Specialized Sequoia Elite 2017

The New 2017 Specialized Sequoia Light Touring Bike

Specialized have just announced a new model to slot into their Adventure range. Called the 2017 Specialized Sequoia, it’s designed to fit perfectly between the more road-going Diverge and their all-out touring bike the AWOL.

The Sequoia model has been in and out of the Specialized range since the early-1980s. In those days it was effectively Specialized’s touring bike as it had rack/fender mounts and additional clearance for wider tyres. Or Specialized’s road bike built for dirt roads if you like.

Three decades on and the Sequoia still has roots to the original design. It is constructed using steel, and will fit front and rear racks, as well as fenders and wider tyres than both a regular road or cyclocross bike.

The 2017 Specialized Sequoia

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

The carbon fork is one of the highlights of the Sequoia. With a tapered steerer, internal cable routing, internal light routing, rack and fender mounts, a thru-axle and ‘flat mount’ disc brake tabs – it looks great and is really functional too. The fork can even squeeze in a 50mm tyre! The tyre that you see fitted to this bike is the new Specialized Sawtooth 42c, designed to be a fast rolling gravel tyre.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

This steel frame has eyelets everywhere. Enough for a rear rack, fenders and a third bidon cage. The brake and gear cables are managed really neatly under the downtube, and if you want to use Di2 gearing, this frame is ready. Surprisingly, this bike uses a threaded bottom bracket shell (praise the lord!).

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

The Expert model comes with a 1X drivetrain. This simplifies things a bit, but won’t have the same range as the lower models which employ front derailleurs.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

The flat mount brakes are super neat – we will soon see this style of caliper on all disc road bikes. Designed to mount on the chainstay, they are also great for rack mounting.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

Specialized have introduced a new handlebar with this bike. This dirt drop ‘alt’ handlebar (HERE is a list of more!) offers more flair than a regular road handlebar for offroad riding and a little bit more rise to keep you comfortable.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

The bartape and saddle are covered in a nice denim style material to give the bike a unique look. The Expert model comes with the CG-R carbon seatpost which offers over 20mm of vertical flex to smoothen out the bumps in the road.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

Specialized also created the Cruzero rim with this bike. Being wider than a regular road rim (25mm internal), it gives 40-50mm tyres a more suitable profile. It’s also tubeless ready. The Cruzero wheelset makes life simple by offering the same length spokes on both the drive and non-drive sides, for both the front and rear wheels. Also, if you want to go wider on the tyres again, the Sequoia frame is compatible with 650B (27.5″) wheelsets including 650×47 tyres.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
Image: TheRadavist.com

The Sequoia will be available in three different models and six different sizes. Each frame size uses a different blend of tubing to achieve the same ride feel. All three bikes will be steel, but only the top two will come with the carbon fork. The top-model (the Expert pictured) is a 1x drivetrain while the others are 2x. Otherwise the parts will vary in quality and function based on the price of each bike. It’s likely that an Expert-level frameset will be available for US $1200 too. More on pricing below.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
The complete Specialized Sequoia is a neat looking travel bike. Image: TheRadavist.com

Head over to TheRadavist for more images of this bike!

How Is The Sequoia Different To The Other Specialized Adventure Models?

Sequoia vs. Diverge
– The maximum tyre width is 10mm wider on the Sequoia (35 vs. 45C)
– The Diverge is shorter in frame reach by ~10mm, but similar in frame stack
– The Diverge has steering that is quicker and more nimble like a road bike
– The Diverge is 10-15mm shorter than the Sequoia in the chainstay
– The Diverge comes in aluminium or carbon, while the Sequoia comes in steel

Sequoia vs. AWOL
– The maximum tyre width is 5mm narrower on the Sequoia (50 vs. 45C)
– The AWOL is similar in frame reach, but taller in frame stack by ~30mm
– The AWOL has steering that is slower but more stable like a mountain bike
– The AWOL is 25mm longer than the Sequoia in the chainstay
– The AWOL comes with a steel fork, while the Sequoia comes with a carbon fork in the top-two models

What Kind Of Riding Is The 2017 Specialized Sequoia Best Designed For?

This is a light touring bike, so ideally you’ll have less than 15kg of gear on board. Although it is rack compatible, it’s a pretty suitable candidate for bikepacking adventures given the generally lightweight specification. The smallest gear will be 25 gear inches (2x) and 28 gear inches (1x) – on par with other ‘light touring’ bikes. These gears may sometimes not be low enough for those big mountain passes, steep hills or heavier loads. HERE is some more information on touring bike gearing to give you more perspective.

2017 Specialized Sequoia
The Specialized Sequoia would make a great bikepacking bike with a mix of gravel and paved road. Image: BikeRadar.com


The Sequoia range will be available in September 2016 and the pricing is as follows:

2017 Specialized Sequoia
2017 Specialized Sequoia Expert – US $3500 / £2500
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2017 Specialized Sequoia Elite – US $2500 / £1500
2017 Specialized Sequoia
2017 Specialized Sequoia – US $1300 / £950

Want To Compare These Touring Bikes With Dozens of Others?

Check out the Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

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  1. Did you get to test ride one? I’m wondering about sizing. I’m 6’4 with a 34 inch inseam. My AWOL is XL and my Roubaix is 58. Wondering if I’d be a 58 or 61 in this model.

