized product launch called “Adventure Camp” (aside from “Wait…wtf?!”) were, with few exceptions, “You drink the kool-aid yet?”

And the answer is: “Is that what the kids are calling moonshine these days?  Because in that case, yes… yes I did.” In fact…I drank so much of it the first night that I literally punched myself unconscious. Fist to head… head to pillow… Woke up with a throbbing temple and no clue where I was. Look, I’m not saying I have issues. I’m just saying… that… there’s like… this friend of mine, right? And he… like… sometimes, like… punches himself? In the face? To, like… stop… feeling so much? And he’s like… totally not me. Totally.

And sure, maybe there was a little kool-aid passed around during the initial presentation of the bikes and products the next morning; a story about how Specialized was born and bred on adventure and how the direction of the company had been hijacked by popular cycling… ostensibly pulled in a direction it had never intended to go by the uncontrollable tides of public opinion. But that was a mercifully brief offering. We’d heard these stories before, in their various iterations. What we really wanted to know was “When are we going to get to go ride bikes and shit?”

Also… this was “Adventure Camp” and as everyone knows, at camp you drink “bug juice,” not kool-aid. Fucking duh-ee.

I pulled up to the compound that first evening early enough to hide from the sun, but late enough to watch the shadows grow and the clouds do their thing. An amazing piece of property that I’d ridden past hundreds of times when I used to live in the region. So why was I there? Certainly not because I have any kind of skill or experience (or interest in) objectively reviewing product. Tyler was traveling. Zach was at PressCamp. So they asked me.

“Can I write about it the way I want?”

“Sure. You might not get invited back to any product launches though.”

“Pffft. You mean YOU might not get invited back.”

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My home away from home.

I made my introductions and pretended that (sometimes) maintaining a blog about being a drunk, emotional wreck of a human (on a bike!), and writing a monthly column for another magazine even remotely qualified me to be there as a “journalist.” And anyway… I wasn’t there to journalize. I was there to ride bikes in Pisgah for a few days with friends and strangers. I was just going to have to write about it later. (Wire the money into my Cayman’s account, as per usual, Tyler.) As we sat around the fire that night and I asked for everyone’s name (for the third time) the introductions somehow morphed from “name” into, “name and something interesting about yourself” and then on to “name, something interesting about yourself, and a dad-joke.”

Fuck. Because not only is there very little interesting about me (that I can and should talk about publicly), but the only jokes I could think of were… unbecoming. So I sat there like a deer in the headlights, wracking my brain to come up with anything half-way appropriate… and still managed to be the only person who told a joke with the word “cock” in it. (Yay for me. (And Bikerumor.))

Sharing aside, sitting around that fire with a bunch of old friends and new friends was a pretty good start to the week. Did they feed me kool-aid? Try to indoctrinate me? Meh.

Leaving CrossVegas one year, I found myself in the car with a few Specialized employees… and I’ll admit… I totally thought that maybe they were part of a cult. Because there was this bizarre gleeful pep to their seemingly non-stop jabber. Like in a “Hey gang, wasn’t that the best day ever?! OMG!! Let’s go get milkshakes and bathe in virgin blood!” way. You know what I mean?

But come on…everyone has their own. And I’ve willingly drank the kool-aid from other companies for years. And not long ago, when two ambassadors for a line came in to show me the product for the coming year, and address the elephant in the room of said company’s recent announcement of their giant dickslap to every local bike shop that’s ever pushed their brand…they seemed all too much like cult members themselves; albeit confounded by Reverend Jerry Wayne’s decision, but still compelled to tow a party line. “The Reverend’s got a plan… you’ll see.” How that plan will affect me remains to be seen, but I can’t help but feel a little like the virgin sacrifice. (Yeah. I forgot to mention to y’all that I’m a virgin. In case you couldn’t already tell.)

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Totally not my kid. (Immaculate congestion) Yes, I realize this is upside down on your mobile device. I have no idea how to fix that.

Maybe it’s that Specialized’s particular kool-aid is just (over) aggressively trademarked…but regardless of how people feel about the bikes, they typically feel a certain way about the brand. Certainly woe be to anyone who inadvertently comes anywhere close to their recipe… or to maybe even using names of things that they may or may not have used in their recipe….because they’ll sue your ass. (Just kidding.) And unlike the inner workings of Scientology, that isn’t any kind of secret. (No, but seriously, they will.)

