Specialized FSR 1999, anyone own or owned one?

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Jul 25, 2016
Chicago - far west burbs
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Theres a Specialized FSR for sale locally, looks like the pic appears to be 1999, blue with red decals, red manutou fork. Kinda has me intrigued. Rear shock has been changed to a strut, hopefully an upgrade.

Anyone own one now or in the past, will probably take a pile of parts to get it right and riding. How do these ride? Worth the time, cost, effort for an older suspension bike.
Is this style Manitou rebuildable? Ive rebuilt elastomers rock shox if theyre similar. Anything to look out for on these, frame, bushing issues.

Guess Im asking were these great riders - iconic - legendary. Or just a stepping stone design along the path.

Thanks for any first hand feedback.

Not actual bike, reference pic looks like this one.
Jul 16, 2019
America's Friendly Hat
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Iconic, legendary, but from a not so popular era of cycling. Not going to get tons of money on a flip, nobody really collects mid school mountain bikes. However, that's about as nice a trail bike as you could get at the LBS back in 99. If that is a Horst link suspension, Specialized literally owned the patent, and they were quite litigious towards the little guys that tried to copy it, so in a way, it really drove suspension design for a while. You had to come up with something better, or pay up for the rights
Jul 25, 2016
Chicago - far west burbs
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Not so worried about a flip.

Never had a full suspension, wanna try one out, if these ride great I may give it a shot.
So can this hold its own today, still a good ride, Im not trying to compare it to whats on the market today.

I trail rode on motorcycle trails on full rigids in the late 80's early 90's :giggle:. Suntour XC's - strap in, see how far you got before you hit the dirt. Balls or stupidity, not sure, was still an easier day than skating street. Dirt landing instead of pavement.
Memory lane over.
Jun 13, 2015
US occupied MA
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Had a similar, but cheaper single-pivot Giant Warp. Actually wanted the FS-R, but didn't have the money at the time. The Giant rode really plush and went through some decent abuse even with a cheesy front fork. I changed out the rear shock to an air unit when the original coil over went. Cane Creek had an exchange program where they gave something like $50 off a new unit for any old shock, even the blown cheap junk I had. It was definitely an upgrade over the coil over with a lock out to solve the problem of bobbing when climbing (less likely a problem with the Specialized). I gave mine away because my friend's son needed a bike and I no longer enjoyed mountain biking and he's been using for a couple of years now.

It could be that the only mountain bike person I know is my friend's husband who's an ex pro racer and has almost a new Corvette worth of a modest collection of mountain bikes, but in mountain bike circles, it seems like you can go rigid and play the retro card or have something fairly new and very expensive. These are kind of the unloved in-betweeners, but trails haven't really changed and I'm sure it would still be pretty competent. FWIW, though, my friend's husband first raced on an FSR and still has the bare frame hanging up in his garage.
Jun 13, 2019
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Could be a great find depending on price and condition.

One thing I'd be concerned with is fit.

Don't know if it's the case with that particular bike, but a lot of mid-school mountain bikes had short top tube length and steep steering angles.

I prefer the opposite. Long top tube and slack steering angle. Seems the older bikes started out this way, and the newer bikes have gone back to it.

Also... if I was going to put a lot into a bike for serious trail riding, I'd probably prefer disc brakes. Which came along shortly after that.

And be sure that it hasn't had a bunch of parts swapping for low end components.
I just recently bought a '93 Kona AA(hardtail) that had steel wheels, cheap seatpost of the wrong size hammered in, cheap seat, worn out bottom bracket, and cheap pedals.
But it still had the Sugino crankset, nice enough Shimano v-brakes, original stem and titanium handlebar. And I only gave forty bucks for it which I think the frame was worth.
And I had no intention of restoring it. Too much money and time involved in putting it back to factory specs.
It was destined to become a single speed with maybe an extra IGH wheelset.
Dec 2, 2018
Somers, Connecticut
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The best thing about that bike is the color....

I owned one new in '99. Not a great bike as the suspension tech. hadn't yet arrived. The bike was flexy enough to ghost shift while climbing, there's no damping adjustments and only preload for the spring adjustment. Oh...and it was super noisy too. Sold mine a year later to get back on a hardtail.

I did go on to own 3 more Specialized FSRs over the years ( 04 Stumpy Pro, 07 Enduro SL, and '12 Stumpy 29er demo special).

edit...We actually still have my wifes 2000 FSR ( same frame design carried over) hanging in the loft waiting for a possible rebuild. She rode hers until 2007 when she upgraded to a Safire.
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