Review: Specialized Camber Comp Carbon

For additional details and more photos of the 2015 Specialized Camber, read Vernon's preview post. Here's his final take after putting in time on the bike:

Specialized Camber Comp Carbon

SPECIALIZED CAMBER COMP CARBON | $4,100 | SPECIALIZED.COM

 
Specialized’s Camber faces stiff competition–much of it coming from its older siblings in the Specialized pantheon, the Epic and Stumpjumper. The Camber achieves a nice balance between those two better-known models. In fact, after a couple months of fiddling with the Camber, I couldn't see the point of the Epic anymore except for those who weigh the pros and cons of EPO.

You can easily pummel other plum smugglers aboard this bike, but the Camber has more forgiving trail manners than most cross-country rigs, making it the better choice for most riders. What's more, the Camber sacrifices almost nothing in the race rocket realm–it takes little effort to haul ass on this bike. Specialized's FSR design hasn't led the field in pedaling efficiency for some years now, but flip the Fox CTD rear shock to Trail mode and if you're still climbing slow, it isn't the bike's fault. When it comes to neutralizing rough bits of trail, the FSR design shines, smoothing out chatter in a way that embarrasses a lot of the competition. True, you'll quickly find the limits of the bike's 110 millimeters (4.3 inches) of rear suspension if you start hitting the doubles on this thing, but you probably guessed that already.

The Camber Comp Carbon is the middle child in the nine-bike Camber line. If you must have carbon but must also pay the rent, this is your rig; it bears the same half-carbon/half-aluminum frame that you'll find on models selling for thousands more. Specialized stemmed the blood loss from your wallet by equipping this model with a Fox Float CTD Evolution fork and rear shock, Shimano Deore brakes and a mix of mid-range Shimano and SRAM drivetrain components. There are some nice touches here as well, including Specialized's Command dropper post. If, however, the $3,500 price tag still sends you into a funk, you can get into an aluminum Camber for $2,000.

The Camber makes for an excellent cross-country racer that can handle tougher terrain with minor modifications. I'd like to see Specialized shave some length off the 17.7-inch chainstays, making the Camber like a mini-Stumpjumper, which incidentally is exactly what engineers did for the 2016 Camber. The latest version shares a chassis with the Stumpy, with only an inch less travel.

Related:

First Look: 2016 Specialized Camber

Bike Test: Specialized Camber Expert Carbon Evo 29