The women’s Specialized Stumpjumper in the Comp Alloy form is the cheapest bike in the range, coming in both 27.5 and 29er guises. It’s a fun bike and a light build that will devour most trails in the UK but the geometry isn’t set up for going fast or getting really rowdy. We wished it took a leaf from the EVO book to add a touch more stability and boost confidence on the descents. As it is, it looks like Spesh used up all their ‘wild’ tokens on the bikes more aggressive brother, making this Stumpy decidedly conservative.
Both the men’s and the women’s spec of the bottom of the range Stumpjumper are similar aside from the women’s specific parts of the Myth saddle, narrower bars, slimmer grips and of course the women’s RX Women’s Tune on the fork and shock, more on that later though. The men get bikes in frame sizes S-XL where us women are treated to the option of an XS but no XL. The frame is an alloy one as the name suggests and features a threaded bottom bracket and full internal cable routing, which is some of the neatest I’ve ever seen.
Adorning the frame is suspension from Fox, there is a 150mm Fox Float Rhythm 34 fork with GRIP damper and low speed rebound adjustment and a Fox Float DPS Performance shock at the rear, also boasting 150mm of travel. The shock gets the low speed rebound adjustment too and also the three position compression adjustment lever giving you a fully open mode, a trail mode and a closed option, each dialling on more low speed compression respectively.
At this price point Specialized have picked out a Shimano SLX 11 speed drivetrain, paired with a 32T chainring and for this size medium bike, a 170mm Race Face Aeffect crankset. Stopping also comes courtesy of Shimano with SLX brakes, although next seasons ‘Comp’ spec bikes will see SRAM Guide R brakes and an NX Eagle 12 speed drivetrain for just £100 more. The next season bikes are in stock now, as soon as these 11spd models (as tested) are sold through, the Alloy Comp Stumpy will be 12 speed and will cost £2,600.
For the time being though, the bike has a Spesh Roval Traverse wheelset with a 'wide enough' 29mm internal diameter with a 2.6” Butcher tyre up front and 2.6” Purgatory at the rear. It’s nice to see the GRID casing and Gripton compound specced on these tyres, it’s a combination that should see you through most weather conditions without needing change tyres unless it's really mucky. The newer 12 speed bikes get 1mm wider 30mm internal width Roval Traverse wheels. Lastly, there is an X Fusion Manic dropper post and whilst our test bike came with a 125mm dropper, the medium bikes and above will all get 150mm posts. This little lot adds up to 31.3lbs (14.1kg) which I didn’t think was at all bad for a long-legged, SLX equipped alloy trail bike.
Value for money isn’t outstanding for the cheapest Stumpjumper but it is on par with similar bikes from the likes of Giant, Norco and Merida for example. Buying a Spesh does get you a nicely made frame with great looks that Specialized says is much stiffer than previous bikes due to the new asymmetric frame design. It certainly felt like a nimble, accurate bike but I’m not sure in this frame size that the difference between previous Stumpjumpers I've ridden and my test bike was immediately discernable. There is potential that the larger frames have benefitted more from the stiffness upgrade and this can only be a good thing. There’s no SWAT integration on this low end bike either, although you do still get the rather nifty ridged chainstay protector which, all but silences chain slap when riding.
When riding the women’s Stumpy in the first instance the bike felt sluggish and wallowy, a characteristic I fixed by altering the volume reducers in the fork and shock. The Women’s RX Tune sees the bike come fitted with a smaller reducer in the shock, I swapped the volume reducer in the shock from the yellow (0.63”) to a red (0.953”) one. I also inserted two volume reducers into the fork which was supplied with none inside. This transformed the bike to a much livelier ride, with more midstroke support and end stroke ramp up in the shock whilst retaining the small bump sensitivity. The fork felt better for its changes too, not diving through the travel so quickly and allowing me to run less pressure in the fork keeping a more supple feel. It's worth noting that the volume reducer supplies in men's bikes measures 0.8 3" and the fork on the men's Comp spec bike has no volume reducers inserted either so you might need to lay your hands on some and experiment.
With suspension sorted the women’s Stumpy and I were off to a much better start. Climbing is deceptively good for a bike that has a 75° seat tube angle (or 74.5° if you run the bike in the low position), a fact I put down to a light build, the bike certainly doesn’t have the figures on paper that might make it a good climber such as longer chainstays and a long wheelbase. Whatever the reason, it’s genuinely sprightly uphill, although switch the shock compression lever to Trail and it’s even better, the increase in low-speed compression taking away some of the bob that appears when really cranking hard, an inherent Specialized trait and the trade off for a generally very active and grip inducing suspension design.
