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Specialized Camber Comp. VS Trek Fuel EX | MBR
Specialized Camber Comp 29 £2,100
Multiple test winner, across multiple wheel sizes, the Specialized Camber has long been the short-travel trail bike against which all others are measured. And specifically it’s the measurements of the Camber that Specialized has tweaked for 2017. The chainstay length has shrunk, the front centre stretched, and the reach has grown. It’s a different proposition to previous test winners then.
Part of that transformation has come about because the Camber now shares the same front end as the Stumpjumper. It’s what sets the two bikes apart, however, that’s more interesting. The Camber still gets 120mm travel, so that’s 15mm less than the Stumpy. The back end also has the older 142x12mm dropout spacing, so it’s not Boost or Plus compatible. There’s a traditional seatstay bridge too, and a much smaller rocker assembly with a co-pivot design for the shock yoke, which helps saves weight compared to the beefy back end found on the Stumpy. In that respect, the layout of the rear end on the Camber is much more in keeping with Specialized’s Epic XC race bike, even if the suspension response is very different.
Trek Fuel EX 7 29 £2,200
The Plus version of the Fuel EX is an impressive bike, but it has had to contend with being bridesmaid, not once, but twice this year already. In 29er guise however, Trek has delivered a marriage made in heaven, where the Fuel EX 7 29 finally gets to toss a bouquet over its shoulder and leave its rivals scrambling to be next in line.
Both versions of the Fuel EX share the new 130mm-travel Alpha Platinum aluminium frame, where double-pass smooth welds and complex hydroformed tubes make it almost indistinguishable from the carbon versions.
How does Trek account for two different wheel sizes with one frame design? Easy. It uses its longstanding Mino Link geometry chip and different travel forks. So while the Plus version of the Fuel EX ships in the high geometry setting with a 140mm fork, the 29er comes slammed in the low position with 10mm less travel up front. The real beauty of the Mino Link, though, is that you can choose which setting you want to run it in.