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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR

Iconic breed gets more wheel sizes for 2016

The need for speed is often missed in the scrum for hefty lummox bikes currently so fashionable, so in demand, so fully underused. In the heat of the action, the complex root systems, immoveable rock and demanding gradients where you are fighting gravity there is no doubt that longer travel and room for error are quicker and allows for mistakes. But it’s not always about time and comfort, its about feeling, avoiding contact…just plain mucking about.

“does that then mean that the 650 Stumpy is a brute and a 29” Stumpy a dancer? That’s where it gets tricky”

This is a place where the meatheads often miss the point, where skill and less travel means more thought, a heightened hecticness, 130-140mm can be one hell of a lot of fun – and a hell of a lot of travel compared to a contradictory hardtail antique.

So does that mean then that the 650 Stumpy is a brute and a 29” Stumpy a dancer? That’s where it gets tricky. The Stumpjumper FSR range is available in 135/140mm in 29” wheel options or 150/150mm in 650b wheels sizing, split evenly with five component specifications in each wheel size from the basic Comp model at £2200 to this the flagship S Works bike at £6500.


Safe option?

The 29” wheel bike might have less travel than its 650b stablemate but in comparison its quicker and has more grip, a perfect blend for UK trail riding especially trail centres where the bigger wheel size rolls over the square rocks and for the off camber, flat corners in mud where 29” offers undoubted more levels of grip.

The 650b wheeled bike is a charger too. It’s just as light, has roughly the same component specification and looks pretty much identical. With a bit more travel it can charge slightly harder than the 29” bike and …. well that’s pretty much it. Except for the fact that there is a perception that some are scared of the increased speed on offer of the 29” bike so the smaller wheel is a more manageable option and…well all their mates now have 650b bikes and they’d hate to piss over them. 650b Stumpy….amazing bike but the safe option.

It’s a real tricky business for shops when it comes to selling bikes with different wheel size options. So which way do you go? Sean White of Worcester Cycle Centre says “You don’t want people walking out of the shop scratching their head, you’ve got to be really careful not to overload the customer with too much information when often people will see good looking bikes and it looks like a bike they will want to own. People also say 29” needs a heightened skill set.”

Now available in the 27Plus/B+ wheel system which Specialized has named 6Fattie – Check out our thoughts on the Stumpjumper with this wheel set up here.

Either way, great bike.


Sean Estes,Specialized Global PR Manager

I was a die-hard 26 guy for years. I was one of the last at S to make the transition to 29. Mind you I was one of the slowest too – not to say I am slow, more so to say the rest of the MTB product team are all ridiculously fast. I am the slowest of a mostly fast crew you could say.

I tried a Stumpy 29 at a press camp in Bend and it felt really good, a little slow in some situations but super fast overall and super smooth. I built up my own 29 as soon I got home. Kept the 26 thinking I’d want to swap around for different scenarios. Turns out I never rode the 26 again. Sold it a few months later and never looked back. Have been a die-hard 29 since that day and have converted many friends who were also 26 stalwarts.

Fast forward to about a year or so ago when I see Buck (Joe Buckley R&D) test riding a bike with big ass balloon tires. I was curious because Buck is the fastest and most consistent rider in the group (Don’t tell Brandon Sloan I said that!) and he also happens to be the most opinionated and some might say stubborn. I wrote it off as just testing and figured even the fastest guys have to ride all the different stuff to at least know how it feels. He kept bringing the bike out on more and more rides and then Todd Cannatelli was on one too, except a hardtail. And he was chalking up some mega fast Strava segment times on rough trails – like top-10 out of many hundreds of people. Now I was really curious.

“riding like a ‘total asshole’, taking stupid lines that shouldn’t work”

Fast forward to this spring, with the release of the new Stumpy, I build up a 6Fattie for myself – Fox 34, XX1, all the good stuff. The perfect bike. Then at yet another press camp, I sneak in a loop at Downieville the day before camp starts, I climb up the brutal XC course at tempo with no warm up and I’m only about 4 minutes off my race pace from last year on a 1 hour climb. Then I drop into baby heads (extremely aptly named) and come to find once I upload that I PR’d every segment of the descent, some of which I landed in the top-10 out of thousands of riders. And I was, in the words of my buddy Nate Riffle who was with me on a stumpy 650 that day, and who happens to be a former pro DH racer, riding like a ‘total asshole’, taking stupid lines that shouldn’t work and simply pulling away from him due to no skill of mine.

I decided to race the 6fattie bike for the Downieville Classic All-Mtn. I managed to cut a full minute out my climb time over the prior year and another 7+ minutes out of the remainder of the XC course, for 15th place in the stacked pro category. The following day on the DH I came out of Sunrise trail, 7 minutes into the 14 mile long DH, only 1 second off Carl Decker’s best time on that segment (again, due to no talent of my own). I had caught my minute man within 10 minutes of the start, on upper Butcher Creek, when sadly I suffered a front puncture on one of many sections of awkward sharp rock. I made a mistake fixing the flat, lost my Co2 cartridge and thought my race was over. Luckily I was able to borrow supplies from fellow racers and salvage my run, tallying PR’s on all segments along the way. Even with all the trouble, I still bested my result from the year prior, for 23rd overall – even with the unscheduled 15 minute roadside pit stop.

Then I took the exact bike I raced on up to Crankworx and rode it all over Whistler valley for a week and never found myself wanting for more bike. For me, a rider who is fast but not mega fast and certainly not stylish nor talented, if anything just dedicated, the 6fattie is the most fun I have ever had on a mountain bike. It is also the fastest overall. It’s even fast on pavement, believe me, it is – I out-sprinted two riders on ‘normal’ bikes on the final pavement section to the finish at Downieville. If you are like me I think you will find the same conclusion. If you are a true pro rider then you may find different results, but let’s be honest, how many of us are true pros? Most of us are a lot more like me.

I think everyone should keep an open mind and ride everything they can get their hands on, not just wheel sizes but frame designs, tyre treads, casings, suspensions, narrow bars, wide bars, thin grips, thick grips, etc. It’s definitely not fair to knock something until you try it, because you never know what you will like or what will end up being faster. I have been very pleasantly surprised twice now with 29 and 6fattie, and who knows what the next surprise will be but I for one can tell you I can’t wait to be proved wrong yet again!



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