The Stumpy in this alloy form is a light ride but one that still offers plenty of grip, I’ve complained previously in bike reviews about super stiff, super light bikes and I’m pleased to say the Stumpjumper Alloy Comp doesn’t follow suit. The 2.6” tyres front and rear also offer lots of traction, I’m a fan of the new Butcher up front for all year round riding.
Take the Stumpy downhill and the effect of the Specialized FSR linkage is immediately noticeable, it’s initially supple and where Stumpjumpers of old were renowned for lacking midstroke support, the 2019 linkage has been improved (along with my further alteration in volume reducers). The fork in this 150mm form isn’t the stiffest but it is light and commonplace for a bike of this spec and intentions.
The geometry of the Stumpy turns its hand to playful rather than fast, the reach at 435mm (in high position) on my medium test bike is erring on the side of short for a 150mm travel trail bike. It’s a conservative number, coupled with relatively short chainstays at 432mm and wheelbase of 1179mm, meaning the bike is capable over most trails my local vicinity of the Forest of Dean, but crank up the speed or launch into a steeper downhill section and the Stumpy felt quickly out of its depth and certainly loses some of its composure. The short nature meant less stability over rough terrain and much less off camber grip than is possible on a longer bike. I might be tempted to size up to a large Stumpy to gain some more reach but my 160cm height isn’t well matched to the longer 455mm seat tube length so that is, disappointingly, not an option.
Flipping the chip to the low position slackens the headangle to 65°, drops the bottom bracket and increases the wheelbase but this comes at the price of less reach, what you give with one hand you take with the other, shortening the reach giving the bike a more cramped feel on the descents, all whilst the increase in wheelbase and decrease of the BB isn’t that noticeable. Descending on the Stumpjumper is best approached in a playful manner, it’s a hoot with its low bottom bracket to sling into corners, just make sure your weight is well balanced between the wheels as there isn’t a huge amount of room for error should things go wrong and the front wheel want to tuck.
The Stumpjumper is the definitive all-rounder for those that aren’t into radical and progressive geometry, it’ll pedal all day, be comfortable too and it’ll hit up any manner of trails in style as long as you are happy to keep a check on the speed or would rather be creative than fast. You might read my bike reviews and get the feeling that I’m a fan of longer bikes, and you’d be right I am, I do however understand that that type of bike isn’t for everybody. To this end, I put a few of my similar sized female friends aboard the Stumpy with the resounding verdict that “it feels a little small” when descending.
Comparisons with other 150mm travel bikes; the Giant Trance, the YT Jeffsy 27.5 and the Norco Sight prove that Specialized isn't bucking the trend with their geometry. All these bikes have identical reach figures and very similar geometry in general, it seems to be the current train of thought of some bike manufactures that bikes in this 'long travel trail' category should be conservative in geometry and whilst they continue to sell bikes I think they could all benefit from being stretched out a little and turned into absolute rippers, capable of even more competent descending as well as trailblazing adventures.
On the disparity between the regular version and the EVO Stumpjumper, Specialized had this to say, "Ultimately, the regular Stumpjumper is an all round trail bike, great for both climbing and descending. Whereas the Evo is more gravity bias and is a great bike to rip downhill on. Essentially, the Evo allows you to ride harder and bigger terrain, with emphasis on the descents, due to the longer reach, slacker head tube angle, lower bottom bracket and all round more aggressive geo. We didn’t want to isolate and restrict riders wanting to ride gnarly downhill tracks by just offering the standard Stumpy, so the Evo proves a gravity based alternative. We aren’t saying one or the other is necessarily better, just giving choices based on what we found out while riding test bikes in the development of the new bike. With the enduro team choosing the regular Stumpjumper, it shows that the standard bike is pretty capable as well and can also handle those tracks."
The Stumpjumper seems a little left behind today's more progressive bike brands, it’s a long travel trail bike that should absolutely rip, yet I think the geometry is holding it back. The slack headangle and amount of travel all point towards a bike that should have aggressive intentions but the typical riding of the 2019 Stumpjumper is likely to be much tamer. It’s a bike that is much happier taking things a little slower and jibbing about or taking on long adventure missions rather than lapping out trails on steep hillsides....for that you need the EVO and it is pretty cool that Specialized are giving us the choice.
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