Maiden voyage: 2008 Stumpjumper Pro Carbon

After weeks of snow and general pinned-ness, I finally got to ride the new Stumpy. It needs some adjusting, but it sure does rip.

Where: Hall Ranch in Lyons, CO. This is my favorite local XC ride: moderate grade, lots of flow, plenty of embedded rocks.

Weather: 30 degrees, with just a whisper of snow. The exposed dirt was frozen solid. The snow was crusty. The ice was as sketchy as you’d expect.

With Whom: The Watts (comma) Bobbi and Jon. They’re great folks and fantastic riders.

2008 Stumpjumper Pro Carbon, as spec’ed and photographed by Specialized

Setup: The parts are quality but practical. I’m running a 2.2 Specialized Resolution in the rear and a 2.3 Resolution in the front. These dual compound tires are pretty quick and very grippy. More spec details: Oh it’s so tempting.

I set the rear shock to my body weight (about 170 psi) and the fork to just less than half my body weight (80 psi). I adjusted the rear pedal platform three clicks out from all the way in, so the bike barely moves when I hammer out of the saddle. I left the front pedal platform (which requires an Allen to change) at the stock setting.

Climbing: As you might expect, this bike climbs very well. It feels light, tight and efficient. My bars were too high to feel perfect, but I made do. Any time I’m climbing comfortably with the Watts, something must be going right.

Cornering: Excellent. The whole chassis, with the unified frame and fork and a set of Sun Charger AM/4X wheels, feels very stiff and planted. Compared with my 33-lb Enduro, I really feel the 27 pounds of love.

Low speed tech: At low speed when you’re hopping and hitting individual rocks, you can really feel the bike’s efficiency. And you can also feel the individual rocks. There is a definite lag before the suspension responds to a hit. The fork had way too much pedal platform, and a few times I almost got stopped by sloppily bonked boulders. It’s not a big deal; it’s just different from a fully open suspension, and I think I can adjust it away with an Allen.

High speed braaap: This bike rips. Jon was riding a new 6″ GT Force, and he was leading me at a fast, fun pace. The pedal platforms give the new Stumpy amazing pump and out-of-the-corner snap. Corners were braaaped. Boulders were pumped. Rock gardens were attacked. Overall, I can say I rode as aggressively as normal — at least between the snow patches.

The Jon Watt factor: Jon is a fast, fit, consistent pro rider, and it’s always fun to chase him downhill. Yesterday, with him on a big all-mountain bike and me on a mid-range XC bike: Jon gained moments by laying off his brakes and taking aggressive lines. At speed across roughness, we went exactly the same speed. I gained moments back with well-placed pedals. Overall, we got to the same place at the same pace. If you know Jon, you know that’s a good sign.

Compared with the 2007 Stumpy: I built the new bike with the same parts, except for the Sun Charger wheels and Hayes Stroker brakes (and, of course, the integrated Specialized fork).

– The new Stumpy is over a pound lighter (right about 27 lbs), even with the burly wheels. This bike could definitely go under 25 lbs.

– The new Stumpy feels more efficient and less bouncy, thanks to the Specialized fork and its pedal platform.

– The new Stumpy feels laterally stiffer, especially in the rear end. I really notice this in the tight, flat corners where I’m combining lateral and vertical forces. (aka braaap)

– The new Stumpy feels more integrated. Yeah, yeah I know that sounds like Specialized marketing hype, but the rear shock has such a unique ride, any other fork feels a bit off. I had a Maverick DUC 32 on a 2005 Stumpy with a Brain rear shock, and while that bike rips, I could always feel the competing suspension philosophies. I look forward to dialing in the front pedal platform. I have a feeling this bike will really come to life.

– The new Stumpy inspires even more confidence. The 2007 model was no slouch, but the new one — maybe it’s the stiffness, or maybe it’s the new suspension technology — but even poorly adjusted it ripped hard and felt planted.

For the next ride I will lower the handlebars and reduce the front pedal platform.

This is fun. Stay tuned!

— Lee

18 replies
  1. mackai says:

    Hey Lee,

    Have you ripped an SL with Specialized suspension yet?? Just curious about your thoughts regarding the diff between the specialized suspension and the Fox. Glad you’re finally rippin!

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yes, but only a loaner bike in Santa Cruz.

    The suspension makes a night and day difference. On an Enduro SL, the FOX suspension feels plush and moto-ish — more like a non-SL Enduro. The Specialized suspension feels efficient and XC-ish — more like a Stumpy.

    Very different styles. Both good.

  3. mackai says:

    Hey Lee,

    Planning any visits to Norcal?? Santa Rosa??? I ride annadel all the time and need a lesson!

