Words by #TeamRutland member Chris Teagles
Six months ago we gave Chris the latest revision of the Specialized Stumpjumper as his ambassador bike, a stout trail bike designed to take your riding to the next level, with a host of high tech features and fun, but confidence inspiring geometry. See how he got on with the Stumpjumper below!
There seems to be a Stumpjumper for every one, with the EVO, the standard Stumpy, carbon, alloy, 29er, 27.5 the choice is yours. This can be a slightly daunting array of options to choose from. It took me a while to get my head round all of the possibilities. After much deliberation I settled with the 27.5 Carbon comp the geometry and spec suited my needs for a do it all trail bike. The raw carbon finish looks awesome in the flesh and the frame design is neat and tidy - resulting in a really handsome, fairly stealthy looking bike.
Six Months In
Six months in and its safe to say I have really bonded with the Specialized Stumpjumper. Its a real Swiss army knife of a bike - honestly I haven't found a single place where this thing feels out of its comfort zone. Ok, maybe it doesn't pedal as well as my hardtail but despite that it still gets pulled out the shed for those evening post-work local blasts. The poor hardtail is starting to look rather neglected. The simple truth is the Stumpy is just such a fun bike to ride, from bike parks to 30 mile epics nothing I have thrown at it has unsettled it.
What's it Got?
The Carbon Comp is classed as a trail bike with 150mm front and rear travel courtesy of a Fox 34 Rhythm and a DPS, proving that you don't have to break the bank and splash out on Kashima coated factory forks to end up with a really progressive and solid feeling suspension. I'm considering firming up the rear a little and maybe adding some volume spacers to the forks to aid progression now I have ridden it a lot. This bike has been very sensibly spec'd, X-Fusion dropper and SRAM NX Eagle 12x keeps the cost down without making it feel like a budget bike. Good quality solid components means hassle free riding and in 6 months I haven't wanted for anything more.
The reason this bike looks perhaps a little under spec compared to rivals at similar price points is because of that frame. 11M carbon, fancy SWAT storage and a lifetime warranty doesn't come cheap but having experienced the bike as a complete package it feels like a really well sorted high end bit of kit for the price. Burgtec were kind enough to supply some goodies for me to give a little red pop to that stealth carbon look and its really made it stand out. Oh, and they sent some MK4 Composite pedals as well which are possibly the best pedals I have ever run. Simple, no fuss and not expensive either. The only other thing I've changed is the tyres, running a HR2 out back and a wide trail DHF up front which, despite my best efforts I cannot unstick. Matching the high volume tyres supplied keeps the feel of stability and grip and just softens out trail feel and helps makes the whole bike feel more plush.
How Does It Ride?
Put simply, like a dream. By the end of the first ride I was buzzing about how well sorted this bike is and it continues to impress me ride after ride. From flat out bridleway descents in the rocky Peak District, to the smooth hand built berms of Peaslake and everything in between this bike laps it all up. Maybe some people might require more travel and a more aggressive geometry but those people probably live at the foot of an Alp. This is all the bike I will ever need, sensible enough to pedal up the hill with relative ease but aggressive enough to plough through the rough stuff on the way down without breaking a sweat. The lightweight carbon frame and short-ish wheel base coupled to 27.5 wheels means this bike is super playful and poppy. Its a bike that encourages you to bounce off roots, rail turns and look for the fun lines. But when it comes to it this bike is fast, direct and surefooted it eats up trails and shaves second after second off my Strava PRs (even on the flat sections!) as I get more and more confident.
I keep coming up with more excuses to load it into the car and head off Wales and Scotland to ride some really fun stuff. That is where this bike really feels at home. For local rides this bike does feel a little overkill, but showing up to the Pitsford stores Sunday Social ride It proved itself to be surprisingly capable even in XC bike territory. Ok maybe I won't be keeping up with the serious riders on the 100mm hardtails but its not embarrassingly slow at all. I did spend a brief stint on some faster rolling, less aggressive Trail kings which made it feel a little more perky to pedal but sacrificing efficiency for grip is a no brainer and this bike more than makes up for the time you lost on the climb when you point it down the steep stuff.
Overall this bike is such a capable machine, its a perfect blend of design, componentry and quality. The Stumpy fills you with confidence from the word go. From tackling steep scary stuff to much more mellow trail riding this bike excels at all of it. This bike manages to cover such a vast array of riding situations.
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