History of the Specialized Stumpjumper 1981-2015

published by bktr on 15/12/2014 16:09:00


Many of you have either owned one or have wanted to own one. The Specialized Stumpjumper is the definition of trail bike. But the bike many of you ride today is a long way from it’s original conception way back in 1981.


1981: The dawn of mass-market mountain biking

This point in time heralded the ability for the ‘average Joe’ to walk down the high street and buy the first mass-market mountain bike. But only just…! The first Stumpjumper built by Specialized wasn’t a pure breed. The mountain bike market hadn't been established so the availability of MTB specific components wasn’t even in existence. So Specialized made it their mission to not only produce disputably one of the first mountain bikes but spend the next 33 years developing some of the greatest innovations within the mountain bike industry.

A cobbled together affair 

Everything back in 1981 was made for road bikes. This is what velocipedes were originally created for: getting man and women from point A to point B faster and always via a smooth, fast rolling road surface.


Specialized had to overcome some gargantuan hurdles to bring the Stumpjumper into the 21st Century. Originally; on the first Stumpjumper the chainset and brakes where from a French road touring specific manufacturer. The brake levers from a motorbike and the stem and pedal from the BMX industry.


 The path to success

There are a fair few innovations that specialized have made along the way in developing their Stumpjumper range. Firstly they pretty much designed and produced the worlds first mountain bike tyre.


Wide spaced knobbly tread pattern and side lugs, everything that is needed for  a great tyre of today. Today there is a wide range of reliable, predictable and great performing tyres that are produced by Specialized. For rocky Lake district terrain the preferred choice is a Specialized Purgatory Grid. Nearly twice as wide as the original Stumpjumper tyres and they last a lot longer!


In 1994 the first glimpse of the future of full suspension mountain biking was seen. The S-Works Stumpjumper FSR was born. This 4 bar linkage forms the basis of the current FSR Stumpjumper and has been continually developed into its industry beating current form!


The humble bike; literally re-invented by the tech heads at Specialized and a new breed of faster, smoother rolling and ground breaking bikes hit the scene! Next stop for the Stumpjumper’s evolution is the creation of Specialized ‘Brain’ suspension technology.


In simple terms; the brain recognises the difference between rider input and trail terrain. Therefore the brain’s inertia valve dampens the rear shock. This gave the feeling of riding a hardtail when the trail was flat and fast and a full suspension bike when the trail got technical and steep.  

The 2015 Stumpjumper Fleet.

Wheel sized have change drastically since 1981. The materials and construction methods currently used weren't even achievable 15 years ago let alone 33!


For the full write up on the brand new Stumpjumper see our article HERE