Like many lighter riders, reigning UCI U23 cross-country mountain bike world champion Burry Stander (Specialized Factory Team) places a high importance on equipment weight. Little tweaks here and there may only shave a few grams but when you weigh just 10 stone (65kg/143lb), it doesn't take much to feel a difference.
Regardless, even Stander understands that weight isn't everything as he added a 29er hardtail – with its heavier wheels and all – to his quiver of race machines this season. This proved to be the perfect choice for last month's high-speed and non-technical Sea Otter Classic course, where he raced the new bike for the first time and won in a three-up sprint over Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain).
Old habits die hard, though, as Stander's Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er is no boat anchor and displays a wealth of tweaks to bring it down to an impressive 9.23kg (20.35lb) fighting weight.
The foundation is Specialized's top-end S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er frame, claimed to weigh just 1,130g (2.49lb) with a tapered head tube, chunky down tube and chainstays, and integrated bottom bracket.
Mounted up front is the Specialized/RockShox collaborative Reba S29 fork, which uses stock upper tubes and lower legs but a carbon fibre crown and steerer assembly and inertia valve damper internals for a racier feel, especially in combination with Stander's preferred high air pressure.
Componentry comes mostly from SRAM's ultralight XX 2x10 group but with a few substitutions in key areas. New XX-compatible Rotor Q-Rings are bolted to Specialized's own S-Works carbon fibre crankarms with Carbon-Ti bolts, and the rear XX brake calliper adapter is mounted with red-anodised alloy hardware.
The Specialized label is also applied to the Roval Control ES 29 wheelset with its tubeless-compatible rims, 2:1 lacing pattern and interchangeable front hub fitments; the still-prototype Renegade 29 low-knob tyres set at 26psi and converted to tubeless; the carbon fibre S-Works crankset; the S-Works Pro-Set stem; a single carbon fibre bottle cage; and the new Romin SL saddle.
European touches come courtesy of the Syntace Duraflite 31.8 Carbon flat handlebar with Extralite bar ends, the carbon fibre AX-Lightness seatpost, and a carbon fibre headset cap assembly from Carbon-Ti. Finishing things off are CrankBrothers' revamped Eggbeater 11 pedals.
At 5ft 9in (1.74m) tall, Stander clearly has some issues getting the front end low enough for his liking. In addition to the flat bar, the stem is set at an unusually aggressive -16° angle and even the upper headset cover is removed to save a few millimeters.
Fit issues aside, Stander's immediate success on his new 29er means we'll likely see him on it more as the season progresses. Watch out for it at this weekend's World Cup round in Offenburg, Germany.
- Frame: Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er, size 17.5in
- Fork: Custom Specialized/RockShox Reba S29 Carbon, 90mm travel
- Headset: Integrated
- Stem: Specialized S-Works Pro-Set w/ Syntace clamps, 120mm x -16°
- Handlebars: Syntace Duraflite 31.8 Carbon, 600mm, w/ Extralite CyberEnds bar ends
- Tape/grips: ESI
- Front brake: SRAM XX, 160mm rotor
- Rear brake: SRAM XX, 140mm rotor w/ alloy calliper bolts
- Brake levers: SRAM XX
- Front derailleur: SRAM XX
- Rear derailleur: SRAM XX
- Shift levers: SRAM XX
- Cassette: SRAM XX, 11-36T
- Chain: SRAM PC-1090
- Crankset: Specialized S-Works MTB w/ Rotor Q-Rings and Carbon-Ti chainring bolts, 175mm, 42/28T
- Bottom bracket: Specialized integrated
- Pedals: CrankBrothers Eggbeater 11
- Wheelset: Specialized Roval Control EL 29
- Front tyre: Specialized Renegade 29 prototype
- Rear tyre: Specialized Renegade 29 prototype
- Saddle: Specialized Romin SL, 155mm
- Seatpost: AX Lightness AX2100
- Bottle cage: Specialized S-Works Carbon Rib Cage
- Rider's height: 5ft 9in (1.74m)
- Rider's weight: 10.2 stone (65kg/143lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 694mm
- Saddle setback: 50mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 445mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 385mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 572mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 16mm
- Head tube length: 110mm
- Top tube length: 592mm
- Total bicycle weight: 20.35lb (9.23kg)