Compare-O Bottom Line: Sublime Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 makes a case for substance over buzz

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

Race To The Bottom

But it’s when the trail tilted the other way that this bike really began to shine. Balanced suspension, big-wheel rollover, and the more-aggressive EVO geometry resulted in enhanced rider confidence—and increased miles per hour.

“This is a bike that requires the rider to look farther down the trail than normal because you’ll be going a bit faster,” exclaimed one tester. “It easily transferred from climbing to descending, so you could concentrate on where you wanted to go, and not be worried about what you needed to do to the bike.”

And despite its bigger wheels—and the associated stigmas—there were not major complaints about lack of flick’ability or nimbleness. The low BB height and shorter, 17.9-inch chainstays helped the bike track nicely, even through the few tight turns on our test track. But, as one tester noted, it would be interesting to see how it fared in tighter, more techy switchbacks.

You Get What You Pay For

For nine grand you’d rightly expect a top-shelf parts spec, and while we could argue all day about whether or not any bike is worth that much, the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 certainly doesn’t skimp on parts.

Besides the plush, bottomless Pike fork and Fox CTD shock with AUTOSAG, boost valve and Kashima coating, highlights include 2×4-stiff Roval Traverse SL 29 carbon wheels, Specialized’s 3-position Command Post IR with 125mm of travel, and SRAM’s ever-popular XX1 drivetrain. The cockpit is a menagerie of Specialized house brand parts, including 750mm wide bars with 10mm of rise, and lightweight, lock-on Sip Grips.

Nothing’s Perfect

It’s hard to find fault with super bikes such as the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29, but we were a little surprised that even at $9000, you’re still getting an alloy rear end. We’d like to see the Big Red S go full carbon at this price point, which would knock off a little more weight. As it is, if you want full carbon, you have to drop another $500 to get the standard S-Works Stumpjumper FSR, which has the Fox/Specialized remote Brain rear shock, but not a Pike fork.

The 3-position dropper post also caused consternation with testers who prefer infinite adjustability. And the SWAT system left a few other testers scratching their heads. Sure it’s nice to have a compact multi-tool under the bottle cage and a chain tool integrated into the headset top cap. But as one tester noted, “in most cases you’re still going to need to carry a real multi-tool, so I’d ditch the SWAT stuff to save the weight, particularly on a bike like this where you’re going to be wearing a pack anyway.”

And finally, if you’re dying to take the leap into the tweener-wheel world, you’re out of luck. Specialized offers 26- and 29-inch versions of this bike, but no 27.5s. Not yet anyway. The company quietly added 27.5-inch tires to their product line last week, which could mean wheels and bikes won’t be far behind. And none too soon for one test rider.

“It definitely wasn’t the quickest in tight corners due to the wagon wheels and a slightly longer (45.5-inch) wheelbase,” argued one tester.

Who is This Bike For?

Well, if you have a trust fund, that helps. As for rider type, a lot will depend on your skill level and what you’re seeking in a bike. One tester, who generally isn’t a huge fan of 29ers, called the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 the ideal bike “for those riders with moderate skill looking for a plush, comfortable, capable and predictable bike that lets you ride all day long and arrive home without feeling you got endlessly beaten over the head with bongo bat.”

Another tester, who loves big wheeled bikes, called it his “favorite bike of the bunch—if I could also own a more XC-oriented rig such as the Ibis Ripley. It climbed well enough and was simply awesome on the descents, giving this intermediate descender a huge boost of confidence.”

While not everyone has nine Grover Clevelands kicking around that they can drop on a new bike, the good news is that you can pick up the frame (with seatpost) for $2950, then build it up the way you like. Or opt for the one of the down-the-line models, which range from $2900 (full alloy frame) to $6200 (same carbon/alloy frame, lesser spec), and still reap the all-around benefits of this proven design.

The Last Word

Bottom line, this bike proves that change isn’t always for the best. We loved it just the way it was.

