Riding the perfect Camber

When you get given a bike that costs close to R100 000 and you’ve been through the squint squad varsity of geek speak, you know that the bike is top of the range, expectation is high.  So it was with a little flutter of the stomach that Shayne Dowling sat astride the Specialized Camber S-Works. 

The Camber S-Works is the business, there is nothing that isn’t the best on the bike with just about every bit of Specialized technology engineered into or bolted onto the bike. In black and red it’s sexy and classy; it looks fast… a bit like a Ferrari.

 Comand seat postThe Camber is sandwiched between the Epic and the Stumpie FSR in the Specialized range. Classified under Trail, with 110mm travel back and front, CTD technology including the proprietary autosag (which is the bomb and should be on all bikes!), dropper post, carbon wheel-set and sporting the brilliant Ground Control rubber the Camber is however definitely a comfortable cross-country/trail hybrid.   This is the first bike that I immediately noticed how light it is while riding. 11.3kgs light – I went to the LBS and weighed it – and couldn’t believe that a full sus bike with dropper and SWAT extras could come in so light! Plus I was riding a large frame. Did I mention it felt so light?

If Strava was big on my priority list I am sure that I would have smashed all my times on my usual route. The bike climbed effortlessly and despite less travel than my usual ride, combined with the FSR suspension system and the big wheels the Camber flew down the singletracks. The Profs at the SBCU would have been proud; I dropped the seat and hit drop-offs I had never considered before. The Camber took it all in its stride!

Another point worth talking about is the XX1 drivetrain. I was seriously worried about running out of gears – at either end of the cluster – but was pleasantly surprised.  Climbing was brilliant; although the bike weight, shock/suspension and bike geometry definitely helps this gearing system.

Having spent some time with the bike I can categorically say that the Camber is definitely a bike you seriously need to consider if you’re into longer or stage rides. It’s comfortable for the long road, amply plush on the trails and climbs masterfully. I would highly recommend you try this smoother ride if you are considering the harder ride of the Epic, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised and as a side-bet I am prepared to wager you will probably end up being faster on this machine. Now that’s saying something…

 FSR suspension yoke

I am firmly in the camp of Francis Cebedo – founder of the website MTBR.com, his favourite bike is the last bike he’s ridden – ditto. The Camber S-Works is a special bike, light, efficient, fast and comfortable.  It comes at a premium and if budget is not a factor then I say go big or go Camber.

Sus the Camber 2014 Pricing

Courtesy Helderberg Cycle World – 021 8500082 www.helderbergcycleworld.co.za

S-Works Camber – R99 999

Expert Carbon – R62 999 (Sram XO – 2×10)

Comp Carbon – R39 999 (XT)

Camber Comp (Ali) – R26 999 Sram X5

Camber 29 – R21 999 (Deore)

For all the specs check out www.specialized.com


SWAT Technology – If it’ll fit…

Acronym for Storage, Water, Air and Tools

Specialized have put all the essentials on the bike so you have minimum to carry elsewhere.  The emergency multitool sits neatly under the Zee Cage and the top cap doubles as a nifty chain tool with space for spare chain links – so damn clever!

 Sus the Geometry:

Medium frame – all measurements in mm or degrees.

Seat Tube 430mm
Top Tube 562mm
Chainstay 450mm
Bottom Bracket Height 335mm
Seat Tube Angle 70°
Head Tube Angle 70°
Wheel Base 1 131mm
Standover Height 745mm
Stack 600mm
Reach 428mm

 Uncluttered left grip

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