We explain the 10 different Stumpies and which is best for you.
The Specialized Stumpjumper range has great trail bikes in each of the main wheel sizes. We explain the differences between the models in the family affectionatly named the ‘Stumpy’ – and help to answer the question: ‘which one is best for you?’
The ten 2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR models
In order of price point…
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 650b, £2,500
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29, £2,500
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 6Fattie, £2,500
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b, £3,400
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 29, £3,400 (REVIEW)
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie, £3,400
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 650b, £4,450
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29, £4,450
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 6Fattie, £4,450 (REVIEW)
- Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29, £7,250
The Stumpjumper bike name has been part of the Specialized range since way back in 1981. It was one of the very first commercially available off-the-peg mountain bikes.
In case you were wondering what the ‘FSR’ acronym means, technically it means ‘Front Suspension and Rear [suspension]’. This is historical acronym that dates back to when suspension forks came out (Stumpjumpers with sus forks were dubbed ‘FS’). When rear suspension came along, they added the ‘R’, hence ‘FSR’.
Watch: Trail Bike of the Year 2017
Specialized Stumpjumper: The quintessential trail bike?
Although it’s changed massively over the years, from a fully rigid steel bike with 26in wheels to a carbon full suspension Plus bike (amongst other variants), the Stumpjumper has always remained constant in one aspect: it’s a trail bike.
What is a trail bike? Basically it’s a normal, Jack-of-all-trades mountain bike. It’s not a race bike. It’s not a jump bike. A trail bike is a bike for doing what 99% of mountain bikers do 99% of the time.
If you want something more aggressive and gravity-focussed, step up to the Enduro range that has more suspension, stronger components and slacker geometry.
The 2017 Stumpjumper range consists of ten different models called Stumpjumper. This is confusing, at first. But if you know what wheel size you want (650b, 29er or Plus) and you have a set budget in mind, the appropriate Stumpjumper picks itself.
Specialized Stumpjumper: Wheel size and budget
Basically there are three essential types of Stumpjumper: 650b, 29er and Plus (which Specialized call ‘6Fattie’).
There are three 650b models, four 29er models and three Plus/6Fattie models.
Pricing-wise, each wheel size shares price points. There is a £2,500 model in each wheel size, a £3,400 model in each wheel size and a £4,450 model in each wheel size.
The only anomaly is the fourth and final 29er Stumpjumper: the £7,250 top-end S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29.
As well sharing price points, all Stumpys sport broadly similar amounts of suspension and overall geometry stance. As we said, they are all meant to be trail bikes and as such will come with the same handling geometry and amount of suspension.
Specialized Stumpjumper: 650b or 29er or Plus/6Fattie?
So, as ever, it’s the wheel size standard that dictates which one you’ll want to go for. Which wheel size is best? There is no answer. There are diehard fans of each wheel size. They each have their own strengths.
All we would say is that if you’re buying a new bike you owe it to yourself to drop your blinkers for a while and think about changing wheel size. Being on the best bike for you is way more important than being on the wheel size that your peers think is the coolest. This advice goes for dyed-in-the-wool 29er fans trying Plus bikes as it does for 650b and 26in wheel zealots trying 29in wheels.
The answer is to try them for yourself. Get yourself sorted out with a demo bike.
There’s more on wheel size here – but in short:
650b: Nimble and fast – 650b wheels are light and are easy to manoeuvre.
29er: Fast – the wheel is bigger, so you cover more ground with every rotation and an increased contact area means better grip.
Plus/6Fattie: Confidence inspiring – there’s more rubber in contact with the dirt which makes for better traction and grip.
£2,500 aluminium Specialized Stumpjumper or £3,400 carbon Stumpy?
Out of the ten Stumpjumper models, seven of them have carbon frames (the other three being aluminium). Normally we wouldn’t be overly swayed to choose a model over a frame material in itself but with Stumpjumpers it is worth highlighting that it is only the carbon Stumpys that come with SWAT storage in the down tube.
This dearth of aluminium options brings us to arguably the Big Decision when browsing Stumpjumpers: do you go for the £3,400 carbon version or stick with the £2,500 aluminium version?
Despite our love of the SWAT system, is it worth nigh-on a thousand pounds more? No, it isn’t. If you’ve never had SWAT, you won’t miss it. If you’re loathe to go into £3k for a mountain bike then go for an alloy Stumpy FSR Comp.
Sure the carbon Stumpys are lighter but it’s not really the frame that is that much lighter. It’s the attendant higher-end finishing kit that really shaves the weight off. Over the ensuing months and years, a £2,500 Stumpy Comp alloy can be upgraded into a lighter bike than the £3,400 Stumpy Carbon.
£3,400 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon or £4,450 Specialized Stumpjumper carbon?
If you are all set with going for a Carbon Stumpy, is it worth going for the £4,450 Expert Carbon over the £3,400 Comp Carbon? You’ll need to scrutinise the spec lists and see which parts Spesh have upgraded.
The following is for all the 650b, 29er and Plus/6Fattie versions by the way. The specs are the same.
Comp Carbon or Expert Carbon then. There’s over a thousand quid between them.
We’ve checked over the spec lists and we reckon there are three key upgrades: fork, rear shock and hubs. Sure the handlebars on the Expert are 7050 alloy (instead of 6061 on the Comp) but chances are you’ll probably change both bars anyway to your preferred bar, so it’s irrelevant.
The upgraded rear mech on the Expert is also not much of swayer in our opinion. Rear mechs bend, break, wear out and get replaced at some point. The Expert Carbon also uses fancier DT Revolution spokes as opposed the bog standard DT spokes in the Comp Carbon.
Forks first. The Comp Carbon has a RockShox Yari, the Expert Carbon has a RockShox Pike. Both 150mm travel. Both Boost. Both have rebound and compression damping adjustment. The Pike has a more sophisticated damper inside it but arguably not many riders would be able to tell the difference. The Pike is also a shade lighter than the Yari.
Rear shocks. The Comp Carbon has a RockShox Monarch RT, the Expert Carbon has a RockShox Monarch RT3. Both have Autosag. Both have Rx Trail Tune damping. The RT has two compression settings (open or firm). The RT3 has three (open, firm and intermediate).
Hubs. The Comp Carbon has Specialized branded front and rear hubs. The Expert Carbon also has Specialized branded hubs but the rear hub has internals from DT Swiss which in theory offer quicker pick-up and better durability.
Is a fancier fork damper, an extra compression setting on the rear shock and a DT Swiss rear hub worth over £1,000? To some riders (especially Princess-and-pea suspension fiddlers) it will be. To most riders, they’ll be more than happy with saving their money.
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29, £7,250
Hey, if you want the top-end £7k+ S-Works, go for it but don’t expect us to give you a valid argument for doing so! Just do it. You only live once etc.
Which Stumpjumper is right for you?
As we stated earlier, pick a wheel size and a budget and the model picks itself. Picking a budget is probably the easiest of these two dilemmas.
As ever with mountain bikes, the laws of diminishing returns do apply; sure, the more expensive models are better but you don’t get huge leaps in performance with every huge addition of money you add to the price tag.
All ten Stumpjumpers models are trail bikes and as such they aren’t massively different in outlook or built kit spec. So the vital decision and dilemma is committing to a wheel size. The same old chestnut that plagues every mountain biker browsing for a bike in 2017!
There is no correct answer. These bikes aren’t race bikes, they’re trail bikes. There all good trail bikes. Even if one is slower or faster on certain terrain than the other, it doesn’t matter. What matters is which one you have the most fun on. There are 650b fans, 29er fans and 6Fattie/Plus fans out there.
The answer: book yourself a test ride. Or three.