Sporting all the features that last year’s Stumpjumper EVO carbon fibre model, the alloy models give you all the benefits at a much cheaper price point. The M5 alloy frame has the SWAT box, headset and Horst link geometry adjustments, and 150mm of rear wheel travel. Fork travel is 160mm throughout other than on the S1 size, which comes with a 150mm fork.
The Comp Alloy has exactly the same spec as the carbon comp model, so the only difference is the frame material, weight and price. You get a 160mm Fox Rhythm 36 fork with a Float X Performance out back. Drive train is SRAM GX/NX Eagle mix, with the anchors the venerable Code Rs. X-Fusion’s Manic dropper deals with the saddle height whilst wheels, tyres, saddle and cockpit are all Specialized’s own.
With the adjusters on the fork and shock being very much rebound or compression, it’s simply a case of set the suspension sag, get the brake levers how I like them and go. For the opening few outings, I left the geometry as it would come out of the box.
Geometry, like the carbon version, 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.
Reach on the S3 tested here is 448mm with a 405mm seat tube. Chainstays are fixed at 438mm across the sizes S1-S4 range (S5 + S6 have 448mm chainstays), with the S3 having a wheelbase of 1216mm.
Having been suitably impressed with the S-Works Stumpy EVO, I had high hopes for its alloy counterpart. That day at the launch was spent shuttling trails in Innerleithen so I have no real marker for pedalling efficiency from that.
My initial outing left the bike feeling sluggish and left that down to soft fireroads, only to accidentally kick a pedal whilst shoving my bike up my local mountain, where the cranks only managed a quarter turn. A quick investigation showed that the rear freehub was binding slightly as the rear axle was too tight. Slackening it off a quarter turn seems to have solved the issue, but it left my legs pretty dead on the furthest point on a fairly big day out.
With the rear wheel spinning free, it was time to see what the bike could do on the downs. The suspension feels very linear and active as a result, with ramp up coming late in the stroke and mostly controlled by volume spacers, of which there feels like there’s few in the S3. I quite enjoy a lively, linear bike though, as it suits my riding style and it helps make this 150mm 29er feel far more playful than other bikes of the same style.
Even in the few rides I’ve been on with the Stumpy EVO, it’s taken everything I can throw at it so far. I’m usually the first to dismiss the Butcher tyres but the one fitted to the front has been a worthy addition. I can’t, however, say the same for the Eliminator on the rear. Straight line braking grip seems to be a little too non-existent for a bike like this, and, like the Kenevo SL, I’m not sure why it’s come with Trail casing tyres. I will solve that with a pair of the Gravity casing Butchers though, as the Eliminator is on a 75% puncture rate so far.
My only concern with the beefier tyres is added rotational weight. The Stumpy EVO alloy does feel like a bike in the mid-30lbs range already, so you do need some good legs to keep it moving all day. Once you’ve winched it to the top though, it definitely rewards you on the way down. Both the fork and shock have either lock out via the compression dial or a switch to make the climbs less taxing. That active suspension does need a very smooth cadence to avoid any wallow on the climbs.
Like the Vitus Escarpe I rode last year, Specialized have proven that you don’t need the fanciest dampers to make a bike that’ll go fast. You need to get the tune right from the off, and in that respect, the Big S have certainly hit the nail on the head.
Grips. I am very particular about my grips. They need to be thin, soft and have no outer cap. I run the end of my palm off the end of the bars with my levers set to be right where my index fingers are. The grips on the Stumpy EVO are pretty much the best I have used in a long old while.
Hopefully with some more consistent wind in the rear wheel, the next time I check in with the Stumpy EVO, it’ll have been nothing but plain sailing and trails shredded.
You can check out the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Comp alloy on Specialized’s website here.