For 2012 Specialized has really jumped on 29ers, and it’s now offering women mountain bikers the new Jett range, consisting of two aluminium hardtails that appear to offer women a decent step up to the bigger wheels.
There’s a huge debate about 29ers and their place in the mountain bike world, but it’s clear from looking at Specialized’s website that they believe 29ers are for all mountain bikers, regardless of gender and height. Some will agree and others will disagree, we’re sure of that. To find out for ourselves, we’ve just taken delivery of the Jett Expert, a women-specific 29er hardtail. It comes in three sizes 15, 17 and 19in and is said to feature ‘women’s 29 XC geometry’.
The Jett is the equivalent of the Carve, the new 29er hardtail range. The Jett range features just two models, the £1,000 Comp and the £1,300 Expert here. It looks on paper to be an ideal choice for somebody looking to upgrade their mountain bike and get more serious, and is certainly more affordable than the race-ready Fate 29er, the carbon version.
There’s a butted and hydroformed M4 aluminium frame with the top tube curved and dropping dramatically to increase the standover as much as possible. Slotted into the headset is a RockShox Recon Silver fork with 80mm of travel, a rebound and lockout adjustment and tuned spring rates for women.
Specialized take great care to fit the bike to women, with a narrower flat aluminium handlebar, stubby stem and Body Geometry Riva SL saddle. Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear and a Shimano groupset give reliable braking and shifting. To the Formula/Alex hub and rim wheelsets are fitted a pair of Specialized The Captain Control tyres with a 2in width and they’re tubeless-ready.
It’s a good looking specification for the money and on first appearance it looks well thought out, and there doesn’t appear to be anything that needs changing before the first ride.
Whatever your view of 29ers, it’s good to see Specialized taking such steps to ensure there’s a decent bike in its range for women who want to try a 29er. Are the bigger wheels are of a benefit to women under a certain height? We’re just not that convinced…