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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