After 18 months of hard graft, Steve Jones take a look at the much beloved Specialized Stumpjumper Evo 29”.
DIRT ISSUE 141 – NOVEMBER 2013
Words by Steve Jones. Photo by Ben Winder
In the Surrey hills there is a bike. It is black. It is quiet. And it is very possibly the fastest trail bike in the UK. But it’s not standard. This is. It’s a close replica to that south of England special – I say special because it’s a custom build SRAM 1×11, RockShox Pike, Roval Carbon wheels, Maxxis High Roller 2.3 wheels, an unrestrained flighty thoroughbred. This stock Specialized Stumpjumper Evo is a close second for a few reasons, but its still immense.
What makes it? Many things contribute in small amounts. From the perfectly sized Specialized grips that are made with a partial waffle pattern that aids grip in wet conditions, to the perfectly shaped Deity bar (at 780mm) and the 35mm Easton stem.
With so much talk about 1×11 this slightly dated 2×10 with a smallish big ring out back might seem like second rate. It is not, and hasn’t missed a beat in a whole year providing ample range of gearing for any environment. The transmission is silent without any frame clatter. The high class SRAM X0 derailleur/shifter has never missed a click, the only argument being the bottom bracket, which failed after a winter of mud ingestion. The wheels gave up shortly into their term in wet Wales, both in the bearing and strength departments, as replacements the DT Tricon have proved that you don’t necessarily need carbon for 29er power. These aluminium wheels at 1800g per set are only a few hundred grams heavier than double the price carbons yet they are huge performers, and only up to the point of hard fast rock when there is a slight give is there reason to be picky.
The cable of the Command seat remote lever became a nuisance and so a simple Avid pad was used in place of the cable for adjustment and it also cleaned up the cockpit, which as on many Specialized bikes needs improving. X0 trail brakes have not been touched and pad wear has been sensible, the only niggle is that we failed to identify why the rear brake vibrated. The Fox dampers were a let down and needed regular maintenance. Even though a concentric link and shock shuttle operates the Fox shock, which means the shock pivots on bearings rather than DU bushings, the damper was just hassle from the start.>>