Even if you’ve hated on the brand, every single one of you (except Vee) has watched the Specialized Adventure Dispatch videos. And even if you hated on the videos themselves, every single one of you (except Vee) has felt either inspired or jealous when it was over. Inspired to go out and do something similar… or jealous that your life is such a far cry from what you just watched. Admit it…They’re good. Damn good. In fact, insofar as “get outside on a bike” propaganda goes, it’s some of the best out there… from production value to content. And for my own part, I liked seeing friends like Ty Hathaway, and Sarah and Tom Swallow…and icons like Doom and Ultraromance getting props for doing their thing. And yeah, it’s Specialized… and not (insert favorite cult…I mean brand… here). But come on…if Apple decided to make the same video… would we still feel even half as vexed? (Probably)

The only real question is: when’s my video coming out about me doing rad stuff? Because I’ve already written it in my head and acted it out in the mirror and everything. And let me tell you… It… Is… Gold!

That Specialized would get into the adventure market was a no-brainer. Because with the exception of e-bikes (at least according to the manufacturers of e-bikes) the adventure market is the only currently growing segment of bicycle sales.  Adventure-Camp was the launch for their reintroduction of the Sequoia; a bike that has been through a few iterations over the past 30 years.

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A little unnecessary history: Specialized debuted the Sequoia in the early 80’s. It was, at the time, a true touring bike. A steel road machine with slack angles and long stays, developed in part by Jim Merz; one of those cycling pioneers whose interest in bikes was to ride them stupid long distances with all of the things he needed loaded on in various fashions. Canvas sacks strapped to racks which were strapped however they could be to bikes. Back when road bikes still took the road less traveled. Look through any decent book about the bicycle written anytime before the 80’s and you’ll find more than a few photos of some helmetless individual in short shorts and a wool sweater riding a ten-speed with 27×11/4 tyres up some snow-covered pass. (Wait…where did I see something like that recently?)

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Old vs New. Guess which is which.

But in the early 80’s, many of the riders who sought out that kind of terrain and space found themselves gravitating toward the growing sport of mountain biking. The versatility of this new style of bike made all the sense; wider tires and burly frames that were better poised to take people a little further into those remote places. That left the road market to become…well… what it became; aggressive geometries made almost exclusively for pavement. Stiff frames…very little tire clearance. Less about getting lost and more about winning the group-ride. (Or race…I guess.) Eventually, the Sequoia resurfaced, in the “comfort road” category. Taller head tube, longer wheel base, more tire clearance…a bastardization of the style of riding Grant Petersen was championing… just marketed to a crowd that favored a different aesthetic; polo shirt tucked into high-waisted, relaxed fit jeans held aloft by braided leather belts… Sans irony. (The irony crew came later. I will seriously rip those baggy 90’s jeans off your person and flog you with them. (The safety-word is “zertz.”))

Two nights before I went to the event, I fell asleep thinking of Specialized. Not a thing I’ve ever done, admittedly. I was thinking about their whole Adventure Dispatch thing. About their approach to bikes. About the kind of people who typically gravitate toward the brand. About what they’ve represented in bike culture for the past 30 years. About their attitude toward competitors. About their beginnings. And about their name. How ubiquitous it’s become for so clunky a word. Specialized. I said it aloud enough times that it quickly became nonsense sounds. Specialized. Specialized. Specialized. Specia……zzzzzz.

That first morning, as we sat Indian-style in a circle… (Sorry… cross-legged. It’s camp, remember?)… Erik Nohlin (aka @hellhommus on the Insta-face) gave us a little rundown on the bike’s history…and why they were reviving it. And why now. Erik is the man primarily responsible for the success of the Adventure line. Through his own charisma and connections, he’s forged a path that legitimately put the brand on the map for their efforts, rather than relegating them to a pale and pedestrian coat-tail ride. Outside of making good copy, there’s some truth to Erik’s line about the brand’s direction being hijacked. As the sport of cycling’s popularity grew, this certainly was not the predominate direction. So Specialized followed the currents. And that’s always been their strong suit. Taking what is becoming popular and making it their own. At times in ways that are undeniably bullish. But always in ways that push the industry.

