There’s been two bikes that have really come along and put a smile on my face since I first got into cycling. First was my Specialized Crux (maybe I should make this plural since the first one morphed into the second one, but I digress). It literally saved me from wanting to get rid of every bike I own last summer and calling it a day. The rough, harsh, honest ride brought back the rawness of otherwise dampened trails smoothed out by technology and suspension. It also opened me up to cyclocross, which became my favorite ass-kicking, cycling discipline.
Today I brought home my ’13 Specialized S-Works Fate, and on my first short maiden voyage at the North Cheyenne Community Trails, I felt the same thing that the Crux ignited in me start again. I flicked the light, agile bike off the jumps and flew up and down the trails. The same raw quality I grown to love in the Crux was there, and I felt more connected to the trails than I have been on a mountain bike in a long time. Even riding into the 30mph headwinds I felt the speed and agility. The XTR drivetrain shifted smoothly under me, and the Roval Control SL carbon wheels spun up quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my ’13 Specialized Epic Expert and everything it has given me the confidence to do over the last year and a half. But I was seeing the bad habits developing, like monster trucking over everything instead of thinking of line selection. And the months of cyclocross gave me a yearning to feel the bumpiness, nastiness of the trails instead of having everything always smoothed out, even though I ran the rear shock at full firm. So why not have a hard tail also in the stable of bikes?!
Aside of from my S-Works Crux frame, this is my first S-Works level bike I’ve owned. And it’s a work of art. Yeah yeah yeah, it’s not about the bike (but if that was true, we’d all ride Walmart bikes…)… but there’s something about riding the bike that Rebecca Rusch rides, or the same bike Lea Davidson rode in the Olympics. This is THE female race bike offered by Specialized, and I still can’t believe I lucked into owning one!
Before bringing it home the guys at Bicycle Station weighed the bike out to be 20.5 pounds with the test pedals (size Large). I added Shimano XT pedals, Specialized BG Contour grips, and a bottle cage (and peeled off the excessive amount of warning labels… that must’ve dropped some weight!). I’m guessing the bike still comes in at around 20 pounds, which is a good 4-6 pounds lighter than my Epic, and I surely notice this both while riding the bike and carrying it to and from my bike room in my basement and putting it on my roof rack.
I only rode 3.5 miles before calling it good due to the wind, but the bike felt amazing. I have some big rides planned for next week and the following weekend to try out the bike more. I think the hardest thing will be confidence on technical stuff. I did one of the drop lines today and I could feel the difference when I came off the drop in lack of suspension and the 80mm vs 100mm travel. I’ll have to rethink some of my riding skills and habits, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The bike is clearly capable of some very nasty terrain (see European World Cup courses…), so now it’s all about making myself capable! The Fate will also make it’s race debut at Rumble at 18 Road in a few weeks.
So that’s that for my short little review… you’ll be seeing lots more of this bike, that’s for sure!