Experiment: Stumpjumper HT EVO-R?

I’m excited about a new bike. A special new bike that will rail trails, slay pump tracks and spread the braaap gospel.

Time to consolidate

I love all sorts of bikes and riding, but I don’t have time to stay sharp on a 20-inch BMX, 24-inch BMX, DJ hardtail, slalom suspension bike, trail bike, all mountain bike, downhill bike, road bike, cross bike and recumbent.

It’s time to consolidate. The downhill and all-mountain bikes have already coalesced into an Enduro. My cross bike is also a road bike. The slalom suspension only gets ridden at Sea Otter, so it’s time to go. My trail bike is dialed. The recumbent stays no matter what.

I don’t need the burl of a dedicated DJ hardtail, but I want the high-seat-long-top-tube versatility of an XC hardtail. I think I can pump and jump with a 17.5-inch seat tube. On my p.bike, my butt’s hitting the rear wheel, not the saddle.

So the mission: Build a hardtail for all-around clinic/trail/pump/jump/DS/4X/BMX/park/etc. Cross country frame + braaap parts = happy?

If this experiment goes well, who knows? Maybe it’ll become an EVO model.

Parts is parts

Something like: S-Works Stumpjumper M5 Frame, from Specialized’s German site

Still in the acquisition phase. Here’s what I’m obsessing about.

Frame: Specialized Stumpjumper HT. M5 alloy. Probably Euro spec, since Americans are apparently done with 26-inch-wheeled XC hardtails. Brandon Sloan is excited for me to wring this thing out. None of the core aggro S test crew ride this sort of bike. Uh, is there a reason?

Fork: Fox 831. A plusher F100 would track better on trail, but the stiffer 831 is ideal for 3G pumptrackage. I need this bike to slay pump tracks. Slay them! And how plush should a hardtail be, anyway?

Headset: How about a Cane Creek AngleSet to slacken the UCI-required head angle from 70.5 degrees to World Pump Federation-approved 69 degrees? Dare I? Or maybe I should ride the bike as is. My Intense 20″ BMX has a 74-degree head angle, and that seems to work.

Wheels: Pretty light and very stiff. Something like my Stumpy’s Charger Pros, with a QR15 front, would work nicely.

Fox 831 fork

Fox 831

Chain guide: Not sure whether to roll a Gamut single or double guide. A single would work well in most situations, but I wonder if I should keep the small ring so I have the spin option (especially in these hills). My knees, they ain’t so young anymore.

Gearing: 34 x 11-34 or 24/36 x 11-34. 36 x 11-36 would be sweet, but I’m not emotionally ready for 10-speed.

Seatpost: Must. Have. Mega. Adjustment. If I can get full range with a standard post, I’ll start there. (My ancient SpeedBalls are starting to anger me.) Trying to test a Rase. Might have to man up and go for a Command Post.

Cockpit: 28-inch bars with low rise. Shortish stem. My Stumpy’s Point One Racing 70mm stem works well everywhere. A good compromise and a fine starting point. Sexy too.

Pedals: Flats will be standard.

What do you think?

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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38 replies
  1. zach says:

    I think that P-Bike of yours gives you all you need? Great for Pump/Jump/FreeRide/light to mid DH and with the right seat post you can ride some XC on her? It is also BMX track ready and durable enough to were you don’t have to worry about braking it for the most part. Maybe you just need a new color???

  2. chance says:

    Sounds pretty bad ass but do you really think that you can replace all those bike with one bike and that one bike being a XC frame with agressive parts? Definately let us know how that works because I would love to save a grip and build a do it all bike!

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Another thought:

    Brian Lopes’ Ibis Tranny is pretty much what I’m talking about here. He and I chatted about this. He recently moved up from a small to a medium (liking the longer bike, as I am these days), and he says it works great.

    As he mentioned, it’s not like I’m doing any no-footed can-cans!

  4. aussie chris says:

    What about a Talas? Down low for XC and pumpage, up high for wringing its neck on a descent.

    I have the new Shimano 3 x 10 and love it. The range on the rear cluster is enormous. I was thinking about reducing the number of rings up front, but since I’ve never dropped the chain, I’ll keep all three. If I was you, I’d go for the 2 X 10. You’ll also need the granny to tow the kids up your hill.

  5. electric says:

    Sounds interesting, this type of hard-tail is emerging from the ashes of, well, something. Check out Chromag’s aperature frame… $$ there is also Ragley in the UK. The 26″ ht crowd has gone niche. I’m not sure specialized has a frame that can be spec’d that way? I’ll be curious to see what you decide on!

  6. JC says:

    I would keep the P bike.
    Getting rid of your Slalom bike? Is it the Specialized SX, I think I saw Ian riding it at Lyons BP. Tempting buy. let me know, I live in Boulder.