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photo: Watts Dixon

They’d recently dipped their feet into the growing adventure market with the Awol in 2014, but with the addition of a carbon fiber fork and size specific butted tubing, the Seqouia was to be more refined. (And possibly not 30lbs out of the box.)  And even if they were late to the adventure party, there was no question as to whether they’d produce a quality bike. (They have the resources to do things right, so they fucking better…right?) No… the question was, when they finally did it, would they pretend like they invented the entire genre. And the answer is… maybe? And also… does it matter? Because if Specialized is on your radar, then they’re on your radar… regardless of what they do or don’t tell you about their approach to bikes. And chances are, if you’re already eyeing them warily, then you’re not who they’re talking to. Because there’s a whole world of wide-eyed neophytes out there ready to pursue this “new style of riding” and who’ve been brand loyalists since their first Rock Hopper. And again… they have the resources to do it right. So chances are… that’s what they’re going to do.

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Erik explains the color palate; muted tones meant less to stand out and more to blend in with their environment. “How delicate, this rose…” (what?)
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Kevin explains which bag is for food and which bag is for your speedo.

After the morning propaganda session, we spent the next hour getting our bikes ready to ride. We would be riding the Sequoia Expert, the premier offering in the line. While all the models would share the chromoly frame, both the Expert and the Elite would be equipped with Specialized FACT carbon fork, while the base model would sport a chromoly fork. Also featured on the Expert were SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, the Specialized Adventure Gear Cruzero wheel (tubeless ready) with the new Sawtooth tire (700×42) (developed by @hellhommus himself)) and the Specialized FACT carbon CR-G seatpost. Also, the bike…Fuck this… just look at pictures or ask questions in the comment section. I’ll answer as best I can.

We’d be outfitting the bikes with a new series of bags, dubbed the Burra Burra. Weatherproof and with welded seams, they’re pretty in line with most of the bags coming out, with the exception of the seatbag, which includes an alloy stabilizing bracket that mounts directly to the seatpost.

Specialized BURRA-BURRA-STABILIZER-SEATPACK_BLK

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While it’s good to see so many companies making these kinds of bags, I admit to being a little disheartened that the market-share is being pulled from the companies that helped pioneer them. Yes, admittedly some of them would possibly have trouble keeping up with the growing demand and staying true to their own roots… and yes, there will always be those of us who seek out handmade and limited run products… and yes, most of the bags coming out via the larger manufacturers, the Burra Burra series among them, are undoubtedly of high quality. But alas… don’t forget the struggle… don’t forget the streets…

Specialized Sequioa Geometry Chart

At 6 feet tall on the dot, I grabbed a 56cm. With a slight seat adjustment, it was exactly what I needed.  Bags were loaded, food was packed… and we set off to explore.

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photo: Watts Dixon
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Feeling out the bag. Tons of room for two beers, a sandwich, tool, pump, food, shirt, hat, sex toys, etc…. photo: Watts Dixon
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Tons of rack and bottle mounts. photo: Watts Dixon
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The Sawtooth tire, which hooked up like a motherfucker to just about every surface we rode. photo: Watts Dixon
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Can I admit that the Specialized saddles have always been out the door perfect for my nether region? photo: Watts Dixon
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Ummm…Was ist das? photo: Watts Dixon
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Chasing a Swallow.

We did everything on the bikes. Pavement to gravel. Gravel to dirt. Dirt to hero-dirt. Hero-dirt to gnar.  (Ugh. “gnar.”)

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Climbed gnarly. Descended gnarlier.

Maybe… I’m a bit of a moron (probably). In that I like riding bikes enough that rarely do I dislike a bike. So making judgement calls on how a bike rides is often…difficult. Because I’m just always stoked to be on them. But the upshot, and something I am by no means even remotely mandated to say in this situation, is… that I liked riding this bike. A lot. And for the next two days, that’s exactly what I did.

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Hot boyz…and girlz. But come on… this is the bike industry. (What a stupid fucking swordfight.)

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photo: Watts Dixon

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I spent a lot of time chasing Erik up and down hills.
I spent a lot of time chasing Erik up and down hills.
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Hurl and I never once ran out of Surf Punk songs to sing to each other. Shoulder hopper.

