What’s up with the Stumpjumper EVO?

Hi Lee,

You know the Specialized product line inside out and you dig both the ups and the downs, so I figure you’re the man for this question.

I’m riding an old 6″ Horst-link frame with outdated geometry in the form of a skyscraper-high BB and steepish head angle. To make things worse, I can only drop the seat 2 1/4″. Things go from fun to terrifying whenever the trails get steep.

I also have a full-on downhill bike, so I don’t need a “One Bike” bike, but I do prefer the mini-DH feel. My preferred trails are often on the steep and rocky end of the cross-country spectrum and free of any noteworthy stunts. I’m about 175 lbs, so no special considerations for rider weight.

The Enduro was a leading candidate until I saw the Stumpjumper Evo, which seems like a perfect mix of cross-country efficiency and mini-DH geometry. My concern is that the frame and fork stiffness might not let the bike take full advantage of its geometry. The Enduro is only a little heavier and climbs pretty well, but the BB is a fair bit higher and I have no need for the added strength.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and thanks for the years of outstanding advice, discussion, and enthusiasm from your site!


Hey Ryan,

Compared to the stock Stumpy FSR

The Stumpy EVO has:

– More suspension travel. Instead of 140 mm front and rear, the EVO has 150 front, 145 rear.

– Slacker geometry. The head angle is about 1.5 degrees slacker, which is noticeable. The seat angle is the same, which is great for pedaling and proof that Specialized did more than merely slap a longer fork onto the same frame.

– Longer wheelbase. That might be from the slacker fork.

– Chain guide with slightly lower gearing. I run Gamut dual guides on my Stumpy and Enduro. Pretty awesome.

– A Command Post remote-adjustable seatpost. A great upgrade for any aggressively ridden trail bike. My friends in the repair biz say the Command Post is one of the most reliable adjustable posts out there. (I’m starting to loathe my original-issue SpeedBalls.)

Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon

Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO

I think

A Stumpy EVO would be a great aggro trail bike. I’ve spent a lot of time on my current Stumpy and Enduro. Both are fantastic machines suited to different occasions. The Stumpy EVO looks like a sweet middle ground. If you have a full-on DH bike, the Stumpy EVO would be an awesome “little bike.” Throw in a P.3 on the hardtail end, and you’ll have a versatile quiver.

My Stumpy is extremely capable on all sorts of trails. The “weak” spot is the 2007 fork with quick-release hub. I think that bike with a newer through-axle fork would feel even better. The EVO with 15 mm Fox fork should be plenty stiff and extremely braaapable.

Don’t take my word for it

Curtis Keene is one of America’s top downhillers. He is also an active (and brutal) Specialized tester. Last winter he ripped a Stumpy with a 150 mm fork and custom shock. When Specialized’s head of high end MTBs Brandon Sloan talks about optimizing the EVO for aggressive trail riders, he’s talking about Curtis.

Watch Brendan Fairclough and Keene rip some Santa Cruz goodness. Keene is on his “pre-EVO.” If you ride faster or harder than this, I guess you “need” an Enduro.

Also read: Why Keene rides a Stumpy instead of an Enduro (Last time I rode with him on the above trails, we were both on Enduros, and it was transcendent.)


— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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14 replies
  1. electric says:

    Sky-high bottom brackets are ok… but you could be in for a surprise because the stumpy has a low bb, the lowest i’ve owned. As a result it really does rail the corners. Borat says, “I like, very nice”. Listening to Lee and others speak about buying the right bike actually brought my attention to a stumpy. It wasn’t perfect fit though. You have to be careful of your pedal stroke, if you’re flowing in rocky gnarl it can slow you to pass up strokes. When the suspension is compressed and you’re still hammering it the chance for strike is even higher. So, just be careful what you wish for when you want a lower bottom bracket.

    Personally i don’t like big S’s wheel choices for that line. My 28h front wheel was the first thing to break. 🙁 On the EVO it is big S’s roval, that has 27h and you’ll have to buy a new hub and rim from them if you break that. So choice is non-existent. Expensive wheels are great until something breaks.

    I’m not sure how flexy a 32mm stantion 150mm travel fork is either… if that bothers you, i doubt it’s significant with the larger head-tube and 15qr.

    Research the possible shock replacement options also, specialized really likes to not use off the shelf components which is good when they’re working but awful when they break – and everything breaks.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yeah, BB height is a real compromise.

    When I talked to Toby Henderson of Intense BMX for BMX book, he said he puts the BB as low as possible, while allowing just enough clearance for contemporary tracks.

    MTB ain’t so simple, eh?

    And how: Fancy parts are great until they break.

    My Sun Charger 27s wheels are cheap, standard and bombproof. They are happily rolling into their fourth year on their second Stumpy.

  3. Aussie Rhys says:

    So Lee, where would you lay your hard earned cash?
    I love the look of the Enduro Pro and not so much the Stumpy, but I want a bike I can ride in 8hr races and thrash down a hill too…
    I am currently riding a 05 Enduro so I am looking for the change to a more easy to ride up hills bike.. any thoughts?