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Yes. I come through there a lot for family and work. And I’ve heard great things about Annadel. Keep an eye on the site …

  5. Chris says:

    Mackai, what’s your loop? I park on Lawndale Road at the bottom of Lawndale, take Schultz Road to Schultz and up it, along and down Ridge to Marsh, along Marsh to Buick Meadow, down South Burma, down North Burma, along Live Oak and Rough Go (extension loop of Cobblestone and Orchard possible at this point) to Lake Ilsanjo, and then up Canyon and Marsh and back to Buick Meadow. Maybe repeat the Burmas et al in the summer when I am fitter. Finish down Lawndale (one of the most understated phrases ever written!).

    Lee, Annadel is one of the best in the North Bay Area, and if you don’t have a guide you can’t go wrong with my loop. I do all the great stuff downhill, and all the ordinary trails uphill, and finish on a high. Without extensions, its about 20 miles in about 2 hours (off the top of my head). On weekend mornings there WILL be volunteer rangers on horseback accompanied by a real ranger, so once you know where they are, you can rip with impunity! But not above 15 mph, of course…

    Minimum 4″ travel front and rear and bigger tires to rip the fun downs (top of South Burma has some unavoidable un-smooth high speed rocks that’ll have you working the trail like a porpoise on crack). There are no big hits or G-outs so you can run more sag, a lower BB or a 4X bike for cornering goodness (which you’ll want for Lawndale and especially Ridge after the picnic table, my favourite!). 2.35 ST High Rollers perfect for me as I care more about the corners and the downs than the ups. No steep downhills, just pedally downish hills, like shorter versions of Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. Quite similar, in fact.

  6. jason says:

    Lee! glad you dug braaping the Stumpy Pro Carbon FSR. I just got one too and built mine up, medium in stock trim was 25.1 without pedals….25.6 with Crank Bros Smartys. I did swap out OE wheels (which are really good DT hubs and rims spokes etc) with the Specialized Roval Control XC wheelset running tubeless. the end result is 24.4lbs for a otherwise stock bike with 120mm of travel and discs.

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    Wow. Now when you beat me up the hills I can blame my heavy bike.

    Hall Ranch Midweek Super D Worlds!!!

  8. jason says:

    mid week Super D worlds…. i’ll pick up a big belt buckle for the winner! how long is the season gonna last? MArch to Oct 1?

  9. leelikesbikes says:

    How cool would that be? Cumulative time over the entire season.

    Tour de Ranches: Hall, Heil, White, Walker … series finals at South Saint Vrain!

  10. mackai says:


    The loop I do most often:
    Park at stonehedge, ride up rough go to live oak then up north burma and south burma then down to buick meadow and off to the wonderful lawndale all the way down to lawndale rd. Ride up lawndale rd to schultz. Take schultz to ridge, up marsh, back down south burma, north burma to channel drive and up cobblestone and down spring creek to stonehedge. Its a great long ride!

  11. Piers Samson says:

    I’ve heard so many bad things about the enduro sl suspension, mostly the fork. Are there any ideas if that will be fixed. I have seen so many blown and dysfunctional forks up here on the west coast of Canada. The shore seems to eat these forks for breakfast. Hope that they get it fixed as the whole idea of the SL is great. But it does need to be tougher and more reliable for me to change over from my old enduro pro with fox 36 talas rc and dhx air 5.0. I need reliable as well as effective. I’d like a lighter bike but with a family and a busy job I don’t have the time to have the bike out of commission all the time.

  12. leelikesbikes says:

    Yeah, designing and building a new suspension system from the ground up is tricky, especially when you do it in a hurry. The early production runs had major bugs, but I hear things are getting sorted out.

    Reminds me of the first Shimano SPD shoes. You’d be ripping along all happy, then WHAMMO!!! you’re on the ground. Try to clip back in … what the? … what’s that on my pedal? … whoa — it’s part of the sole of my shoe!

    Shimano got that worked out in short order …

  13. jason says:

    rest assured the 08 Enduro SL suspension components are much improved. Much better small bump sensitivity and reliability. Fork hydraulic speed has been increased along with air can volume for a more linear compression rate to help some folks sit a little deeper into the travel. Try one of the 08’s at a FSR Test Center!

  14. Piers Samson says:

    I think I’ll stay with tried and true. Besides, I think the sl is a bit weak for the north shore. I got a standard enduro, and pumped it up with dhx 5.0 air, fox talus 36, and the other basics… in the slack setting it is just about all I need. Yes I did take an sl for a test drive on the shore and ended up blowing up the front fork on the second drop… It just isn’t strong enough for a 220lbs crazy man.

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