The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy gets all the cool things that the carbon Stumpjumper has had for a few seasons now.
- Price: £3,450
- From: specialized.com
- Tested by: Benji and Amanda
The Stumpjumper has been in Specialized’s range since 19… Zzz… Sorry! Yes, the Stumpy has been going for yonks. This new Stumpy is simultaneously nothing like the original Stumpjumper yet also it hasn’t changed. Hasn’t changed in the sense that it is Specialized’s do-it-all trail bike. No cross-country. No DH. No enduro. Trails with no stopwatch, ta.
There are now two breeds of Stumpjumper in Specialized’s range. The regular Stumpjumper and the Stumpjumper Evo. The Evo has more suspension travel and more progressive geometry. A bone of contention we have with the Stumpjumper is why the split of ‘Evo’ and ‘non-Evo’ versions? Just pick one and make that please Spesh. And make it the Evo please. Bring back the shorter travel Camber if you want to appease the wilfully non-rad, travel-phobic, geometry-wary riders out there.
It’s only recently that Specialized has finally unified the frame design of the aluminium Stumpjumpers with the more expensive carbon ones. The aluminium version now also gets that super-cool single-sided frame support alongside the rear shock and the SWAT box downtube storage. The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp is not significantly heavier than the Evo Carbon Comp (as a frame anyway). The price difference between the two is not as much as you’d think (£4,250 versus £3,450) but it’s still £800 more for carbon.
What makes the Evo an Evo? How is it different from the regular Stumpjumper? Well, it’s got 20mm more travel at either end (150mm rear, 160mm fork) and it’s got a slacker front end. Those are the fundamentals. There’s a whole host of different components used too, which, as ever, is what really makes mountain bikes heavier or lighter than each other.
The other thing that the Evo Stumpjumper offers is a whole host of geometry adjustment. And while we’d always put the head angle into the slackest setting possible (via optional headset cups) because steeper is never better with a head angle, we wouldn’t necessarily run the Stumpjumper with the BB in its lowest setting. We would, however, put the chainstays to their longest setting on any size S4 or above. Short chainstays really aren’t all they’re cracked to be. How often do you wheelie? Versus how often do you do… er, everything else? If you are a jibber then you’re probably more interested in the ability to run a 27.5in wheel in the back. This is possible via an aftermarket mullet-link. Anyway, this is a trail bike test and full 29ers rule as trail bikes. So no mullet action here thanks.
Aesthetically, the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp looks cool and clean. For something that is as whizz-bang techno asymmetrical adjust-a-go-go, the bike is svelte, stealthy and extremely stylish looking. It looks particularly great in this Satin Smoke finish.
The SWAT box in the down tube, combined with the multi-tool-holding bottle cage on its lid, is very useful. While the novelty of downtube storage has waned slightly of late, and water ingress can be annoying, we still like the feature overall. There’s nothing as handy for an inner tube and an extra clothing layer/gloves as a SWAT box.
Finishing kit-wise, the Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp gets virtually everything correct except the stem is a bit long. Yes, we know it’s 50mm and downhill racers use 50mm stems blah blah blah. It’s too long for this bike’s geometry. It handles better with a 35mm or 40mm stem on there. But that is pretty much the only complaint we have. Get it swapped out in the shop before you leave. We’re even happy enough with the own-brand tyres. Sure, they aren’t burly enough for what and where this bike can ultimately go, but they are useful additions to your rubber stockpile and do give the bike a nice turn of speed on moderate terrain.
Spec highlights for us then. The wide (800mm) and decently high bar (30mm rise). The saddle was comfy. The SRAM Code R 4-pot brakes and generous rotors were up to the job. The Fox Float suspension was extremely impressive for a bike of this relative ‘cheapness’. Easy to set up, but still more than capable of all kinds of action. Both the fork and the shock offer a simple two-position compression setting. You can think of them as basically ‘tarmac’ and ‘not tarmac’ as opposed to climb switches. You really don’t need to use the blue levers when you’re off-road.
Gosh darn it if the Stumpjumper Evo Alloy isn’t a brilliant trail bike. It was easily the most all-round capable bike here. It has that classic rubbery Stumpy suspension feel when you just want to take it easy and cruise about the place. But gone is the excess pedal bob. Gone too is the slamming-through-the-travel trapdooring of Stumpjumpers of old. It’s cushy at mild speeds yet supportive at wild speeds. It’s almost like the bike has a speed or velocity sensor built in. That is doubly impressive when you realise that you haven’t really had to spend very long setting the bike up. Get the rear shock sag in the right zone and set the rebound middlish. Input what the sticker on the fork says. Ride.
