Stumpy vs. Trance?

Hey Lee,

I just donated my 10-year-old hardtail Cannondale mtn bike (fully upgraded to xt over the years) to force myself to buy a new bike. Who knew it would be so hard to let go, she just fit perfectly. I’m noticing full suspension bikes just don’t fit the same.

Anyways, I’m looking at three bikes essentially. The ’07 ($1800) or ’08 ($2100) Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp and the ’08 (2100) Giant Trance X1. I’ve currently been riding primarily xc with no drop offs greater than 2-3′. I really like technical riding and having a bike I can really maneuver around. Porcupine Rim in Moab has been my most challenging/favorite ride to date.

Cheers, Ryan

Hey Ryan,

Stumpy vs. Trance

– First, thanks so much for comparing apples with apples. If I get another guy comparing a trail bike with a freeride bike, I’ll throw a fit.

– Since you’re coming from a hardtail, you’ll be amazed by any suspension design. The Stumpy has Horst Link (aka FSR) suspension. The Trance has VPP suspension. They both work well. You might notice the FSR suspension has less feedback while pedaling over rough stuff. The Trance might feel tighter and quicker (when both rear shocks are set to minimal ProPedal).

– The specs of the bikes are comparable. The Stumpy uses SRAM X.9 and Avid Juicy 5 SL brakes. Trance uses Shimano XT and Hayes Stroker Trail brakes (which rule). They both rock FOX FLOAT forks. There are no bad parts here.

– The geometries are comparable, but the Stumpy’s head angle is about one degree slacker, and its chain stays are about 1/2 inch shorter. This makes the bike more braaapable on the downhills. I suppose the Trance will handle more quickly and feel more like your old Cannondale.

– The Stumpy has a custom rear shock with a lockout mode. As a longtime hardtail rider, you might appreciate that. The Trance’s VPP design stiffens the suspension automatically when you pedal. You might like that too.

– Try both bikes. If possible, ride them on trail. If not, rip the parking lot as hard as you can.

– Remember, you’re also investing in a shop. All things being equal, pick the shop that will give you better setup and service. Make sure the bike is perfectly dialed before you leave the showroom!

’08 Stumpy vs. ’07 Stumpy

If you can afford the extra few hundred bucks, rock the new model. The redesigned frame is lighter, stiffer, better, blah blah blah and I think it looks cleaner. Really: I’ve ridden both generations of Stumpy, and the new one does feel better. I especially notice the lateral stiffness in full braaap mode.

I just got back from braaaping an ’08 Stumpy Pro Carbon in Moab. Yum!

To sum it up

I like Fuji apples. My wife likes Granny Smith apples. They are both fine apples.

Pick any of these bikes. Learn to ride it. Have fun!

— Lee

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