Early 2019 Chris received his brand new Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon, his #TeamRutland ride for the year. Chris used the Stumpjumper as his day-to-day ride, tackling everything from the Scottish Highlands to his weekly rides from our Pitsford store. See how he found his time with the Stumpy below!
The Final Review
My time with my beloved Stumpy has come to an end. It's been such a great year with some amazing riding locations ticked off, from Chicksands to Scotland and a few great spots in-between. I'm more convinced than ever that the Specialized Stumpjumper is the one do it all trail bike that for most riders (unless your name is Atherton), this bike will never be out of its comfort zone. It kept up with big enduro rigs, carbon XC whippets, and I have always thrown in the towel way before it has.
There are better bikes for specific tasks, I will happily admit that. The Stumpy is a true swiss army knife; I didn't ever feel like I had bought the wrong bike for the ride. Granted I did swap the tyres out for something a little faster rolling in the dryer months which helped me keep pace with some shorter travel XC machines, 2.6 inch tyres are massively confidence inspiring in some sticky situations and these last few sloppy months they have been most welcome - its mad to think not all that long ago it would have been impossible to fit a 2.6 inch tyre to the rear of a bike. But a quick tyre change was all that was needed to keep this bike in check with whatever it had to.
The whole bikes spec was reasonably conservative, mostly down to a large portion of the cost funding the Carbon frame - but this isn't a negative at all. You can replace sub-par components but its far harder to remedy bad geometry and poor design - something this bike most certainly is not. I started off wondering if I would soon find the limit of the componentry but I didn't have a single grumble about anything. The eagle GX drivetrain offering smooth shifting and plenty of range when the going got tough. And the Guide R's keeping the speed in check reliably and comfortably.
Maybe if I was spending every weekend of the year riding Bike Park Wales some slightly more powerful Code R's may have been a good idea but even after a 2000ft non-stop descent they were still feeling great. The suspension, Fox 34 Rhythm up front and a Float DPS out back, proving that the top end Kashima coated goodies may well be the best in the business but the slightly cheaper options perform plenty well enough. I didn't ever want for anything more, the Stumpy is a really well spec'd bike.
Trail or Enduro?
'Trail bike' is such a broad spectrum when it comes to bike categories, I would certainly put this bike closer to the enduro end of the scale, with 150mm front and rear travel there was never a point where I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew. Pointing it down some of Scotland's finest trail centre black runs I felt encouraged me to let of the brakes and let the bike do the work. I didn't feel like I needed to guide it and pick safe, sensible lines. I just pointed it downwards and concentrated on staying upright.
There was many a time when I felt I had overcooked it and the bike would barrel through and straight out the other side with me clinging on with the biggest grin on my face. The lightweight carbon frame and 27.5' wheels kept the bike feeling nimble and agile, with loads of adjustability on the trail it encouraged finding the fun lines, not just the fast ones.
Out with the old and in with the new...
So, when it was time to hand the Stumpjumper back, I thought long and hard about its replacement, what would be a suitable successor? The answer came to me halfway through a ride in the Peak District aboard my beloved Stumpy. I was in the process of being thoroughly embarrassed by a man more than double my age on a bike with far less travel than mine. Although I held my own when the going got steep, I think it encouraged me to consider getting a bike that would challenge me more. Something that pushes my ability and encourages me to improve my riding - not just rely on the bike.
I wanted something with reasonably slack geometry but also something with less travel. From years of hardtail riding I wasn't desperate for loads of rear travel. Enough to soak up the hits but not enough to deaden the feel and suck all the speed out of the more mellow trails. 130mm front and 115mm rear? That sounds good to me! Similar bullet-proof components to the Stumpjumper, just slightly less travel to keep me on my toes. Oh, and there was a 29er itch that needed to be scratched.
So, there you have it, the Giant Trance. With progressive modern geometry and shorter travel figures; making it something of an aggressive XC bike or a fast trail bike - depends how you look at it. I think it's the perfect bike to keep me honest this next year and I'm looking forward to getting out and riding it!
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