First Ride Review : Specialized Stumpjumper EVO SWorks.

Pete headed to the Scottish Borders to try out the new version of Specialized’s Stumjumper EVO to see what tricks this long travel machine had in store.

Boasting low weight, Enduro-derived kinematics and more adjustable geometry than you can shake a stick at, Specialized’s legendary Stumpjumper EVO looks to be more of an aggressive machine than ever.

Pete spent a day hammering the more downhill-orientated trails at Innerleithen to see what the Stumpy EVO SWorks is made of.

Photos by Ian Lean.

Key features:

  • Fox Float 36 Factory 160mm fork
  • Fox Float DPX2 Factory shock
  • SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS 12-speed drive
  • SRAM Code RSC brakes
  • Roval Traverse Carbon wheels
  • Rockshox Reverb AXS dropper
  • £9,250.00 RRP
  • Specialized.com

The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO gets some serious work done to it, to make it both more versatile and better capable of charging harder than the outgoing model. A greater range of sizing, more travel, adjustable geometry and suspension kinematics borrowed from the Enduro all add up to a different Stumpjumper EVO.

Rear travel jumps to 150mm out back, mated to a 160mm fork. Interestingly on the bike I rode, the fork was a Fox Float 36 Factory rather than the new 38mm chassis, but with emphasis on stiffer not always being better with the new bike, that certainly makes sense. The one piece carbon rear triangle attaches to the Horst link rockers to provide a slightly more rearward axle path than the Enduro at the opening portion of the travel, while the leverage curve is similar. All aimed at improving suspension performance in all situations.

Geometry is adjustable via either the headset cups or the flip chip, offering anywhere between 65.5 and 63 degrees of head angle adjustments in half degree increments, and a similar range of BB height adjustments depending on size. The flip chip is also now conveniently placed in the rear triangle, meaning you only need to drop the rear wheel out to access it. Sizing runs from S1 up to S6, with the idea being you pick your size, with options for one either side depending on preference.

A full FACT 11mm carbon frame on the bike tested, comes with the Sidearm front triangle design, aimed at building stiffness and compliance where needed. At 2750g for the S4 frame, in a ‘ready to build’ state, there’s certainly not many lighter, more capable all-mountain frames out there.

TLD A3 Helmet

Up Hills

With uplift on hand thanks to Adrenalin Uplift, we wouldn’t have many opportunities to test the pedalling potential of the Stumpjumper EVO SWorks, I could certainly build an idea. Light, and with a predictable Specialized-style suspension action under torque but with a long reach and slacker head angle would make it go, albeit slightly slower than it’s little brother. The seat tube angle is suitably steep at 77.2 in the S3 at factory settings, to help keep the front from wandering.

Downhills

My first few runs of the Innerleithen downhill classics were in the Factory settings mode of high and dead centre on the headset the bike had the same eagerness to go as it’s shorter travel sibling but with an eye for a slightly more rowdy descent. The reach at 448mm on the S3 gave me plenty of room to move about regardless of what the trails had in store, the 64.5 degree head angle felt comfortable in most situations, but I couldn’t help but feel like something wasn’t adding up.

At lunch, I opted to run the rear shock a little softer, with the compression wound all the way off on the DPX2 shock. This combined with dropping the bike into the low and slack setting would leave me heading back up the hill with an altogether different beast. With the reach only clipped to 443 with the turning of the headset cups, there didn’t seem to be much difference, it was the 1.5 degree slacker head angle that was immediately apparent.

With the bike now fully able to get the most from the rear damper, which was now singing the same tune as the forks, I could let fly on the descents and boy did the Stumjumper EVO relish the steep. The 405mm seat tube kept the saddle out of the way, allowing me to concentrate on the trail ahead. A reservation that the 35mm carbon bars would be too stiff like on other test bikes with similar cockpit setups was never realised, but slaloming trees at Innerleithen with 800m bars meant for some interesting moments.

Probably the only thing holding the Stumpjumper EVO back was the choice of rear tyre. I understand that the Eliminator was chosen to increase rolling speed, and that it does, but there was a noted lack of braking traction that cried out for the same Butcher on the back as the front tyre was rocking. On the faster, hard-packed sections, the SRAM Code RSCs had their work cut out for them, but performed flawlessly, but in the steep and loose, the rear tyre left me wary.

That said, the Stumpjumper EVO was a riot. Easy to adjust to get the most out of your riding preferences, light enough to ride all day and get you to the big descents, with capable suspension and downhill-worthy geometry to really let you hang it all out when other bikes are having second thoughts. Few bikes get up to speed faster and urge you to keep charging.

What do we think?

The Stumpjumper EVO has added yet another feather to its hat, and retained its title as the aggressive all-mountain machine that most similar bikes will be measured against. If you ride steep or fast trails, then you simply won’t tire of the suspension performance or that 63 degree head angle. If you simply want more capable travel, then you have that option but can wind in the slackness to suit.

We love:

  • Good size range
  • Geometry how you want it
  • 63 degrees on an all-mountain bike
  • Dialled suspension
  • Comfy 35mm bars

Could do better:

  • Eliminator tyre lacks braking grip

Check out the full Specialized Stumpjumper EVO range on Specialized’s website here.

Read all our bike tests on the Bike Reviews page here.