The Stumpjumper FSR picks up where the original hardtail of 30 years ago left off, offering a blend of versatility and fun. We liked the previous Stumpy EVO. The new one is even better - it turns the volume up with slacker angles and more travel. And the line-up features Specialized’s new Autosag shock technology, which makes this model easy to live with.
Tough technical trails were dispatched with an ease – and at speeds – that was almost too good to be true. This is a machine that likes it hard and rough.
Ride & handling: Gravity-fuelled hooliganism enabled
You wouldn’t necessarily expect a bike with this much travel to climb well, but the EVO is a surprisingly willing mountain goat provided you meet it on its own terms, that is. The well-sorted FSR rear end and Fox ProPedal damping keep pedal-induced bob to an absolute minimum, too. But no one buys a bike like this for its climbing prowess. While it’ll certainly get you to the top of the hill without inducing a hernia, it’s on the way back down that the EVO earns its stripes.
If the Stumpjumper FSR is the epitome of a mild-mannered trail all-rounder, the EVO is its wild, slightly unhinged cousin. Those slack angles, extra 15mm (0.7in) of travel and unﬂinchingly rigid chassis enable enough gravity-fuelled hooliganism to slap a grin on any rider’s face.
Frame: Autosag makes shock set-up easier than it ever has been before
In the spirit of not ﬁxing what isn’t broken, 2012’s EVO continues with the same collection of proprietary M5 aluminium tubing as before. 142+ dropout spacing stiffens things up at the rear, combining 142mm width with Specialized’s own wider hub ﬂange spacing. The big news, of course, is the Autosag shock. It allows any rider to set up the right sag simply by putting in too much air, sitting on the bike, depressing the Autosag relief valve and then cycling the shock a couple of times. It’s simple, effective and makes shock set-up easier than it ever has been before.
Equipment: Well sorted
Specialized is going big on 2x10 transmissions for 2012, giving the EVO rock-swallowing levels of ground clearance at the expense of a couple of the tallest gear ratios. A chainguide means you’ll never lose power in the rough, though the EVOs use a standard roller guide in place of the standard Stumpjumper FSR’s new, ultra lightweight bespoke Dangler guide.
RockShox’s Revelation fork is a good match to the 150mm (5.9in) of Fox-driven rear wheel travel. The standard ﬁtment Command Post Blacklite is a welcome sight on a bike that’s designed to be ridden hard too, giving three preset saddle positions – fully raised, partially dropped and fully dropper – at the ﬂick of a bar-mounted switch. The simple mechanical design and close attention to sealing bodes well for durability even in harsh UK conditions.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.