EVO

Field Test: Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy – The Golden Retriever of Bicycles

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy


Words by Alicia Leggett; photography by Tom Richards
Four decades after its 1981 introduction, the Specialized Stumpjumper lives on. This time, it’s in the form of the new Stumpjumper EVO Alloy, which brings the longified, slackified Stumpy EVO into a relatively affordable aluminum package.

The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO is a 150mm bike with a 160mm fork and 29″ wheels (though there’s an aftermarket MulletLink available to run a 27.5″ rear wheel). Just like its carbon sibling, the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy has a clean, asymmetric frame design, internal cable routing, and the first SWAT box found on an alloy bike. Zooming in a bit closer, it has swappable headset cups that allow for a degree of adjustment in either direction and a rear flip chip that adjusts the bottom bracket by 7mm and changes the chainstay length by 5mm, also adding another half degree of headset adjustment. With three headset positions, two flip chip positions, and the option to run mixed wheel sizes, that’s, what, 12 possible combinations?

Stumpjumper EVO Alloy Details

• Travel: 150mm rear / 160mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29″ (option to run mixed wheels with MulletLink)
• Head Angle: 63-65.5° (geometry finder tool)
• Reach: 475mm (S4)
• Chainstay length: 438 – 443 mm (S1 – S4), 448 – 453 mm (S5, S6)
• Sizes: S1 – S6 (S4 tested)
• Weight: 34.38 lb / 15.56 kg (S4)
• Price: $3,800 USD, $5,600 USD, $1,900 USD for frame and Float X
Specialized Bikes

As for build options, the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy comes in two flavors, starting with the relatively inexpensive Comp build that comes with a SRAM NX drivetrain, Code R brakes, a Fox Rhythm 36 fork, and a Fox Float X Performance shock for $3,800 USD. For those who want fewer compromises, the Elite build comes with a SRAM GX drivetrain, Code RS brakes, a Fox Factory 36 fork, and a Fox Float X shock for $5,600 USD. Want to start from scratch? Specialized also offers a frameset with a Float X shock for $1,900 USD. And then, of course, the carbon version of the bike offers all the no-holds-barred, fancy options at higher price points.
Our test bike was the Elite build in size S4, which has chainstays that are adjustable between 438mm and 443mm and weighs 34.38 lb (15.56 kg). The build, with a workhorse drivetrain and sturdy components, would be easy to shave some weight from if that were a priority, but as is, feels like a smart spec, although it’d be nice to see a version with Fox’s Performance Elite suspension, which offers all the same adjustments as the Kashima-coated stuff, but at a lower cost.

The SWAT box is the biggest and the best of the three in-frame storage compartments we saw at Field Test, and it’s a nice touch to bring that feature to an aluminum bike. Also, Specialized is one of the few companies that got the memo that dropper posts need to be longer, so the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy came specc’d with a 180mm OneUp post. Similarly, the stock riser bar was a nice change from several of the flat bars that came on our test bikes, and though both Kazimer and I preferred the bike with a 40mm stem to the 50mm one that came with it, the stock bike setup was a pretty dialed starting point.

Climbing

While the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy doesn’t present itself at first as a climber, it gets itself up the hill relatively efficiently and carries its 34 lbs gracefully. The shock tune has a bit more support than previous Stumpjumpers had, so the bike never felt too bogged down, even on long dirt road grinds. Of the bikes we tested, it’s an average climber – not as snappy as the Propain, which I’d rank as the best pedaler, and significantly more efficient than the Starling and especially the Ghost.

On technical climbs, the moderate front center helped keep the bike feeling comfortable and nimble. There’s no way it could be mistaken for a cross country bike, but at the same time, the compact, agreeable bike motored up just about whatever I wanted to climb. I’ll attribute that not to any outstanding efficiency, extremely light weight, or other special climbing characteristics, but just to the bike’s overall easy-to-ride, adaptable personality. It never felt too long, too short, too slack, or too twitchy; and if it did, it would probably be fixable with a simple geometry tweak.

Descending

The best thing I have to say about the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy is that generally when I rode it, I forgot I was riding it, definitely forgot to think about reviewing it, and just had a good old time. When a bike disappears like that and lets you just do your thing, the designers have done their jobs. One of my most technical rides of the trip took place on the Stumpy, and while there were features I was nervous to roll into, the fact that I was on an unfamiliar bike didn’t even cross my mind. The bike is just easy to get along with immediately.

The bike feels quite stable and doesn’t shy away from high speeds, even in the medium head angle setting. With a simple change of the upper drop-in headset cup, the Stumpy could become a bike park weapon, but the change never felt necessary even on some of the gnarliest Pemberton trails.

For a bike that has such middle-ground geometry, offers numerous setup possibilities, and has no outstanding characteristics other than just being really pleasant to ride, it would be easy to write off the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy as a boring bike, but that’s simply not the case.

Sure, the review might be boring, because it just does exactly what a trail bike is supposed to do without any extra fuss, but the suspension is so energetic and the bike so willing to do whatever you ask of it that it’s not a bike I’ll forget anytime soon. It’s a bike that I wouldn’t hesitate to take with me to the bike park, throw on a shuttle truck, or take for a long pedal day.

It’s worth mentioning that the Stumpy EVO Alloy was the longest-travel bike we tested in the batch of 130mm to 150mm trail bikes this Field Test, so it’s a bit more bike than anything else we’re reviewing this week. It’s also the bike we would most recommend to those looking for a trail bike that feels ready to take on some enduro races, as the head angle adjustment and extra bit of travel make it the most capable and versatile descender of the bunch. Some of the other bikes on test, namely the Starling Murmur and the Raaw Jibb, were also plenty capable when pointed downhill, but pigeonholed themselves into their own particular niches without the all-around ability to do it all that defines the Stumpy.


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