The new Specialized Stumpjumper EVO has just been launched get a sleek makeover whilst keeping the burly nature of EVO bikes. The 2021 bike gets widely adjustable geometry in the form of a flip-chip at the rear and interchangeable headset cups, size specific chainstays, plus 'mega SWAT' and more sizes in the range too.
The new 2021 Stumpjumper EVO slides into this 'Golden Age' of mountain biking with a host of features, Now rather than the bike courting a brief fling as cheaper bike and in just two sizes, the 2021 EVO gets its own very real identity. Specialized says it has evolved, something we'd totally agree with. The EVO has grown into an all-round trail shredder, 150mm of travel and progressive geometry, making it a jack of all trades and quite possibly the master of the trails too.
There are more sizes
The EVO is still a 29er with 150mm at the rear and a 160mm fork, but now comes in six sizes, in the 'S sizing format'. All bikes will be offered in sizes from S1 to S6. For example, I usually ride a medium bike so opted to ride an S3 with a reach of 450mm. But with super short seat tubes on the card, if I wanted a nippier bike with shorter reach, I could go for an S2 and equally if I wanted something longer and even more stable I could ride an S4 instead.
There's adjustable geometry
Adjustable geometry is a big feature of the new Stumpjumper EVO. Where previously you could just the bike from a 'high' position to a 'low' one at the rocker link, you can now adjust a flip-chip near the rear chainstay to adjust the bottom bracket height and alter the head angle additionally through three different eccentrically shaped headset cups in the head tube. This means a combination of six different set up positions, fine-tuning the bottom bracket height by 7mm and the head angle between 63 and 65.5 degrees.
Of, course there are other knock on effects of altering these characteristics including steepening or slackening the effective seat angle, shortening or lengthening the wheelbase and shortening or lengthening the reach. As you'll see from the geometry table above the geometry of the EVO is pretty progressive, figures such as 77.2 effective seat angle, a reach of 448mm and a head angle of 64.5 degrees on a S3 in the 'Factory Geometry Settings' (High BB, Middle head angle) are decent, especially considering riders can easily size up to an S4 if they'd prefer a longer reach (475mm) without feeling excessively stretched when seated. All cues point to a decent descender that can pedal up the hill too with the rider in an efficient position owing to that steep seat angle.
The last thing to note on geometry is the change of chainstay lengths across the range. Sizes S1 to S4 get 438mm chainstays, whilst the S5 and S6 bikes get 10mm added to that figure to make them 448mm. Whilst these aren't the longest chainstays ever, it's great to see a brand thinking about the fore to aft distribution of the rider as bikes get longer and longer front centre, balancing this. It's a win for taller and shorter riders alike .
Suspension kinematics have been revised
In terms of suspension, the EVO stays as a 29er with 150mm rear travel and 160mm up at the front and that asymmetric frame. Specialized also say they have tried to match the leverage rate and curve of the 2020 Enduro. They say that they have done this to offer optimal small bump compliance with good mid-stroke support and a complaint but controlled feel on big hits. Spesh said they have tried to create an axel path that mimics the Enduro too. The axel is said to move rearward in the first third of the travel, then vertically before arcing forward towards bottom out. Spesh says this decreases square edge bump 'hang-ups', helping riders to carry speed whilst the forward axel path helps disconnect from the pedalling forces in the mid part of the travel, allowing it to react to bumps from the trail.
It's carbon or nothing....
One of the last new things to note is that the bikes will only be available in carbon at the moment. There will be four bikes available on launch ranging from £3,900 to £9,250, all are a full carbon frame including a carbon rocker link. That frame comes in at a claimed 2,750g in an S4 size.
- Stumpjumper EVO Comp - £3,900. Fox 36 Rhythm fork, DPX2 Performance shock, Shimano SLX brakes and drivetrain.
- Stumpjumper EVO Expert - £5,000. Fox 36 Performance Elite fork, DPX2 Performance Elite shock, SRAM Code RS brakes and GX Eagle drivetrain
- Stumpjumper EVO Limited - £6,000. Rockshox Zeb Select Plus fork, Superdeluxe Select Plus coil shock, SRAM Code RS brakes, GX Eagle drivetrain
- Stumpjumper EVO S-Works - £9,250. Fox 36 Factory fork, DPX2 Factory shock, SRAM Code RSC brakes, XX1 Eagle AXS Drivetrain.
We asked if alloy bikes were somewhere in the future but we were met with blank stares and the shaking of heads.....
That carbon frame is stiffer than before they say, with a larger downtube which also gives rise to more SWAT space, it's now 15% bigger. The SWAT compartment comes complete with a 22oz shaped water bladder meaning you can carry this inside the down tube and a water bottle in the cage inside the front triangle too.
There's a mullet version
The Stumpjumper EVO limited version of the bike is a mullet bike with a coil shock and Rockshox Zeb fork rather than an all Fox set up. You can also get a different linkage to make any of the bike models mullet specific too without messing with the geometry adversely.
How does it ride?
The EVO is certainly an all-round trail machine and one I think you'd want to take racing too. I just had enough time for a morning's uplift with a short up pedal too and found the bike to be instantly confidence inspiring. Standing central on the bike, it was easy to let the brakes off and feel composed at high speeds over rough terrain. The S3 with a 448mm reach is almost bang on for me helping me feel right at home. The choice in sizes will allow more riders able to find something to their tastes which is a win for all involved.
The bike is easy to move around and it felt quickly more dynamic and purposeful than other longer travel 29er's I've ridden. With a little more time on the bike I'd like to nail down a better suspension set up, and get to grips with the various geometry settings. I rode the bike in 'high BB' and both 'middle' and 'slack' head angle settings. The latter stretching out the wheelbase slightly too and altering the feel of the steering bike at slower speeds, with more of a flip-flop feeling when riding slowly but more stability at higher speeds, without twitchiness. As expected this highlighted the way you could easily tune the bike on a day to day basis depending on the trails you ride, very appealing to the bike geek in me.
Pedalling the bike is a treat as well, it's comfy with an upright seated position where the legs are able to push straight down on the pedals efficiently. It's worth noting that I did ride the S-Works version of the bike which felt like a super light build. If one of these bikes comes to off-road.cc on test I'll weight it and pop some heavier casing, more supportive and grippy tyres on it and see how the bike pedals and descends then. I don't expect anything to be too wildly different, it felt like a tidy, nimble machine which you could weight and unweight on technical climbs with ease.
The adjustability of the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO excites me. It appears to be a consumer-friendly and easy solution to allow personal preferences to become a reality and that, I think, is a worthwhile thing to pay for.
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