Back in 1981 Specialized turned the MTB industry on its head when they released the original ‘Stumpjumper’. It’s frame design was way ahead of its time and it proved to be the world’s first mass-produced mountain bike that allowed riders to tackle and conquer ‘proper trails’.
For nearly 40 years the Stumpy has continued to blaze the way in trail bike design and performance and today that DNA has peaked at a whole new level with the release of the latest generation EVO model.
The 2021 Stumpjumper Evo claims to be the most adjustable and rider customisable MTB Specialized have ever produced. How does the new Evo achieve that? Let’s start by focusing our attention up at the front of the bike where the new Stumpy Evo now has three-position eccentric headset cups that give you a massive 2 degrees of head angle adjustment. There is also a two-position flip-chip at the back which adjusts the pivot closest to the axle on the chainstay. So now, the bike has SIX different set ups, each with a unique bottom bracket height and head tube angle.
The Evo’s steepest head angle option is 65.5 while its slackest is at 63.5. Let’s put that into perspective, the head angle on a Demo DH bike is 62.8 and the current standard Stumpy is 66.5. So you have a bike that can truly feel like a DH bike, trail bike, or anything in between. A real “quiver killer”. With this amount of adjustment, it is almost a challenge to find something the Evo can’t handle.
Six seems to be the reoccurring number here because with Specialized’s sizing you have six different frame sizes. Each size jumps up 23-25mm in reach and the seat tube 20mm in length. Gone is the conventional naming as this may confuse some people. If you ride a large on one bike, then you may automatically go for a large Evo, however Specialized understands sometimes your riding differs and this can be a massive part of dictating your frame size. Just another way for Specialized to make sure the Evo is the perfect bike for everyone.
With all this adjustment I have grazed past the other stuff. As the Evo is designed to do everything you throw at it, naturally Specialized have fitted 29-inch wheels front and rear. Some people may want to mess around and run a mullet setup and Specialized have already thought of this and included a custom yoke that keeps the Evo geo consistent with either a 29 or 27.5 inch rear wheel.
When you are talking about an extremely capable bike you need to have an extremely capable suspension platform. With 150mm rear and 160mm upfront, you will barely feel a microwave if you happen to run over one on the trail.
Learning from the extremely successful Enduro, the Evo now has a more progressive leverage curve. As is well known, this leads to the perfect amount of small bump compliance without blowing through the travel in the rough stuff.
One thing that is often overlooked when considering wheel travel, is the axle path. For 2021 the Evo’s axle now moves rearward 3mm in the first 30% of travel. This prevents the feeling of the rear wheel getting hung up on square edges, as the bike goes through the travel the wheel swings back over the obstacle and continues with forward momentum. Essentially the Evo not only feels smooth in the rough stuff, but it also gets faster.
Naturally, the Evo comes with Specialized’s SWAT box to hold spare tubes, tool, food, or… tea? They have made sure that the bike is going to be quiet on even the roughest terrain and the bikes are finished in the only way specialized know how, perfectly.
Just like they did way back in ’81 when Specialized debuted the very first Stumpjumper, the brand has genuinely evolved and shown the industry how to make a real quiver killer. With supreme adjustability that makes substantial differences, there is no way you can’t find a set up you like. Instead of them defining the bike, Specialized has given the rider a way of writing their own definition. [R]