What the Hell is #STATUSMTB?

Grassroots marketing, grassroots investment

If you follow a number of staple BMX riders on Instagram, you may have seen a mysterious trail bike popping up in their feeds. Identified only by the hashtag #STATUSMTB, the bikes were pretty clearly made by Specialized. They have a classic Stumpjumper-style shock yoke and swing link, and the name STATUS was once Specialized’s overachieving working-class downhill bike. And that’s exactly what made this so mysterious. We knew where it was coming from, but we didn’t really know what it was. News of new bikes from Specialized’s marketing department came and went with no mention of the STATUS.

But something seemed to be happening this Tuesday morning. Better detailed photos were circulating, videos were released, and I finally got some answers from an unnamed source.

Titled after the cult-favorite STATUS DH bike, STATUS is a mixed-wheel-size trail bike that comes in a 140- or 160-millimeter version. I don’t have a complete spec list, but each is only available in one build kit, which focuses its value on the brakes, suspension and wheels. And that value is pretty impressive. The Status goes for $2,600 and, from what we’ve learned from pinching and zooming on Instagram, that gets a performance-level Fox 36, a DPX2, Code R brakes and an NX drivetrain. That arguably a better deal than the YT Jeffsy Base, which gets you a Yari fork, Deluxe shock, SX drivetrain and Guide T brakes. And the geo on it is pretty impressive. There is zero evidence that the Status was just pulled out of the mothballs in the hopes that budget buyers won’t know any better. And given the short chainstays, the frame was clearly not just a 29er with too small a rear wheel installed. The extent of our knowledge is that the 140-millimeter version has a 64.2-degree head angle, and 63.7 on the 160, both in low. There’s a 76-degree seat tube angle in both, and 426-millimeter chainstays. There are five sizes, and reach numbers on the 140-millimeter version are 415, 440, 465, 490 and 515 millimeters, and on the 160, it’s 417, 437, 462, 487 and 512 millimeters. This is a real, modern bike. It’s not on their website right now, you can’t buy it online, and it’s only available at a handful of core dealers. And Specialized is not saying a goddamned word about it.

That is what is brilliant. If we in the mountain bike media controlled the message behind the Status, it might not reach the people it was designed for. I personally caught wind of it through Chase Hawk’s Instagram page. Hawk is at the perfect level of BMX prestige to represent the STATUS. He had a few signature bikes, went on to co-found Cult BMX, and won X Games gold in park in 2014. But he’s not the kind of rider you’d call a celebrity. He’s a BMXer’s BMXer. You could say the same for other riders now on a Status. Nina Buitrago, Kriss Kyle and Corey Martinez. Corey Martinez!

It’s all piece of the Status puzzle. And the big picture is inclusivity. A totally unpretentious bike that carries with it no inorganic marketing bullshit. Sure, the approach Specialized took is informed by marketing, but not in the way it markets its other bikes. This is not going to make Specialized the kind of money that a new e-bike would, or a redesigned Stumpjumper. The STATUS is about something more important. As my unnamed source put it, “We are targeting the fresh influx of action/lifestyle youth that are coming into the sport of MTB, we wanted to give those riders something of their own so rather than us tell riders why they want this bike we just gave a bunch of them to people who wanted them and let them be the voice of the bike. The goals of the STATUS aren’t volume or margin driven, it’s to protect the future of the sport by offering an affordable attractive option that gives riders a positive MTB experience the first time and then they are hooked.”

LTG
LTG-8.3.20

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