The first mountain bike I really wanted was a Specialized StumpJumper–that was in 1990. Times have changed, but that level of bike lust still continues as the complete lineup of Specialized mountain bikes display some of the finest craftsmanship and refinement of technology available today.
Yes, Specialized is big… yes, they manufacture hundreds of thousands of bikes per year, but the fact of the matter is that they are still the industry standard in many respects. The primary one is their patented FSR suspension linkage–one that is arguably the best suspension design in terms of pedaling efficiency, braking power and squish appeal. It’s also one of the oldest designs, so it has been proven time and time again to be the industry standard.
About the Specialized Pitch Pro
The all-new Specialized Pitch Pro is billed as the Enduro SL on a budget (Enduro Pro SL review). Using many of the best design elements and suspension performance as the flagship Enduro SL, the Pitch Pro is a solid all-mountain performer at a price that won’t require an early 401K withdrawal.
The Pitch Pro comes in at $2700, but the even more budget-friendly Pitch Comp can be had for $2050–pretty solid prices for a bike from the Big S.
To shave costs from the top-notch Enduro SL, the Pitch Pro uses Specialized M4 aluminum tubing in place of carbon fiber, a Fox RP2 rear shock to deliver 150mm of rear travel and the venerable RockShox Pike 351 with 140mm up front in place of a Specialized shock and fork.
Quick Review of the Specialized Pitch Pro
Just a few quick laps on the Pitch Pro yielded some great beta on this new bike. As always, I wish I could have spent a few more laps onboard, but with so many bikes to ride, 45-minutes is about as long as I could get. I’ve always felt like Specialized’s version of all-mountain tended to have a more XC flavor and the Pitch keeps with those same bloodlines in some respects.
Hopping on the bike, I immediately noticed this in its pedaling efficiency. The combination of the refined FSR linkage and a vertically-placed shock kept the rear end solidly gripped to the desert. Because of that, climbing prowess is on par with the best of them–no complaints there. A quick dial of the RockShox Pike’s U-turn also allows the front end to squat down for further efficiency on long climbs.
Descending on the Pitch Pro was good, but not great. The overall geometry was great, but I felt like the shock wasn’t supple enough. I didn’t have time to fiddle with it to micro-adjust the Fox RP2 shock, so I’m sure small bump sensitivity could be improved, but maybe the RP2 isn’t as supple as the RP23? Other than that, it seemed to track well and have an overall comfortable feel right out of the box. Fine-tuning the shock may take time, but I’m sure I could get it more supple if I had the chance.
Scanning over the parts spec, it seems almost like they slapped the leftovers from the Specialized parts bin. It’s got a mixture of house-brand components with SRAM X.5, X.9, Avid Juicy 3 SL (205mm front and 180mm rear rotors) and Shimano Deore elsewhere. This price-conscious rig really should have a more consistent parts spec if you ask me. They aren’t bad parts, but I just think Specialized could have easily stuck with SRAM X.9 throughout with Deore LX elsewhere at the same price. And, the RockShox Pike 351 is built just for Specialized and lacks some features found on the standard Pike lineup.
The DT-Swiss hoops with the Specialized Eskar Control 3.0 tires provided a great combination of stiffness with steady tracking and trail grip under hard cornering and climbing.
The Bottom Line on the Specialized Pitch Pro
The Pitch Pro is a solid contender in the all-mountain crowd. While it lacks true top-shelf components, it does deliver a ton of value for the price. The refined FSR suspension design is on par with the best bikes on the market. If you are on a budget and want a great all-mountain bike, definitely consider the new Pitch Pro or Comp. If you’ve got the coin, there are better bikes on the shelf, but at $2700, this one is definitely solid.
More Info: See the Specialized Pitch Pro on Specialized.com
From what I understand, the Pike 351 doesn’t lack any features of the retail Pike. In fact, it comes with an aluminium steerer, so you might consider that to be an upgrade on the standard Pike. The Pike 327 on the other hand that is found on the Pitch Comp lacks motion control, but this can be added.
“On 11.16.08 Barry Christmas said:
From what I understand, the Pike 351 doesn’t lack any features of the retail Pike”
Pike 351 lack’s Floodgate adjustment.
I knew that was the case, I just hadn’t had time to respond, so thanks. OEM spec’d forks can differ from aftermarket ones–especially those from the big boys like Specialized.