I have been living with a 2015 Specialized Crave Expert since last fall. As the move is complete, and other zaniness of life is gone, I am spending more time in the saddle.
My prior reviews have covered the hardware and the first few months of riding. With a couple hundred more miles in the saddle I can offer some more comments.
While I love the juice disc brakes, they are definitely not top shelf. They work, but after a long descent, they heat up and make a lot of dragging noise. Annoying, but not tragic. I have not had to bleed them. The pads are still in good shape.
One day I will upgrade the brakes. Magura or Deore XT will get the nod, but not today.
The Specialized Stout wheels have held up well. Since I am in that 235# – 250# class (chubby buddy) they take plenty of abuse. Still true, no issues at all.
Still on the stock tires, and I can say with authority that they suck for this hardpack clay/scree covered trails. They just don’t work here.
I will be replacing them shortly.
An unsung component, the chain, can make a huge difference. Specialized uses a KMC chain stock, and it leads to a smooth shifting, smooth riding drivetrain. I have cleaned and re-lubed it a few times now, and it is still crisp, and clean shifting.
For lube, I use Purple Extreme, frankly a departure for me. So far it is long lived, and not too dirty, so I will keep using it. I used to be a White Lightning aficionado, but that can be a bit messy, and it needs very frequent application.
Some people love the standard Specialized saddle. I am not one of them. That thing tore up my crotch something wicked.
I replaced it with a Terry Fly Ti, and have been very satisfied. Terry is best known for their women’s saddles, but they also make saddles for men, and I now have the Fly Titanium on both my mountain and road bike.
Totally worth the $119 upgrade.
The Crave is a solid performer, living up to its reputation as a solid hardtail mountain bike. It is not perfect, but the components Specialized pulled out of their parts bins make for a solid performing, reliable, and well performing bike.
I am looking to future upgrades for it, probably things like replacing the bars with carbon fiber, upgrading the brakes (at least the front brake), and ditching the sad tires that it came with. Until then, I will continue to ride the wheels off of it.