Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Pro Carbon first ride

The descending beast can climb!

Pro Reviews

The 29er version is a capable descender for sure. But one revelation is it could be the ‘one’ bike for someone who is celebrates descending but is not afraid to climb the local and remote mountains.

What is it?

Last spring, Specialized resurrected the iconic Stumpjumper EVO nameplate, in the form of the solid and well-priced Comp Alloy model. The “63.5” head angle number stopped traffic as consumers and journalists alike said, “Whoah.” We’ve seen that number before on a head tube but on a trail bike? From Specialized? The new Stumpjumper EVO’s progressive geometry and well-sorted FSR suspension kinematics quickly garnered accolades and its fare share of post-ride high-fives. But while the Comp Alloy EVO’s attractive pay/play ratio earned it praise, the most frequently asked question was, “So, when will the carbon version show up?”

Well, we are fans of the “long and slack” movement so this one got our attention. Went to the steeps of Henry Coe State park and took the bike home to our local favorites. How did it do? Read on and find out.

30 lbs 13 ounces with a bottle cage, headset multi-tool and chainbreaker translates to bike around 30 lbs when weighed in standard form

How does it ride?

The bike comes in two wheel sizes, 29er and 27.5 and each is available in two bike sizes, S2 and S3, redefining the old S,M,L model. They are long and longer, taking the old seat tube and standover height standard and focusing on torso length and riding style for sizing.

We rode the 29er S2 in High flip chip mode, resulting in a reach of 450mm and head angle of 64 degrees. Seat angle had us perched forward at 76 degrees above a 150mm travel fork with a 44mm offset. Stem was about 35mm and bars at 780mm. For our 5’7″ stature, it was love at first pedal. It was so low and long and ideal for the unknown descents. Yet we felt comfortable pedaling steeps and working with the 160mm dropper post.

The Fox coil rear shock is ready.

We’ve done several 2000 foot climbs on this and it is a surprise indeed. The bike weight is light and the climbing position is close to ideal. We just leave the rear shock in the wide open position as it actually feels very efficient up the fire road and steeps. And there’s the surprise right there as previous Specialized bikes we’ve tried seem to drag on those long fire road ascents. This one though seems to stay high on its travel and scoots forward nicely. The 76 degree seat angle with 160mm dropper really seems to unweight the rear nicely during those steep climbs with the rider perched sliding forward on the saddle and perched over the front.

The 29 x 2.6 Butcher tires on Grid compound had something to say about the climbs of course as it sunk its big knobs on the soft Norcal winter soil. But we are drooling about the prospect of putting a fast rear tire on this and seeing how the chassis can really climb. On tight switchbacks, there’s no getting around it, it’s a long bike with its 1220 wheelbase. And its slack at 64 degrees. So it’s not the ideal slow techy bike for sure. It has to be muscled around the tightest trails with deliberate intent.

Descending is where it all makes sense on this steed. We have the 2019 Stumpjumper and we believe in the platform as it is a dramatic improvement over the predecessor and it does most things well. However, it doesn’t really one-up a YT Capra, Wreckoning, Hightower LT or Ibis Ripmo. It just hangs around and keeps them within reach. This Evo Pro Carbon though is another story. It has the ability to create a gap and hold it. It is stable on the rockiest gullies, yet it is agile. One needs to be deliberate with the moves but it will change direction and hold direction.

Options lines are its speciality too. We’ll have to don a full-face helmet since the bike is not afraid to hit lines beyond our wheelhouse. It’s not a huge fork with big rear travel but it is the Grip 2 Fox 36 with Fox DHX2 rear coil shock. It is supple and controlled under duress. Huck to flat lines are no problem and it achieves a margin of rider error without calling on too much suspension for daily needs.

Couple this remarkable descending performance with its climbing and we can’t wait to really shred and travel with this bike in the most demanding terrain around us.

Stay tuned for a longer term test of this bike.

This is one of the most attractive nude carbon finishes we’ve seen of late.

29er Version

29er
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect shred sled—you know, a “trail bike” that you can take to the bike park, huck off blind drops, or plow through the rowdiest rock gardens—you’ll find yourself right at home on the Stumpjumper EVO Pro 29. But don’t be afraid to climb because this bike has dirty little secret. It has a massive sweet spot as its not afraid of steep climbs either.

Is it long?

  • With its FACT 11m full carbon frame , 29 Trail EVO geometry, and 140mm of travel, the
    Stumpjumper EVO has been purpose-built to shred the most gravity-defying trails.
  • The FOX FLOAT DHX2 Performance Elite rear shock keeps our coveted Rx Trail Tune,
    while giving you the coil-shock big-hit performance that you know and love.
  • A FOX 36 Perfomance Elite fork handles suspension duties up front, with stiff stanchions
    and plenty of adjustability.

Our favorite fork these days it he Fox 36 with Grip2 damper. So supple and adjustable

27.5 Version

Maybe a little quicker, and a bit more agile on the ground and in the air, the 27.5 version is ready to party. It may give up a little bit on the climbs and rock-eating ability, but changing direction on the trail and in the air will be performed with more authority.

Is it slack?

  • With its FACT 11m full carbon frame , 27.5 Trail EVO geometry, and 150mm of travel, the
    Stumpjumper EVO has been purpose-built to shred the most gravity-defying trails.
  • The FOX FLOAT DHX2 Performance Elite rear shock keeps our coveted Rx Trail Tune,
    while giving you the coil-shock big-hit performance that you know and love.
  • A FOX 36 Perfomance Elite fork handles suspension duties up front, with stiff stanchions
    and plenty of adjustability.

Descending technical, unfamiliar terrain is its specialty. Climbing 20% grades were handled without much ado.

For more info Specialized.com

MSRP: $6,700


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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