-Most geometry adjustable Stumpjumper ever
-29-inch wheels, with mullet (27.5″ rear) capability
-For aggressive trail and enduro riding
-Clean lines, touch points, and quiet operation
-Two independent geometry adjustments
-Increased SWAT downtube storage
-Six possible geometry modes could be confusing to some
-No aluminum option
-More pedal bob than many dual-link bikes
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The Specialized Stumpjumper is perhaps the longest-running mountain bike model in the world—it was arguably the first mass-produced mountain bike, and it’s held a coveted spot in every Specialized catalog since the first one rolled out in 1981. Specialized made some big moves with the Stumpjumper lineup for its 40th birthday and set a couple notable milestones: The regular Stumpy is the first non-Horst-link Stumpjumper we’ve ever seen from the company, and this bike, the Stumpy EVO, is quite possibly the single most versatile mountain bike they’ve ever made.
Don’t get us wrong, nobody’s winning any XC races on this thing—it’s still an EVO after all, Specialized’s designation for bikes that like to get rowdy. But, with a headtube angle range from a reasonable 65.5 degrees all the way down to a jaw-dropping 63 degrees. That’s almost a full degree slacker than the Enduro in its slackest setting. Gnarly! But wait, there’s more: The bike will happily run a 27.5-inch rear wheel for the troublemakers among us.
Stumpy EVO’s broad geometry range is made possible by two independent adjustments: head angle via swappable upper headset cups, and bottom bracket height via flip chips at the chainstay pivot. With two cups—neutral and offset—riders can select between three head tube angles: high, neutral, and low. The bottom bracket flip chips allow for two positions, resulting in a possible six configurations. This can get a bit confusing, but fear not; the adjustments are pretty quick to make, and Specialized offers a nice little geometry finder resource on its site so you can easily see the numbers for each setting and get a short synopsis for each to help figure out which mode is best for a given terrain or handling preference.
Not everyone among our experienced test crew has always been a fan of adjustable geometry bikes, and for good reason. Over the years, there haven’t been a ton of examples of both useful and clean geometry-adjust bikes that ride well in every setting. With most, the change is either not big enough to make a difference, or one of the positions compromises the ride quality too much. Not the case here; this bike has converted at least some of the geo-adjust skeptics among the team.
Because it’s so adjustable, it can get a bit complicated to talk about how the Stumpy EVO rides, but in a nutshell, we’re essentially looking at a range between aggressive trail and enduro riding. It has the range to bridge into both the normal Stumpjumper and Enduro’s wheelhouses, but riders planted firmly in either the “I really want to make the most out of the climbs” camp, or the “I just want to hit huge shit” camp should probably still go the more purpose-built options, respectively. Things admittedly do get a bit murky on the more aggressive side of the Stumpy EVO’s spectrum, since it does actually get slacker than the Enduro.
This definitely creates some overlap, but think about it this way: The EVO has less travel, so it’s more poppy, maneuverable, and lighter. As a mullet, the EVO’s party-lap potential is high, whereas the Enduro and its 170 millimeters of travel is more of a big-hit brawler. And of course, anyone looking specifically for a multiple-bikes-in-one type experience will find themselves with an easy choice.
Even though the EVO still does speak loudest to riders looking to “get rad,” it still has to climb well. Specialized knows that most of us still pedal our way to to the zones we love dropping into. Whether it’s on fire roads or techy singletrack, our testers found the EVO up to the task. Geometry-wise, it’s no secret or surprise that the EVO climbs best in the high/steep mode, but the fact is, it’ll climb better than the previous EVO in any of its six settings. Riders familiar with the last EVO’s uphill prowess will be blown away by how much better this one is. Even in the lowest, slackest mode the seat angle is still above 76 degrees, too, so even though it’s quite a bit slacker than it could be in another mode, it’s still respectably steep.
Sure, those of us more sensitive to pedal bob do find ourselves reaching for the compression knob on fire roads or steep, technical bits, but the knob is really close and easy to reach, and it offers a perfect level of support without being overly stiff and traction-robbing. The Stumpy EVO doesn’t pedal quite as neutrally as many dual-link bikes with more complex leverage curves, but it’s fantastic for a four-bar—and it’s tough to match the ground hugging experience that FSR delivers on descents.
The Stumpjumper EVO delivers on features, too. The SWAT box opening in the downtube has been enlarged, as has the room inside. The bike comes with a soft bladder type water bottle, allowing riders to keep another 22-ounces of hydration inside the bike. When the external bottle is depleted, you can simply stop and refill it with your SWAT’d stuff. And, there’s still room for a jacket, snacks and spares. Even the staunchest hydration pack advocates can appreciate an innovation like that.
Everything from the integrated chain slap protection, angled shock eye bolt on the yoke, and industry-leading internal cable routing, to the thoughtful spec at all price points, sweet color options, and superb rubber, is extremely dialed on this Stumpy EVO. The fit-and-finish is as good as it’s ever been. The Stumpy makes 40 look good.
Photos: Anthony Smith
For $4,300, the Stumpjumper EVO Comp represents a real workhorse. It’s still above four grand, but uses the same carbon frame as the $10,000 S-Works model complete with the same extra SWAT bottle bladder and all, and comes kitted with the incredibly impressive Shimano SLX 12-speed group, including those cool-blue cranks. The Fox DPX2 Performance shock has 3 compression positions, so Comp riders can still firm up for climbing if desired, and the Fox 36 Rhythm fork is our favorite value offering in the category. Specialized doesn’t cut corners on the Comp’s tires, either. It has the same exact rubber found on the S-Works model. Yes, $4,300 is still a lot of dough, but you’re not likely to find a better spec’d bike for the price anywhere else. Especially one this versatile.