There’s very little head scratching involved at any point, which is no doubt very boring for folk who like to fettle with dials and volume spacers and such like. Despite all the geo adjusting bells and whistles, this isn’t a bike for fettlers. This bike wants you on the trail as quickly as possible and for as long as possible.
It’s a friendly little bump soaker when we want it to be, but turn up the heat and it sharpens its handling. Regardless of what you’re doing, the bike remains balanced and calm. But not calm in a boring way. Calm in the Colin McRae’s co-pilot sense (YouTube ‘Derek Ringer’). Loads going on. But the bike just deals with the facts and helps you get on with things. Perhaps there is still a slight micro delay between pedal stamp and rear wheel drive, but we’re cool with that. We think it very probably helps keep things smooth in fact. Less jerky.
When things do get really hectic or high amplitude, the Stumpjumper Evo Alloy definitely relies on its supple-then-supportive suspension to keep things on track (literally). The chassis feel is one of stoutness as opposed to flex or give. The overall stability of the geometry helps to offset any potential jittering across rippled or rooty cambers. It’s not like we have a test jig to do any Actual Science here but we strongly suspect the wide/high alloy handlebars and modest wheelset are doing an awful lot of unsung heavy lifting when it comes to dealing with absorbing hits that come from non-suspension-friendly angles. Hurray for metal.
And at the end of the day, it has a decent amount of suspension travel to help out. When it comes to straight line bombing, it’s most definitely the case that the 160mm fork and 150mm back end can just take more grief than the other two bikes here.
One caveat we need to point out is the frame sizing. Basically, make sure you double-check what S-size you go for. This S4 could be taken as being a trad Large and it has a reach figure of 475mm, which is on the short side these days for bikes with geometry angles this capable. The aforementioned 50mm stem can make it initially feel rangy but once fitted with a suitably short stem, the bike can feel rather modest in cockpit stance. This is not necessarily a problem, just double-check you go for the frame size that offers you the correct reach. The standover and seat tube lengths are both really generous, so don’t fear going up a size from the one that you’d expect to choose.
Finishing with climbing (don’t you just hate rides that do that?) we can happily confirm that the Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy is really good uphill. Nice seated stance. Decent response when stood up mashing. Hoovers up traction with the best of them. Squirts up and over things upon request. Yeah, a 160/150mm travel bike made from aluminium with a 63° head angle that climbs excellently. Suspension travel, frame material and head angle don’t really have anything to do with climbing ability. Decent chainstay length, good seat angle, supreme balance, effective suspension… that’s what matters on climbs.
As much as it may annoy some people who think that small brands know best and big brands are cynical kings of compromise, this is very probably the best trail bike currently available. A complete all-rounder at a good price with very little in the way of compromise or duff spec.
What makes for a good trail bike? It’s a bike that you want to ride anywhere and all the time. It’s a bike that should just be forgotten about once you’ve got on it and gone through the first gate on to offroad proper.
There is no point in a trail bike that flies uphill only to be sketchy on the way down. There is no point in a trail bike that bombs tech descents, but you don’t want to do one-more-climb on it. A good trail bike absolutely has to be capable. It should never feel like it’s holding you back. On anything. Uphill, downhill or alonghill. The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy is a good trail bike. No, it’s an amazing trail bike.
Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp Specification
- Frame // M5 Aluminium, 150mm
- Shock // Fox Float X Performance Rx Trail Tune, 210x55mm
- Fork // Fox Float 36 Rhythm, GRIP, 160mm, 44mm offset
- Wheels // Specialized Alloy 29
- Front Tyre // Specialized Butcher Grid Trail, Gripton T9, 29×2.3
- Rear Tyre // Specialized Eliminator Grid Trail, Gripton T7, 29×2.3
- Chainset // SRAM NX Eagle, 170mm, 30T
- Drivetrain // SRAM NX Eagle
- Brakes // SRAM Code R, 200/200mm rotors
- Stem // Specialized Alloy Trail 50mm
- Bars // Specialized Alloy 800mm/30mm
- Grips // Specialized Trail
- Seatpost // X-Fusion Manic, 175mm (S4)
- Saddle // Specialized Bridge Comp
- BB // SRAM DUB, BSA
- Size Tested // S4
- Sizes Available // S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S6
- Weight // 16.03kg
Geometry For Our Size S4 Test Bike
- Head angle // 64.5°
- Effective seat angle // 76.9° (S4)
- Seat tube length // 425mm
- Head tube length // 115mm
- Chainstay // 441mm (S1-S4)
- Wheelbase // 1,249mm
- Effective top tube // 623mm
- BB height // 340mm
- Reach // 475mm
|Product:||Stumpjumper Evo Alloy Comp|
|Tested:||by Benji for 2 months|
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