By Eric McKeegan
Downhill bikes are money, no two ways around that. For many years Specialized has offered an inexpensive DH model called the Big Hit in addtion to their high end DH model, the Demo. A certain Dirt Rag staff memeber has one sitting next to his desk, 24" rear wheel and all. After many years Specialized is ready with a redesign and a new name, the Status.
I managed to wrangle myself a ride on the $3,100 Status II. Yes, $3,000 is pretty entry level when it comes to full on DH bikes. Out of the box this bike is ready to hit the nearest bike park witha RockShox Domain dual crown fork, Fox Van RC shock, and a solid mix of heavy duty parts including dual-ply Specialized Butcher DH tires, a welcome spec on the sharp rocks of Bootleg Canyon.
My dear reader, I’m really starting to love DH bikes. I’m not in
possession of a ton of riding skill from years of BMX or motorcycle background, which means I seem to fight with getting my downhill on. Some days I rule the mountain, some days the mountain rules me. Lately the mountain has a lot more checks in the win column. Fortunately with the Status I managed a win at Bootleg.
I was able to hop on this bike and attack the steep bits of Bootleg Canyon with a level of confidence I’ve been missing for awhile. The rear end always felt great, and even pedaled well on the more XC stuff I hit before returning the bike. The fork was a little wonky feeling, I would have liked a few clicks of low speed compression to prevent some brake dive, or maybe some preload to the coil spring, but the compression is not adjustable and preload isn’t externally adjustable. Whatever, I was pretty darn happy on this bike as is, and fine tuning is part of the fun with bikes like this.
Riders looking to get into DH riding should not be disappointed by this bike. The geometry is great to learn on, but isn’t shouldn’t hinder you as skills and speed increace. Buy the Status, ride it like a rented mule for a season, save up over the winter for Boxxer, ride off into the sunset (inset two-stroke moto noise here).