Moi was kind of the best…

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The key to coaxing the pinot out is to gently squeeze the sack. photo: Hurl
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photo: Watts Dixon
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photo: Watts Dixon

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Yes!
No!
No!

hellhommus editHere’s the disclaimer part of the article: (Naturally at the bottom.) I own a bike shop. A bike shop that does not sell Specialized. Yeah. But that’s less about their brand and more about my own. Our niche has always been smaller lines. Some of that is our size. Some of that is our ethos. And some of that is the fact that there are already established dealers for the big brands in my town… and that chances are we don’t quite have what they’re looking for in a dealer anyway (like, say…a modicum of professionalism.) We’ve certainly been told as much by ANOTHER big brand. Would I carry Specialized? Yeah… of course. Fish in a barrel, right? But I’d do it on my terms. And therein lies a part of that problem. Because I don’t know if that’s their game. The one thing I will say about Specialized is that as much grief as people give them for being a bully (often rightly so…), they’ve always been committed to bike shops. And yes, I could say a lot about my distaste for concept stores, and pressure to carry too many bikes, or to squeeze other lines out… but they aren’t in chain stores. And I admit, as a shop owner, whether I carry them or not…I like that. A lot.

I enjoyed getting to talk to Benedict about his own relationship with the brand, a connection that seems incongruous to say the least. But whatever you think about that guy, he’s about as genuine as they come. Sure he has his affectations and quirks (ask him about his Instagram symposium sometime)… but the fact is…we all do. Just some of us are a little more…magnetic….charismatic. And Benedict is almost mythological in his charisma. An archetype. An embodiment. And dare I say that was his intention? When I asked if anyone had ever given him grief for selling out, he kind of shrugged and said that it hadn’t really come up. Which seemed… surprising…until you realized that if it had come up, he wasn’t really paying attention. He was too busy doing his thing.

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He’d been approached by Specialized before and declined… deciding to “build his brand” a little more. And you can’t deny that he has.  Whatever you think about his signing to a “major label,” his own brand has been built such that if he one day walked away… he’d be unscathed. Because he would just keep doing his own thing. His needs and wants and goals aren’t based on how he fits into Specialized’s vision… but on how they fit into his. How can you not respect that?

Chasing Erik up and down hills on the second day, we had the opportunity to talk a little about the Specialized brand, his own history with it, and the direction he’d like to see it go. He likened the Adventure line to a pirate ship currently docked in Specialized’s harbor. It’s a good image: A band of rogues pursuing their own direction against the grain of the larger fleet. “Man…” I said, just before he dropped my ass like a bad habit down a series of steep swithcbacks, “just as long as y’all aren’t a squad of black-ops mercenaries brought in to help that fleet take down enemies of the state. Because that would suck.”

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So like I was saying… When does MY video come out. I’ve got “it”… I promise.

See below for more on the bikes and bags.

All photo creds go to Beth Welliver and Specialized unless otherwise noted.

If you like what you read, go read more of Watts’ stupid fucking writing here: THE REVOLTING COGS . (He promises to update it soon(ish))

…Or follow him on instagram at @revoltingcogs (…or, you know… don’t.)

…Or write to Specialized and demand that they give him a Dispatch video of his own. (…or, you know… don’t.)

And if you didn’t like it… you know what to do.

hellhommus edit

 

Specialized Sequoia Expert
The top of the line Sequoia Expert will sell for $3,500.
The Elite will run, $2000.
The Elite will run $2,000.
Specialized Sequoia
And the base model will run $1,300.

Click on the following to enlarge and see what’s on them:

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2017-Specialized-Sequoia-Elite-specs 2017-Specialized-Sequoia-specs

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The Burra Burra pizza bag, MSRP $100
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The Burra Burra framepack, available in three sizes ranging from $90-$110
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The Burra Burra top tube pack, MSRP $50
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The stuff cage, MSRP $30
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The drypack, available in two sizes, from $40-$45
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The Handlebar Harness, MSRP $90, with the accompanying stuff sack at $40

Is that enough things for you, Tyler? Gawd this is tedious.

Editor’s Note: No, Watts, there’s never enough.

Specialized.com

134 COMMENTS

  1. Can someone that actually has whatever it takes to read this terrible feature tell me what was said?

    I feel like there’s an angle here, but I can’t handle this writer.

