Gear Review: 2017 Specialized Rhyme Comp Carbon 650b

Tested and Reviewed by: Gina Grapentine

RIDER: 5'7 150lb I would consider myself and upper intermediate rider. I likes fast flow trails, smaller drops and jumps, and rocky downhill terrain.

LOCATION OF TEST RIDES: Corner Canyon (Ann’s/Potato Hill, Rush, Canyon Hollow, Ghost Falls) 18 Road trails (Zippity-Do-Da, Joe’s Ridge/MoJoes, Kessel Trail, PBR--Pumps Bumps and Rollers, Prime Cut, Chutes and Ladders, Down Uppity) and Horsethief Bench loop.

SET UP: Frame: Size Medium.

I love the storage in the downtube, Specialized patented SWAT storage system allows enough room for a tube, small pump and repair kit, I even was able to fit a lightweight wind breaker in there but you will need a stick to fish it out! The bike was responsive and handled really well. I did not like the low bottom bracket, which makes for less clearance on the rocky desert climbs. The Medium sized frame felt a bit small for me, which at 5’7” is surprising.

  • RockShox Yari fork: The boost spacing (wider than normal fork to allow for a wider more stable hub and thus wider tires) and the 35mm stanchions made for a stiffer front end which inspired confidence on the downhill rides. The fork was easy to adjust for me; the motion control settings and rebound control make for quick and easy adjustments on the trail.

  • RockShox Monarch RT shock:  RockShox has developed an “autosag” feature on the shock which allows for easy set-up. Basically, you inflate the shock to maximum pressure, then have the rider sit on the bike, press a valve to release air which will automatically adjust to your weight--super cool! I felt like this gave me a great starting point and was able to then play with the rebound setting to fine tune it. I was a little disappointed that there are only 2 modes, pedal and open; I found myself switching between the two a lot. It would be nice if there was a "trail" mode so I could ride up and down without having to change it.

  • Sram Gx 1x11 drivetrain: The drivetrain is a bit on the heavy side but it works flawlessly!

  • Sram Guide Brakes: These brakes are quiet and responsive. The reach adjustment, that sets your brake lever distance from your handlebars, is easy to use and makes the setup more "custom".

  • Specialized Command Dropper Post: I was not impressed with the Command Dropper. You need to use your weight when bringing the seat back up and the post has set positions instead of being able to drop the seat anywhere you want it. Also, the dropper did not go low enough for the clearance I would like for steeper descents.

CLIMBING: This bike climbs pretty well considering is has 150mm of travel in the fork. The front end gets a bit light on steeper terrain but I found with adjustment in my position this became less of an issue.

DESCENDING: This bike can handle steep descents and takes corners with ease. I was impressed with the downhill handling of this bike and feel that it inspires confidence. I put it through drops, jumps and rocky sections. I never felt like I was going to go over the bars.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I feel like this bike would be a great bike for someone who is wanting to start pushing their skill level from beginner to intermediate/upper intermediate terrain. I was disappointed with the weight of this bike (28.8lbs), I thought it would be lighter because it does have a carbon frame but the components (drivetrain) are middle of the line so they are a bit heavier. That being said, you pay for weight so if you are looking for a budget carbon bike with mid-grade components that can perform, this is a great bike.