Slim & Knobby's Bike Shop Blog
Not Just Another Pretty Hardtail
I had the opportunity to ride the new Specialized S-Works Fuse 6Fattie and here are some thoughts on that bike. I feel I need to preface this with some background. I am a XC racer and currently ride a sub 22 lb S-Works Epic. So obviously my bias is towards lightweight, quick acceleration, and climbing agility.
Now onto the Fuse. As always there is some excitement when getting to take out a new bike. However, from my previous rides on plus size tires, I had some trepidation. And having just climbed off my Epic and jumping on the Fuse and heading up the pavement to the trailhead, these trepidations were surfacing. It felt a little sluggish and cumbersome even though its a hard tail. But once I hit the dirt, those trepidations became irrelevant.
In these days of lightweight full suspension bikes, it is hard for me to enjoy a hardtail mountain bike. You have to pick your lines carefully and you feel every bump in the trail. When you pick the speed up you have to stand up nearly the whole time and there's no powering through a rocky section while cranking in the saddle. This is not the case with the Fuse. As the cushy 3.0 rear tire soaked up the bumps in the trail, I found myself forgetting my line and staying seated for much of the climb. Not as forgiving as full suspension, but surprising for a hardtail.
The Fuse climbs like a billy goat. Although its head tube is slackened somewhat, I didn't find that the front end wandered on a long climb. But when it got technical the hardtail frame along with those big tires powered through everything. Traction is plentiful and you feel like your power is getting right to the ground.
Once you point the Fuse downhill the bike really shines. Compared to a hardtail 29er, the Fuse does feel a little sluggish on the flats and uphill grades. It doesn't accelerate as quickly, you just notice those big tires. All this disappears on the downhill. I thought it would still feel a little sluggish, but it doesn't at all. It feels light and flickable. It does feel a little heavy in the front end, and once the tires leave the ground be ready for the solid thump when the back tire comes down. But the bike feels like its on rails. It is confidence inspiring and I found myself releasing the brakes and letting the bike just roll over everything in its path, which it will do!
Over the course of the ride I found myself liking the 6Fattie more and more. It is not a race bike, but if you want a very capable trail bike without the hassles or cost of full suspension for the Heber Valley the Fuse 6Fattie is the way to go.