With 120mm of travel on the rear and a maximum of 140mm available up front, there is a theoretical imbalance on the ‘07 Stumpy. Granted you can flick the Talas 2 adjuster to the 120mm position, balancing travel while sharpening the steering characteristics of the bike, but we found that the Stumpy handles best with the fork in the max travel position. And seeing as you never get the full quota of travel from any Fox Air fork, the end result is equilibrium. Maximum Brain Fade on the Stumpy is noticeably less than on the Epic but it still pedals firm like a hardtail on smooth fire roads. In the minimum setting the rear suspension seems to track the terrain better, especially coming off the backside of low speed bumps while climbing, possibly because the bike has slightly more sag.
Set-up is super easy and the suspension is progressive, giving the bike a taut feel. It doesn’t wallow and we achieved full travel when we sent it off a two-foot high-speed rock drop.
For years Specialized has had its contact points sorted and the in-house carbon bar with Easton-style graphics is spot on. An asymmetric shim inside the Pro stem allows you to toggle between four stem angles. Dare we say it, even the Specialized Rival SL saddle is comfortable.
Specialized has erred on the side of caution with the bottom bracket height, but there is plenty of scope to lower it as the 2in wide own-brand Resolution tyres are among the tallest on test.
What we really liked about the Stumpy is the fact that you can set it up with 25-30 per cent sag and it doesn’t wallow or overreact to the slightest input; suspension remains active but not overly so.
With the short back end you have to get your weight low and forward when climbing or the front end tends to lift easily. So saddle position is important and taller riders will struggle on the XL frame size to keep the front end on the ground during seated climbing.
Other than that, the Stumpy is a rocket ship and the only problem that you’ll face is that you’re likely to burn out or blow up trying to fuel it. For a newcomer the Specialized won’t feel as confident on the descents as the Commençal but it’s faster everywhere else and in the hands of an experienced rider the limiting factors are the tyre side knobs and the tears in your eyes. This bike is blisteringly fast.
The Stumpjumper FSR Pro is a truly inspirational bike that turns every ride into a high-speed adventure. So, unless you have the cash or credit to buy one on the spot, don’t take this bike for a test ride as you’ll want to own it. Yes, the extra pivots may need replacing more than some other designs, but it’s a small price to pay for this level of performance and excitement.
MBR RATING: 10/10