With the Stumpjumper FSR, Specialized took the bike out of the thought process of a technical trail. You know the bike can do it, but can you? There is only one way to find out. Your gearing is right so you start your attack on the single track climb. It’s loose with some baby head rocks, but you keep hammering up. The middle of the next 180 degree switchback has a rock shelf stepping up about a foot and a half, so you set up wide and turn in late so you can try to attack it straight on. You lift the front wheel and go for it. You have good placement so you give it a strong pedal kick to get the back end up and over. You are almost to the top, but have to grind the last bit out through the rutted trail. You make it to the top, amazed that you did it without dabbing a foot, but it is too early to celebrate. The tail has already turned and you are heading back down. Again, the dirt is loose, baby head rocks are chasing you down the trail and now as you go into the trees, the leaves aren’t helping your traction situation. You check the brakes, but release them before you go into the off camber left so you can maintain what traction there is. The trail gets steeper and faster and up ahead is a short rock garden. You have a smooth line picked out through it but at the last second see a tree root to boost off of and decide to gap the garden completely. The trail continues on as your legs and forearms pump full of lactic acid, but this is no time to think about that, you need to stay focused. It starts to level out and it looks to be heading back up, but you aren’t sure so you take a squirt of water and charge forward, ready for what is ahead.
Obviously, the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29er frame is light and stiff. That has always been one of the compelling reasons to get on a Stumpjumper. Over the years, Specialized has refined their flagship bike’s geometry and trail feel into what it is today – one of the most advanced trail bikes on the market. Constructed out of FACT 9m carbon fiber, it is one of the lightest and stiffest frames on the market. The frame has dedicated 29er geometry, meaning that Specialized didn’t simply take the 26 inched wheels Stumpjumper and stretch it out to fit the bigger wheels on it. They designed the bike, from the ground up, around the 29 inch wheels so the bike still feels balanced and capable. Specialized also equipped the pivots with full-cartridge bearings that last longer and move smoother than standard bushings. The Stumpjumper FSR frame is also designed with a PF30 bottom bracket. When the PF30 BB came out, we all were saying, “Great, another BB type to worry about.” But the PF30 quickly and convincingly showed everyone that it should be the only standard. The larger interface offers larger bearings that aide in smoother turning of the cranks, longer life of the bearings, and better power transfer to the rear wheel to help you sprint ahead or get to the top of that steep climb. With the low BB height and the slack head tube angle of the frame, the Stumpjumer FSR corners like it is on rails. It’s all about how far you are comfortable pushing it. With 130mm of travel in the rear, there isn’t much that a trail could throw at you that the bike can’t handle.
Specialized has truly spared no expense to keep this bike in a class of its own. The legendary, patented Specialized FSR suspension system has been around for a long time and has been a staple of Specialized. What FSR (Future Shock Rear) gives you is a vertical axle path that isolates the suspension from any influences from your pedals or to your pedals. What that means to you is that you have fully active suspension 100% of the time allowing the bike to work with you, not against you. By separating pedal influence from your suspension, you don’t get any pedal bob or suspension lock out. That is the pitfall of some other suspension designs. When you start to pedal, on those designs, you can either induce suspension compression (pedal bob) which means less of your pedal power is getting to the rear wheel driving you forward, or in other designs the opposite can happen and the suspension gets stiffer while you are pedaling. When that happens, you get less traction in the rough stuff. With FSR, that doesn’t happen. Your rear wheel is free to respond to the terrain you are riding 100% of the time, giving you traction and better power output.
Specialized refined FSR even further thanks to the custom-designed FOX/Specialized Brain Fade shock with AUTOSAG and a Kashima coating. AUTOSAG is an ingenious system that makes dialing in your suspension setting easier than ever. Just pump up the shock to 20-30psi above your weight, sit on the bike, let out the extra pressure from the blow-off valve, and you’re air pressure for the rear shock is set. If you are not familiar with the Brain Fade shock system, it is an inertia valve that automatically turns the suspension "on" and "off" instantaneously to always provide the perfect ride. The inertia valve is mounted inside a near-vertical cylinder near the rear axle. The inertia valve controls the shock's ability to compress; the resulting system responds to terrain input (bumps and dips), but not to rider input (pedaling). Forces from the ground activate the inertia valve inside the Brain, which opens and allows the shock to absorb bumps. By using the blue dial on top of the Brain cylinder, you can control the breakaway threshold of the inertia valve in your Brain from stiff and efficient to super plush and active and anywhere in between, giving you the ability to tune your suspension to your riding style and the terrain you are riding.
