Stumpjumper is as synonymous with Specialized as peanut butter is with jelly. Corny comparisons aside, the Stumpjumper—or “Stumpy” as it’s so lovingly referred to—was the first model Specialized released in 1981! So it’s got some history. This tried and true model has also been a bit of a test bed of sorts. It was one of the first trail bikes to adopt 29 inch wheels even when 26 still reigned. And it pushed trends and the market forward, often being released with progressive features, fits, and geometries before they became standard on future models.
Right now we’re talking about the 2022 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo in two build flavors: Pro and Expert. Both bikes feature FACT carbon frames with the signature driveside support strut, SWAT storage in the downtube, and Fox suspension. The Expert build features a Sram XO Eagle drivetrain while the Pro shifts with Sram XO Eagle AXS. The Pro also features additional upgrades including carbon Roval rims and Fox Factory suspension. Both models are incredibly capable, adjustable, and durable, but the Expert utilizes a few less expensive components to bring down the price. With the two builds, we’ve got two perspectives from our online team: Paul and Olivia. Both are seasoned mountain bikers and both have spent ample time riding their Stumpjumpers in Park City and the Utah desert.
Paul – My immediate takeaway on the Stumpjumper Pro was that it is a very stable ride and holds a line well. I’m 5’11” and ride a S4, and it doesn’t feel like the most nimble ride due to the longer front end, but the short chain stays make up for some of that. I left the head tube angle at 64.5 degrees (standard out of the box) and the bottom bracket in the high position. Park City is an area that usually requires a bit of pedaling so I thought that geometry configuration would be a good balance of slackness for aggressive descents and pedaling performance on the climb back up. But back to my first point, the Stumpy is very planted and goes where you point it—especially through rough terrain. The suspension is very sensitive for the small trail chatter but firms up nicely on a big hit. And, the Fox suspension has high and low compression settings to tune it further.
Specialized’s FSR suspension platform pedals incredibly well. As an early adopter of Horst Link suspension designs, Specialized has spent decades refining the technology. The Stumpjumper Evo pedals well despite the 150 mm rear travel, and the 160 mm-travel fork makes the front end feel tall but balances the bike well—especially with the slack head angle. And because the bike is so planted, you can really dive into rough terrain with confidence.
Components-wise, the Pro is decked out with high-end parts that live up to their name. The Fox Factory suspension is really fun to tinker with. I used a Rockshox Shock Wiz to get my initial settings and then fine-tuned from there to make further adjustments depending on the terrain I’m riding. So yes… I’m a nerd. And, Specialized has also revamped their tires and I am a fan! The T-9 (front, Butcher Grid) and T-7 (rear, Eliminator Grid) compounds are really supple and grippy while rolling fast. These tires are easily comparable to other popular mountain bike tires and are backed by a lifetime warranty—can’t beat it.
I can’t leave out the SWAT box. It’s one of my favorite non-performance related features. I use it to store a light jacket for weather and a flat fix kit. It’s clean, simple, and works well—so much so that other manufacturers have caught on and are including them in their own bikes. But if you’re like Olivia, you may have so much stuff that you have to ride with an additional frame strap because the entire downtube just isn’t enough, is it Olivia? 😉
Olivia – My introduction to mountain biking was at a downhill bike park, so over the years I’ve been gradually downgrading my travel with each new bike as opposed to going bigger. I landed on the Stumpjumper Evo this year because of its reputation for crushing downhill trails while remaining snappy, playful, and (more) pedal friendly. And let me tell you, she does not disappoint. My first ride on this bike was Porcupine Rim in Moab (I know, risky) and I was amazed at how stable it handled over chunky desert terrain while still feeling efficient and capable on punchy climbs.
The Stumpjumper Evo’s customizable geometry is what truly sets it apart from other trail bikes in its class. Mine is currently set up with a 64.5-degree head tube angle, and the bottom bracket in the high position. If you’re not a bike nerd like us and are unfamiliar with how geometry changes how the bike rides, fret not. Specialized has a Stumpjumper Evo Geometry Finder that considers your frame size, wheel diameter, and favorite terrain to suggest a head tube angle and bottom bracket height that best suits your riding style. I love to ride steep DH trails (once the chairlifts open), so according to the calculator I should switch my head tube angle to a slacker setting and keep my bottom bracket high. I’ll most likely make that switch in preparation for bike park season!
I’m impressed with the components Specialized chose for the Expert build. Fox Performance Elite suspension offers very customizable settings without the flashy price tag of the Factory line. Also, the mechanical Sram XO drivetrain shifts effortlessly, and you’ll never have to worry about charging your derailleur battery! I kept the bike true to its factory build except for a couple upgrades. I swapped the alloy handlebars for some carbon OneUps and installed CushCore in the front and rear wheels to dampen those aluminum rims.
Drawbacks and Shortcomings
Paul – If I had a qualm, and I don’t think this totally qualifies, it’s that the S-sizing Specialized uses doesn’t quite line up with my own preferences. I am 5’11” and “all leg,” meaning my torso is quite a bit shorter than my legs. Specialized has long employed a roomy front end. Comparing my size S4 Stumpy to another bike I like, the Santa Cruz Hightower size large, the Stumpy has a 2 mm-longer reach and 5 mm-longer top tube length. These small figures make a noticeable difference in the amount of room in the front end. To match the feel I like, I moved my saddle ~4 mm farther forward and cut the stock handlebars to 790 mm. It took a bit of playing with to get right, but when I did the bike felt great. The interesting thing is that I was still able to feel the added length when standing up. But, after five or six rides I made an adjustment to my riding posture (cutting the bars helped), and I was back up to speed. Alas I am human and forgot my AXS battery for my derailleur. While that wasn’t the bike’s fault, it is one more thing you have to worry about when you take the battery off for a charge.
Olivia – I can’t find a specific design flaw in the Stumpy that would compromise its rideability. My only strife—and I would have to agree with Paul—is that Specialized’s S-sizing isn’t great for folks with disproportionate torso and leg lengths. My 5’7” self has longer legs compared to my torso, so I feel a bit stretched out on the S3. Nothing a few small adjustments can’t fix! Additionally, the 150 mm dropper post that came with my frame size is almost too short to account for my long legs. I’ll probably try to upgrade to a 180 mm later this summer.
Paul – Within the Trail Bike category, I think the Stumpjumper Evo finds a nice balance but definitely leans toward aggressive descending. Where the Enduro is a straight-up enduro race bike, the Stumpy relaxes a bit and finds some more common ground with a more pedal-friendly design. But when you’re in the rough, it will hold its line and give a stable and planted ride—egging you on to go faster.
Olivia – I am HYPED on this bike! Coming off a beefy enduro rig, I’m used to a planted, stable ride that isn’t easy to pedal uphill or get off the ground. I knew the Stumpjumper Evo would be much more balanced, snappy, and efficient on climbs, but initially I worried it wouldn’t offer the same level of stability on the steeps as my last ride. I’m happy to say it has absolutely exceeded my expectations. This bike totally rips!
If you’d like to learn more about the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo or jump on one yourself, stop by White Pine Touring in Park City or give the shop a call at 435-649-8710.
By Paul Boyle and Olivia Reed, jans.com