Long time coming: Specialized overhauls the iconic Stumpjumper for 2019

Product Overview

Product:

2019 Specialized Stumpjumper first ride impressions

Manufacturer:

Long travel, short travel and Evo models, both wheel sizes and a raft of updates bring the Specialized Stumpjumper right back into the game for 2019.

>>> Specialized Stumpjumper range explained

2019 Specialized Stumpjumper need to know

  • Short travel model replaces the Camber and gets 130mm front, 120mm rear for the 29er and 130mm front and rear for the 27.5in version
  • Regular Stumpjumper has 150/150mm, or 150/140mm with 29in wheels
  • Evo model gets the same travel but more progressive geometry and aggressive spec
  • Sidearm frame design reduces frame flex under big hits
  • Flip chip adjusts head angle by 0.5° and BB height by 6mm
  • Tuned frame feel and stiffness for each frame size
  • All frames will accept big volume tyres up to 3.0in
  • New cable routing – no more magnets, no more fishing, no more swearing
  • Press fit bottom brackets scrapped in favour of threaded BBs
  • Refined SWAT – more volume and a cleaner door interface
  • Chainstay protector uses rubber turrets to reduce noise and chain slap

Frustratingly out of pace with the latest cutting edge trail bikes, Specialized needed to pull out all the stops to restore form to its Stumpjumper FSR. With a radical new frame design and sweeping changes to geometry, suspension and specification, we reckon it’s almost mission accomplished.

Read on to find out where it falls slightly short of the mark.

Emerging from the shadows – the new 2019 Stumpjumper

Looks like an Orbea Rallon to me.

Okay, Okay, first things first. Let’s address the resemblance to a certain Spanish enduro bike. Yes, it has that single-sided top tube/seat tube brace like the Orbea Rallon, but this is a concept that Specialized rolled out on the Demo DH bike well before Orbea came out with its current enduro bike, so it’s just one of those unfortunate coincidences.

Sidearm shifts shock over to non-driveside and stiffens frame

Why did it adopt the sidearm?

For starters it looks really cool. At least we think so. But for a more engineering-referenced answer we need to go back to the very beginning of the Stumpjumper project.

It was at the very early stages of development that Specialized engineers back-to-back tested alloy and carbon versions of the old XL Stumpjumper frame. What they found was that the carbon frame lacked stiffness and this caused them to run wide on one specific corner that they could take flat out on the alloy bike. Consequently they looked at the stiffness characteristics of the whole size range and found that, broadly speaking, the smaller frame had ample rigidity but carried excess baggage while the largest sizes had a bit too much flex. Both were to he detriment of the overall ride – the smaller frames could be made lighter, the larger frames made stiffer.

Something else that was discovered in lab testing was that the old frame flexed under heavy loads at full travel – the top tube and seat tube spread apart. So the sidearm was added to tie the two shock mounting points together and stop this happening.

Further refinement to the frame design and construction allowed the engineers to save 100g from the back end – despite adding a seatstay bridge to increase rear end stiffness by 8 per cent – and approximately 140g from the front triangle depending on the frame size.

Specialized claims the full carbon frame saves 550g over the alloy version and is one of the lightest trail bikes on the market, even with SWAT.

Standard shock hardware, no Autosag and an offset bushing for geometry adjust

Can you fit a coil shock?

Yes, the offset shock design allows room for a coil shock, but even better than that, the custom shock mounts are gone, so the new Stumpjumper will accept any standard 210x50mm metric size shock.

Doesn’t look like the new bike has Autosag?

No, Specialized has dropped this design to make way for air shocks with extra volume negative springs – something that really helps with a supportive platform in the travel to help with pedalling and push against when pumping. Instead there’s a simple plastic sag guide that fits between the dust seal on the shock body and the o-ring. It’s small, simple and effective.

One of the mules used for testing different leverage rates and shock tunes

Didn’t the old bike blow through its travel pretty easily?

Yes, indeed it did, but the kinematics on this new bike have been completely reworked in tandem with the in-house RX (Recommended Experience) shock tunes. In a nutshell there’s more mid-stroke support and greater end stroke progression.

I never felt that confident at speed on the old bike, but I couldn’t upsize to a bigger frame as the seat tube was too tall – has the sizing and geometry changed for 2019?

Yes, there are much needed updates to both on the new Stumpy. Think LLS (Longer-lower-slacker) and according to Specialized it built multiple mules with extreme geometry, pushing it until the losses outweighed the gains, until rubber stamping the new bike.

>>> Size matters: why we’re all riding bikes that are too small

Lets start with the head angles as that’s an easy one. The new Stumpjumper 29 is 0.5° slacker while the new 27.5in bike is 1.5° slacker than last year. BB heights have remained static on the 29er but dropped by 3mm on the 27.5in bike. Chainstays haven’t changed on the 29er but grown on the 27.5in bike from 420mm to 432mm.

Most importantly, reach has grown too, although it’s a little more complex to quantify. On the 27.5in frame, the new bikes are longer by between 13mm and 27mm, with the smaller sizes getting the biggest growth spurt. It’s not so dramatic on the 29er, with between 12mm and 19mm gains. And finally the seat tubes have been shortened by almost 20mm on most frames, which makes it easier to upsize to a larger chassis.

