Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b - Tested

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Exclusive – Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b – Tested

A shorter stem improved fit and handling matters, but the height of the bars is an issue that still needs to be addressed.

But what of it? This XL seemed too large for me but I narrowed this down in part to the bar being about an inch too high even when slammed onto the headset. This instantly means that weighting the tyre up front is an issue. This will be fixed on the next ride by fitting a flat bar because allied to the low bottom bracket the Stumpy has a good mood about it. Size wise I’ll certainly be trying a large as soon as possible because thankfully (at last we have some big bikes for taller riders) this bike is certainly one for six foot plus riders.

For what is it, £2500, the components are up for the job and in no way do they affect the trail enjoyment. SRAM X7 and X9 are underrated and similarly the Shimano Deore braking, they work fabulously. I simply didn’t have time to get the cabling sorted for Specialized’s own Command seatpost, but seriously who gives a shit about seatposts?

Wheels, tyres good… seat, cranks good, it all adds up to a bike that weighs in around 31lb with E Thirteen pedals. Not included obviously. Although you are given some shit pedals, some zip ties, a bell and reflectors.

RockShox’s Revelation is so good in many respects, but a little bit more beef up front would be welcome.

Look it’s a long bike so it’s going to be marginally more flexy than a smaller bike, but I don’t like the Revelation fork. The damping itself works very well indeed with good support, and it might work for pottering around, but it’s simply no force for smashing into stuff like its big brother in terms of chassis stability. In fact I missed the stiffness of the Enduro 29 chassis as well given that this bike was only 5mm less travel.

So who’s this bike for? Pretty simple really it’s for those riders who would previously have bought a Stumpy Evo 26. I can’t wait to ride it against the Stumpy Evo 29, our trail bike of the year in 2013, but then that’s if I can wrestle it back off people. Overall this bike is an excellent package for general trail riding and decent money, its also ripe for an upgrade. Maybe the carbon version will be stiffer and with a Pike the answer to everyone’s 150mm dreams.

Why after years of saying they won’t be making 650b bikes are Specialized now making them? Well click below to read Specialized’s take on the matter…

We always felt it would only be a matter of time before we saw these numbers written on a Specialized.

OUR POSITION – BIGGER IS BETTER. EXCEPT WHEN IT’S NOT.

We believe in big wheels. When they are built properly for the rider and the experience; riders should ride the biggest wheel they can. 29ers are fast, stable, and fun to ride but not all 29ers are created equal. We have developed our Specialized style to minimize the negatives of a larger wheel by focusing on light weight, capability, and fun factor. From recreational hardtails to World-Cup-winning XC race machines to All-Mountain bikes and equipment for men and women—the Specialized 29er advantage is proven.
However, we know not every rider wants to ride a 29er; we will continue to serve the rider with a smaller wheel size. We are happy to introduce our first 650b bike, of course with experience and wheel size specific geometry, the Stumpjumper FSR EVO 650b.

WHY 650b NOW?

650b has the advantage over 26” in traction, stability, & roll-over. Additionally, our priority is serving the riders, who have clearly asked for this type of bike. We are not slowing down one pedal stroke on 29-inch innovation, as we believe in 29ers. Nevertheless, there are two clear scenarios when a smaller wheel, that is potentially lighter & quicker accelerating, may make sense for some riders.
1. Playful: When the rider wants to change directions slightly quicker. The smaller wheels on the 650b bike may feel a little more nimble. Don’t forget our modern 29er geometry still retains shorter rear ends than most companies’ 650b offerings.
2. Size: When bike sizing or intimidation from taller wheels is an issue. We can make a 650b with more standover clearance on certain models. There are also some riders, particularly newer riders, who might be intimidated by the look of the 29-inch wheel.
Because of these reasons, we say, “BIGGER IS BETTER. EXCEPT WHEN IT’S NOT.”

WILL SPECIALIZED HAVE 3 WHEEL SIZES?

26” wheels will play a much smaller role in the future. They won’t go away altogether, but expect to see more 650b bikes and equipment. We call them 650b because that is what they are. The name 27.5” is misleading, as they are not in the middle of 29” & 26”.
Our tire team has already introduced 650b tires, while the Roval team is also working to provide the best wheels to the rider. As our position has been from the beginning, we will deliver the best bikes and equipment lines that will help the rider and our dealers. This rad new 650b bike will be available in shops by next week!

It sounds to me like they still very much believe 29″ is the way to go, and the only real reason why they’ve decided to make a 650b bike is because they’re worried they’re going to lose sales to the competition.

Price: £2500.00

www.specialized.com

More 650b? Try these links:

Exclusive First Look : Bird Aeris | New UK Based 650B bike

GT Fury 650b Pics and Atherton 2014 Team Launch Report

Dirt Norco team rider Ben Reid talks about the Norco 650b DH test frame

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