Video: Mike vs Mike: Geometry Battle - Specialized Stumpjumper vs EVO

Apr 17, 2019
by Pinkbike Originals  



MIKE VS MIKE

Specialized Stumpjumper vs Stumpjumper EVO




And we're back... After an extended hiatus, it's time for another episode of Mike vs. Mike, where we argue about mountain biking's important (and not-so-important) topics. Up for debate this week is geometry, specifically the angles of the Specialized Stumpjumper vs. the Stumpjumper EVO.

From a distance, the bikes look nearly identical, and they do both have 29” wheels and 140mm of travel out back, but the EVO model has undergone the long, low, and slack treatment, and it's an entirely different beast than its more conservative sibling. Take the head angle, for instance; you're looking at 66.5-degrees for the 'regular' Stumpjumper, and 63.5-degrees for the EVO. That's a dramatic difference, and it's instantly noticeable out on the trail. The EVO also has longer chainstays (443 vs. 437mm), and the reach on the S3 EVO is 475mm, compared to 445mm on a size large Stumpjumper.


Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29 review test Photo by Trevor Lyden

S-Works Stumpjumper 29

• Travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Head angle: 66.5°
• Chainstay length: 437mm
• Reach: 445mm (large)
• Weight: 28.2 lb / 12.8 kg
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Carbon

Stumpjumper EVO Pro Carbon

• Travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• Head angle: 63.5°
• Chainstay length: 443mm
• Reach: 475mm (S3)
• Weight: 31 lb (14.1 kg)



But is slacker always better? What about longer? What do all those numbers translate to out in the real world? Of course, personal preference is always going to play a factor, but that's what makes geometry such a hot topic. After a riding a handful of laps on each bike, Mike Levy and I sat down to chat about our findings.

What do you think? Are you in the slacker-is-alway-better camp, or do prefer your bike's geometry to be a little less extreme? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to suggest topics for future episodes of Mike vs. Mike.




MENTIONS: @pinkbikeoriginals



376 Comments

  • + 432
 I'm with Mike on this one. Sorry.
  • + 29
 Dude, obviously Mike is right, not Mike.
  • + 2
 That's quite funny.
  • + 100
 c'mon, pick a Mike and be a dick about it
  • + 45
 I'm with Levy on this one. EVO is overkill for most people, even those living in places like BHam. I personally have gone to a less slack bike with less travel and could not be happier. Am I going as fast...maybe not, but I do agree that I'm having more fun ibbing around.
  • + 11
 No donuts?
  • + 3
 Living somewhere which is flat with no mountains I'm in the Levy camp too. I don't race anymore and just ride for fun and fitness but if I was still racing and travelling further it could be a different story.
  • + 42
 I am too.
  • + 6
 Wouldn’t trust a guy with the name Mike. That other Mike bloke seems to know what he’s talking about though. /s
  • + 56
 Pick a bike and be a Mike about it.
  • + 6
 They both deserve a golden Mike award for this broadcast.
  • + 18
 @MikeyMT: I agree except Bham isint that steep and gnarly for the most part. Yes there are some pretty gnarly unsanctioned trails but if your riding galby or the trail in the video you don’t need something crazy long and slack or lots of travel for that matter.

That said for fast and rough and steep stuff I’ll take the long low and slack bike every time.

The other thing people don’t think about it that the trend for “longer” bikes means that taller people actually fit into a bike. My 2018 norco has 475mm reach in size XL and is the best fitting bike I’ve ever had but I could easy go another 25-35mm in reach so I’m totally on board with the longer bikes. Just because bike sizing has been messed up forever and your 5 8” riding old school geo doesn’t mean you need to oppose bikes getting longer, size down if you want a smaller bike don’t penalize tall people who just want a bike that fits
  • + 3
 @MikeyMT: so the rest of us who don't ride simillar to Bh should stick with xc then, you are killing us dude
  • + 2
 @northshoreshred: Agreed. Was just calling out BHAM as thats what the Mike's referenced in the video. Nice to have more options for tall folks.
  • + 10
 @adespotoskyli: Not what I'm saying. Just saying that most people who always want longer, slacker more travel bikes probably don't need them and get them with the whole 'more is better' attitude. My experience dictates otherwise.
  • + 3
 The question says long and slack vs short and steep, but what if for you the regular SJ is the slack option? Big Grin
  • + 4
 @MikeyMT: I agree. Also, faster isn't always better. I often find that I have a lot more fun picking the fun lines and not the fast lines. Dancing with the bike is where it is at for me, and I'm not a very good jumper. It is simply more fun. My name is Chris and one of my good buddies and most common riding partner other than my wife is also a Chris. We could sub in pretty much exactly with the two Mikes. I am pretty much in Levy's camp and my buddy in Kazimer's camp.
  • + 22
 We like our bike. It is made for three.
Our Mike sits up in back, you see.
We like our Mike, and this is why:
Mike does all the work when the hills get high.

Smile
  • + 1
 If I disagree with Mike, the 3 of us are wrong!
  • + 1
 @MikeyMT: Yup, no gnarly trails in Bellingham at all. No need to come here for a visit.
  • + 2
 Mike checka...one, two.....uh, where's three?
  • + 1
 @merlin33: one of the strangest comments i've ever read
  • + 2
 Simple answer: You want both bikes Big Grin Or rather nice nimble short travel bike for trails, propper enduro bike for big boy riding.

100% agree that for average trails, less is more. For UK, 130mm is the sweet spot for travel in terms of fun.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Get an Evil :-)
  • + 1
 Yup, Ekim is on par.
  • + 1
 Well... what about water bottle mounts?
  • + 1
 @millsr4: lol. when did I say that?
  • + 3
 @northshoreshred:
Long, low slack for tall people:

Totally agree with the longer reach and steeper seat angle being great for us tall folks (6’5”, long arms and legs here) . It’s nice not to be sitting 3 feet behind your pedals and steering with a 140mm stem, 520mm reach is awesome!

However, the flipside of this is the slack part. Sure, for small people, that extra length gives them much needed stability, but our size bikes it ends up with either:

A: too little weight on the front wheel (if, like most bikes, the chainstays don’t grow) or,

B: too long of a wheelbase for tighter trails and features(especially skinnies) (for the few bikes that DO have proportional length chainstays). This also makes the ‘low” part even worse, since the longer wheelbase leads to more pedals trikes anyway.
  • + 1
 @MikeyMT: "EVO is overkill for most people, even those living in places like BHam." You don't know most people living in Bellingham... your statement may be true for people who visit but a good chunk of the locals tend to ride trails that more than warrant this type of geometry hence Kaz's comments. Aggressive geometry with 130-160mm of travel is what suits us best.
  • + 1
 @millsr4: Still waiting to see where I said 'no gnarly trails in Bellingham at all.'...
  • + 1
 @MikeyMT: Still waiting to see where I was quoting you in my first comment... sarcasm my friend... Wink
  • + 1
 @millsr4: Coming to B-Ham next month. I'll hit you up... Smile
  • + 1
 @MikeyMT: shit... Wink
  • + 1
 @Jamesb15uk: come over to Shropshire.... More like 160 here
  • + 126
 I LOVE the Mike vs Mike comparisons!!!! Please do more of these. They are funny, educational (even for an old experienced guy like me) , and they're the closest thing to a mountain biking "Top Gear" style debate. I Love these. I will watch every one of them.

