UPDATE: As we indicated in the story below and Enduro mag’s scoop confirmed, Specialized has announced 27.5 models of its Stumpjumper just in time for a Sea Otter rollout. See you at the Spesh booth!
At last year’s Sea Otter 2013, the buzz was over the multitude of 27.5-inch models being introduced by bike makers.
This year, the pre-Sea Otter 2014 buzz is over just one 27.5-inch bike — from Specialized.
Right now it’s only a rumor. But a couple of factors suggest Specialized will introduce a tweener.
First, the Bay Area-based behemoth recently rolled out (pun unavoidable) a set of 27.5-inch tires. While Specialized makes a lot of tires, while they’re well-reviewed and while anyone can put one on any bike, let’s face it: Specialized tires appear predominantly on new Specialized bikes.
Second, the 27.5 party is well under way. For Specialized somehow to ignore or boycott it makes no business sense whatsoever.
The only explanation for why Spesh has delayed this long involves the 27.5’s putative niche market: so-called “enduro” racing. Specialized offers a model named exactly that, and its Enduro 29er (available in several configurations) typically is lumped in with reviews of 27.5 models (MTBR.com’s exhaustive rundown makes just that point).
It may be that Specialized thought it was leapfrogging 27.5 by offering light, long-travel, race-ready 29ers. And the Enduro 29er has gotten rave reviews.
Maybe Specialized thought 27.5 was a passing fad. Or wanted to wait to make sure it was real.
With most mtbers saying they’ll wait till their 26er or 29er bikes wear out before they try 27.5, Spesh can afford to take its time.
If Specialized is going to roll out a 27.5, Sea Otter 2014 is the hands-down logical place to do it. Even if it’s just showing a prototype, or a 2015 model to be released in the fall, Spesh will get lots of attention for it.
And attention is what Sea Otter is all about.