The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp is drop-dead gorgeous, mega-adjustable, adaptable, you can ride it harder than any other trail bike in its category
When we tested the original also Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp it was cutting-edge in terms of geometry, even if it was limited to two sizes – S2 and S3. And as cool as that bike was, we struggled a bit with the performance.
Fast-forward to today and Specialized offers the latest Stumpy EVO in six sizes from S1 to S6. It’s also re-jigged the rear suspension, overall geometry and added a ton of adjustment. You can tweak the head angle independently of the BB height, and it also has two chainstay lengths and BB heights via the flip-chip Horst-link pivots. In fact, the geometry of just one frame size has 12 permutations, and thankfully for us, Specialized has a geometry finder on its website because we really didn’t have room to list all of the different measurements on the spec page.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp review
The latest Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp is our Shop-Bought winner in our Trail Bike of the Year best full suspension mountain bike test.
It’s also possible to convert the 29er to a mullet by swapping to a 27.5in rear wheel and fitting a different shock link which costs £70. And because the S-sizing is based on the length of the bike rather than the height of the seat tube, swapping between frame sizes could not be easier.
With so many options we haven’t ridden every single setting, nor have we used the 27.5in link to mullet the bike. The main reason is because the geometry felt great with the stock head angle in the long/low chainstay/BB setting and those are the numbers you see printed here.
Specialized has also increased travel on the rear to 150mm. We measured it at 147mm vertically, so along the axle path the numbers add up. It’s more progressive too and there’s noticeably more support for the Float X shock. Specialized has also upped the amount of anti-squat, so when you step on the gas it doesn’t rob you of energy like the Focus on the climbs. Overcoming the pull of gravity is also helped by the FACT 11m carbon frame, which makes the Stumpy EVO the lightest bike in the shop-bought category.
Up front, the Stumpy EVO gets 10mm more travel, but the Fox 36 Rhythm fork has the older chassis without the bleeders, the bypass channels or the floating axle. It does get a basic GRIP damper with an adjustable compression lever though, which we ran a quarter- turn on to help prop up the front end a little on steep descents.
The components on this bike are pretty good, but one sticks out (literally) and it’s the SWAT door. We’re mentioning it because it’s more like an accessory. Flick down the catch and the door comes away from the frame, revealing a storage space and inside there is a spares sock and a J-shaped soft water bottle. The cage on the door also holds a mini-tool, which is never going to get a crank bolt tight but it’s perfect for set-up tweaks. A genius bit of kit that should be on all bikes.
Compared to the original Stumpy EVO, we didn’t really have to be that precise with the sag setting on the Float X shock or even the Fox 36 fork, so we could start shredding straight away even with a ballpark set-up. With around 30% sag, the Stumpy feels super-supple and has tons of grips, but even with less sag it’s still compliant, and you get a tighter response when you get on the gas. Regardless of set-up, the bike simply charges downhill. Its weight distribution is balanced so you always feel like you’re in the driving seat. It did, however, exhibit a bit of an annoying knocking noise, which we think came from the shock, because in the firm setting it went away.
And for a bike that you can really charge on, climbing is surprisingly efficient too. Even with the shock fully open there was very little unwanted suspension movement when stomping out of the saddle. The rear suspension remains active over roots and steps but the rear end doesn’t buck like the old bike as you drive forward.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy, £3,250
The Stumpy Evo Comp Alloy launched just as we were finishing up this test. It has an identical build kit to the shop-bought test winner but uses a full alloy frame instead of carbon and now comes with the SWAT door on the down tube. With the same degree of adjustability and Fox suspension components, we expect the ride to be every bit as exhilarating as the carbon version even if it’s a little heavier on the scale.
With all the different ways to adjust the Stumpy EVO, you could argue that Specialized is leaving it up to the customer to do the hard yards. Not so. Because even if you stick with the base settings, you’re already in a great spot – this bike literally shreds. Yes, it’s more money due to the carbon chassis, but you get a lot of benefits in terms of weight saving, performance, adjustability and SWAT storage. The real reason it’s our Trail Bike of the Year in the shop-bought category, though, is because it climbs every bit well as it descends.