2019 Specialized Stumpjumper–The Evolution of The Trail Bike

published by bktr on 17/04/2018 21:01:00

stumpy-evolution

I know, I know, we’ve not even hit “in season” for 2018 bikes and already Specialized have jumped the gun with the new Stumpjumper.  It was too good to keep under wraps until June when everyone else will launch, and after meeting in a hotel to see the bikes a month or so a go on an “invite only” invitation, we knew we were in for a treat.

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Launched many moons ago in 1981 there have been many versions of the Stumpy, but Specialized have always known that their market was for popular demand rather than niche within a niche.  The things holding this back in recent times have been the Big S’s obsession with proprietary parts, creaky pressfit BB’s, weird fads and simply too many options.  They started listening 2 years a go when the new Enduro was launched, and this new 2019 Stumpjumper shows that they are finally listening to the majority.

So what’s what with this new incarnation?

The Frame.

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A bit like our Polygon’s the aesthetics is going to be a love or hate affair.  Biketreks towers are fond of it and when you see it in the flesh it looks even better in some of the available colour ways.  The reasoning for the frame change comes down to actual real world testing with science rather than a “cool kid” with some geo numbers in their head – something the bike industry could learn a lot from! 

Specialized learnt through their rider engineered program on the road side, that depending on application and frame size, that carbon could be layered in different ways to produce an optimal desire.  The desire with the stumpy was to increase stiffness, toughness and longevity without the addition of weight.  The frame is after all at the heart of your bike and no amount of Eagle can make a bad bike ride well!

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If you’ve taken the time to watch Specialized’s launch video for this bike you’ll know that they’ve focused stiffness around the BB to Headtube joint, and the new off set brace is connecting the shock to the frame so there is no interference on the suspension or the frame when you put the power down.  Big claims that we will test out on our demo bikes!

Available in aluminium and carbon, and in both wheel sizes, with a ladies version too there’s a frame to suit every budget.  On the carbon models the full frame is now carbon rather than having an alloy back end, and the frame is exactly the same 11m from the comp carbon all the way to S Works.

The Suspension.

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Finally they’ve got rid of daft shock sizes and the ability to only fit what they deem necessary.  Going full metric you can fit any shock you like, coil or air.  The new yoke design has allowed a much more progressive curve which gives a much more floaty feel to the ride, and early tests make this a notable point.  Each shock is tuned per wheel size and per frame size, with the aim to create a neutral platform across all bikes so you’ll feel the same floaty feeling regardless of height or wheel size. 

The 29er has 150mm fork and 140mm on the rear, and the 27.5 is 150mm all round.

Geometry.

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Borrowing the flip chip idea from the Enduro, for those who like fettling this will please you as you can adjust your BB height by 6mm, your head angle by half a degree and shorten the reach by 5mm.  I have 2 lads who race on S Works Enduro’s for me who have never flipped their chips so don’t get hung up on this if you like simple things that just work!

Although not pushing the boundaries of so called “modern geo” the Stumpy will pedal up hill, down hill, around the hill and leave you wanting and able to go back around again.  The reach has increased by around 10-35mm depending on size, bars have got wider and the stems a bit shorter. 

One big thing that I noticed at launch was the lower stand over height.  This has enabled them to fit a 160mm dropper, and although the move to 34.9 seatpost is an annoying thing, it’s a welcome change to see on a bike.

The Added Extra’s.

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The devil is in the detail as they say, and the Stumpy has a few things hidden away that only the keenest of eyes are likely to spot – full marks to me on launch day!  The first is a threaded BB, YES!  Fit whatever swanky cranks you like without the fear of creaking; a welcome change.  Secondly, full internal cables that are guided internally.  This not only adds to the cleanliness of the bike but it also makes them easy to work on for Sam our mechanic.

Thirdly, this thing!  A wave protector and bearing in mind the press launch for this bikes stresses “no bulls***” in it’s opening statement, I raised my eyebrows at it.  Apparently it silences the chain slap against your swing arm which isn’t something I’ve experienced with my Eagle, but according to sources it blew the press away.  You can make up your own minds on the demo bikes!!!

There’s also 20% more room in your SWAT storage hole for more Apple Pie sausage rolls, the usual gubbins hidden in the top cap, and the swat cage to attach the rest of necessary items too.  In fact if they could incorporate an “Enduro Strap” which Jack informs me is the coolest thing ever then all the boxes would be ticked!!

Specifications.

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As eluded to earlier, there’s 4 modes per wheel size which believe it or not is a huge decrease in model choice.  The “Fattie” standard has now disappeared and all models will take BIG tyres if required.

There’s one alloy model with 34’s, Shimano SLX/XT 11 speed and a dropper at £2500.  The big winner for us is the comp carbon at £3500 with the same spec but a stunning carbon frame.  Then onto the Expert at £5000 with Pike’s, GX Eagle and Traverse carbon wheels, and finally an S Works with all singing and dancing 36’s, XX1 eagle and carbon wheels.

All models are available right now, and we have a medium and a large in the 29er available for demo - t’ and c’s apply give us a ring for details.

At the time of writing none of us have had chance to get aboard the new bike (too busy refitting Ambleside shop) so ride quality wise we are working off plan and going off what the mags say, but so far so good!

So there you have it the new Stumpjumper in summary and if you’re keen to explore the bike more just come and have a stroke in Ambleside.

Sa

x

PS there’s also a short travel version which essentially replaces the Camber!