Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon Evo
Blurring The Lines Of Conventional Wisdom
The Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon Evo
(whew, that’s a long name) aims at being a more aggressive version of the
do-it-all Stumpjumper. The Stumpy Evo sits between the standard Stumpjumper FSR
model and their at- home-at-a-bike-park Enduro in terms of suspension travel,
frame geometry and weight. This bike is set to blur the lines between flowy
trail riding and aggressive, big-mountain, technical riding.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
Carbon Evo is for gravity enthusiasts looking for a bike versatile enough to
fill in as their daily trailbike. But even cross-country enthusiasts looking to
get into more aggressive riding will find the charms of the Stumpjumper Evo
hard to resist. The basic Stumpjumper appeals to a wider range of riders, but
if you have moto skills or like to push it on descents, the Evo is it.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
main triangle is constructed out of carbon fiber. The chainstays and seat stays
are made from aluminum. What differentiates the Evo model from the standard
Stumpjumper FSR is its rocker link and longer-travel fork. The rocker link on
the Evo, coupled with a 5.9-inch-travel fork, results in a model with almost a
half-inch more rear-wheel travel, a lower bottom bracket and a slacker head
tube angle compared to the standard Stumpjumper FSR. The frame features a
press-fit BB30 bottom bracket (PF30 BB) and ISCG ’05 mounts for running a
chainguide. The Stumpy Evo utilizes a tapered head tube and Specialized’s 142
Plus rear thru-axle.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
first piece of equipment that caught our eye was the Fox RP23 Adaptive Logic
shock. At first glance, it looks like a production RP23 with Fox’s fancy
Kashima coating. Look closely, though, and you’ll notice an additional ring and
valve wrap around the air sleeve. This little extra is dubbed “Autosag.” As the
name implies, this technology automatically adjusts the shock’s sag to meet
Specialized’s recommended setting. Aside
from the shock, the new Specialized Command Post BlackLite (reviewed in our
October issue) is an appropriate and a welcome spec. The Roval Traverse rear
hub utilizes Specialized’s 142-plus spacing, allowing engineers to space the
freehub body further outboard to gain additional wheel stiffness. You can still
use a standard 142-millimeter rear hub with this frame too.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Ergonomics: The Stumpjumper Evo’s cockpit is
absolutely dialed for aggressive riding. There is an awesome amount of
standover clearance; the low-slung top tube makes it feel like you are riding a
frame size smaller than you are. This is a major plus, not a negative. The top
tube reach feels great. It is slightly shorter than your average trailbike, but
for aggressive riding, it is perfect. The bars are wide and low, allowing the
Evo to tackle anything in its way.
Setup: So is Autosag all it’s cracked up to
be? In a word, yes. It’s an incredibly simple, innovative feature that will
help ensure the bike’s suspension is set up correctly. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Fill the shock to 300 psi (we found this excessive and had no problem
with the system filled to 40 psi above the rider’s weight). Step 2: Sit on the
bike wearing your riding gear. Step 3: Depress the red Autosag valve and remain
still until air-flow stops. Step 4: Cycle the suspension; set the rebound and
go ride. You’re done. The Fox Float RL fork doesn’t have the Autosag feature,
so you are back to measuring sag the old way (see “Garage Files,” February
Climbing: It is rare to find an aggressive,
5.9-inch-travel bike that climbs as well as the Evo. It’s no cross-country
speed machine, but that’s not the purpose of this bike. All it takes is a flip
of the ProPedal switch, which is easy to reach, a seated position and a
comfortable gear to spin. Even on steep terrain, the bike barely wallows and
holds its line just fine. Out of the saddle with ProPedal engaged, the bike
does surprisingly well, but there will be suspension movement on a bike with
this much travel. Still, it is not excessive, and, more important, the bike
feels very stable. With ProPedal disengaged, the suspension is too lively for
Cornering: The Specialized Butcher DH tires have
great bite, so we weren’t surprised to find one in a single-ply Control Casing
version up front. Coupled with a relatively low bottom bracket and slack head
tube angle, the Evo rails corner with ease. Whether the trail is tight and
twisty or fast and meandering, the Evo can quickly snap and change direction,
making it an absolute blast to ride on serpentine terrain as the trail twists
Descending: Drop the saddle and crank up the
volume because this bike is built to shred. The Command Post’s three positions
make it easy to decide the right position for the given terrain. We were amazed
by how lively and fun this bike was on the descents. It is remarkably stable
and yet very nimble—a tough trick for a bike like this to pull off. When
traveling over rocky trails, we found ourselves constantly popping off rocks
and ledges, turning our favorite trails into an endless playground. The Stumpy
Evo has incredible small-bump compliance; the trail chatter instantly
disappears as the bike blasts through rough terrain. On the other side of the
spectrum, the Evo has no problem absorbing large square-edged hits and
drop-offs and does so with flying colors. Even though it has a relatively low
bottom bracket, we didn’t encounter any clearance issues. The bike’s lively
nature is also apparent when you catch some sweet air; the Stumpjumper Evo is a
go for launch.
Braking: As expected, the Stumpjumper Evo’s FSR
suspension remained fully active when we got heavy on the brakes. The Butcher
and Purgatory tire combo had no problem biting into loose terrain to slow us
down. The Formula brakes provided plenty of stopping power and were
relatively easy to modulate. One complaint we’ve had with Formula brakes in the
past that still persists is the noise factor. If you are riding in wet
conditions or through creek crossings, your riding buddies may want to grab a
pair of earplugs, as these brakes will howl. Noise complaints aside, they did
their job well. The lever feel was consistent, and our Evo slowed down very
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
hard to complain about this bike. As in the vast majority of cases, we
recommend converting the wheels and tires to tubeless to enjoy even more
traction. For the price of this bike, we were a bit disappointed to see a Float
RL fork spec’ed. If you are a suspension junkie, you will likely upgrade the
fork to maximize the front-end suspension performance.
you shy away from steep and aggressive terrain, the Stumpjumper FSR and
Specialized Camber are better options for you. But then again, this bike may be
just the ticket to get you to attempt more challenging terrain. If you are an
aggressive rider looking for a versatile trailbike that can still tackle gnarly
terrain, the Stumpjumper Evo delivers—big time.
Reprinted from the January 2012 issue. Like us on Facebook