Up front, the FOX Float CTD Evolution 29 fork features 130mm of travel, rebound, and lockout adjustments. The CTD variable stiffness settings allow you to precisely change the ride feel at the flick of a switch. Leave it on Climb for attacking up the hill, Trail for all-around ripping, and Descend for ultimate downhill control. Add the front and rear together, and you’ve got an unbeatable suspension setup to tackle your favorite off-road Bay Area locale.
The Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29 comes equipped with a Shimano XTR and XT 2x10 speed drivetrain with a SRAM X7 front derailleur. Accompanying the drivetrain is SRAM’s carbon S-2200 mountain cranks (36/22t chainrings) which are incredibly light and very stiff. For wheels, it is spec’d with the Roval Control Carbon 29 142+ wrapped with a Specialized tubeless ready Purgatory Control tire up front and Ground Control in the rear. These feathery light, hand-built hoops feature precise DT Swiss hub internals, 22mm wide carbon tubeless, hookless rims, and buttery smooth sealed cartridge bearings. The result: an all-carbon trail wheelset light enough to race on, and strong enough to take on the toughest trails you can find. And while on those trails you will not have to worry about getting the bike stopped either. Equipped with Shimano XT disc brakes (rotor sizes vary with frame size) you have all the power you need to get the bike stopped. But that isn’t everything in a brake. Control over that power, known as modulation, is also important. You don’t want the wheels to lock. You want to control how fast you are slowing down, and Shimano brakes are some of the best in both categories. Also adding to the Stumpy’s trial performance is an internally activated Command Post IR adjustable height seat post so you can change the seat height on the fly with the remote mounted on the bars so you can adjust the bike to the trail as you go.
How does it Climb?
As you could expect from the weight and stiffness of the Stumpjumper FSR, it climbs like a dream. The components spec of the bike offers you all the gear ratios necessary to tackle any climb while at the same time keeping the weight down by having less physical gears. The stand out thing about how this bike climbs is the suspension. By being able to adjust the travel on the fork, tune it through the CTD settings and through the Specialized Brain rear shock, you have a pedaling platform that is second only to the Specialized Epic, which is their bike designed much more around climbing than all around trail riding like the Stumpjumper. You can feel each pedal stock propelling you forward. Even when the trail turns into something out of a disaster movie, the bike is able to easily navigate through it. Just keep pedaling and keep your forward momentum and there isn’t much you can’t get up.
How does it Descend?
With the dedicated 29er geometry of the Stumpjumper FSR 29, the bike is nimble and easy to handle, which is exactly what you want while descending. You want to have complete control over your bike and being able to make it do what you want, when you want. With the low bottom bracket and slacker head angle the bike is very stable at high speeds and while leaned over in a corner. The larger 29 inch wheels help with stability due to their larger gyroscopic effect while rotating, while the tires offer better traction due to having more contact with the ground vs. a 26 in wheel. That and the fact that the wheel base of this 29er is only 1cm longer than the 26 inch wheeled version, again, makes the Stumpjumper FSR easy to flick around and smash through some of the most technical terrain out there. If the trail can be ridden down on a bike, the Stumpy will be able to do it too.
