Reviewed: Specialized S-Works Fate Carbon 29
Pedaling Response: 14.3/15
Light and nimble, the Fate Carbon 29 is made for racing. Every piece of this hardtail was designed for efficiency and speed. It’s built with Specialized’s exceptionally stiff, lightweight, and pricey Fact11 carbon layup for an exceptionally responsive ride. Hard pedal strokes and out-of-the-saddle sprints send the bike immediately into action with efficient and instantaneous power transfer.
Thanks to a 71-degree head tube angle, the bike snaps in and out of sharp corners with quick steering. The shorter wheelbase (1,110mm) and short chain stays (436mm) also add to the lively ride, making obstacles feel just a little less daunting when you know you can maneuver the bike quickly or pop it up and over the barriers ahead.
The Fate’s cross-country geometry also makes it a dream for climbing. The steep 73.5-degree seat tube angle helps move your hips forward for better power up sharp climbs. And at 19.75 pounds (size L), it’s lighter than some ‘cross bikes, but can rip a hell of a lot harder on the trails.
Don’t get us wrong, the 80mm of travel from the RockShox RS-1 Brain fork evens out the bumps but this is no trail bike. Steep, gnarly descents require some decisive maneuvering and the stock S-Works Fast Track 2.2-inch tires are better-suited for smooth terrain.
The Fate’s top-shelf build pairs SRAM’s XX1 single-chainring drivetrain with Shimano XTR hydraulic disc brakes for a pure performance package. The RockShox Brain front suspension is designed to distinguish between rider input from pedaling and the actual bumps in the road. So when you pedal hard out of the saddle, the bike doesn’t feel mushy or soft. And the light and race-proven Roval Control SL 29er wheels glide over loose rocky sections and roll over bigger bumps with no problem.
Component Highlights: SRAM XX1 drivetrain with PressFit 30 30-tooth crankset and 10-42 cassette; Shimano XTR hydraulic disc brakes; RockShox RS-1 Brain 80mm shock; Roval Control SL 29 wheels
Weight: 19.75 pounds (size L)