Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29 - first ride review
The Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29, to give it its full name, has been one of our favourite big-wheeled trail bikes of recent years. The frame remains the same for 2015, but will spec changes make it even better?
Frame and equipment: refreshing changes
The clean, swooping lines and low-slung top tube of the FACT 9m carbon front triangle mean plenty of standover room. Coupled with the relatively low 335mm BB height, this lowers the Stumpy’s centre of mass, making it feel confident in the turns. The stout tapered head tube is just 100mm long on the medium sized frame, stopping the bar height getting too lofty. The M5 alloy rear end uses Spesh’s four-bar FSR layout, with a pivot on the chainstay and a shock shuttle driving the Fox Float CTD damper, which controls an ample 135mm (5.3in) of rear wheel travel.
The carbon frame and cranks help keep overall weight below 13kg: Steve Behr
The carbon frame and cranks help keep overall weight below 13kg
While SRAM’s hard-to-fault X01 11-speed drivetrain thankfully remains, Specialized has switched the Stumpy over to Shimano’s super-consistent XT brakes for 2015. The internally routed Command Post also gets Spesh’s new shifter paddle style SLR remote, which we’re massive fans of. The key change, though, is to the new Roval Traverse Fattie wheelset. The alloy rims have a 29mm internal width, which not only adds volume to the tyres but offers additional support too, meaning you can run lower pressures for improved traction.
Ride and handling: made to measure
The Stumpy EVO 29’s well-considered proportions are one of the things we like most about it. They put you in a fantastic, relatively neutral position on the bike, letting you react to and attack the trail as things unfold in front of you. The chainstays look a little long on paper, but in practice they help create a well balanced ride that’s playful enough when it counts but still stable at speed. Add to that the relatively low front end, and we were surprised how well we could weight the front wheel in loose, flat turns.
The stumpy’s well-balanced chassis delivers a satisfying balance of stability and fun: Steve Behr
The Stumpy’s well-balanced chassis delivers a satisfying balance of stability and fun
As you’d expect at this price, the bike is no heavyweight – at just 12kg (27lb) you can rapidly get it up to speed. It doesn’t hang around on the climbs either and tackles even steep, awkward gradients in a fret-free fashion. With ample cockpit room, we never found the front wheel lifting when we were grinding up steep stuff.
Drop into tight, steep, technical terrain and you’ll be surprised at just what you can get away with. The composed handling and well-balanced suspension mean you’ll want to push way past what you think is appropriate for this kind of bike – and makes us wonder if making things a little more progressive out back might be beneficial.
There’s slight flex in the big wheels when you’re pushing hard, but not enough to make you question line choice, and the wider rims improve comfort and traction.