  2. Where’s the Salsa Fargo on the list? I’d buy one in a NY minute if they would offer it as a frameset with a STEEL fork. Currently, you are forced to get the CARBON fork if you want the frameset. Where’s the logic in that?

  3. Alee- You don’t know how (well) he fits on his AWOL, so isn’t it uncertain what size he should get?

  4. I haven’t written about the Fargo yet – I’ve been waiting for the 2017 release! That sucks that it doesn’t come with the steel fork as an option, but I guess Salsa did their homework and realised that the majority of frameset purchasers wouldn’t want it.

    Have you checked out the Bombtrack Beyond? That’s another ‘tall’ off-road touring bike: https://www.cyclingabout.com/the-new-2016-bombtrack-beyond-touring-bike/ It’s also worth noting that you can run a huge amount of spacers… literally 20cm+ if you need on a steel steerer tube. That’s how many riders achieve high handlebars on short headtube bikes like Surly, Novara, Thorn, Genesis, Oxford etc.

    The Sequoia may well not work for you, but there’s a lot of people who aren’t after a dedicated touring bike for the majority of their riding, but still want to ride dirt roads.

  5. You have it listed here, though! https://www.cyclingabout.com/list-of-xxl-touring-bikes-for-tall-cyclists/
    Regarding Salsa doing there homework, I’m not so sure. Why does Specialized offer the AWOL (and Sequoia) with a steel fork? Did they do their homework?

    Haven’t heard about the Bombtrack Beyond. Thanks! I’ll check that out. I guess if the steerer tube and fork length is long enough you could achieve a high handlebar position on any bike. I don’t like how the bike with all those spacers, but each to his/her own.

    I’m not looking for a dedicated touring bike either (I have an Atlantis for that), but i would like to find a 700c bike that can accommodate fat tires, get the handlebars up high, not scrunch my privates when I stand flat-footed, offer some compliance and have the geometry to handle off-road excursions.

    Sorry, I’ll never go for a carbon fork as long as MY life is on the line. Besides, they never seem to match the aethetics of the bike. Nothing exudes strength like a steel fork.

  6. You say it can fit a 50mm tire, but later compare it to the AWOL and say it can only fit a 45C (you mean mm, right?). Which is it?

  7. Let me clarify: the fork can fit a 700x50c tyre, the frame at the chainstay can fit 700x45c. The “c” (French standard) and “mm” (ISO standard) after the tyre size are interchangeable as they’re both metric based sizing systems.

  8. We have the 2015 Salsa Fargo 2, with carbon fork, Cane Creek ST seat post and 42/28 chainrings and a 11-36 cog set. We like the carbon form better than any steel fork we’ve ridden. The suspension seat post is well worth the small weight penalty, as you can stay seated and pedaling on bumpy roads. The gearing is perfect for our needs in the hilly west coast of the US. The Specialized Sequoia looks interesting, but the higher gearing is a minus for us. My question is whether the Specialized can be upgraded to 180 mm rotors front and back. I’m a big guy and had to go to 180 mm rotors on the Fargo, which were explicitly authorized for the Fargo by Salsa.

  9. I am a petite rider with a 28 inch inseam. Is there a Sequoia that will give me a safe stand over height on the toptube?

  10. Thanks! I’m looking for a touring bike that will handle rear panniers (or front) to carry fairly light (no camping gear) loads. My Specialized Ruby 2011 is wonderful, but the carbon fiber frame won’t support racks. Any suggestions? Surfaces to ride would include pavement, bike trails, dirt roads.


  11. Check out any bikes that I describe as “light touring” bikes. Many of the bikes I overview on CyclingAbout fall into this category. If you’d like to read about them more in-depth, as well as compare them side-by-side, there’s lots of information in my book too.

  12. For me the black base model is the best valued and best designed off the peg bike of 2016. Specialized have done the homework here and delivered an outstanding package.

    The tube profiles and geometry are sweet. The hover bar is very clever and the pinnacle of it all is the fork. The steel fork profiles have been well researched and designed. It was definitely designed by a person who knows his stuff.

    The whole stealth look is great. Good quality components. The new Sora is cheap and dependable and the gearing is fine for the purpose.

    Its just an excellent valued all round package. The saddle is great and the tyres are not an afterthought but fit in perfectly with the ideology of the genre.

    It looks sleek. My only niggle is the lack adjustable dropouts but you can bet your life on it next year the frameset comes with them. This Black version will shift quickly. The other two wont. Simply down to colour. Its simple. Buy the black version. Sell the Sora. Upgrade with 105 hydraulic groupset with a 40 tooth cassette out back and one of those dérailleur extenders. Put fenders on. This is a true bike to travel the world lightly.

  13. How much lighter is the Sequoia when comparing it to the AWOL? I own an AWOL and would not mind having a second bike that is lighter enough to make a difference when riding with very small to no load.

  14. The Sequoia Expert (US $3500) is around 11kg. Based on that figure, I’d guess the Sequoia Elite (US $2500) to be 11.7kg and the Sequoia (US $1300) to be 12.5kg+.

    You can expect the AWOL (US $1200) to be 14kg or more. The AWOL Expert (US $2500) with racks, fenders and dynamo lighting would be a touch under 16kg.

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