18 months with the 2008 Specialized FSR XC Comp

The 2008 FSR XC Comp
The 2008 FSR XC Comp

The Specialized FSR XC:

This is Specialized‘s line of entry-level full-suspension light trail bikes . It is the Stumpjumper’s little brother and is based on the solid and efficient FSR suspension platform. The FSR XC Comp is third in a line of four FSR XCs that share the same frame and differ in component specs.

This is a 4-inch travel (100 mm) bike, which means that both the front fork and rear shock have a maximum travel of 100 mm.

How we rode this bike:

We rode this bike on a weekly basis for about 18 months, tackling everything from killer climbs, ultra-steep descents, day-long rides, technical lines and the occasional jumps (plus plenty of hard crashes :)).


What we liked:

  • The frame: The FSR XC’s excellent frame has been continuously refined since the FSR platform was first introduced (more than a decade ago). Light enough for efficient climbing yet plush enough for a confidence-inspiring handling on the descents. This is also one of thos bike you could describe as “beatiful”.
  • Good component group. Decent mid-range Shimano Deore kit, Rock Shox Tora 302 SL (good but faulty, see below), and an X-Fusion rear shock and a bunch of Specialized own-brand components (seatpost, handlebars, grips, tires, etc). The Specialized/Alex rims wheelset took more abuse than I thought it would.
  • Excellent brakes: The hydraulic Hayes Stroker Ryde with 160 mm rotors (on our medium frame) really have a strong bite to them. They even might be too edgy for beginner riders.

What we disliked:

Aside with a problem with faulty fork that apparently plagued a whole batch of Tora 302s produced in 2008, there is really not much to dislike about this bike. It offers a sensible option for riders looking for their first full suspension bike, and even makes a great buy for experienced riders on a budget. The fully active suspension, light weight frame (for its class) and good component group makes it one of the best full-suspension trail bikes on the market.

Final thoughts:

The 2009/10 model have  slightly improved on an already excellent bike. It now offers slightly longer travel (120 mm), a new shock placement and has done away with the interrupted seat tube of the 2007/08 frame design, which posed a bit of problem for riders who need to drop the saddle way down for more technical descents.

MTB Egypt rating: 4.5/5 4.5