  7. Davis says:

    I have been using an stumpy expert carbon hardtail (26″ of course) for two seasons now. With wide bars and good tires the bike rips. I ride it on all the boulder and nederland trails, sketchy at times but when you get a solid pump it just takes off. It is the perfect bike to climb Hall Ranch, I can whip it around like a trials bike up the ledges. Coming down gets a little hairy but I can still pass some folks on all mountain bikes. With the current build it weighs in at about 20 pounds so it slays the climbs. Currently I have it set up with a single 34 tooth ring up front and a 11-34 cassette, and there is nothing I have wanted a smaller gear for. It is so efficient the single ring is a great compliment making the bike lighter and giving it more room to let its inner trials bike shine. 26″ hardtails are the bike of the future (I hope).

  8. leelikesbikes says:

    Aussie Chris:

    I almost never change the geometry/travel on my bikes; when I do I forget to put it back. My inside Fox contact says the 831 is *awesome* for pump. Since pump is the only place where the bike *has* to excel, I’m gonna try the 831.

    Good call on the gears. That trailer is gonna contain TWO kids!

  9. leelikesbikes says:


    I think we’re circling back to the do-all, all-mountain hardtail. In a modern sense.

    Cromag Aperature, the Ragley, On-One 456 (the ti is so rad; if I wasn’t an S test rider, I’d buy one full retail!), heck even the Santa Cruz Chameleon is back in a beautiful way. Many of these frames are made for 4- to 6- inch forks; optimized at 6. They seem intended for heavy-duty use: less pump track, more all mountain.

    I want my bike to have correct geometry — head angle 69ish degrees, seat angle 73 degrees, at 4 inches in front. It should be capable everywhere, but it needs to kick ass on pump tracks. My theory: A strategically whippier frame might actually be faster than a stiff one.

    Specialized does not have a directly comparable frame to the 456 et al. The p.bikes have ideal geometry but have gotten so low a standard post won’t move far enough. Specialized’s XC hardtails, as I’m going to try, are taller and steeper — but not too tall and steep? The extinct p.all mountain was right up this alley, but at the low end. I’ll bet kids wanted real p.bikes.

    When I started this whole adventure, we got tiny XC hardtails for slalom. Then came slalom-specific hardtails, then slalom suspension bikes. I feel like I am circling back to an XC setup.

    I am super excited about this project. I think there are a lot of riders like me out there. Older, smooth, want to mix it up, need to be efficient with their quiver, occasionally pull a trailer …

    Keeping the p.bike. I need the bailout for Sea Otter Pro Pump! But how rad would it be to rock the Stumpy HT EVO-R for pump, DS and DH? Circling back, baby!

  10. Brad says:

    I like where you’re leading Specialized with this. A versatile aggro HT 26er isn’t made by any of the big boys. Chromag, On-one, Ragely, NS bikes, and Evil make long low slacker hardtails with more versatility than a DJ bike. When your legs are the suspension you need room!

  11. pebbles says:

    Looks cool, but I’d be scared of those seat-stays, they look small. But hey, I’m 210lbs. I recently went through the same dilemma, but went in a different direction. Got a Double for 90% and a SE 29er for lazy days. Curious to see how your build will look.

  12. Jeff says:

    Thanks for posting this Lee. I was looking for something comparable but you are right a lot of the Stumpjumpers are 29ers or set up for super light XC.

    Actually a Rockhopper EVO would be cool and I think the geometry is closer to the p all mountian bike then a HT stumpjumper. Then they could afford to move away from budget aspect of the Rockhopper but still keep the price less then the hypothetical Stumpjumper HT EVO. Basically EVOs all the way across would be good 🙂 I also like the possibilities of 1×10 or 2×10 with chain guides and ISCG tabs.

    Glad I am not a Spec product manager to many requirements for me to manage.

  13. Bas says:

    So the On-One you told me about is def out?

    I built up a steel Kona Explosif similarly with a 100-140mm Talas fork and it’s SO much fun. And it rides so hard and fast. It’s a 3×9 still, but the next step is FOR SURE going to be a modification into a 1×10 set-up with a 36t ring and a 36-11 cassette, E13 XCX retention. Not so much about the weight, but I get to loose the left shifter and clean the bike up even further.

  14. leelikesbikes says:


    I’m a Specialized test rider, and those guys have always been very supportive. I can’t be riding anything else.

    Rip that hardtail. I hope to ride with you again!

  15. Cheeky Monkey says:

    Lots of talk in the UK of 2×10 (SRAM or Shimano) being “the future”. Would be interested to hear what you though of it (from use, not theory).

    Like the guy said, low gears for winching kids in trailers is a real boon!

  16. max says:

    I have a fully rigid titanium 29er set up for all around brapage. 29″ bars, 70mm stem, big tires, wide rims, short stays, pretty light. It is tons of fun, and is super capable of going down some pretty nasty stuff. Best part is, with a quick wheel/tire swap it turns into a long distance, fire road cruiser/cross bike.
    The fully rigid can be unrelenting on jumps and drops, but its good training and sharpens your technique.
    I am running it as a 1×9 with 32f 11-34 rear. I think ideal gearing for me would be either 24/36 with 11-34 or 34 with 11-36 ten speed. The 11-36ten speed stuff that I have on my full susser is awesome.

  17. Luka says:

    If you’re Spec test rider, then don’t bother with RASE seatpost. They get play after time and aren’t made as well as Commands. Though the 9 inch adjustment is very, very tempting.

