A whole heap of fun on the trails, but may be limiting for expert riders or enduro racers
Feb 23 2018
Not a 'shrink and pink' women's bike
Shock isn't as adjustable as some
Tyres won’t suit aggressive riders
Slightly narrow rims for Plus rubber
You want a fun, confidence inspiring trail bike
The Rhyme is Specialized’s women’s specific Stumpjumper. That means it’s not designed for enduro, nor cross-country racing, but everything else in between; a good old fashioned trail bike with fun as the main priority, and it hits that nail on the head during every ride.
Though it is a women’s specific trail bike, you don’t need to worry about being patronised with “feminine” paint jobs or upright, shopper-style geometry. The Rhyme is not a million miles away from the highly acclaimed Stumpjumper. In fact, the geometry and sizing is almost exactly the same, but with the Rhyme having a slightly slacker head angle for inspiring more confidence and stability on the descents. It also offers a very similar spec for the same price, however; only the Rhyme comes in an Extra-Small frame size.
The RockShox Reba RL offers 150mm of suspension up front, and a RockShox Monarch RL gives 150mm in the rear. Both of which have been given a “Women’s RX Tune”, allowing the shock to perform for proportionately lighter bodies. The AutoSAG feature on the shock allows you to set up the sag with the touch of a button, but aggressive riders may find the suggested pressures to be a tad on the soft side, and experienced fettlers will likely find the shock’s adjustments to be rather minimal.
The combination of a soft shock also tuned for lighter riders means that the rear suspension was very easy to bottom out on drop-offs and flat landings, however; this did allow for a very planted and smooth ride everywhere else, which better suits its intended purpose anyway.
SRAM Guide R brakes with four-piston callipers offered exceptional stopping power, and SRAM GX 1x11-speed offers ample gearing for most riding situations together with the simplicity of a single chainring. This single-ring set-up also leaves space on the handlebars for the 12-position Specialized Command Post IRcc dropper post to be operated by a very effective underbar lever.
Specialized’s own 27.5” Roval wheelset completes the build with sturdy aluminium wheels. Personally, I’d like to see rims broader than the 29mm internal width ones fitted to ensure there’s no squirming around on corners, especially with the Plus-sized tyres. Though the GRID casing on the Specialized 2.8" Butcher front and Slaughter rear are the more durable of the options in their trail tyre range, moving to something with even tougher side-walls than that may help to offer more support for the fast riders.
The slack angles on the bike do feel a little slow on the climbs, and Plus tyres will inevitably feel a little draggy in comparison to normal width 650b or 29” tyres, but once I reached the top of the trails, the geometry made perfect sense. The bike really comes alive in the singletrack, like a light switch is flicked at the top of a hill. The Rhyme moves in a smooth and fluid manner and corners with ease. The 6Fattie tyres suit messy woodlands, muddy conditions and deep, rutted corners, however; on dry, hard-packed terrain, it is hard to find the bite point on the bike, yet easy to find the limits of grip, and the ride quality becomes very sensitive to the slightest change in tyre pressures.
Better tyres would really live up to the Rhyme’s ability to tackle the trails, or indeed swapping the tyres for normal width 650b tyres, or even inserting 29” wheels (which is possible with this bike!), but as it stands it’s still a whole heap of fun, and that’s really what it’s designed for.
The Rhyme Comp 6Fattie would suit a novice/intermediate rider for most anything they want to do off-road, with a disposition for aiding confidence on descents and encouraging speed and smiles in the singletrack. The bike’s choice of shock and tyres may be a limiting factor for experienced trail riders or those aspiring to ride and race enduro, but really, that’s not what this bike is all about. To satisfy that itch, you’d probably want an Enduro or a Stumpjumper 29er instead, but they wouldn’t be as nimble or as fun, and I’ve had a real blast on this bike.
Test report Specialized Rhyme Comp 6Fattie £2,500.00X
About the bike
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own :
In order to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of the trail, you need a bike that can take a hit and dish it right back out 10-fold. In other words, you need the Rhyme Comp 6Fattie/29.
To start, it lives by the philosophy that more tire volume results in more speed. It might be a claim that sounds flipped on its head, but one ride and it'll have you shouting this sentiment from the rooftops. Our 6Fattie Wheel/Tire System puts out more traction, more floatation, and better handling without sacrificing anything to efficiency on climbs. This system also allows you the opportunity to toggle between 29-inch wheels (not included) and 6Fattie wheels, allowing the ultimate in configuration options for the trail at hand. And with the philosophy of the design out of the way, it came time to solidify its place as a proper trail machine.
For the construction, we built it from our superlative M5 alloy that's lightweight and durable, and gave it a whole host of women's-specific components that tailor the ride to you. This means that you'll get a custom-tuned RockShox Monarch RT rear shock with 150mm of travel, bars and cranks that are sized proportionately to female riders, and the fan-favourite Body Geometry Myth Sport saddle. Of course, the rest of the build spec is awesome, with SRAM's 11-speed GX one-by shifting, powerful Guide R hydraulic disc, and fast-rolling Roval Traverse alloy wheels.
State the frame material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.: