Stumpjumper EVO the ultimate trail weapon?

I’ve been bouncing between my 140mm Stumpjumper and 160mm Enduro. The 150mm 2012 Stumpjumper EVO might be the ticket. Slack, low, light. Braaap!

Watch Curtis Keene and Brad Benedict wring ’em out.

Plus: Interview with Keene.

Video by Fault Line TV

Technique is rad: Note how Curtis is never static on the bike. He always has a playful bounce, and he times that bounce with the terrain. I’ve learned a ton on Keene’s wheel. Go Curtis!

• Free Welcome to Pump Track Nation ebook to the best analysis of Curtis’ riding style. Deadline: July 18.

This just in: Brad Benedict rallies a Stumpy EVO at VitalMTB

2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon… – More Mountain Bike Videos

I gave Curtis a call in Canada — he’s getting ready for Crankworx, hoping for a Garbanzo DH win — and I asked him about the Stump EVO:

Curtis, you were riding Stumpjumper on trail a couple years ago, and in the past year you’ve been riding an Enduro. Would you ride the new Stumpy EVO all the time, or would you still choose the Enduro for some trails?

With the Enduro at 160mm and the Stumpy EVO at 150mm, the bikes are almost overlapping, and it’s getting harder and harder to pick, hence the question.

That would depend on where I live. If I lived in Vancouver full time and did all my XC rides here, I think I’d pick the Enduro. It gives me a bit more confidence on the gnarlier downhills: bigger fork, slacker, beefier. But living in Santa Cruz, I’ll pick the Stumpy EVO. It’s not as slack or heavy. In Santa Cruz, it gets the job done.

If someone robs the garage and all I get to keep is one bike — one bike! — it’ll probably be the Stumpy EVO, especially the new one.

I think of the Enduro as a mini DH bike.

Yeah, it definitely is, especially with a 36 or Lyric fork. It has more travel, and it’s stiffer and burlier.

You’re one of the few riders out there who can truly sense flex. What does stiffer/burlier mean to you?

It’s how the front wheel tracks when you’re going through rocks, going higher speeds on rougher terrain, when you start braking. For example, I definitely feel the carbon Revelation flex compared to the Lyric. The Lyric gives me more confidence because it tracks true. It absorbs hits. It’s not so stiff it deflects like a Fox 40, but it’s stiff enough where it’s not wandering.

On the Revelation when I push through turns, I feel I lose some of that energy. It flexes out, and it’s not as responsive on a pump track or gnarly trail — especially with 190 lbs. I flex the shit out of the carbon Revelation. It’s sketchy sometimes. The engineers say to trust it, and I do, but it still feels sketchy when I’m pushing hard on a gnarlier trail. With the Lyric, the front wheel stays planted. It’s not deflecting, it’s not losing energy.

It sounds like this comes down to riding style and terrain.

Yes. On flowier trails the carbon Revelation is fine. When I hit steeper/rougher trails I don’t feel comfortable. The flex is too much. It’s scary. I want the stiffness.

I go back and forth between my Enduro with 36 and Stumpy with an old TALAS and 9mm QR. I swear, in a lot of situations, the flexiness of the Stumpy feels great.

At time some flex is nice. But the more aggro you get, the sketchier it gets.

When Rockshox was developing the new Boxxer, they had 32mm stanchions and Fox had 40mm stanchions. Rockshox tested all diameters and selected 35mm. 32mm was not stiff enough for cornering, 40mm was deflecting off rocks. That’s for the DH application. We’re still looking for the formula for all mountain or XC.

And that depends on how and where you ride.


You’ve been talking about fork stiffness, but do you feel the difference in the whole chassis?

In the past, the Enduro has always felt way stiffer than the Stumpy. Plus the Enduro also has a longer wheelbase, which makes it more stable at speed.

With the new design, the new Stumpy is both stiffer and lighter. You can tell. When I first got on the bike, it felt OK. It didn’t start to feel great until I started to go fast. The faster I went, the more it wanted. The carbon frame and fork and wheels felt dead at low speed. When I cracked it open it felt awesome.

What about the Stumpy EVO’s lower bottom bracket? Are you striking pedals on technical climbs?

I can’t tell. It’s just a bit lower, and it hasn’t affected me even on the technical climbs in Vancouver. It’s such a small difference. You can make up the same difference on your current bike by changing your sag. I think people over-analyze this stuff.

The front end has gone up, and it all works out. Compared to the last Stumpy, this one works way better in the rear end. Better small bump compliance, more travel, more room for error.

The Stumpy EVO is awesome. I mean, obviously, I’m sponsored by Specialized. But every time I ride a new bike I’m impressed. Those guys do their homework.

When I first got on it, I was like oh yeah a new bike this is cool. What really opened my eyes was my third descent. I cracked it open and I was like “Whoa! What just happened?” I was going flat out by myself and it was a whole different experience.

OK, what do you mean? There’s so much BS out there about how bikes ride. What do you mean by a whole different experience?

Good question …

I think it was a combination of things. The revised geometry, the carbon frame, carbon wheels, even my Monarch rear shock — compared with most XC shocks it has more damping; the small bump compliance is not as good, but once you go fast the shock comes alive. Like I told [Specialized R&D head Brandon] Sloan, I couldn’t tell what it was exactly. Everything together works. The bike was dead silent, then I clicked it up a notch. It came alive, yet it was there, stable.

The more I ride the bike, the harder I push it and the more comfortable I feel. When I was riding the trails for the video, I hadn’t been on this bike for 1-2 months. I hopped on it, and I forgot how rad it was. I didn’t think I would do what I did. Skipping a whole section, landing in ruts and railing the turn. That’s what the bike wants. It can take a whole lot. It always wants more.

Know more. Have more fun!

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16 replies
  1. Russ says:

    I was just about to ask you what you thought about the Stumpy EVO. What a sweet bike! I want one! I look forward to your review. I’m sure it will clean up LHC with authority!

    Curtis’ riding style: Rowdy!

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yeah man, this one looks good.

    I rode/raced a Foes Weasel with Bullet Bros. ZZYZX fork back in the day. That thing was 6″ and 6″. That was as bad ass as it got back then. Not nearly as refined as modern bikes, but it’s funny we seem to be circling back to that 6/6 setup.

    I LOVE both my Stumpy and Enduro. They are fantastic bikes optimized for different situations. I think a Stumpy EVO will strike a nice balance — and I’ll get to ride it more, which will make me more confident/better on it.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    While I am already a proud owner of WPTN, and am about to start phase two of my track, as my son is rocking the BMX bike, I must comment on Curtis’s form:

    If Peter Cottontail rocked the full suspension, he would look just like Curtis Greene. Curtis smoothly hops down the bunny trail, appearing to have read the side of his bike, and thought, “Huh. Stumpjumper. That probably includes all roots and rocks as well.”

  4. Mike says:

    Forget the bike, what I like is that they are all running a new lighter 2bliss Butcher tire up front. I love my SXs but a lighter more trail oriented version would be sweet.

  5. divisadero says:

    Looks like a great bike. Any thoughts on potentially putting a 160mm fork (like a Lyrik) on the Evo? If it doesn’t void the warranty, I could live with the extra pound or so, wouldn’t mind the even slacker geometry, and the added stiffness would be great.

  6. mike says:

    I’ve got the 2011 evo, love it. how the new one compare to that. lighter with the carbon but riding is there a lot different? As it looks very nice!!

  7. Russ says:

    If I owned an EVO I would run a 36. If the geo/BB felt off I would reduce travel to 150. There’s no 150 fork on the market as stiff as a 36, and the new 36 160 is very light. The question is, is the EVO frame that much lighter than an Enduro to make it worth going with it over an Enduro for guys that would run a 160 weight fork. Head angle would be 66.5ish so an Evo with 160 should feel like a lighter, snappier, Enduro? Sign me up!

  8. Matt says:

    Last stumpjumper I owned was a 2007 comp. I also rode a 2007 enduro expert. At the time I thought the bikes were pretty similar, except the stumpjumper was a little more squirrly but seemed to handle just as much as the enduro. The stumpjumper was more fun if there was climbing involved due to the weight differences and geometry. If I had to choose between the two I would go with the stumpjumper everytime. The bike was just comfortable and fun.

    P.S. I would love to get my hands on a 2012 EVO, it may be the best yet.

  9. Todd says:

    I missed the deadline, but Curtis’ riding style: “bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!”

  10. Eric says:

    Late with my offering too, but a few things that I noticed:

    -Overall, Keene seems to fall somewhere in between the “newer school” riders like Hill, Fairclough, Brosnan etc who ride pretty upright and the more traditional guys like Peat, Rennie, Lopes etc who ride a lot lower with torso closer to parallel to the ground.
    -Some nice pumptrack-inspired stuff with some manualing and so on (around 19 seconds in)
    -Scandinavian flick! (15 seconds in)
    -Taking a somewhat more challenging line to set up wide for a corner (1:02 or so)
    -Keeping the body pointing down the trail while the bike does the slaloming (1:10)
    -Unweighting the bike and taking the straight line over the burlier stuff (1:12 and 1:57)
    -Always smooth and fast. Awesome.

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