    • It said some stuff you don’t usually read in press releases, then some other stuff, was worth a read to the end for this reader. I think the ‘angle’ was write it as you see it and who cares about the bike details, look them up if it interests you. This was more about something I’m actually interested in from someone with what seems like a good appreciation of it all. Good article.

  2. On a scale of one to two (the most common thumb ratios for most people) how many and why, b_p_t? I’m legitimately curious. (Also…kind thanks.)

  3. Oh look, the children have discovered swearing.

    *Slow hand clap*

    Utter rubbish, Bikerumor. Expect much better from you folks.

    • There are a multitude of sites that maintain your myopic view of culture where everybody is a carbon copy of yourself. You are free to change the channel any damn time you please. That’s a beautiful thing, embrace it fully!

  4. I enjoyed Watt’s long form, philosophical exploration of Specialized as a brand (thanks), especially since all other internet discussion seems to be pretty polarizing and irrational. Either way, sounds like a downright decent weekend (beers, bikes and lakes are hard to beat).

    Being more on the fanboy end of the Spesh spectrum, as well as having spent a bit of time looking at a new whip to handle non-road duties, I’m excited to check out the Sequoia in the flesh

  5. I read the first few paragraphs, and immediately skipped here to the comments to see if anyone provided a summary of the bike so that I didn’t have to read through whatever that is/was up there any further. lol wtf?

  6. Do you have any actual tubing specs, like diameter and wall thickness, for any of the sizes? Or actual frame or complete bike weights?

    Any actual specs on thsoe tires -tpi, weight, actual width on whatever width rim they were on?

    How did the 1:1 low gear work out?

    I’m not up on flat-mount standard. Could someone downsize to a 140mm rear rotor if they wanted to, or is the geometry of the rear caliper mount made so that it’s 160+ rotors only?

    The pizza bag looks like it’s meant for a platform front rack. I assume their existing pizza rack, or is there some other new front rack Specialized has in the works? Did any of the Sequoias have the pixxa rack mounted? How did it hold up?

  7. 15mm through axles or? Boost spacing or whatever is hot these days? Was there room for a fender in there with those tires, or at least more tire, say a 50mm?

  8. coors beer….really!!!!!!……of all the beers to choose from they pack the bags with that CRAP. next to pbr, it is one of the top of the “unable and unwilling to drink” fizzy water with a head….c’mon SPC you can do better than that!!!!

  9. Another step in Specialized’s relentless race to become more “hip” and relatable, instead of coming off like the giant super company they are.

    I hope people see past this generic hipster marketing and stick with companies that have been pushing these vibes out of personal interest instead of profit.

  10. I read the whole thing and now I want my free water bottle…. oh, wait, maybe that wasn’t part of the Prost goes specialized.

    Er, can it be?

  11. Nice contrast to the rest of the articles exploding about the bike, good job. I like Eric’s pirate ship comparison. I’ve been a spec hater for a while, but after following Eric for a while he’s put a face to his part of the brand and I dig that. Probably wouldn’t by a Tarmac or Epic anytime soon, but I’ll look hard at the AWOL and Sequoia.

    Also, I feel for the small batch bag dudes. Hopefully they’ll hang on to their nitch and the big guys will do their thing.

  12. Far too much effort spent trying to sound “edgy,” far too little actual information. And that head-punching thing doesn’t exactly establish credibility.

  13. Good analysis of the brand up until making the claim that Specialized isn’t found in chain stores. Maybe not a “chain” like Walmart, but how do you explain Mike’s Bikes in the Bay Area?

    • It’s a regional IBD with multiple locations, compared with something like Performance or Wal-Mart. Plenty of bike shops have more than one store. That’s how.

    • Ahhh key phrase there “In the Bay.” local chain, privately owned, with each shop having its own character. And they didn’t get 12 locations by sucking at what they do.

  14. Watts, serious question. How many tattoos will I need to be considered an elite photographer?

    Just kidding. I already sport a life size tattoo of myself. And absolutely nothing will improve my photography skills.

    The Utter Rubbish was enjoyed. A decent break from my too serious day.

  15. Ok so no more double standards for commenters who have opinions or cuss words who are currently edited out of dialogue. Last week I had a comment removed for an opinion with no cuss words. BR simply did not like my opinion. Sent it twice, and twice removed.

