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2019 mtb

When I was a teenager I received my first mountain bike—a hand-me-down, mid-’90s Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail. Coincidentally, since 2000 I’ve owned every generation of the full-suspension Stumpjumper variety. And over the last couple of seasons, a 2017 Stumpjumper Pro 29er has been my test sled. Knowing most brands amortize their new high-end mountain bike R&D and development expenses for over three model years, I figured a new Stumpjumper was on the horizon, and I wondered what the latest iteration would entail. My musing was curtailed in Spain’s Pyrenees during Specialized’s product launch of three new frames. That’s right, there are three purpose-built Stumpjumper platforms to satisfy rider demand: Stumpjumper ST (short travel), Stumpjumper (standard), and the return of the trendsetting Stumpjumper Evo.

The new Stumpy is available in both 29 and 27.5-inch wheel sizes and there’s more to the story than an updated spec or revised geometry. Most noticeably, all three versions share the new, single-sided frame concept initially seen on the Specialized Demo downhill bike. At the heart of the new design is the goal of shaving weight across both carbon and alloy offerings, while also boosting the front-end stiffness of the carbon frames to mirror that of the alloy version. Whether carbon fiber or alloy construction, Specialized says the new frames’ increased strength is partially attributed to how the front triangle’s sidearm directly connects all three mounting points of the rear-end and shock to the frame which significantly increases stiffness under torque from hard cornering and improves handling predictability in rough terrain. All carbon frames also receive an updated version of the super-handy SWAT internal frame storage with more usable storage space.

To compliment the new frame design, the shocks receive Specialized’s in-house custom RX Tune, which pairs the shock specifically to the kinematics of the frame. Women’s Stumpjumper models also receive the RX Tune. Female riders are typically lighter weight than male riders, and the women’s Stumpy shocks are designed to perform like the men’s variety, yet internally configured to operate with lower air pressures. Additionally, all shocks use standard eye-to-eye metric shock sizing allowing choosy riders to easily swap brands if desired. Specialized has also ditched the Stumpy’s PF30 bottom bracket in favor of the less creaky and more reliable threaded variety. To fine further, Stumpjumpers feature a ‘flip chip’ allowing the frame geometry to be tweaked to meet specific riding style or terrain demands. The two settings (High and Low) effectively change the bottom bracket height by 6 millimeters and alter the head angle by half of a degree. As for tire clearance, both the 29er and 27.5-inch frames can accept tires up to 3.0 inches in width.

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