If you’re looking for an effortlessly user-friendly trail bike with a big stride for covering maximum miles without having to back off on the fun bits, then the latest version of Specialized’s legendary Stumpjumper should definitely be on your shortlist.
Frame and equipment: simple setup and superb rolling stock
Setting up couldn’t be easier thanks to the Autosag feature on the custom Fox shock. Blow it up to maximum pressure, sit on the bike, hit the red plunger until it finds the preset ride height and you’re ready to hit the trails. Specialized provides the 760mm bars, 60mm stem and Henge saddle on the externally routed BlackLite Command Post dropper.
The drivetrain is 20-speed X7/X9 SRAM
Look closer and you’ll see the 20-speed X7/X9 transmission uses a PG/PC1030 (rather than lighter and more potentially durable 1050/1070) spec cassette and chain.
We’ve no complaints about finding Shimano Deore brakes and the components that really matter on a 29er – the wheels – are an excellent own brand combo. The Roval Traverse Fattie 29 rims have a wide 29mm internal width giving a stable base to the chunky Butcher front and fast rolling semi-slick rear Slaughter treads. Both rim and rubber are ready to go tubeless for even more on-trail float.
Ride and handling: excels at most things but flexy fork comes unstuck on tough stuff
Tyre volume and the shallower contact angle of the 29er wheels compared with smaller sizes offset the relatively firm damping preset of the RockShox Revelation RC fork. On rolling trails and slower speeds the 140mm movement matches the soft feel of the Autosag shock well too. The bigger wheels aren’t harder to heave up to speed out of stalled climbs or slow corners than on a comparable 650b machine. That gives the Stumpjumper a smooth, easy roll that translates into an effortlessly lengthening stride and automatic speed increase whenever the trail calms down.
At 13.6kg, overall mass is no obstacle to easy and efficient climbing and the longer stem keeps it on line without wandering around on steep sections like some slacker bikes can. As well as comfortable contact points you benefit from Specialized’s SWAT storage to leave your pockets light on long rides.
It’s perfect for big mileage trail riders, but the Stumpy's flexy fork and steeper front end mean it suffers when things get wild
Despite the Evo being slacker and more smoothly tuned than the standard Stumpjumper it struggles once speeds and stress levels ramp up, with the Revelation’s 32mm legs flexing under bigger braking, steering and frontal impact loads. This makes the 68-degree, longer-stemmed front end more prone to tucking under.
It also makes the fork more prone to choke rather than stroke smoothly, and you won’t be battering across rocks long before your arms start to pump and the skinny grips start to get painful. The fluid easy cruising feel dilutes tracking and traction feedback through the frame, making the burlier Enduro 29 the obvious choice for more belligerent riders.
That said, if terrifying yourself isn't your first impulse when getting in the saddle, this is a hugely versatile bike that benefits from Specialized's mastery of detail.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.