This rig arrived at the same time as a book detailing the Stumpjumper's 25-year history. Countless incarnations of the original go-anywhere, do-anything concept have produced a 2006 bike that has left me searching for superlatives...
Other than basic tube finishing and alignment, there are virtually no construction similarities between the original Stumpjumper and this one. The M4 aluminium tubing has been analysed throughout to achieve the desired goals of low weight, strength and stiffness. Some of the tubes are hydroformed (high pressure oil or water is used to shape the tubes), like the swoopy monocoque Transform top tube, others are forged. Every inch of the frame has been sweated over so it delivers 100 per cent performance.
So no niggles? OK, there is one. I found that the Brain Fade hose bowed under compression and kept catching my left ankle. It was easy enough to sort though - I removed the rear shock and routed the hose through the pierced seat tube.
The Pro uses Fox suspension with a Talas RLC 90-130mm travel fork up front and a Fox RP3 rear shock with Brain Fade giving 120mm of travel at the back. The quality fork is a good performer and easy to adjust.
The Brain Fade is the can by the rear disc containing clever valving that tries to ensure the rear end moves in response to trail forces instead of rider movement. The effect of the original Brain unit has been softened for 2006; riders didn't want such an on/off feeling, so the new Fade makes the actuation transition smoother, while still providing an effective answer to rider-induced shock movement.
Other kit includes a Shimano XT chainset and brakes, a SRAM X.0 shifter and mechs and excellent Specialized in-house parts. Mavic X717 rims with a DT Swiss rear hub and Specialized Stout front hub make for light, tight and fast hoops that play a major part in making the Stumpy FSR Pro a real trail ripper.
In the first 10 yards you know the FSR Pro is a born mile eater. A short ride on this bike gets 10 out of 10 on the fun scale. A long ride takes things up to 11! At first I thought this bike weighed 24 or 25lb, judging by its quick responses and flickability. But at 26lb it weighs the same as (and is specced similarly to) my Turner 5 Spot, yet it feels lighter and more sprightly. I'm not sure the Stumpy can take the kind of battering that the burly 5 Spot can (only more time will tell), but it can cover a lot more ground at a quicker pace. You could spend a lot of cash to make the Pro lighter, but why bother when the bike wears its weight so well in the first place?
The Stumpy loves momentum and if you're looking for a bike that will spin up and go like a taut 3-4in XC racer, with the legs and appetite of a 5in trail bike, this is it.
I love my blinged up Turner 5 Spot, but I would happily swap it for this bike, totally stock!