I’ve ridden a few long-travel 29ers (5+ inches of travel) over the last 12 months and up until now, I haven’t been totally impressed. Not only did the bikes seem to handle clumsily but none of them climbed very well–a big turn off for an XC guy like me. A true trail bike should climb almost as well as it descends which means the bike needs to be fairly lightweight too. Cue the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO 29.
The Stumpjumper Expert EVO features a carbon front triangle with an alloy rear and Specialized has spared no expense on the build with some of the lightest 29er trail components available. I can’t tell you exactly how much the bike I rode weighed but it felt noticeably lighter than the carbon Tallboy I normally ride. The light weight takes some of the effort out of climbing but also made the bike feel more nimble on the trail. And since this is a Specialized bike, everything is nice, neat, and well thought out from the internally routed cables to the 12mm rear thru-axle.
In terms of geometry, the Stumpjumper Expert EVO 29er features a 68-degree head tube angle which is right where it should be: not so slack that it slouches on the climbs but not so stiff and upright that it’s a drag on the descents. Officially, the Stumpjumper Expert EVO is a 135mm travel bike (not quite 5.5 inches).
Like many of the newest Specialized bikes, the Stumpjumper Expert EVO 29 I tested was equipped with auto-sag on the rear shock. Auto-sag is just what it sounds like–it allows the rider to automatically set the sag without having to check pressures or measure O-ring positions. Just charge the shock to 300psi, sit on the bike, and click the auto-sag valve. Perfect set-up every time.
Of course I was skeptical but based on my test ride auto-sag worked as advertised–the bike felt dialed and I didn’t have to make any adjustments out on the trail. Specialized worked very closely with Fox Racing Shocks to bring auto-sag to the market, making it exclusive to Specialized-brand bikes.
The Stumpjumper Expert EVO really shined on the descents and made me feel like a much better rider than I actually am. And even though I don’t have much experience using a dropper seatpost, the included Specialized Command was a cinch to use–and instantly addictive.
Now granted, my test ride was super short but I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about this bike. In fact, I think I just put myself in the market for a 29er trail bike–and the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert EVO is at the top of my list. This is a fast, fun bike that even a weight weenie XC rider like me can appreciate!