What are Specialized Mountain Bikes?

Specialized mountain bikes have been around for several decades. Mike Sinyard founded the company in 1974 and continues to be the owner of Specialized.

The first Specialized mountain bike, the Stumpjumper, was produced in 1981. Team Stumpjumper was created in 1983, which was the Specialized company's first professional mountain bike racing team.

Specialized works closely with top professional riders in order to design their products. The company focuses a lot on their riders' accomplishments and their feedback helps them design bikes. Much of Specialized marketing consists of testimonials from professional riders and racers, especially with their S-Works bicycles.

Specialized opened its first concept store in 2007 in the UK, followed by several more in the UK and US. The rationale behind this type of store is to be able to provide a complete line of specialized bikes, parts, and accessories rather than a small range of products from several companies. While a store only selling one particular brand of items is not unique, it was to the bicycling market.

Specialized Technology

Specialized has a lot of technical acronyms and terms that they use when promoting their bicycles. I didn't have a clue what a lot of it meant until I looked into it more. Hopefully I can save you some time by providing the following list:

FACT: Functional Advanced Carbon Technology - Specialized carbon fiber frames and components designed for optimal stiffness, weight and vertical compliance.

TSI: Total Suspension Integration - This is the process in which Specialized develop the fork, shocks, and frame of the bike from scratch with the purpose of putting them together to work as a system.

FSR: Future Shock Rear - The Specialized mountain bike suspension system that uses multiple pivot points to separate the drivetrain and braking from the main pivot. This allows the rear suspension to compress and rebound without being impacted by chain or brake movement.

FutureShock Fork - The fork on Specialized higher end mountain bikes that is designed to self-adjust to varying terrain due to the ability to have different damping speeds.

Fox FlowControl Brain/Mini Brain - Inertia valve technology that allows the mountain bike shock to transition seamlessly between pedaling on smoother conditions and climbs to active suspension mode.

Integrated FACT carbon crank and bottom bracket- designed for stiffness and shifting efficiency.

D4W: Designs for Women - Geometry of these women's mountain bikes are specific to a woman's body proportions, including a shorter top tube and steeper seat tube. The front suspension and rear shock are also tuned specifically for a woman's body weight and riding style.

Specialized has several options for women mountain bikers, including the following:

  • Era: Competitive cross country full suspension bike that is available in a carbon frame. This is the D4W version of the Epic, Specialized company's full suspension XC Race series, which is described in more detail below.
  • Safire: Cross country trail bike that is available in a carbon or alloy frame. The Specialized Safire mountain bike is the D4W version of the Stumpjumper FSR, described in more detail below
  • Myka FSR: Entry-level cross country trail bike
  • Myka HT: Recreational Hardtail bike with several different models

Specialized Bike Line-Up


The S-Works Specialized mountain bikes are the company's top of the line bikes. Bicycles in the S-Works series have had several endorsements from top cyclists who have won races on these bikes. The S-Works bikes are built to be lightweight and have their highest quality frames, components, and design, including the Specialized technology listed above.

Competitive XC

The full suspension Epic and Era and the Stumpjumper Hardtail mountain bikes are the fastest and lightest in the Specialized company's lineup and are built for speed, agility, and efficiency. The Era is specifically designed for women (D4W).

Christoph Sauser, marathon world champion, rode the Specialized Epic mountain bike to victory in the MTB World Championship. The S-Works Epic Carbon also won Bicycling Magazine's 2009 Editor's Choice Award for Best Performance Cross Country Mountain Bike.

The full suspension Epic comes in two 29er options, including the very lightweight Epic Marathon 29 and a more affordable Epic Comp 29.

Specialized company's other Competitive XC series is the Stumpjumper Hardtail mountain bike line-up. Most of these Specialized hardtails have carbon frames, with a couple more economical models having alloy frames. The Stumpjumper Hardtail series includes several 29ers, including a carbon frame model that is available in a single speed or multigear option.

XC Trail

The Stumpjumper FSR and Safire were designed for epic rides, having the ability to tackle tough rocky descents, yet climb efficiently. The Safire has women's specific geometry (D4W).

The S-Works and higher end models have the Specialized 120 mm Future Shock with the FlowControl Brain, while some of the other models have shocks that can be adjusted 100, 120, and 140 mm. The FSR suspension is built in to mimimize pedal and brake movement.

Less expensive XC trail models include the FSRxc and women's Myka FSR.

The Stumpjumper FSR has a couple of 29er options, including the Stumpjumper FSR Expert 29er with higher end components and the less expensive Comp 29er.

All Mountain

The burlier Enduro and Pitch were designed to tackle just about any type of tough terrain and still be able to climb efficiently. These bikes have 140 to 150 mm of FutureShock and FSR travel with TSI engineering.


The Demo is an aggressive freeride and downhill mountain bike and is built for major bumps and drops. The Demo has as much as 214 mm (7 to 8 inches) of travel and active FSR suspension with top of the line Fox components.

The SX Trail Specialized mountain bike was designed for bike parks and technical terrain. The SX has 170 mm of FSR suspension.

the Big Hit is a less expensive freeride/downhill option with 180 mm of coil sprung travel with ProPedal platform adjustment for pedaling efficiency.

Recreational Hardtails

The Recreational Hardtails are Specialized entry-level or multi-purpose city or trail bikes. These models include the Rockhopper SL, Rockhopper, Hardrock, and women's Myka. These hardtails generally range in price from a few hundred dollars to $1500.


The Specialized mountain bike line-up has several 29ers that range in pricing and options.

XC Competitive:

  • Epic Marathon 29: Very lightweight high-end full suspension 29er
  • Epic Comp 29: Less expensive full suspension 29er
  • Stumpjumper HT (Hardtail) Carbon 29er
  • Stumpjumper HT (Hardtail) Carbon Singlespeed 29er
  • Stumpjumper HT (Hardtail) Expert Carbon 29er
  • Stumpjumper HT (Hardtail) Comp 29er

XC Trail:
  • Stumpjumper FSR (Full Suspension) Expert 29er
  • Stumpjumper FSR (Full Suspension) Comp 29er

Recreational Hardtail:
  • Rockhopper SL Comp 29
  • Rockhopper SL Comp 29 SS (Single speed)
  • Rockhopper Expert 29
  • Rockhopper Comp Disc 29
  • Hardrock Sport Disc 29


Specialized is a reputable and competitive company that has been around since 1974. Specialized mountain bikes include a large selection of bikes, including a great range of D4W (Designs for Women) options, such as the S-Works Era FSR, Safire FSR, and several options of the Myka FSR and HT. They also offer a nice selection of hardtail and full suspension 29er mountain bikes.

More Mountain Bike Brands...

Gary Fisher

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