    On a side note, it’s refreshing to have an edgy fun story for once. Keep them coming please since it has soul BR is not known for. Nothing wrong w/ going against the norm of boring bike stories, blah, blah, blah. Good to see more fun articles.

  16. Read a bit and I had to stop. It felt like I was reading a lobbying piece. Didn’t leaving that happy feeling one could expect fro adventuring riding. Rather it appeared more like a article disguised as a ad.

    Btw I don’t recall a article this long for any other manufactures. My memory is probably bad.

  17. Overall, fun stuff.
    So why not just call out Salsa? Why beat around it?

    “and address the elephant in the room of said company’s recent announcement of their giant dickslap to every local bike shop that’s ever pushed their brand…they seemed all too much like cult members themselves; albeit confounded by Reverend Jerry Wayne’s decision, but still compelled to tow a party line.”

  18. Gotta love some people being so offended by one article’s different tone that they immediately whip out torch+pitchfork combo…

  19. Mumford & Sons have a new album out?

    @MH:

    What constitutes a chain store? Mike’s Bike was one shop at one point back in the 60’s in Marin. I guess he disappointed you by being too successful as one shop and opening up more-than-one, which according to your underground cred, means selling out.

    Here’s another one: Mike of Mike’s Bikes is…Mike Sinyard?! Dun-dun-DUN!!!

  20. Watts, as a father of three, a medical professional, a lover (OCD) of bikes, and absent of tattoos, I really enjoyed your efforts in this article. People want more info on the bikes (usually those that don’t get it anyway.). It doesn’t take much to look at the bikes, analyze geometry/data, and get a pretty good idea of what is going on. But I get it, and so do you. Not a big Specialized guy myself, but you said you liked it, and you ride (ALOT)….that’s good enough for me to want to test ride.
    Keep it up. (Also, given all the comments, it’s apparent that your ability to attract attention to article/bike/Specialized, was effective.). Cheers

    • Professor, “a lot” is two words. 🙂

      I agree that strong opinions are best when writing opinion pieces, minimizing the press release block quoting.

      Spec can not avoid/ignore the market trends to compete with Cannondale.

      I do not agree with their past sales philosophy, over burdening small shops with inventory, which sinks small shops in debt/inventory.

      If they wanted to truly shake up the small shops, they would change to Walmart mode, where where inventory is provided by the manufacturer and not paid until point of sale. (Enabling small shops to carry greater inventory and variety….)

      There is still hope for Spec, at least until they end up available through bikedirect.

  21. Fuck yeah Watts Dixon! An enthusiastic high five for this article. I like authenticity and honesty and a little well-placed snark and you nailed it. I try to avoid reading the comments on most of the internet and I definitely should have here because there are a lot of grumpy fuckers who read this site, apparently. (Also, Warzone!)

  22. Were there reviews and specs of this new bike in there somewhere among all the F bombs? Give this guy a Bud Light!

  23. So a sequioa is an upgrade of the AWOL? or was the AWOL a downgrade of the original sequoia?

    I almost bought an AWOL once but it was so bloody heavy. What does this thing weigh?

  24. “a bastardization of the style of riding Grant Petersen was championing… just marketed to a crowd that favored a different aesthetic”

    So now they’ve switched to the style of riding that Jan Heine is championing? Got it. The only thing new is you, finding out about it.

  25. It’s like nonconformity meets conformity to pay the bills. Drink PBR…support corporate scum. Pick a side man and be it. Otherwise you’re just fake.
    You’re pop punk. You’re Hot Topic.
    Plastic nonsense folks. This is the worst write up I’ve ever read. Pure crud.

    • I like that Rick took time to step out of the pit and school me in a comment on the Bikerumor. This… is what punk rock is all about. (I also like that he said “folks” and “crud.”)

    • Rick, I respectfully disagree with you about picking sides. I’ve found life is much more fulfilling if you don’t live in a world of sides. Being flexible, open-minded, flaky and hypocritical is part of being a real person.
      Just like our esteemed Watts–in this piece he may seem over-the-top to some, but in other pieces he’s written (DirtRag) he is lower key and kinda somber. I think Watts is a class guy because he is nothing if not sincere in his seriousness or his silliness.

