Mountain Bikes

2013 Specialized Rumor Expert 29er women’s mountain bike review

The Specialized Rumor Expert 29er is a no-messin’, slick and race-ready trail bike that, despite having full suspension is light enough to fly across country, comfy over long distances and well-equipped for jumps and drops.

With it’s racy geometry, ie. the potential to ride in a forward, racing position, you’ll be perfectly at home in a short XC race or enduro, but this bike also excelled over a 300km ride, in rock gardens and over black-grade trails, with significant drops. The joy of a decent 29er. Apparently Specialized’s test rider is around 5-foot tall, so their bikes are designed with ‘normal’ height women in mind.

Lever under down tube makes for fiddly changes

The Fox fork, with 110mm of travel, make light work of rooty, rocky terrain and drops, but can be locked out for climbing or long, flat slogs. Along with the Fox rear shock, they can be set for Climb, Trail or Descend, which is handy, though it would be even better if this could be controlled from a single lever on the bars. Reaching underneath the down tube to fiddle with a lever is a challenge during normal riding, and even harder in a race. Equally, the dial on the top of the front forks does not make it clear what setting you are in.

Out on the trail, the hydraulic disc brakes are excellent and dependable, and the 2×10 front cassette gearing is superb. It’s ideal for the indecisive rider – removing the likelihood of poor gear choice – and never let me down in a season of enduros.

The rear mech has a X0 Type 2 ‘clutch system’ which makes gear changes supremely smooth and reduces the chances of dropping your chain. There is also a catch for holding the derailleur cage out the way so that it’s easier to drop the rear wheel in after repairing a puncture or changing a tyre – but using it does take a bit of practice. Apart from getting a flat tyre, the wheels (DT Swiss) are unlikely to give you problems and are a tried-and-tested brand on competition bikes.

Smooth gear changes courtesy of XO Type 2 ‘clutch system’

Day-to-day, the AUTOSAG is easy to set yourself and the forks can be easily fine-tuned, without a trip to the bike shop. A dropper post is a must these days, so I was a bit disappointed to find that the one on the Rumor, a Specialized Command Post BlackLite – said to have 3 positions – would not pop up to full height without being pulled up manually. Hopefully this is something that’s easily rectified.

Nice touches include a steering bump-stop, which prevents the front forks smacking into the frame when lumping your bike around, and an integrated frame protector, to stop the chain chipping your frame, if it comes off. The integrated gear-shift and brake leavers are tidy and don’t have to be adjusted separately, making set-up quicker and simpler.

Looks wise, the Rumor Expert 29er get a big thumbs up. It’s not girly, and makes you look like a serious contender. The ultimate test: when the bike was lent up against a hedge, during a pee stop, lots of people who cycled past, commented on what a tasty bike it was.


Tasty looking and equally tasty to ride – if you’re feeling like whipping some ass on the trail, this would be a good bike to do it on.


– Racy yet comfortable set up
– Fantastic, smooth gearing and versatile gear ratios
– Ascend, Trail, and Descend settings make the bike totally versatile


– ‘Sticky’ dropper post
– Fork and rear-shock dials unclear / fiddly to adjust while riding
– Rear-derailleur catch takes some practice

Sizes: S/38.7cm, M/42.7cm, L/44.5cm
Price: RRP £3,300
Weight: 12.8kg (including pedals)
More information: Specialized

What Specialized say about the 2013 Specialized Rumor Expert mountain bike

The Rumor is true, our first women’s full-suspension 29er has arrived. This Trail bike will give women the opportunity to head into uncharted singletrack territory. From flowing trails to technical descents, the Rumor is engineered using ground breaking technology to give women the best fitting, most-capable full-suspension 29er.

The ultimate women’s full-suspension trail bike has arrived. From flowing singletrack trails to technical terrain, the Rumor is designed and engineered to give active-lifestyle riders the best-fitting and most-capable bike in the sport. With 110mm of FSR suspension, AUTOSAG tuning, Command Post dropper seatpost, and dialed geometry, the Rumor puts riders in complete control of their summertime mountain adventures.


Frame: Specialized Rumor M5 hydroformed alloy frame, Women’s XC Trail 29er Geometry and tubesets, tapered headtube, Command Post routing, DMD mounts, SRAM FD adapter, 110mm travel
Fork: FOX Float Performance 29, CTD damper, tapered steerer, custom tune, lockout, rebound adj., standard QR dropouts, 110mm travel
Shock: Custom FOX Float CTD Evolution w/ AUTOSAG for Rumor, Climb, Trail, Descend settings, rebound adj., 200x49mm
Colours: White/Black/Light Blue


Rims: Roval Control 29, alloy disc, 24mm wide, 32h
Hubs: [F] Roval Control 29, OS28 end caps, QR, 32h [R] Roval Control 29 142+, DT Swiss alloy cassette body, 12mm thru-axle, 32h
Spokes: DT Swiss Super Comp, stainless, 2.0/1.65/1.8
Front Tyre: Specialized Ground Control, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″, aramid bead, 60TPI
Rear Tyre: Specialized Ground Control, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.1″, aramid bead, 60TPI


Shifters: SRAM X9, 10-speed, trigger, w/ MatchMaker clamp
Front Derailleur: SRAM X7, 10-speed, S3 direct mount for DMD, bottom-pull
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X0 Type 2, 10-speed, mid cage
Brakes: Custom Formula T1 S, metallic pad, 160mm rotor
Brake Levers: Custom Formula T1 S, hydraulic lever, tool-less FCS and reach adj., SRAM compatible MiXmaster shifter mounts
Cassette: SRAM PG-1050, 10-speed, 11-36
Chain: KMC X10, nickel plate, reusable Missing Link
Crankset: Custom SRAM carbon S-2200, 10-speed Trail double, PF30 spindle, S: 165mm, M: 170mm, L: 175mm
Bottom Bracket: SRAM PF30, OS press-in bearings, sealed cartridge


Handlebar: Specialized XC mini-riser, 7050 butted alloy, 680mm wide, 10mm rise, 10-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 31.8mm
Stem: Specialized, alloy, adjustable rise, 31.8mm clamp
Seatpost: Specialized Command Post BlackLite, 3 position, adj. height w/ air spring, remote operated, single bolt, 30.9mm, S: 75mm travel, M/L: 100mm travel
Saddle: Specialized Body Geometry Jett Comp Gel, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm


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