2018 specialized sequoia

The New 2018 Specialized Sequoia Light Touring Bikes

The Specialized Sequoia created a whole lot of excitement last year when it was first unveiled. Essentially a toned-down version of the AWOL, the 2018 Specialized Sequoia bikes are an excellent choice for bikepacking, light touring and gravel riding. Given the specification is built to be light-ish, I generally recommend carrying a load of no more than 15kg (33lbs) on adventures with these bikes.

The carbon fork is one of the highlights on the Sequoia Elite and Expert models. 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 entry-level Sequoia misses out on this great carbon fork, instead using a steel replacement to keep costs down.

The Sequoia models are available in six different sizes. Each frame size uses a different blend of steel tubing to achieve the same ride ‘feel’, and the frames even use threaded bottom bracket shells (woo!). Eyelets are everywhere, including some mounts for a rear rack, fenders and a third bidon cage under the downtube. I particularly like the way the brake and gear cables are managed really neatly under the downtube.

Let’s take a closer look.

The 2018 Specialized Sequoia Light Touring Bikes

2018 specialized sequoia
The 2018 Specialized Sequoia Expert.

The top model, the Sequoia Expert, is built with a SRAM Force 1×11 groupset which includes hydraulic brakes and a carbon crankset. The 38t front chainring and 11-42t cassette yields a 25 to 96″ gear range which will be suitable for most dirt road riding. The flagship model uses a Specialized Cruzero wheelset which is designed to have the same length spokes on both the drive and non-drive sides, for both the front and rear wheels. Pretty cool! The 2018 Specialized Sequoia Expert has dropped $200 for 2018 and is now US $3300.

2018 specialized sequoia
The 2018 Specialized Sequoia Elite.

The mid-range Sequoia Elite comes with a Shimano 105 11-speed road groupset with hydraulic brakes. With an FSA Gossamer Sub-Compact crankset shifting between a 48/32t rings, the smallest gear matches that of the Expert (25″), but this bike has a better top-end gear ratio of 122″. Surprisingly, the mid-range Sequoia Elite received an even bigger price cut (20%) than the top model for 2018. You can get the 2018 Specialized Sequoia Elite for US $2000.

2018 specialized sequoia
The 2018 Specialized Sequoia.

The entry-level Sequoia is still a killer bike. It’s built around Shimano Sora 9-speed road shifters and an Alivio 9-speed mountain bike derailleur. This convenient matchup allowed Specialized to fit a 36t cassette up the back, which when mated to the sub-compact cranks achieves a 25-111″ gear range. The base model uses the same decent wheelset as the Expert, as well as many of the components. You can ride the 2018 Specialized Sequoia for US $1350.

2018 specialized sequoia
The 2018 Specialized Sequoia Pro Module.

Not taken by any of the complete Sequoia bikes? Well, Specialized is offering the Sequoia frameset with a carbon CG-R seatpost, bar, stem and headset. Build it up however you like! You can get the 2018 Specialized Sequoia Pro Module for US $1500.

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 uses the elastomer sprung ‘Future Shock’ at the stem
– 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

Want To Compare These Touring Bike 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. Internal light cable routing and thru-axle. Then we just need affordable (read: Shimano) thru-axle dynamo hubs.

  2. Odd that the frameset comes with the shock absorber CG-R seatpost, which even the pricey Expert does not have. The AWOL does have it I believe.

    I would recommend replacing the fd-5800 105 front derailleur (you can recognize it by the long actuation arm) on the Elite with the improved fd-5801 model that does not need the crazy amount of pretension that makes the initial lever force annoyingly high. Of course it may now come that way.

    Lots of useful points in your comparison, the AWOL also comes with racks and fenders that this and the Diverge don’t. The main difference I would point out on the Diverge is that it has the Future Shock to spring the handlebars.

  3. I’d suggest that the removal of the CG-R was to drop the price (US $200 happens to be the price of a CG-R). Interesting to hear the improvements on the FD-5801 model. I haven’t used either model, but I’m now interested to play with them both. I know the long actuation arm caused some issues with tyre clearance, and that the FD-5801 update suits disc brake bikes better with the longer throw. We’ll see which model the Sequoia actually comes with soon, I guess.

  4. So then it was not really a price drop, just a cheaper model.

    I did not notice any throw difference, but then I replaced a 10 speed fd-4700 Tiagra one with it. Tiagra 10 speed is an odd ball in that it seems to use 11 speed cable pulls (so I guess the 4700 rear derailleur is not compatible with anything). Make sure you download the instructions, they are not in the box and you definitely need them. The cable tension setting done by aligning two scribe marks is very easy. The derailleur even has a built-in cable tension screw in case your frame/housings do not.

  5. I just ordered my Sequoia Elite in a 52 California Sage White from my LBS. With expedited shipping it is gonna arrive in 2-3 weeks they say. I can’t wait to get it and do some adventuring.

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