  26. I just want to know if the carbon Cobble Gobbler (or CGR in polite company) can withstand the aluminum clamp on their saddle bag, not to mention the packed weight. Seems like most of the weight would be on the clamp and therefore on the post. Seems sketchy.

  27. Watts is the reason I started reading BR. I miss you, man. Thanks for doing a little drive by for us grumpys with a sense of humor.

  28. Great article, funny and entertaining. More, please. The bags look alright don’t they, the colors on the bikes not so much but I’m sure the bikes are solid since Spec does things more or less right in that regard.

  29. Enjoyed the Off The Wall style of the article, given I’m on the “notafanboi” side of the kiddies dance.
    Enjoyed more the noses out of joint in the comments. Keep Watts on ‘Rumor.

  30. Holy moly. A guy with a sense of humor, and an honest to god personality, writes an article about a bike, a brand, and an exploration of said brand’s identity; and all the internet desk donkeys want are the specs? Bikes are fun you wankers, it’s all not wall thickness and parts kits. No wonder “bike enthusiasts” make me want to puke myself daily. Keep it up Watts!

  31. I was able to read the story, because he writes like he thinks (I think), I do the same. With that said, I’m sure Spech makes a great bike, but even if they were the last remaining bicycle on this planet…for ethical reasons…I’d walk.

    • Preaching to the choir, James. But I just finished writing part 6, and I’m pretty sure there’s a nugget of wit buried somewhere in paragraph 25.

  32. Specialized is so full of it. “It wasn’t our fault, we didn’t mean to become this big bossy empire, the money made us do it!” But really, we’re pirates! Look at us! Tattoos! And they try so hard throwing that money at whatever popular, look-at-how-cool-I-am tattooed boy (aka John Watson, Ty Hathaway and some hippie) to gain support from the same tired group of self appointed anti-heroes. Even the same old middle finger picture. How so counter culture. But when everyone is counter culture, no one is. And that’s where we are with the current scene. Everyone steps in line. But why not? The trips get more lavish and not one person will say anything truly negative because “You might not get invited back to any product launches”. Absolutely. Let’s go to Patagonia, France, Switzerland to ride steel bikes using tried-and-true geometry. Let’s face it, this group is getting old. The tattoo, drink beer, listen to metal shtick is getting old. The industry keeps recycling the same old shit, rolling out the same old names and hopes that the buying public sucks it up because they’re more into the hype and image than anything else. Bike companies by and large are marketing companies and Specialized more than many knows exactly what it’s doing. You’re being sold an image. Nothing new here.

  33. I have never seen a BR article with so many comments from the author, his self confidence is so very apparent.
    ****insert Watts comment here***

    • Slacker… Ha. I don’t know, man… Since I only occasionally write for BR, I admittedly forgot the number one hard rule that you “never look at the comments.” For anyone that’s wondering, if you ever want to put every fiber of your waxing and waning self-confidence to the test…write something for BR.

  34. The Big S has spoken behind the scenes and everywhere across the “alternative” cycling world little mouthpieces are piping up to broadcast the message. Benedict, Fassbinder, now Watts. Give me a break, guys, you can polish a turd but in the end it’s still just a shiny, terrible, ethically dubious pile of crap. Good to know how shallow your support of originators really is, and how readily you swallow large marketing teams’ efforts. HEY! Beer, tattoos, photography! Some bikes that are for something we totally invented, you know, having fun outside! Hey! Crappy Chinese bags that look like something from Walmart, will last a few trips, and cost almost as much as the real deal! Oh boy, hipsters unite! (Let’s see, who can we sue next… let’s try Salsa, they use the word “Adventure” too!)

    I feel sick.

  35. Hey e’rybody… Kind thanks for reading. And kind thanks for all the comments…even the ones that made me want to set myself on fire.

    Obviously this was a different piece than what is typically published here. Occasionally Tyler gives me an assignment and then carte blanche to write about it however I see fit. (For whatever reasons and for better or worse.) And typically, when I do, it is late at night after drinking too much… and always with my tongue planted firmly in cheek.
    Does everyone get it? No.
    Does that matter? No.
    Does it get people riled up? Yes….Which is kind of the point.

    If you enjoyed the “piece,” awesome. If you didn’t? I’m sorry. I mean… as much as we all want to be universally liked by everyone, it’s just not going to happen, is it?. Le sigh…

    Regarding more detailed specs on the bikes and bags, I believe that something will be published here soon enough. So stay tuned.

