An updated version of a previous best on test bike. But does it live up to expectations?
When we ordered the 29er bikes for this test, the Specialized Stumpjumper 29 was joint-cheapest at £3k. Fast-forward two months, and with Specialized’s recent round of price hikes, it’s now joint most expensive.
However, for that you do get a carbon front triangle, RockShox suspension, SRAM components and Specialized’s fabled buttery smooth FSR ride.
Watch now: Trail Bike of the Year 2017
Specialized Stumpjumper 29 FSR Comp Carbon
It’s one of three carbon bikes in the 29er category, but most riders we talked to when testing the Stumpy weren’t interested in the material or wheelsize, but rather the small SWAT compartment in the down tube.
It accessed via a little door under the bottle cage, which you open via a latch. Two small raps are provided for storing a pump and an inner tube, but there’s plenty if space for a multi- tool, wallet, jacket, you name it.
The latch on the door is a little stiff to open but it doesn’t detract from what is a truly amazing feature – in fact we’ve talked to several bike companies about it and most are kicking themselves for not having thought of it.
The RockShox fork on the Stumpy is a Yari RC Boost with 150mm travel.
It’s got SRAM’s oversized Torque Cap compatible dropouts and the Stumpy is one of only a handful of bikes we’ve seen this year with a front hub to match.
Not only do they increase the surface area and stiffness between the dropouts and hub, they also make it way easier to locate the axle. Why more companies don’t fit them is total mystery?
Inside the Yari RC is an air spring and the cheaper Motion Control damper.
On smooth rolling terrain it feels great but start pushing hard and it struggles to keep up.
The 35mm chassis means the Yari is solid and direct, but the damper does limit the bike’s ability to really charge through the rough stuff.
Like most Specialized bikes, the Monarch rear shock on the Stumpy features Autosag, which is a feature that helps you get a good ballpark setup.
We think Specialized’s baseline setting is a little too firm however, and lower the pressure around 5-10% to improve grip.
Specialized is guilty of fitting narrow bars and long stems to its bikes in the past and the Stump is still in the dock.
It gets a 60mm Specialized Trail stem and 750mm alloy handlebar, if we could cut 20mm off the stem and add it to the bar we’d be home free.
Specialized mixes and matches the drivetrain on the Stumpy, running a 1x RaceFace Aeffect crank with a SRAM mech and shifter.
It also fits a diddy 28t chainring, the smallest on test.
The resulting ultra-low gearing is great for long, steep hills, but we often ran out of gears on the descents and because the ratios are closer at the bottom of the cassette it takes longer to shift up to the correct gear when exiting a corner.
Like the YT Jeffsy, we were caught between sizes on the Stumpy, but we stuck with the size large simply because the head tube on the XL frame is way too tall.
The geometry on the Stumpy is also pretty close the large size Jeffsy – it has virtually same wheelbase, bottom bracket height, chainstay length and head angle, but the bikes couldn’t be more different.
The Jeffsy feels nippy and lithe, the Stumpy is much more solid and planted – it almost has a big bike feel.
This could also be down to the increased weight. At 14.32kg with pedals, the Stumpy is amongst the heaviest 29ers.
There’s quite a bit of weight in the back end and the thicker casing Grid tyres and cheaper wheels also add to the gram count.
The riding positions are also different – you sit back on the Stumpy, ride with your heels down and get tons of grip from the 135mm travel, where as the Jeffsy is a lot more progression and has tons of pop.
The Stumpy and Jeffsy are similar in price, but being a direct sales brand YT trumps its specification. This counts against the Stumpy on the scales, but it’s still a great trail bike – the suspension offers better grip, the Yari fork is marginally stiffer and it has unique features like Autosag and SWAT. If we were being picky, and were allowed to be with Trail Bike of the Year, the Stumpy is just a little bit cramped compared to the YT. With a bit more length and a better spec, the Stumpy could easily leapfrog the YT and be back where it belongs, in top spot.