Alex Steward (@alexsteward) is no stranger to a trail bike, we asked him to give us his first-hand review of his newest toy, the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo.
As a winner of multiple awards including MBR’S 2022 Trail Bike of the Year test, the Stumpy Evo Comp has more than proved its worth. So what, if anything, does the more expensive Expert version bring? Obviously, the specification is improved; SRAM GX was replaced by XO1, and the Fox 36 Rhythm fork was upgraded to Performance Elite and matched to a Fox Float X shock of the same standard. It even gets a 180mm OneUp V2 dropper.
The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo is a super capable trail bike, rolling on 29” wheels and utilising 160mm of travel on the front and 150mm of travel outback. This expert model uses a lightweight carbon frame and retails at £5800. The Stumpjumper Evo is one of the most versatile bikes in the Specialized mountain bike range, coming with a high and low BB setting, adjusting the height by 7mm depending on the setting.
In addition, the Stumpjumper Evo also comes with a 3-position headset adjustment, allowing the rider to choose from a 63 to 65.5-degree headset angle, meaning riders can fine-tune their bike for the type of terrain they’re riding. And of course, it’s not a signature Specialized carbon-framed bike without the signature SWAT downtube storage. With 15% more space than with previous iterations, this frame storage can fit a lightweight rain jacket, tool bag and the new Specialized 650ml SWATer bladder. Finally, a nice touch on the bike is the multi-tool located on the bottle cage, making on the fly tweaks to the bike as simple as possible.
Fork – FOX FLOAT 36 Performance Elite, GRIP2 damper, 15x110mm, 44mm offset, S1: 150mm of travel, S2-S6: 160mm of travel
Shock – FOX FLOAT X Performance Elite, Rx Trail Tune, EVOL Air sleeve, 2-position lever w/ LSC adjustment, S1:210x50mm, S2-S6:210x55mm
Wheels – Roval Traverse 29 Alloy, 30mm inner width, hand-built, 2Bliss Ready
Tyres – Butcher, GRID TRAIL casing, GRIPTON® T9 compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″ (front) / Eliminator, GRID TRAIL casing, GRIPTON® T7 compound, 29×2.3″ (rear)
Rear Derailleur – SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette – SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 10-52t
Chain – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Crankset – SRAM Descendant 7K, DUB, S1:165mm, S2-S5: 170mm, S6: 175mm
Brakes – SRAM Code RS w/ 200mm rotors
Seatpost – One-up Dropper Post v2 (S1:120mm, S2/S3:150mm, S4: 180mm, S5/S6: 210mm)
Grips – Deity Knuckleduster grips (Swapped to Deity Lockjaw)
Bottom Bracket – SRAM DUB, BSA 73mm, threaded
The first thing you’ll notice when you point the Stumpjumper Evo uphill is just how well it climbs. For a 29er with 160/150 travel, it’s quite surprising how fast this bike can climb and really makes you want to push harder up every climb. The Stumpjumper Evo’s climbing characteristics are down to the bike’s lightweight, and incredibly supportive rear suspension, which creates no noticeable pedal bob when stamping down, this is further complemented by the SRAM eagle drivetrain, making it easy to spin up any climb. From long climbs in the saddle to out the saddle sprints up hills, this bike will fly up to them with no issues at all.
There is only one word to sum up the Stumpjumper Evo when descending, balanced. Whether you’re riding flat corners with no support or hitting a berm flat out, the bike always feels in control and predictable, making it a very confidence-inspiring bike to ride. The rear suspension tracks the ground well, creating great traction in rough terrain, yet remains playful enough to give you the ability to pop off lips of jumps and find natural gap jumps. This bike is a ton of fun to ride and makes you want to push the limits of the bike harder and harder every time you jump on it, with the actual limit of the bike being incredibly hard to find on anything but a full-on downhill track.
When discussing the negatives of this bike, there aren’t many to point out and you really have to nit-pick to find any at all. This bike being a jack of all trades bike does, unfortunately, mean it’s a master of none. Not being the best bike in one specific category, however, unlike many bikes with similar travel to the Stumpjumper Evo, very few can get close on such a wide variety of terrain. The only other slight point to consider with this bike, and it’s more an observation than a criticism, is the suspension isn’t the plushest when pushing it through rough terrain. The other side to that however is the bike isn’t designed to feel incredibly plush and bottomless, but to feel playful and versatile.
Overall, this is an incredibly capable, and confidence-inspiring bike on a variety of terrain. The geometry is extremely well balanced, never making you feel unbalanced on the bike. With the six different geometry settings, you’ll always be able to adjust the bike to suit your riding style and typical terrain. This bike is just as happy climbing as it is ripping the descent, making it an incredible all-rounder and the perfect example of ‘one bike does all’.