Since its introduction in 1981, the Specialized Stumpjumper has been a regular sight on the trails, occupying a space between XC race and more gravity orientated bikes – its remit, in effect, is the all-day rider looking for fun.
This year sees the introduction of a number of new 2016 Stumpjumper models. Both carbon and metal-framed models feature in the range, from the top-dog carbon S-Works to the more value orientated alloy Comp. Specialized are offering the Stumpy across the range in both 29er and 650b options, as well as a new addition to the wheel-size battle. More on that later though. There's also a women's specific version called the Rhyme, we have covered this in a separate article.
There are three main stories across the range – SWAT, wheels, and a new back end.
SWAT (standing for Storage, Water, Air Tools) is Specialized’s kit carrying concept, whereby frames are designed to easily accommodate multi-tools, tubes, pumps and storage facilities – you see this pulled through to the clothing range with SWAT bibs and vests too.
On the carbon Stumpjumpers Specialized have created a SWAT storage compartment, located in the down tube. Accessed through the SWAT Door, a flip-off plastic covering that doubles as a water bottle cage mount, there’s room inside for tool rolls, tubes and food, or even a packable jacket or jersey. At the bottom of the compartment, a bulkhead stops items slipping down into the BB area, while the internally routed cables have full length internal guide tubes to prevent tangling and rattling.
Early prototype versions started with Specialized engineers cutting a hole in an Epic’s downtube, but as the tech has progressed, the hole is now cast into the frame so no carbon yarns have been cut. While exact figures weren’t available, the Specialized engineers said that there was a slight drop in stiffness of the front triangle – single figure percentages, but when coupled with the new back end, no significant loss of stiffness between the axles.
The SWAT storage compartment can be complemented by the mini-tool hidden in the frame’s shock mount and the steerer tube based chaintool. Alloy models don’t have the SWAT compartment, because manufacturing the hole in the alloy tubes would have too big an effect on its integrity. Instead a bottle-cage mounted multi-tool is included.
We’ve known for a while now that wider rims give great profiles for wider (2.3in+) treads, and while higher end bikes have been coming with wider rims in the past, for its 2016 range Specialized has the whole Stumpy family running on either 29 or 30mm internal width rims. On cheaper models, the 29mm wide Roval alloy rims are present while higher up the range it’s the 29mm Roval Traverse rims. On the top S-Works bike, 30mm wide Traverse SL carbon rims make an appearance.
These rims are matched to 2.3in wide Butcher (f) and Purgatory (r) tyres, all of which are the 2Bliss 60tpi versions. Having ridden the bikes around the trails in Rotorua, New Zealand, in a range of conditions, we can confirm ridiculous levels of grip across the board, as well as great tyre stability even with slightly lower than normal pressures.
New back end
While the front end might have lost stiffness thanks to the SWAT compartment, Specialized has both stiffened and shortened the back end to improve handling. No longer are there seatstay bridges, which help keep the rear ends down to 420mm (650b) and 435mm (29er). This has been enabled by new seat tubes and shock linkages which are stiffer, meaning the bridges weren’t required.
These short back ends are coupled with a traditionally low 335mm BB height and 67/68 degree head angles for aggressive handling. Controlling the back end is the custom tuned Fox Float Rx Trail Tune shock with Specialized’s AutoSag feature for ease of set up.
As mentioned above the Stumpjumper models come in both 650b and 29er versions, and all come with the new Specialized Command Post IRcc – the usual three main positions are complemented with 10 micro-adjustment points.
The 650b bikes come with 150mm travel at each end, while 29in versions come with 140/135mm travel front and back.
Up top is the S-Works, with a FACT 11m carbon frame, RockShox Pike RCT3 fork, the custom Fox Float shock, SRAM XX1 groupset with Shimano XTR Trail brakes. Roval’s carbon Traverse SL wheels and Specialized’s finishing kit finish the build.
The FSR Expert is next, with a FACT 9m frame, Pike RC fork, SRAM X1 group and Shimano XT brakes
Stumpjumper FSR Expert
The FSR Elite is the top alloy bike, again with a Pike RC, X1 group and SLX brakes.
Stumpjumper FSR Elite
Next is the FSR Comp Carbon with a RockShox Revelation RC3 fork, and a 2x10 groupset from Shimano SLX and XT, running around a SRAM chainset. Deore brakes bring them to a stop.
Finally the FSR Comp, with the alloy frame has much the same build as the Comp Carbon, but a SRAM X7/X9 groupset.
Stumpjumper FSR Comp 650b model
Stumpjumper ‘6 Fatty’
As alluded to up top, there’s another platform that’ll likely make waves in 2015/6 – plus-sized 650b bikes, or, as Specialized calls it, 6Fattie.
In essence, take a 29er Stumpjumper, widen the back end to accept the new Boost 148 axle standard, add the new Fox 34 with 110mm front hub spacing and bang 3in rubber onto your 30mm rim.
The effect is something that looks like the lovechild of a trail bike and a fat bike.
While Specialized say 29ers are to go fast and 650b is for fun, 6Fattie is for grip and control. It's been testing the system down to around 11psi – apparently without any puncture or roll issues, vastly increasing grip, cornering and braking control on loose trails. At the moment only two tyres exist, the Ground Control and Purgatory, both with the thinner Control casing, but as yet, thanks to the larger footprint, they’ve not needed more aggressive treads, nor have they had puncture issues, apparently.
While we’ve seen other ‘+’ sized bikes running on rims as wide as 50mm+ Specialized reckons around 30mm is the sweet spot. Specialized believe they’re wide enough to give a good tyre profile, without the weight or strength issues found with wider rims. In fact, Specialized says there’s very little weight penalty with its plus sized wheels over a 29er, with the 6Fattie wheels coming in at only around 7mm less in diameter than a 29x2.3in tyre.
With a release date later in 2015 than the rest of the range we didn’t get a chance to garner too much info on the bikes, nor time to inspect them properly, but rest assured, as soon as we get our mitts on one, we’ll give you the full run-down.
Comp Carbon 29/650b
Expert Carbon 29/650b
Comp Carbon 6Fattie
Expert Carbon 6Fattie