The Stumpy Evo could just be a vision of the future
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy 29 is a totally different beast. It’s not a regular Stumpjumper that has a longer-travel fork and beefier tyres.
The Stumpy Evo is like a regular Stumpjumper with bigger balls, but imagine those balls hanging really long and low between your legs. If that image makes you sit up and take notice then that’s okay because this bike is supposed to do exactly that.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy 29 review
First off, it’s only available in two frame sizes, which are called S2 and S3. Our test bike is this S3 option and it fits riders around average height, but there’s nothing average about the rest of the measurements. This Stumpy Evo has the longest wheelbase on test, the lowest bottom bracket height and the slackest head angle. It has long chainstays; a 800mm wide handlebars, stubby stem and a suspension fork with a 44mm fork offset.
It also has adjustable geometry, comes in option for both wheel sizes and there is no branding on the down tube – it’s just silver, no logos, no BS. You could say it’s the least Specialized bike we’ve ever tested, and you might be right.
Since the Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy 29 is sold though Specialized dealers and built to a price point the parts on the bike are step below those on the Commencal Meta Trail 29 British Edition, YT Jeffsy 29 CF Comp and Vitus Escarpe 29 VRX. This is immediately noticeable in the suspension. The 150mm travel Fox 36 Rhythm is stiff but the basic Grip damper doesn’t offer the same level of support as the Grip2 on the Factory level kit.
The Stumpy also didn’t pedal that well with the shock in the open setting and wallowed its way up most of the climbs. So you definitely need to climb with the Pro Pedal engaged at both end if you’re going to spend any time climbing on this bike.
The limited budget really starts to bite when you look at the components. The stem is okay and the bar is finally the right width but it has a goofy shape, and even with the stem raised the front end still feels low. It’s the SRAM NX Eagle gearing that’s a bit of a let down at this price point.
And while the SRAM Code R brakes are on par with the parts elsewhere, Specialized could have saved a bit of cash on the brakes (the Guide RE is almost as good) and put resources back into the drivetrain.
One of the biggest components is also the worst, the wheelset. First time we took this bike out there was a ton of noise coming from back end, it was partly the chain slapping the chainstay but also the amount of free movement in the cassette body when freewheeling. If you look down onto the cassette you’ll also notice the gap between the smaller sprockets and chainstay pivot is tiny and with this much noise and movement in a small space something had to give and it did – first run at Forest of Dean we ripped the mech off.
With gravity at your back you can really benefit from the stretched geometry. The bike has great standover clearance and a dropper post with the lowest stack height, so with the saddle right out of the way you can hunker right down when cornering or straight lining descents. However, with the front wheel so far away and a lack of support in the Fox 36 Rhythm fork, we did struggle a bit getting adequate weight on the front wheel on flatter flow trails.
Yes, the Stumpy changes direction quickly but the front and rear wheels can feel a bit disconnected, like they’re doing things individually. Obviously, this is one of the slackest trail bikes we ridden and maybe it’ll just take time to get used to such radical geometry. The head angle seems a bit too slack for a bike with only a 140mm travel but who knows, in a few years it may seem totally normal.
The Stumpy Evo definitely encourages you to ride hard and fast, but the problem you’re going to have with this sort of bad behaviour is it’s going to put a lot of stress on the frame, parts and wheels. With the Stumpjumper EVO Comp Alloy, we reckon you’re going to really test the limits of every single part of this bike. Even the tyres are not up to the task, and we wouldn’t recommend leaving the shop with them fitted. So the Stumpy Evo could be a vision of the future, but right now this particular model is trying write cheques the build kit simply can’t cash.