The final piece of the puzzle is the flip chip – effectively offset shock hardware – that gives 0.5° of head angle and 6mm of BB height adjustment.

Not earth shattering then, by any means, but a big step in the right direction. Has Specialized gone far enough? On balance we’d say yes, but we do think there’s still room for an even larger XXL frame for riders over 6ft1in.

Want to geek out on all the geo? Well be our guest. Click to zoom

New chainstay protector lets you go full stealth mode

What else is new?

Specialized has worked hard on making the frames as user-friendly as possible, ditching the (in its own words) ‘proprietary bullshit’. That means no more press-fit bottom bracket. Yes, just like the Enduro, it gets a threaded BB shell. That also means some seriously clever internal cable routing on the carbon frames; just feed the cable outer, or hose, into the correct hole at the head tube, and it will pop out exactly where you want it, at the brake mount or the rear derailleur. It’s seriously clever, and by moving the cables to the top tube/sidearm, loads more room has been freed up in the down tube for storage. Allied to a new SWAT door, that sits directly against the frame, there’s now 20 per cent extra volume.

Slow-motion investigation led to the development of the new moulded chainstay protector, with rubber nubs positioned precisely along its length to soak up chain slap and create a whisper-quiet ride.

The Evo is back! And boy does it look good.

Come on, quit stalling, tell me about the Evo!

Yes, the Evo is back and it’s a bit of a toe in the water for Specialized in terms of geometry and sizing. If public reaction is good, we could see future bikes moving in this direction.

Only available in alloy at present, and a single spec, the Evo places the emphasis firmly on the descents. More enduro than the Specialized Enduro, the Stumpy Evo makes up for what it lacks in travel with some seriously aggressive geometry. Specialized has stuck its neck out with a 63.5° head angle regardless of wheel size. The BB is low at sub-330mm and there are two sizes – S2 and S3 – based around length rather than seat tube height.

The raw finish is underscored by an equally no-nonsense spec: Fox 36 fork, DPX2 remote reservoir shock, 800mm bar, 45mm stem, four-piston brakes with 20mm rotors and 2.6in Butcher tyres with Grid reinforced casings. As this bike will be going faster, hitting things harder and jumping further, the suspension is even more progressive too.

All killer, no filler; can you tell we’re excited about this bike?

The new Stumpjumper has its trail credentials fully stamped up. Photo: Harookz

Can I turn my ST into a LT, and vice versa?

Yes, it’s possible, but not exactly cheap. You need a fork, a shock and a shock extension to convert between versions. The Evo uses a different front triangle, however, so you can’t turn your carbon Stumpjumper into an Evo carbon.

The new Evo felt right at home on the EWS tracks of Ainsa. Photo: Harookz

2019 Specialized Stumpjumper first ride impressions

A commendable effort then, but all that work will prove worthless if the bike is a dog in the dirt. Well, it’s not.

In fact the Stumpy is not only back in the game, it’s at the top of its game, because this is as good a Stumpjumper as I’ve ever ridden.

In LT 29er form the handling is taut and incredibly responsive, making it a precise tool for unpicking technical trails, whatever the pace. It pedals more efficiently than its predecessor too, and the sizing is spot-on for riders of average or just above average height.

My test bike’s 140mm of travel didn’t feel quite as sensitive as models of yore, but that could be part of the trade-off for that improved efficiency.

Then there’s the Evo, which is a completely different proposition to the LT. At speeds under 15mph it feels a bit cumbersome and lethargic – requiring a fair bit more muscle to hustle along flattish singletrack. But as the pace ramps up, the reclined geometry, extra progression and superb grip from the Fox dampers let you ease your digits away from the brake levers, tuck in behind the 800mm bars and hold it wide open.

Anything over 20mph and the Evo feels utterly breathtaking, dancing across rock gardens that would have you clenching and looking for an escape route on the normal bike. It’s not a bike for pedallers – the super low BB will spit you off in an instant if you try and crank everywhere – but pump the terrain, lean on that supportive suspension, and you just accelerate until you run out of brave pills. If you’re looking for a hilarious bike park, mini-DH, jibbing pony, look no further than the Stumpjumper Evo.

Refined SWAT door lets an Englishman stash more tea in his downtube.

What about prices and availability?

Stumpjumper FSR ST (alloy, available in mens 29in and womens 27.5in) £1,700
Stumpjumper FSR Comp (alloy, available in mens 27.5in and 29in and womens, 27.5in) £2,500
Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon (carbon/alloy, available in mens 27.5in and 29in and womens, 27.5in) £3,500
Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon (full carbon, available in mens 27.5in and 29in and womens, 27.5in) £5,000
SWorks Stumpjumper FSR (full carbon, available in mens 27.5in and 29in) £8,000
SWorks Stumpjumper FSR ST (full carbon, available in mens 29in) £8,000

Availability is now… although you’ll have to wait a few weeks longer for the Evo.

Verdict

Overall, this bike runs rings around its predecessor, and I’m sure it will provide stiff competition for the two hottest trail bikes of the moment, namely the Scott Genius and the Canyon Spectral. I’m trying hard to think of a single criticism and I’m really struggling. Does it need a XXL frame size to cater for riders over 6ft 1in? Yes, but that’s the only missing link.