    Other good option is Kind Shock 950 remote.

  18. Eric says:

    I’m another older, want it all in one bike guy.
    After many tries with FS bikes I am back on (well, never totally left) a steel HT. Old one was/is a Kona Explosif 853 Reynolds model, love it and never plan on getting rid of it (fact its my son wants it), new bike is a Transition TransAM with a 831 fork. It is a shorter than recommended fork but works pretty well for what I want. Just an FYI, an 831 makes a killer XC fork for us clydedale riders.

  19. zach says:

    Also as a quick side note and to be honest with a good buddy “You ride too aggressive for the rear end of that frame”. Yes a good rider can ride anything but will the purchase be there when you want it and or need it? Maybe just a new color P-bike with a bit longer and taller steam will give you what you are truly looking for? We both know you can go pump a Huffy from Walmart but that doesn’t mean it the right bike for the job though.

  20. leelikesbikes says:

    Zach! Hey brother, I hear you.

    I’m wondering whether the rear flex will feel good — more traction, storage/release of energy — or just sketchy?

    We’ll soon see. If this experiment fails, the parts will go on a new p.bike.

    — — —

    As I mentioned, I’ve talked to Lopes about his Ibis Tranny, which is a similar style frame, but in carbon. At first he was having his frames built stiffer, but he said they were actually too stiff, and he’s now riding a stock layup.

    I’m not *that* much stronger than Lopes, so everything should be fine!

  21. Chris Cowan says:

    I’ve taken my DJ on a few short XC rides and it was a freaking blast. Got me thinking it would be fun to have a hard tail bike with shorter chain stays and a slacker head tube for ripping up some XC trails. The DJ is a tad too small to be comfortable on longer rides, but the nimbleness and flickability was just awesome.

    You will of course need to post some videos of you ripping on this new ride once you get it dialed in.

    Can you get Specialized to make a prototype frame for you?

  22. ChrisQ says:

    I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think Carolyn Buchanan won her first 4X world championship on a Stumpjumper Hardtail: http://www.oakley.com/women/a/c0/00/BAh7CGkKIgo4MDB4MGkLbCsH61SmSmkIaQJ91w.jpg

    Also, British 4X specialist Scott Beaumont has been riding an 18″ Rocky Mountain Hardtail for years now. I think he likes the stability and the way the longer wheelbase deals with obstacles.

    Lee, what size P bike do you ride and how much difference are you expecting in wheelbase between these two bikes? Everyone who is fast seems to ride a long 4X bike these days, even guys that aren’t that big. What’s the disadvantage to a longer wheelbase? Would it only be a negative in really tight (sea otter pro?)pump tracks?

  23. leelikesbikes says:

    Chris C:

    I look forward to riding and filming this new bike. Specialized proto frame? I don’t think I have that kind of pull. … But I’m ready with the ideas!

    Chris Q:

    My Mighty P, the one I rode in our clinics when you were out here from Australia, is a short. They don’t make that size any more because guys were hitting their feet during bar spins. Not a problem for me.

    The P’s wheelbase is about 40 inches.

    The STUMPJUMPER HT EVO-R will be about 42 inches. Longer if I slacken the front end.

    Yeah man, the pendulum is swinging toward longer bikes. Lopes Himself is on a medium Tranny for DJ/pump.

    Advantages of longer bikes:

    – More stable.

    – Easier balance.

    – Fit more like “real” bikes.

    Possible disadvantages of longer bikes:

    – Harder to whip around. But barely.

    – Take more body English to change the balance point.

    – Harder to fit into tight troughs.

    I think a decent rider can overcome any downsides while enjoying the upsides. I think. We’ll see.

    Data point: I’ve been riding my Stumpy like crazy. 44-inch wheelbase. Very stable. Extremely flickable. Pumps and manuals just fine.

  24. ChrisQ says:

    I think you might really be on to something here. The angleset idea really opens a lot of doors. Now any XC frame frame with good geo can be converted into a rad pump track bike. Or simply a more rad bike period.

  25. Chris Cowan says:

    Are you going with the S-Works Carbon or M-5? The M-5 won’t work with Cane Creek’s AngleSet since it needs either a tapered head tube (which the S-Works Carbon frame has) or a 1.5″ head tube.

  26. leelikesbikes says:

    It’ll be an M5. Ya, Sloan said the AngleSet wouldn’t fit.

    Oh well. Stock HA is 70.5 degrees. Upping the fork from 90mm to 100mm will get me close to 70. I think it’ll work just fine.

  27. chance says:

    Is Lopes riding a larger bike even for DH and slalom? Just wondering because I’m right between the Large and Medium fit with most companies and most shops seem to push me towards the medium and that is what I have been riding and with a bmx back ground it feels more comfy on the more compact bike but the thought is very interesting of going larger

  28. leelikesbikes says:

    This just in from Dr. Sloan:

    “Hey- I have Captain America here now…I just need to box and ship it out.”

    Captain America! Rad!

    The Fox 831 is en route. Now I need wheels, bars, stem, brakes, drivetrain …

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