  4. Ryan says:


    Thanks for the reply! As I mentioned in our email conversation, it sounds like the SJ Evo is custom-made for me, since I like to pin in as hard uphill as downhill and I mostly keep the wheels on the ground.

    The parts kits are identical between the SJ Evo and the Enduro (aside from the fork), so it’s all about the frame. I often hear pro downhillers like to train on bikes like the Stumjumper because they *want* something a little sketchy to force them to be more precise. I have no such interest; I just want to rip the descents and stick it to my ride buds!

    I’m willing to drag around a slightly excessive frame if it’ll help that goal – that’s why I’m not on a 19 lb hardtail, after all – but I don’t want to get carried away. Just trying to pick some brains over whether a lighter and less stiff bike with slack geometry can really compare with a burlier machine or if something gets lost along the way.

    To electric: It would definitely be a change from my high BB to what might be the lowest BB on the market (for a bike of this category). I’ve learned to make use of my bike’s pedal clearance and minimal chainstay growth by pedaling through EVERYTHING; very few people keep up with me though rough sections when I’m seated, but as soon as it’s too rough to remain seated, I have to fight to avoid being pitched over the front. The narrow stance of the SJ Evo’s PF30 double crankset might help its clearance … slightly. On the other end of the spectrum, my DH bike’s BB is the lowest I’ve ever seen – by a wide margin – and I can’t pedal through anything rougher than gravel, but it feels so very right when I’m just flowing along. It’s always a trade-off.

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Aussie Rhys:

    I rocked an 2005 Enduro and loved it. Loved it! Then I got the 2007 and loved it too.

    The new Stumpy has similar travel and geometry, plus it’s lighter. And: I swear it descends better than the ’07 Enduro. Something about the leverage ratio, linkage and new shock.

    For all-around riding, the Stumpy is a more verstaile machine than the Enduro.

    Coming off your current bike, a new Stumpy will likely feel better on the downhills — and even better on the climbs.

    Not that you can’t build an Enduro to climb quite well …

  6. leelikesbikes says:


    If I still had a downhill bike (panic sale when the babies came), I’d totally pick something like a Stumpy EVO as my trail bike. It would behave a lot like a previous-generation Enduro, only better in every way.

    Since I don’t have a DH bike, my 2011 Enduro is built “big” with downhill tires. I’ve been riding it a lot lately, but I’m coaching a young downhill racer on pretty serious terrain. In that setting (or riding full speed on the above trails with Curtis) the Enduro feels like the right tool for the job.

    Most of the time, on a wide variety of trails, my Stumpy feels like a more appropriate tool both up and down. I feel like I know what I’m doing, and that I ride it pretty hard. A Stumpy EVO would make it even better on the down.

    I suppose it comes down to:

    – Where and how do you ride?

    – What do your buddies ride?

    – What would make you feel cool?

    – How many bikes can you have?

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    And another thing:

    Pro DHers like Curtis and Brendan can *actually* ride a Stumpjumper at its limit. Regular folks might feel more confident or cool on an Enduro, but I doubt the demands of their (our) riding styles require that much machine.


    If a certain setup makes you feel confident, you’ll ride better and have more fun. So rock it.

  8. Slyfink says:

    Hey Lee,

    Here’s a (sorta) hypothetical question: if I were to replace my 2005 Enduro frame with a “just the frame” Stumpy Evo (assuming they sell just the frame), do you think/know/have insight as to whether the 36 TALAS would be too much fork for that frame?

    The EVO comes specced with a 150 mil fork, and my 36 TALAS is a 160 mil fork… not much difference, I don’t think?

  9. Ray says:


    It’s also crossed my mind to swap out my 2005 Enduro Pro frame for a Stumpy Evo frame. (The RC2 on mine is a 150, not a 160.) When I talked to the Specialized people at Trailhead’s recent bay area demo day, they said that the Stumpy Evo frame wouldn’t be sold separately, but I’ve heard rumors they’re reconsidering. Do you know anything about this? Thanks.


  10. leelikesbikes says:

    Slyfink: That 36 would slacken the Stumpy EVO by about a degree — and make it slacker than a rather slack Enduro! I suppose it’ll become a high-speed-carving weapon, but I see no reason for that level of slackitude. I don’t know whether Specialized would warranty the longer fork.

    The Stumpy EVO seems like a specialized (ha!) morph between the Stumpy and Enduro. If you feel like you need to make the Stumpy EVO any smaller or bigger, I think it’s time to commit either way.

    Ray: I know nothing.

  11. Chris says:

    This is a great ? and one I have experimented with on my 2010 SJ FSR Carbon. I don’t have the increased travel or the stiffer wheels but I have a 40mm stem and 745 mm wide bars as well as a 2.4 front tire and 2.2. rear in heavy-ish casings.

    This is my favorite bike of all time. It is so fun on almost every trail and is so playful on flowy singletrack.

    I am going to upgrade it with something longer in the front. Maybe an e150 to help stiffness. That is the real issue with mine since the s140 is so light, it does flex under high speeds and rough trails. I also will upgrade to a bit stiffer wheels.

    Once I do that, I will have a sj evo. My advice, buy the bike!

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