The Good
  • Great climber
  • Great descender
  • “Easy” ride quality
  • A+ parts spec
  • Proven design and wheel size
The Bad
  • You may need a second mortgage
  • Not bleeding edge
  • Non-infinite seat post
Price and Trickle Down Versions

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29: $9000 (as tested)
Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29 frame: $2950
Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon EVO 29: $6200
Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29 (alloy frame): $3300
Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 (alloy frame): $2900

2014 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 Key Specs
  • MSRP: $9000
  • Weight: 26.16 lbs.(size large)
  • Wheel size: 29 inches
  • Sizes: S, M, L, XL
  • Color: Gloss Liquid Silver/Black
  • Frame Material: FACT 9m carbon front triangle, M5 alloy rear triangle
  • Fork: 140mm Pike RCT3 29
  • Rear Travel: 135mm
  • Rear Shock: FOX Float CTD Factory w/ AUTOSAG and Boost Valve, Kashima coating
  • Headset: 1-1/8 and 1-1/2″ threadless, Campy style upper with 1-1/2″ lower, cartridge bearings
  • Handlebar: Specialized XC mini-riser, alloy, 750mm wide, 10mm rise
  • Stem: Syntace F109, 6-degree rise, 31.8mm clamp
  • Grips: Specialized Sip Grip, light lock-on, half-waffle aramid-infused
  • Seatpost: Specialized Command Post IR, 3-poistion with 125mm of travel
  • Brakes: Avid X0 Trail World Cup, 200mm front, 200mm rear
  • Brake Levers: Avid X0, hydraulic disc, carbon blade w/ bearing
  • Shifters: SRAM XX1, Trigger Shift
  • Front Derailleur: N/A
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1, Type-2
  • Cassette: SRAM XX1 10×42, 11-speed
  • Crankset: S-Works OS carbon, custom SRAM XX1 32t chainring
  • Rims: Roval Traverse SL 29 carbon
  • Hubs: Roval Traverse SL 29
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Super Comp, 2.0/1.65/1.8 stainless
  • Tires: 2.3” Specialized Butcher Control (front), 2.3” Specialized Purgatory Control (rear)
  • Bottom bracket type: PressFit 30
  • ISCG Tabs: Yes
  • Chain guide: No
  • Head tube angle: 68 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 68.8 actual, 73.5 effective
  • Chainstay length: 17.9 inches
  • Bottom bracket height: 13.2 inches

For more information visit

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • Tad says:

    You described the 17.9 inch chain stays as “shorter”. They would have been shorter 4 or 5 years ago, however now it is definitely on the long side. Having a hard time manualing up and over logs? Look no further than those long chain stays. The Ripley, Enduro 29er, and the BMC that you tested all have much shorter chain stays. Be willing to bet that the Stumpy will get the short Enduro stays for 2015.

  • gg says:

    Arrghh. Can’t stand the external cable mess at the BB. Surely Spec and fix that with internal routes? And it just looks like crap. C’mon!

  • Loll says:

    Your tester said climbing was the same with climb trail or wide open mode. Obviously they are not hammering and standing. I own the non evo version and one ride up Kennedy or Mission Peak will prove your test wrong

    • slo_rider says:

      i agree w/ above: there’s plenty of commentary on mtbr’s forums about spec’s FSR rear suspension having less anti-squat compared to other designs like VPP, DW-link, and Maestro. pros are more active suspension (and less pedal kick-back) when climbing, cons are more pedal-bob. seems like it’s the kind of rear end that favors smooth pedaling while grinding in the saddle, as opposed to mashing while standing.

    • Shaun says:

      I have to agree with Loll! I have a 2013 model and putting it in trail or open mode when climbing is like riding a pogo stick.

  • Mike says:

    Sounds a lot like my Pivot Mach 429 that I just picked up for a third of the price.

  • VII says:

    Got one of these after riding a VPP2 (Blur LTC) for years. After everything I’ve been reading over the years on forums, I was expecting a decrease in pedaling efficiency, but it actually pedals very well. It’s plusher on the descent than my Blur, more active when pedaling in the rough, and there isn’t a noticeable loss of efficiency climbing. Maybe a factor is rider weight? (I’m a light rider.)

  • Bob Stimson says:

    Next time you do a review, how about picking a component/wheel set that most people can afford. How about all XT, $3000 bikes, instead of this $10k titanium/magnesium setups that are in the realm very few…

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