If you search the Specialized website for P.Series models, don’t look in the mountain bike section. They are
not there. Specialized set up a BMX/dirt jump section
to showcase this little stick of dynamite, because the
P.Series doesn’t fit neatly into any mountain bike category—and that may be its appeal. For a devoted segment of
riders, the P.3 is all the bike they will ever need.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The P.3 is made for riders who ride pump tracks, dirt
jumps and skateparks. It is so much fun to trick around
on that commuters should be sure to allow a few extra
minutes to session any opportunities that crop up on the
way to their destination.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
As with all of its products, Specialized takes the P.Series
seriously. Instead of straight-gauge tubing, they use fully
butted aluminum frame tubes. You get a tapered head tube
and 3D-forged, horizontal dropouts with integrated tensioners. Specialized even includes single-speed and multi-speed hardware so you can pick your poison.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The horizontal dropouts and tensioners are beefy without looking bulky. The klutziest, untrained mechanic using
a worn-out crescent wrench couldn’t damage this setup.
The bar, stem and saddle are right on the mark. Up front,
you get a 20-millimeter thru-axle on the RockShox fork, an
upgrade that delivers the stiffness necessary for landing the
big ones or railing a grip-dragging berm.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
In position: The cockpit gives the rider enough room, but it is small enough that the bike still feels nimble. The
single-speed and single-brake setup makes for a very simple
and quiet-riding bike. The easy-to-adjust, integrated chain
tensioner keeps the chain from slapping around. The external compression adjustment on the fork makes a difference
you can feel on the track or jumps.
Acceleration: A good jump bike needs to get up to speed
quickly. The P.3 is a rocket because it is crazy light for a
jump bike. The frame and wheels offer plenty of lateral rigidity, and the wide bars make the most of your arms’ leverage.
Cornering: All the qualities that make this bike jump out
of the starting blocks work for it in the corners as well. A
competent rider will worry more about digging in a grip than
losing traction in a berm. The tires are perfect for hardpack
dirt jumps, pump tracks and skateparks.
Climbing: Just kidding. You don’t climb on a jump bike.
Tricks & jumping: The rear end is nice and short and
makes the bike easy to manual. It hits jumps with ease.
While it is heavier and much bigger than a BMX bike, it can
be thrown around with less effort and better results than you
would expect. The bike allowed us to ride outside our comfort zone because it helped minimize our mistakes.
Braking: The rear stopper is powerful with very little
modulation. A light touch is all it takes, unless you are looking to lock up the rear wheel. That is not a problem.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
When the pedals get worn out, replace them with something like Azonic Flat Irons or Spank Spikes. Other than
that, we can’t think of anything to recommend.
Most jump-bike builders expect their bikes to be abused, so
they adhere to a disposable-bike philosophy. They produce
heavy, ugly bikes built to last until that flat landing that is
bound to happen within a year or so. Specialized takes a dif-
ferent approach. The P.3, while expensive for a jump bike, is
built for the rider who wants to take it to the next level. This
is not a bike for a duffer; it is a bike for someone who loves
jumping and wants to invest in a bike that will allow him to
do so for a long time. If this is you, rejoice. The Specialized
P.3 is as serious as you are.
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