Spe­cial­ized Stumpjumper FSR Ex­pert Car­bon 29

A clas­sic that can rip on any mod­ern trail

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - Brad Hunter re­viewed by

The Spe­cial­ized Stumpjumper is a time-de­fy­ing clas­sic in the minds and garages of trail rid­ers ev­ery­where. My test of this le­gendary bike was long over­due for me. My ex­pec­ta­tions could not have been higher, which makes things tougher than rid­ing some fresh new bike without the pedi­gree that the Stumpjumper has main­tained for so long. Sit­ting be­tween the cross coun­try race-ori­ented Epics and the bruiser En­duro lineup, the Stumpy seems to har­ness abil­i­ties from both lin­eages.

At first, cer­tain trails in my usual test­ing grounds in Squamish, B.C., had me want­ing one of Spe­cial­ized’s En­duro mod­els un­der me, which is a very pop­u­lar choice from Van­cou­ver’s North Shore to Whistler. But the more I rode, I found that the 2017 Stumpjumper could keep up, most of the time, no mat­ter how tough the ter­rain. It has a Rock­shox Pike fork with 150 mm of travel and stiff Ro­val wheels shod with the house-brand Butcher (on the front) and Slaugh­ter (on the rear) tube­less tires. With my con­fi­dence gain­ing and choice of ter­rain get­ting more ag­gro, I feel I found the lim­its of the rear end of the bike. With the Rock­shox Monarch shock, fea­tur­ing Au­tosag, set to the rec­om­mended 25 per cent sag, the rear felt too stiff com­pared with the Pike fork. Run­ning the shock at a lit­tle more than 30 per cent sag helped bal­ance the bike but did have me reach­ing for the com­pres­sion ad­just on ex­tended climbs. Af­ter many var­i­ous trial runs, I de­cided the fi­nal test would be on a four-hour alpine out­ing on the new Into the Mys­tic/lord of the Squir­rels loop in Whistler. This trail will give any bike a thor­ough thrash­ing once you have paid your dues on the climb sec­tion. No shut­tles on this one. Sit­ting mid-group on the more than two-hour climb, I bided my time un­til the de­scent where I could let the bike do what it does best: carve the cor­ners and pick up tre­men­dous amounts of speed with lit­tle ef­fort. It was as­ton­ish­ing to ride this trail for the first time at a fairly reck­less pace but still feel in com­plete con­trol.

Hav­ing the Swat door stor­age sys­tem came in handy for a ride like this. It al­lowed me to tuck away snacks in the down tube. The Stumpjumper is 6Fat­tie com­pat­i­ble and can be pur­chased in that con­fig­u­ra­tion. Putting on 27.5" wheels with tires around 3.0" wide does lower the bot­tom bracket marginally; chunky ter­rain will grab your ped­als more of­ten. For 2018, Spe­cial­ized has taken this be­hav­iour into ac­count and is spec’ing 170-mm crankarms across all sizes. The com­pany has also lis­tened to crit­ics re­gard­ing 750-mm wide han­dle­bars and has upped it to 780 mm, which should quiet the an­gry mob for now.

Many note­wor­thy changes are com­ing for 2018: a price drop of around $500 bucks, the Rock­shox Pike be­ing swapped for a more re­fined Fox 34 fork as well as a wide-range GX Ea­gle 12-speed trans­mis­sion. On top of all that, watch for a car­bon rim up­grade, laced with J-bend spokes, not to men­tion the new Grip­ton tech­nol­ogy com­ing out of Spe­cial­ized’s own tire line. I am very cu­ri­ous to try this syn­thetic rub­ber the com­pany has been us­ing in its road-tire line, which is said to achieve im­mense grip with low rolling re­sis­tance. With all these up­dates as well as an Oh­lins coil­sus­pen­sion op­tion, I am hop­ing to re­visit the Stumpjumper in the near fu­ture.

One of the only things not chang­ing is ge­om­e­try. If you liked the fit of the bikes in the past, you need not worry. With seem­ingly ev­ery other brand out there singing the slack-and-long song for moun­tain bike ge­om­e­try, the big S is hold­ing out with a 74-de­gree seat­tube an­gle and 67-de­gree head-tube an­gle. With the reach on the large at 431 mm it comes in al­most 30 mm shorter than what I am used to on my per­sonal bike. With the spec changes com­ing and com­pet­i­tive pric­ing for the 2018 model year, many rid­ers will have the Stumpjumper in their sights.

“It was as­ton­ish­ing to ride this trail for the first time at a fairly reck­less pace but still feel in com­plete con­trol.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.