Specialized Fuse hardtail: An altogether bumpier choice for 2020
With full-suspension bikes becoming so efficient in the ups and downs, the humble hardtail is increasingly overlooked, but the new Specialized Fuse is definitely worth the ride.
Specialty Fuse Highlights
- 27.5+ or 29 inch wheels and tires
- Sliding rear legs
- Longer, lower, slacker, but also stiffer geometry
- 130mm travel
Originally released when 27.5+ was still a new concept, Specialized revamped the Fuse as the bike industry often does by making it longer, lower and slacker – but also stiffer.
By this we mean the head angle has been pushed to 66 degrees for the 27.5+ and 67 degrees for the 29er, the seat angle has been steepened to 74 degrees and the reach has increased by 20mm, now measuring 440mm in a size medium.
Specialized also says it has reduced the standover height by up to 52mm in some sizes.
In reality, that should translate to a frame that puts your center of gravity between the wheels and, in tandem with a reduced-offset fork, the slack head angle creates manageable handling characteristics when the trail, littered with roots and of rocks, point down.
When it’s time to remount, the steep seat angle should help you maintain an efficient climbing position.
Up front, travel is increased to 130mm of squish, and all three models feature RockShox forks. The cockpit sees 780mm bars mated to a chunky 45mm stem, and each model gets a 1x drivetrain.
To prevent the saddle from giving you an uppercut when the trail gets steep, each build has a dropper post, with the Large and XL sizes getting a 150mm travel post. Specialized says the new frames have been optimized to allow for maximum seatpost insertion.
The new Fuse can take both 29-inch and 27.5-inch wheels, with room for a 2.6-inch tire in the larger wheel size and a 2.8-inch rubber with larger hoops. small.
Where the previous model came exclusively with 27.5+ wheels and tires, two of the three models come out of the box in 29ers and all three get Boost rear hub spacing.
Specialized has also opted to only offer the Fuse with an aluminum frame, with the Expert and Comp trims using the brand’s M4 aluminum, and the base model sees a slightly heavier A1 alloy.
While the Fuse is a hardtail, the Expert and Comp models benefit from a bit of “travel” in the rear with a sliding dropout.
There’s 15mm of adjustment, giving you the flexibility to ditch the rear derailleur or tweak the overall wheelbase slightly to customize the handling characteristics. Also gone is the “diamond chainstay” which was used to allow extra tire clearance.
Set to hit stores this month, the Fuse Comp will retail for £1,600 / AU$2,300, the Fuse 27.5 for £1,250 / AU$1,800 and the Fuse M4 29 for £950 / AU$1,000.
Redesigned popular specialty tires
Speaking of tires, you may have noticed that the Fuse rolls on a Butcher up front and the Purgatory in the rear – Specialized has redesigned both for 2020.
The new Butcher now sees offset center blocks for smoother transitions to the shoulder blocks, which have been widened and the biting edge relocated. terms.
As a fast-rolling tyre, the new Purgatory on the rear of the new Fuse has been redesigned with flexible center sipes, which flex under braking force for increased ground contact and grip. Specialized says the updated tire also improves cornering traction thanks to stronger shoulder blocks.
Both tires will be OEM-specified on the Fuse, but won’t be available for purchase in the aftermarket until September. The price is to be confirmed.
These updated tires also come with two new casings: Grid Trail and Control.
Grid Trail is the second strongest carcass in Specialized’s tire line and is claimed to offer 29% more pinch protection and 30% more puncture resistance than the standard Grid version.
The housing itself sees more sidewall support, which is supposed to improve low-pressure handling, and the knobbies are made with a tackier Gription T7 compound for added traction. The Grid Trail box will be available on Butcher, Eliminator, Hillbilly and Slaughter models.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Control box, which sits just below the lightweight S-Works XC Race. This casing is aimed at cross-country racers who find themselves in increasingly rough terrain using lower tire pressure and wide rims.
According to Specialized, the Control casing offers a 29% increase in puncture protection and uses a fast-rolling Gription T5 tread compound for the center and shoulder blocks. The Renegade, Fast Trak, Ground Control, Purgatory and Butcher will all come in a Control case option.