Firstly, I’ll try and make this post as succinct as possible and not waffle too much.
Secondly, some back ground. I currently own a carbon 26” FS 5” trail bike and a 29” steel HT. Both of which are great bikes. One is light, stiff, strong with aggressive geometry and the other has that big wheel feel and benefits with playfulness.
Finally, I’m only on my fifth ride back after a 6 month absence due to amongst other things a fractured wrist. So fitness and trail confidence are slowly returning.
Anyway, over the last 6 months my absence has had me hankering for a 29 FS which has the best attributes of both my existing bikes with a view of replacing my 26” FS.
The bike I identified was the Stumpy Evo. On paper it looks right, with a slightly shorter seat tube (18.5” compared with 20.5” and 19”) and effective top tube (622mm compared with 627mm) than my current large frames. Right head angle, good spec, looks the part, good reviews, etc, etc.
So this weekend I managed to secure a demo and took it for a 20 mile familiar Peak route that I’ve been riding over the last 12 years on various bikes and a good benchmark route.
I might as well cut to the chase. I liked it. I liked it a lot and I’m right in wanting a 5” FS 29er trail bike but I’m not quite sure the Stumpy Evo is ‘the one’.
The Stumpy is light-ish, certainly heavier than both current bikes, although not overly so. It climbed and covered the ground nicely as you'd expect. It felt strong and stiff. The bottom bracket area alone is a great platform for the strength of the frame and for putting power through the pedals. The front of the frame the same and the Pikes were impressive if not a little harsh on the smaller, chatter aspects of trails. The XO1 drivetrain was pretty good too. Nice gear range and it never dropped the chain. But…
I found it difficult to get the front end up. Yes, I know you can get tablets for that. In fact the back end also. It was not as poppy or playful as I would have liked. Is this a suspension/design behaviour? Is this my fitness? Is this setup?
I suppose I’ve been used to the linkage driven single pivot of my FS and the snappy feel of steel with my HT. It was definitely great fun on the descents. Composed and confident. Which left me grinning steam rolling and monster trucking my way through and over familiar trail features.
Also sizing. My current bike has a 627mm eTT, a 50mm stem and 750mm bars. It’s nice, comfortable and roomy and provides direct, snappy steering to muscle the bike around. The Stumpy is supposedly 622mm eTT and the demo bike had a 75mm stem and 750mm bars. Yet it felt shorter, not necessarily cramped but not as comfortable and I feel that this bike could benefit from a shorter stem and dare I say it, wider bars still.
Unfortunately this would shorten the cockpit further and maybe Specialized’s stated eTT is a little on the generous side? This would probably also put me on top of the bike not in it. Which I’ve found to be a benefit of my 29er.
So, the Stumpy Evo is a good bike, I liked it, it was a great day out, but the demo ride didn’t seal the deal and I have reservations which I thought I’d share on here. The bike doesn’t have to be back until tomorrow afternoon so I’m going to squeeze in another ride just to make sure