    Thanks again, y’all. Now get the f*** off the internet and go ride bikes. Seriously, what is wrong with you?

  36. This was the best article in many years for Bikerumor. Watts, great job and please write more bike/gear reviews.
    (Pretty sure the bunched panties crew have already retreated back to the tri/weightweenies forums by now)

  37. Watts – well written report. I don’t often read these article all the way through, parsing through each detail to the very end. Keep it up.

  38. Burra Burra Framepack has elastic bands for film canisters…f*ing sweet! It’s kind of a good thing that the big companies are getting involved with Bike Camping, competition is good. I hope they will promote Pack It In…Pack It Out culture. I’d rather not like to notice an increase of Bud Light-Shit Beer cans left out in the Forest.

  39. “…I like riding bikes enough that rarely do I dislike a bike. So making judgement calls on how a bike rides is often…difficult. Because I’m just always stoked to be on them.”

    This is how I feel about bikes. I recently found myself riding an aluminum road bike from the days of skinny tires and stiff frames. I thought I would hate it, but I was just so damn pumped to be out riding that I found myself grinning like an idiot. Thanks for this article. A welcome break from Bikerumor’s normal.

  40. @Watts Dixon, best post on Bike Rumour ever. Seriously we need more of this type of writing. And thank god for the lack of ‘more after the jump’ bullshit.

  41. I thought this was a fantastic article. If writers and reviewers and rumorers can’t be honest what can they be?

    I applaud you Watts. 10 Points to Team Watts. Also I still think that Sequoia is a boring looking “been-done-better” bicycle.

    Also, coors is great. Turn your noses down, yuppies.

  42. I hope the Sawtooth Mtn. Range in Idaho doesn’t throw the legal system at them for using the name and design in the production of this tire!

  43. Watts, love your article, love the pics. Reading your words takes me to my happy place, which is riding bikes, thinking about bikes and consuming beverages of various flavors. You got a great writing style\skill in my book.

  44. This was terribly funny, tongue in cheek, and also the only place I could find geometry and specs on this bike right now. I currently own an Awol and a Ruze, work for a Spesh shop, and love their lineup. Yup – drank the Kool-Aid big time and will try to sell one of these to anyone I can. May buy one for me, not sure yet. Spesh is doing a pretty good job of trying some new stuff and I am an old retro grouch who loves steel. Keep it up and thanks, Watts, for a terrifically funny piece. Go, Pirates!!!!!

  45. So, is the Sequoia replacing the AWOL or merely an expansion of the Adventure line? Carbon fork? No thanks! Shaving weight? Try getting some nice wheels and tires or ride your bike and loose some of your own weight.

    Been trying to get my hands on an Expert frameset for some time to no avail. From what I gather, Specialized really doesn’t want to sell me one. Nobody has a clue as to where to get one as the Company is out of XL. Mmm?

    • What’s your issue with carbon? Same fork as on,the Diverge, which can take some serious abuse and feels great.

  46. Well, FTR I enjoyed the article. Even if I don’t like Spesh so much, nor tattoos + metal, nor adventure riding.

    Thank you Watts!

  47. Well done Watts. Interesting article written with an open mind. You have outdone yourself with the all the entertainment provided in the comment section. Wow. So much anger about a big bike brand trying to tap into another segment. BFD. I don’t remember this kind of hate when mountain biking was exploding. People just need to relax, go ride, and clear your head.

  48. I’m a 54 year old fat ass with no tats who couldn’t keep up with Watts if my life depended on it, but I know good writing, and this is good. This makes me want to read about bikes. It makes me want to ride my bike. It ain’t gonzo (Hunter S. Thompson wouldn’t have even shown up, but his piece would still manage to burn Specialized and Bikerumor to the ground), and it perpetuates the bullshit anti-elitism that wants you to believe you can buy something anti-elite. But it’s funny, exuberant, and irreverent, and cycling needs more writing like this.

  49. Watts has an assume column in Dirt Rag magazine every month. He did this to take the piss out of everyone I suspect.

  50. Well done on this review. Good to see some creativity breaking up the same predictable jargon-laced crap out of standard bike reviews. Enjoyable to read and not just an information download.

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