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Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Review | Layer Cake

Right well this shouldn’t take too long. The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo – Just another one of them 140mm trail bikes living in an imaginary world of do–it–all…

From Dirt Issue 110 – April 2011

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones.

Orange Five, Lapierre Zesty; about as good as it gets for the voyages they were designed. Flawed brilliance mind you – not enough sizes for the Halifaxian and not as good damping on the Lyon speed merchant. Where did that leave us? Yeti ASR C, another flying machine, but really pushed to the outer reaches of its chosen trajectory when you start involving rock. Deep down and dirty kind of ain’t what the beast of Denver was all about.

But very much the mindset of the Stumpjumper EVO and Enduro. Many have opted for the longer way around for turbulent journeys – the Enduro – it takes more time, a fatter route to charm its way through the hurly burly. One of the most difficult decisions facing the rider today is not what brand, but what amount of travel.

And so with space and time converging and manufacturers desperate to tear apart the millimetres between bikes, the numbers are slowly beginning to stack up against them. A united trail geometry. Hell it’s taken long enough. Fifteen whole years to get a bike that can do pretty much anything with reasonable amount of conviction. Where was I? Oh yes, enter the Stumpjumper EVO. Progression and all that.

But a few steps back for starters, for example the Los Angeles cable chaos that begins (or ends) from both brake and transmission engine rooms going ringroad around the frame and converging in one almighty mess at the bar. A bar made for one strange human being. Weird. Did they punch the wrong output number in the bar factory?

The Fox fork, nowhere near the performance of its current FIT form, the double chainring on ten speed – necessary or not, the shifting is inconsistent. The cheap grips, flaky wheels, daft chain guard behind the cassette and…well that’s about it really. See in yet another attempt, like the bigger bashing Enduro, to manufacture a bike for all seasons they are bound to go slimline on a few items and create a certain degree of clutter.

Oh there was something else. The Stumpjumper has a tendency to yield all too easily to input from above. Transfer of rider power is not as efficient as it could be due to the soft suspension. This is especially true when riding flatter rocky terrain. However once the rocks are clinging to the side of a camber or cliff the Stumpjumper will perform as good, if not better, than any other 140mm bike out there. Grip and angles on the Stumpy are pretty phenomenal.

OK it’s not the fastest all–day trail riding bike, but can it bloody descend. Off–camber roots and diving corners, any type of descending, the Specialized has a mesmerizing ride quality. All the slowness felt on the flat becomes lost in a blur. It’s because you can hit corners with total stability, grip and balance – very, very fundamental things needed for descending that are lacking on many other trail bikes that are a little high on the bottom bracket and therefore too upright in the corners. I mean who the hell has heard of a 140mm bike that drifts and corners like a downhill machine. EVO, well it certainly is advancement in that respect.

And that softness could be its strength is some ways. It’s certainly well suited for wet weather winter riding offering up the kind of give needed in heavy weather. But this comes at a price, because it’s going take a beating with the hard riding angles and attitude that it certainly possesses. I wonder how long it will last in harder, hotter conditions. The fork is already knocking and the shock has deteriorated. For three grand these suspension components are average.

Overall thoughts? One of the leading lights of trail biking and although not as fast at continual up and down all day trail riding as the Yet ASRC it’s still probably the bike I would take out for climb and full–on descend action…it simply covers all the layers of riding that most of us do. Strip it down a bit, fix up some stronger wheels, rid it of cable confusion, pump in a bit more physicality to the shock tune for drier conditions and go and get some times in.

Although not as gutsy or as heavy as the Last AM, the Specialized EVO has the weight and angles that other 140’s crave after but ain’t got the bollocks to manufacture. Yet even though it’s probably the most manoeuvrable 140 bike available, I still feel there is better to come from this bike.

SPEC
Frame Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, 145mm
Rear Shock Fox RP23 with Boost Valve
Fork Fox F150 RL, 15mm thru–axle, 150mm
Front Derailleur SRAM X.7
Rear Derailleur SRAM X.0, 10-speed
Shifters SRAM X.9
Chainset Custom SRAM Carbon S-2200
Chainrings SRAM, 36 x 24
Bottom Bracket SRAM PF-30
Cassette Shimano, 11-36
Chain KMC X10
Brakes Custom Avid Elixir R CR SL
Bars Specialized Enduro low-rise bar
Stem Specialized XC
Headset 1 1/8 and 1.5″ Threadless
Grips Specialized lock-on
Rims Roval Traverse AL
Front Hub Roval Traverse AL
Spokes DT Swiss Competition, stainless
Tyres S-Works Purgatory F, Purgatory Control R
Seat Specialized BG Henge Comp
Seatpost Specialized Command Post

Price: £2999

Contact: www.specializeduk.co.uk

Thanks to Cwmdown and Fly Up for providing super quick double figure descending:

www.cwmdown.co.uk
www.flyupdownhill.co.uk

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