NEW: Stumpjumper Evo 2021 - First Look

Words by Tom Worsfold

on 06/10/2020 17:00:05

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Iconic. The Stumpjumper name is synonymous with mountain biking itself, involved right from the beginning - from its humble roots to the dizzying heights it has since reached as a sport. Progression is the name of the game with cycling, with products and riders constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible on these simple two wheeled fun-machines. Nowhere are these boundaries being pushed quite like the more extreme edges of the sport, which is right from where the new Stumpjumper Evo takes its cues.

We're lucky to be riding during the Golden Age of mountain biking. We have access to more trails than ever, built with more diversity than ever, riders are progressing and nailing what was previously impossible, and now the new Stumpjumper EVO has evolved to meet the demands of modern riders. - Specialized

The previous generation was an animal - long, slack, unbelievably planted on even the jankiest trails. A bike truly designed to meet the needs of the worlds most demanding trail riders. So - how have they managed to improve this latest revision?

The new Evo is all about control, in all situations and on all trails. Channeling the flagship Specialized Demo downhill rig and the uber-capable Enduro, its angles lead to total calm on trails you couldn't even imagine riding beforehand. Progressive enough to be stable in the rough, so light it won't hold you back on the climbs. Jack of all trades, sure. A solid performer in all situations? You bet.

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Updates - What's new for 2021

  • Six style specific sizes with Specialized's �S� system
  • Steeper seat tube angle for improved climbing characteristics
  • Adjustability, six geometry settings to match your style and terrain
  • Horst link flip chips
  • Mullet (29/27.5�) compatible link available
  • All-new suspension kinematics
  • Improved SWAT storage

  • Who is it for?

    It would be easy to say that the Evo is only for the rowdiest of riders, but it is more than that. The Evo is made for those looking to push the envelope whilst riding all day, mixing unforgiving steeps with tricky climbs, and throwing the occasional uplift day into the mix. Those looking for confidence in their ride will be rewarded with ultimate stability and confidence, traits that are hard to find in a 150mm package.

    Not sure where your rides will take you? The Evo is multi purpose, delivering capability in all situations. Yes, it will never be as fast as a less aggressive bike on climbs and undulating singletrack, but it truly comes into its own on steeper gradients. It stays composed and controlled all over the hill - and what's more fun than having confidence in your bike when the trail gets nasty?

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    Adjustability

    So your mountain bike has a flip-chip, that's cool. But how does a whole 2.5 degrees of head angle adjustment sound?

    The Evo brings with it an all new meaning to the Stumpjumper catchphrase of �The Ultimate Trail Bike�, offering more adjustability than any other trail bike produced to date by Specialized. Six geometry settings are available, meaning you can tune your Evo to any terrain. With a head angle of between 63 and 65.5 degrees the Evo is whatever you want to make of it. This adjustment given through use of Horst Link mounted flip chips and eccentric headset cups. The flip chips are found at the end of the chainstay, and offer 7mm of bottom bracket height adjustment.

    How does this impact the ride?

    A lower BB drops the bike's centre of gravity, making it feel more planted on rough terrain. A higher BB reduces the chance of rock-strikes and gives the bike a more lively ride character. The big news here for 2021 is the new eccentric headset cups. These offer an incredible amount of adjustment and can be swapped at the trailside if needed. Similarly to the low bottom bracket setting, having a slacker head angle gives the bike a more confidence inspiring feel on the trail. Having a steeper head angle makes turning more responsive and reduces the bike's wheelbase length, making sharp, low-speed corners much easier.

    Is Revs in your back garden? Drop that BB into the low position and adjust the headset to the slack position. Want to do an all-day epic ride in the Peak District? Steepen it up for a less taxing ride. It really is the ultimate trail bike.

    Business in the front, party in the back

    For 2021, mullets are back in fashion. Harking back to the days of the 24�/26� Big Hit freeride bike of old, having a big 29� wheel in the front paired with a 27.5� rear is all the rage. For shorter or more physical riders, this adds a playfulness to the bike that a full 29� setup cannot match. No more buzzed trousers when the trail gets intense and perfect for sending it in the bike-park!

    Looking to equip your 2021 evo with a mixed wheel setup? It is worth noting that this requires use of an aftermarket linkage from Specialized, ensuring the same stellar handling is kept from the 29� setup.

    Suspension

    The 2020 Specialized Enduro's suspension was heralded for its speed and efficiency when it came to rough, square edged terrain. For 2021, the Stumpjumper Evo steals from its playbook, delivering a perfect blend of small bump sensitivity and full-travel support. Targeting more aggressive riders, the kinematics of the new frame are designed for shredding tough lines that other brands 150mm steeds could only dream of tackling. In short, go mad - it can take it.

    Axle path

    Where the Enduro really shone was its ability to plow through rough terrain where other suspension designs would experience hang ups. The Stumpjumper Evo mirrors this rearward axle path, allowing the bikes rear wheel to move backwards out of the way of big hits, reducing the forces fighting to reduce your speed. As the Evo then moves further through its travel the axle path moves forwards, limiting the suspension's impact on pedal feedback. This is perfect for riders who love to charge rocky terrain, smoothing out the trail to keep you pushing hard.

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    First Ride Impressions

    The Stumpjumper Evo is not just about good looks though. After spending a very wet few hours riding around the trails of Glentress it is clear the bike is not short on performance, managing to deliver the confidence inspiring ride qualities you want from a trail bike when riding unfamiliar and challenging trails.

    A long front centre gives you plenty of room to get yourself low and in attack mode for when it points downwards and a seat tube angle that has been steepened up just enough so that you can get comfortable and winch yourself back to the top of the trail without the front wheel trying to wander too much.


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    Specification

    • Frame: FACT 11m carbon chassis and rear-end
    • Fork: FOX FLOAT 36 Performance Elite
    • Shock: FOX FLOAT DPX2 Performance Elite
    • Drivetrain: Sram X01/GX Eagle, 12-speed
    • Brakes: SRAM Code RS, 4-piston caliper
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    Specification

    • Frame: FACT 11m carbon chassis and rear-end
    • Fork: FOX FLOAT 36 Rhythm
    • Shock: FOX FLOAT DPX2 Performance
    • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX, M7100, 12-speed
    • Brakes: Shimano SLX M7120, 4-piston caliper
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