The new Specialized Status is a long travel mullet bike – business up front, party in the back – specifically designed around a 29er front wheel and a 27.5" rear. It's a fast and hard-hitting enduro bike and the price is good, though the super-short chainstays create a noticeably rearward weight bias that won't suit everyone.
If you think you’ve heard the name before, you’re right – the Status first hit the dirt in 2012. Back then it wasn’t a mullet (that was left to the 26"/24" Big Hit) and had a distinct freeride feel.
For 2020 the Status keeps its loose ‘party bike’ theme, but in a more enduro-shaped package. It’s long and slack with 160mm of travel and efficient pedalling manners.
Interestingly Spesh chose to leak this bike on social media ahead of its launch, using the hashtag #statusmtb, and the only logo is on the headtube – Specialized believe the lack of overt branding will help them attract a new audience.
The new Status costs £2,399 and comes in two colours: the grey you see here and a maroon. You get an aluminium frame with internal cable routing, an FSR linkage and little in the way of frills: no bottle cage, no SWAT tools, not even a chain slap silencer... well, there is one, but it's not the effective design they use elsewhere, and is pretty hopeless. As a consequence, it's quite noisy.
The fork is an entry-level Fox Float 36 Rhythm, and pairs with a Fox Float DPX2 Performance shock. Both of these perform well; the shock is a little wallowy in the midstroke, so can feel a little vague when pumping mid corner, but that's my only real gripe.
There’s a full SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain with DUB threaded bottom bracket, and SRAM Code R brakes. These are downhill orientated brakes with larger callipers for more power than the Guide range of trail brakes. There’s also a 170mm X-Fusion Manic dropper post, a post that is super reliable and has a smooth action.
Elsewhere the bike gets its fair share of money-saving parts, sporting own-brand Roval wheels and unbranded hubs, a Specialized bar, stem and saddle, and a set of Butcher Grid Trail 2.3” tyres. The tyres are a little disappointing – the Grid Trail casing is less supportive than I’d expect for such a hard-hitting bike, and they're on the narrow side. I'd prefer wider tyres for improved grip, especially at the front.
The mullet set up on the Status makes for a very different cornering dynamic in comparison to a regular 29er. It's easier to lean over, for a start – 29ers can make you feel like there’s a magnet on the outside of the corner trying to pull the bike upright. The way the Status leans and drops into steeper turns, catch berms and flat corners making it very faster, for me at least, across the ground.
The other thing to notice about a mullet set up is just how much a 27.5" wheel hangs up on bumps compared to a 29er. The front wheel smoothes out and rolls over bumps where the back chatters over the very same ground. It’s odd at first, but easy to get used to.
The Status is slack at 63.7 ° (high position), has a 76 ° effective seat tube angle and, in this S3 size (effectively medium), a reach of 462mm. The seat tubes across the range are short to let riders to size up to longer frames – for example this S3 has a 420mm seat tube.
For the most part, the Status is confidence inspiring and great fun to ride. That slack steering provides you with many get out of jail free cards, and in the high position it's fairly nimble too. I found the low position a bit lacklustre, plus it puts the bottom bracket at a pretty low 337mm instead of a middling 347mm.
I do have some concerns over the chain stays. At 426mm they're super short in comparison to the relatively long front centre (808mm), creating a real rearward bias instead of settling the rider into the middle of the bike. That makes it hard to maintain a forward position on the bike and really weight the front.
It’s manageable, but I do find myself fighting to get there and stay there. Consequently, the ride feels a little unbalanced and twitchy, especially on steep fast straights and off-camber trails. While it may suit your style, it won't suit everyone's... yet even so, don't go thinking it's a complete deal-killer. The Status has still become my daily ride.
Specialized has got most things pretty dialled on the Status. It's not super heavy at 34.4lbs, it’s got good kit for the money, it climbs well and the geometry is mostly on point. It's a fun bike to ride and takes an interesting approach to wheel size that could provide just the blend of easy rolling, fast turning kicks you're looking for.
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