The Expert 6Fattie build kit is no longer available for the 2018 seasonSpecialized expertly balances climbing and descending performance with the Fuse. Its comfortable geometry expertly distributes its rider's weight over 3-inch wide tires. This results in seemingly endless traction and a surprisingly smooth and stable feel over rough sections of trail. Those trail-cushioning tires pair with precise steering and a play-ready attitude to make the bike a blast when headed downhill. It's also a comfortable and capable climber. The Specialized sports an impressive build kit, including a SRAM GX1 drivetrain and TranzX dropper post. Our primary, yet relatively minor, complaint is that we prefer 2.8-inch tires over the heavier 3-inch tires found on the Fuse. Wider tires produce more rolling resistance and are more sluggish in the corners. The $2,000 price tag is sensible for the bike's balance of performance and value.
The Fuse is the most capable hardtail test bike when it comes to attacking singletrack. Riders seeking a daily driver hardtail will appreciate how it confidently handles technical terrain. Mountain bikers of all abilities can appreciate the simplicity and low ownership costs associated with a hardtail bike. Seeking an ultra-maneuverable play bike? The jovial Santa Cruz Chameleon is a great choice. If multi-hour rides and rough terrain is your style, the efficient, yet capable Santa Cruz Tallboy or ultra-maneuverable and playful Ibis Ripley are excellent alternatives.