Behind The Scenes On The Specialized Stumpjumper Launch

by Wil Barrett 2

Two months ago, I had the fortune of travelling to Ainsa in Spain for the launch of the all-new Specialized Stumpjumper range. Having been there the year prior for the Levo Kenveo launch, Specialized had chosen to return to Ainsa for the Stumpy launch due to its huge network of rugged, natural singletrack and stunning snow-capped mountain backdrop.

For the launch, we flew in and out of Barcelona, with Ainsa being a 3-hour drive inland towards the base of the Pyrenees. With a day of travel either side, the launch itself would involve a short presentation followed by three days of riding. The first two days were all pedal-powered, while for the third day we’d be making use of a shuttle service to hit up multiple runs of similar trails while carrying out some back-to-back testing of different wheelsizes and travel options.

If you’ve not heard about the new Stumpy and would like to read more about it, then check out my news story about the six new Stumpjumper models in the lineup. There’s also my review of the Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29, which was the bike that I spent the most time on during the launch.

specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
Ainsa in Spain. Not shit. Photo: Harookz/Specialized.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain beer bottle opener
A wee welcome package upon our arrival at the Specialized Stumpy launch. The amber lager was delicious FYI. And the traction on that bottle opener is unparalleled.

For the launch, I took along a GoPro and a Shimano Action Cam to capture some footage both on and off the bike, in order to give a little bit more insight into the behind-the-scenes workings and what goes on during these bike launches. It was a pretty wild experience being able to ride on such incredible trails, including some of the Enduro World Series stages from the round held in Ainsa in 2015. Along with some unusually wet and muddy conditions (for Spain) we certainly had plenty to keep us on our toes!

Given the enormous amount of footage I was able to shoot, I cut it all down and split the video three separate VLOGs, which you can watch below via our YouTube channel (make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already done so).

While we were on the Specialized Stumpjumper launch, we were joined by Canadian-based action sports photographer, Haruki ‘Harookz’ Noguchi, who captured some memorable moments out on the trail, as well as a load of the non-riding action too. You may have already enjoyed checking some of Harookz’ photos from the launch article and review, but I wanted to lay out a bigger selection of his snaps in a gallery here to help paint a broader picture of the Stumpy launch. They’re too good not to really. I’ve also added a couple of my crummy smartphone pics in as well, but all of the quality shots you see below have been taken by Harookz.

If you want to see more of his work, do yourself a favour and check out his Instagram feed, or head to his website here.

specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
Inside the learning cave. The product presentation on the first morning was brief and devoid of specific details – the Specialized crew wanted us to ride the bikes with as few preconceptions as possible.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain 3d printed model
3D printed models for the alloy Stumpjumper frame to check the internal cable network.
specialized stumpjumper 29 internal cables
Some people take weight reduction to the extremes! Or is that for aerodynamics…
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain carbon frame bottom bracket
The old PF30 BB shell is on the left, and the new threaded BB is on the right.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain carbon swat downtube
The SWAT door has been refined on the new Stumpy, and there’s now 20% more volume. A load of the Specialized designers and engineers who rode with us stuffed their lightweight rain jackets into the downtube. Others fitted theirs with bocadillos.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain carbon frame
The downtube is large in size, but uses very thin walls.
Standard serious journo face for a detailed frame inspection.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil kitgrid shoes pedals helmet clothing endura jersey backpack
It’s a pretty haggard attempt at a kit grid, but then I seemed to be running late for everything on the Stumpy launch, so this was as neat and as considered as it got. Soz.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
Just a few bikes for to test.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
Checking suspension pressures and saddle height before the ride.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil barrett
Matty Hunter chatting with one of Specialized’s lead product managers, Colin, before setting off on the ride.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil barrett
The Stumpjumper Expert 29 was the bike I spent most time aboard during the launch. I quite liked it.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil barrett
“Got any sweet stickers mate?”
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil
The riding in Ainsa is absolutely magical. The trails are old, natural and rugged, but they flow with the contours of the mountainside to make them seriously quick to ride.
matt hunter specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
Matty Hunter schooled us all with his effortless riding style. He is just as chilled off the bike too.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil barrett
It didn’t take me long to feel comfortable on the Stumpy 29er – it’s a terrifically well-balanced package from its 2.6in wide tyres up.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil skull
Clearly the pace was a bit too hot for some.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil barrett
The Stumpjumper uses an asymmetric ‘Sidearm’ frame design that’s been inspired by the Demo downhill bike.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa
Now you see it…
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
…now you don’t!
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil dog
We’d only set off up the climb for about 5 minutes before we ran into these friendly fellas. You can’t see the little fluffy one who’s standing behind old mate in this photo.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil dog
He ended up following us on the trail for a good half an hour before we realised that he probably wasn’t going to turn back. Sean Estes, Specialized’s main marketing man, embarked on a rescue mission to take his cuddly friend back home, becoming the most desirable man on the planet in the process.
specialized stumpjumper 29 wil ainsa spain
Meanwhile, we continued on our upwards journey. A steady 1.5 hour climb took us to a peak elevation of 1,075m.
specialized stumpjumper castle
The start of the trail goes right through the middle of those castle ruins in the background. I can’t remember the name of the trail, but I can tell you that it was absolutely insane.specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain

Fast sweeping corners through the trees.

specialized stumpjumper 29 wil ainsa spain
And two-wheel drifts on the slightly slick surface that had been freshly moistened by the morning’s rain.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain river crossing water
River crossing number 8 out of about 1,285.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain harookz
A photo of the photo-taker. Harookz getting down to the cold water’s edge to shoot riders crossing the hub-deep river.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain shoes foil cold wet
After lunch, wet feet began to get cold and numb as the outside temperature dropped. Some riders got a secondary use out of their bocadillo’s foil packaging. According to Johan, the foil didn’t work.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil
Our group had split at lunchtime. Some journos had decided the cold and wet was too much, and took the liberty of a convenient trip in the van back down to the hotel. Us resilient types (and the two UK journos), soldiered on. After all, we’d climbed all this way, and I was definitely not going to be descending down on anything but two wheels. This tourist-y snap was taken at the lookout of the beginning of an absolutely wild and sloppy descent that I really should have crashed on multiple times – it was properly loose!
specialized stumpjumper 29 wil ainsa spain
Dropping in!
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain muddy
Rain in Spain? Never…
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain matt hunter
Matty and Sean. Soaked but satisfied.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain hose
*insert inappropriately lewd comment here*
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil muddy
Yours truly. Far too shy for the camera.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wash clean mud
How many Specialized employees does it take to wash a bike?
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wash mud
You filthy animal! Our test bikes were well used by the end of the Stumpy launch.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil legs hairy
Spot where the socks end, and the knee pads begin.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain mountains snow sun
After getting cleaned up and stringing all my filthy gear inside the posh hotel room to dry out, we jumped on a bus and went along the valley to a local micro-brewery called Cerveza Rondadora – the same brewery who had made our special bottles of beer for the launch. The brewery is nestled into a beautiful mountain landscape that was lit up by the evening’s sunset.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain brewery
The crew at Cerveza Rondadora gave us a tour of the brewery to show us how they make their amber lager, porter and wheat beer. For each bottle of beer sold, Cerveza Rondadora donates a portion of the profits towards a local trail building and maintenance fund, which helps to keep the Ainsa trail network in tip-top shape.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain cheers zonazero beer
Aclamaciones!
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain journalists idiot wil
Spot the moron.
dinner specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain
After a solid day of riding with 42km and 1300m of elevation covered, everyone was in the mood for smashing as much Spanish food and drink as possible.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain sean estes liquor drink
Sean showed us his flawless technique for drinking the local aperitif – a sweet dessert liquor with a flavour somewhere between port and Sambuca, which is served out of a glass jug. It’s all in the pour apparently.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil jack liquor
Then Matty Hunter decided that Jack from BikeRadar and I should embark on a risky combo manoeuvre. We obliged of course.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil jack liquor
“MY EYE”
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil jack liquor
It played out a little different in practice to what I’d imagined. Thankyouverymuch, Matthew Hunter.
specialized stumpjumper ainsa spain wil liquor cheers beer drink
A more traditional group drinking method to round off the Stumpy launch.

Disclosure

Travel & accommodation for this trip were covered by Specialized

Comments (2)

  1. Really enjoyed reading this, and also the videos. Thanks for putting it all together!

  2. Orbea called, they want their Rallon back

Leave a Reply