For someone looking for a bike that can do everything, the Stumpjumper FSR is a fantastic choice. It is the bike that all others are compared to. It is one of the most capable bikes out there. It climbs like nothing else in the Trail Bike category and descends with the best of them. Are there bikes out there that climb better? Yes. Are there bikes out there that descend better? Yes. But there isn’t much that can say it does both at the level that the Stumpy does. If you are looking for a longer travel trail bike that you can still climb strongly with, you do not need to look any further. This is it.
|Frame||Specialized FACT 9M carbon front triangle, M5 aluminum rear triangle|
|Fork||Fox Float CTD Performance 29, 130mm travel|
|Rear Shock||Fox/Specialized Remote Brain w/AutoSag, BrainFade adjust, 130mm travel|
|Rims/Wheels||Roval Control Carbon 29|
|Spokes||DT Swiss Super Comp|
|Tires||Specialized tubeless-ready; Front: Purgatory Control, 29 x 2.3; Rear: Ground Control, 29 x 2.3|
|Crankset||SRAM S-2200 carbon|
|Chainrings||36/22 w/carbon guard|
|Front Derailleur||SRAM X7|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XTR Shadow Plus|
|Rear Cogs||SRAM PG-1050, 10-speed: 11-36|
|Handlebars||Specialized XC Mini-Riser, aluminum|
|Tape/Grips||Specialized Sip Grip|
|Stem||Specialized Trail, aluminum|
|Brake Levers||Shimano XT|
|Brakes||Shimano XT discs|
|Saddle||Body Geometry Henge Comp|
|Seatpost||Specialized Command Post IR, adjustable height w/remote|
|Accessories & Extras||Bottle cage, EMT tool, Top Cap chain tool, Chain tensioner|
* Subject to change without notice.
Displaying reviews 1-4
I am 45 years old, coming off of a 2008 Stumpjumper FSR Comp that I bought used in 2011. I have been an off road biker since the BMX days in the early 80's. I do the occasional race but most of my time on the bike is what I would consider trail riding. I have been shopping for the last two years and after MUCH consideration, I pulled the trigger on this one. About the bike: At first look in real life (very different than looking at pictures) you notice how tough it looks - everything looks oversized - the frame tubing, the bottom bracket, the 34mm forks. It just looks bomb proof. After riding, it feels like it looks. The 29 inch wheels seem to roll over ANYTHING. I have had many bikes over the years and have made them last longer than most people because of the way I ride - looking for the smoothest lines and unweighting and easing over obstacles. This bike has changed the way I ride. I just point the front wheel and go. Jumps and drops are like having a big pillow to land on because of the suspension. Having the dropper seat-post is like having two different bikes. In its lowest position, I feel like I am sitting between these two giant wheels and able to drop off anything. Whatever disadvantage there is to the bigger wheels compared to 26 inchers seems to be cancelled out with this seat-post. I have read some reviews about the Specialized seat-post not having the infinite adjustment but the three positions work great for me. Up all the way for my most efficient pedal position, the mid position for just about any downhill or rough terrain, and all the way down for crazy stuff. I like being able to go back to the same positions consistently. I will say I am a SRAM fan because of the shifters - I like the bigger shift contact and shifting up and down with my thumb. So I was pleasantly surprised with the dual action up-shift lever on the Shimano SLX shifters - can still do all shifting with my thumb. This purchase was a very hard sell to the Mrs. - was a lot of money to spend on a bike for me. I am not the rich jerk I keep hearing about. And I am sure the lesser SJ models would be just as capable. But one ride and you will know where your money went. So save your pennies, bag your lunch, keep driving that old car instead of buying the new one and get one of these if you can - you won't regret it!
I have been riding an older sworks carbon 26. After numerous injuries almost gave up riding. Then came the FSR. much easier on my body after ling rides no pain. 29er plus plush ride made me want to ride again. This Stumpy helps on the long Colorado Climbs and rocky downhills.
Bought this bike in Annapolis but only a few "shake-out" rides before taking it out to Marin California. There, my first major ride was the famous "Appetite Seminar", a 21 mile ride on Thanksgiving morning that includes the Pine Mountain Loop and Repack, the birth place of mountain biking. This new bike is just simply awesome! Balance, brakes, shifting, tires, suspension, all perfect! Last time I made this ride I burned 2,700 calories, this time even harder due to mud, mud, and more mud. No matter what you are riding now I would encourage you to give this bike a try to see what you are currently missing, the cutting edge of modern technology.
I test rode the camber and the aluminum version of this bike but the carbon with the brain is really great. I am not disappointed at all. I have taken on Mt [...] in [...] and [...]. fun all around.