Specialized Sequoia Elite review£1,850.00

The second coming from Specialized

BikeRadar score4/5

A riveted metal plate at the top of the seat-tube contains the Sequoia’s name, along with the statement, ‘A thousand decisions properly made’. It’s hard to argue with the design-team’s work, mating a high-quality steel frame with a carbon fork and loads of adventurous features. It’s a worthy nod to the original Sequoia, Specialized’s first ever bike.

Specialized Sequoia Elite frame and kit

Predominantly round and subtly ovalised, the Premium Cr-Mo steel tubes range from slim seatstays to burly chainstays and a tapered head-tube. The welds are small and neat, there are mounts for three cages, mudguards and a rack, and both cables and the brake hose are routed externally.

A comparatively large full carbon fork blends into the head tube, and can carry luggage or a bottle on each leg, plus a mudguard.

It’s fitted with a pick-and-mix groupset of 105 mechs, RS505 hydraulic levers and brake calipers, FSA double chainset and Sunrace cassette, which all co-exist seamlessly together, and the rest of the kit is all Specialized’s own. 

The Specialized Adventure Gear (SAG) alloy stem and 27.2mm seatpost are good quality, but the Hover bar is of more interest, its elevated tops and flared drops covered in grippy denim-effect tape. The Anza saddle’s covering matches the bar, and makes for an effective slip-limiting surface.

The Anza saddle’s material finish stops you sliding around
The Anza saddle’s material finish stops you sliding around

The SAG Hayfield wheelset has 30mm-wide box section rims and barrel-like hubs, fitted with Specialized’s Sawtooth 42mm tyres, that measure 45mm. Their lateral zig-zag pattern has cuts to grip in loose stuff, with an almost smooth central band for straight line speed.

When hoisting the Sequoia’s 11.85kg mass, speed may not be the first sensation that springs to mind, but running the tyres at 50psi minimum pressure, I efficiently rolled up to a respectable road speed and found maintaining it to be no tougher than its immediate competition. Gravity and increasing gradient aren’t always the Sequoia’s friends, but that extra 2kg or so matters far less than you’d think.

Specialized Sequoia Elite ride experience

The Sequoia offers a pretty close fit to a conventional road bike
The Sequoia offers a pretty close fit to a conventional road bike

Positionally, the Sequoia offers a pretty close fit to a conventional road bike, with more reach than most, a flippable stem and similar angles, with its 73.5-degree seat and 71.5-degree head angles. 

Long chainstays and 1,053mm wheelbase mean it has the stability to remain unfazed by rough surfaces, and cope with luggage. It reminded me most of a classical touring bike, with that sense of unstoppable force they impart by just keeping on rolling. Or maybe it’s a fat road bike. However you term it, the Sequoia has a supple, smooth ride-feel on tarmac.

On dirt and gravel it’s fun, and small vibrations are well-absorbed
On dirt and gravel it’s fun, and small vibrations are well-absorbed

On dirt and gravel it’s fun, and small vibrations are well-absorbed, but its weight means it can crash a bit in potholes and rain run-off gullies, or over bigger stones. The wheels and tyres are 2Bliss Ready in Specialized speak, and converting them would improve ride feel.

Long climbs mean twiddling the 32 ring, and the 11-34 cassette allows scope to pedal just about anywhere. With a 48x11 top gear, spinning out on descents is less likely too.

The Sequoia’s steel frame sucks up a chunk of the budget, leaving its part-105 component spec looking a bit light at this price. But the slightly eclectic build delivers an holistic ride experience, that’s better on road, but is capable of exploring far from it.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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