I finally clocked up a couple of hundred KMs on the Specialized Rumor Expert in local trails and I thought it’s about time I shared my experience with my first 29er.
Standing at 1.58m I was always apprehensive at the thought of riding a 29er, I have the conception that either the frame will not fit my petite/Asian size or that I lacked the power to maneuver a truck-like bicycle in the singletrack.
So Alan from Specialized Asia Pacific approached me and to be honest, I find it hard to reject his enthusiasm when he goes on raving about the Specialized Rumor Expert. He bought my conviction to try the bike over a cup of coffee even though I was struggling with the thought of ftting myself on the bike still.
When I first met up with the Rumor I was amused with the size of the frame – the reach, the standover were good and suddenly, it didn’t look like I would have any problem riding a 29er. I could not wait for the first ride and dragged Wilson and YK with me to go around Butterfly Trail and BT.
There were two most instantaneous observations I made of the bike. First, it didn’t turn like a truck – in fact it was as nimble as any 26er I have ridden. Contrary to popular belief, the bike corners pretty well and tight switchbacks weren’t a big issue.
Second, the bike descends buttery-smooth on quite rough trail features. It was extremely stable and gave additional confidence to let go of the brakes. I often took a B line descent which is also longer at a Y-junction in BT. Wilson, on the other hand, usually goes for a shorter A line – he always ends up seconds ahead of me at the exit. being on the Rumor the other day, I came to the exit just a second ahead of him – I guess that is the best testimony on how much the Rumor encourages one to go faster on descent. i guess this is the reason why so many people hop onto the 29er bus wagon and never look back.
I also did a recent ride at Ubin’s Ketam trail. The start of Ketam is pretty challenging as the trail consists of many short but steep ascents where I usually struggled through. The Rumor did an amazing job through these steep climbs; I literally roll over everything and saved me much energy from steering the handlebar to clear the climb.
Personally I would not encourage beginners to get a full-suspension 29er, as learning with a smaller wheel encourages the rider to pick up control better. However, this bike is the go-to tool for riders who are looking past their hardtails or small wheels, and are seeking something to spice up the rides. The Specialized Rumor Expert will give you an entire different experience and confidence. While it is still rare for most short women to chance upon a well-fitting 29er, the Rumor has one of the best reach I have ever seen, giving the rider good control and mobility on the bike, yet delivering that characteristic 29er stability in rough terrain.
Another plus of the Rumor is that it comes with a dropper post! It’s a step closer to doing more technical stuff without the saddle getting in the way of your bum! I do not see the need of the dropper post in Singapore terrain but am really looking forward to the Rumor’s first overseas ride, bombing down some sweet descents.
For riders whose Rumor is their first full-susser, another awesome feature is that the rear suspension comes with the Auto-sag function. Personally I like to not mess with bike settings too much because I prefer spending more time on those fun rides. So the Auto-sag saves the problem trying to recall what pressure you need to set your rear suspension in. This function allows you to just sit on the bike and get the correct air pressure set within seconds.
I do not believe in a perfect bike, and so it is with the Rumor is that it comes with formula brakes.I am an adventure racer and last thing I want is dodgy parts asking for unnecessary attention.The brakes didn’t work as consistently as I would have liked. I thought it would be a good idea to change the brakes to something more familiar if one desires fuss-free riding.
I really enjoy all the rides with the Rumor and am happy to loan the bike to anybody who is keen to give it a try too!