Ps. Here's an idea; Commencal Meta AM 29 vs Yt Capra 29. Make sure that the rear shocks are the same though (air vs air or coil vs coil). Just Say'n.
  • + 8
 This. Please this.
  • + 127
 Thanks! There are more in the works - Levy and I can argue about pretty much anything.
  • + 23
 @mikekazimer: there's your next video! "Mike: we can argue about anything! Mike: No we can't!"
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: ya, solid content - keep it up. I just google mapped the drive to Bellingham though- 11hours. Nope- got to go with the other Mike on this one.
  • + 1
 Gluten vs Gluten free - go!
  • + 0
 Another good one would be Ripmo vs Firebird 29. Climbing and descending and the balance between the two.
  • + 55
 I'm with Levy on this one - and Kazimer even said it - the EVO shines when the jumps get big and the trails get super steep. That's not your average trail nor in the realm of your average rider's ability. I've definately enjoyed the lon-low-slack progression but I don't want DH geo on my trail bike. Faster doesn't mean funner - it just means the ride is over sooner...
  • + 14
 Ya the EVO goes too far, but Levy's stumpy is too short as well. Lots of new bikes in the middle ground where you get the best of both worlds.
  • + 29
 "Faster doesn't mean funner - it just means the ride is over sooner..."
That is one of the best quotes I have ever read on this site. Nice work, and I couldn't agree more. When I was younger I always had a get down the trail as fast as possible attitude, but when I stopped doing that and started looking for fun stuff to play on on the sides of the trails I had way more fun on my bike. I'm all about a party on the trail every ride now.
  • + 41
 "Faster doesn't mean funner - it just means the ride is over sooner..." BS, just ride further.
  • + 12
 @n8dawg82: Don't think you can pigeon hole any one rider. For me, faster is funner. I still have the same amount of time to ride so I just do another lap. It's part of why I got into racing... even though I am definitely not fast... I enjoy going as fast as I'm able. But then there are days when I do want to slow down and party all the way down... which is why I found an awesome middle ground bike that does it all. I don't think you need to choose.

These two bikes are kinda on the extremes of each side. I think either of these bikes is a bad choice. That green stumpy has quite a short reach and wheelbase for a large... I wouldn't like that. And the EVO is too low, too slack and too long... I wouldn't like that either. Lots of great bikes that fall in-between these two.
  • + 2
 Agree, that your average rider doesn't need something as long and slack as an Evo. However I'm still with Kaz and a rider of his level in a place like BC can definitely reap the benefits from something like the Evo.
  • + 1
 @n8dawg82: preach that to my local braid designers
  • + 10
 @hangdogr Even on those trails, unless you are trying to race the clock, the "not super long and slack" bike is more fun. I think for some riders, they are taking steamrollers of bikes (enduro race bikes) and riding them EVERYWHERE, and it's sorta their crutch. They can't pop off of stuff as well, they can't weave and play through interesting lines, they are just holding on and letting the bike eat everything, and they can ride way gnarlier trails either easier or with less skill than they used to be able to, but they aren't really controlling the bike any better (i'd argue they'd have more fun if they were.) That being said, many guys are using enduro bikes for playful DH bikes, because they are more fun on everything but trying to win races, or big freeride stuff (loose drops, 50+ foot gaps, etc). By this same token, slightly less "aggressive" bikes are more fun on most trails that you ever pedal on, or even pedal to get to the top. If you are wanting a race bike, that's a different story.
  • + 2
 Green bike for me, all day... also think it would be a closer call if the STA on the evo was a couple degrees steeper, but that's just conjecture, maybe valid though... Need to hear some "Moving Like Mike" by Mac Demarco on the next episode
  • + 5
 @trialsracer: Yup. If you can only have one bike, you really have to think hard and be honest with yourself. I went with an Enduro as my only bike. And I ride it everywhere, I ride it on bike paths, I ride it on gravel roads, whatever. But, then I ride a lot of other places where it outshines. I think the general suffering of pedaling it has started to outweighed the fun of the payback on the DH. I'm pretty impressed with both Mikes riding abilities. I wouldn't take either of those bikes over my Enduro for some of those lovely features they skillfully navigate. But, right now I want the green bike geometry, but in red or blue, and as a 24lb Hardtail for my second, if nature allows.
  • + 4
 @trialsracer: I definitely agree that too many people are riding steamrollers across everything. I am the most experienced rider in my group and I'm the only one that owns a hardtail. The two guys that I ride with the most both have an enduro and a DH. Most of our local trails are pretty mellow, with one DH race track. I can't help but feel like these guys are missing something when they are riding an enduro bike on a blue flow trail. I have a DH bike as well, but that is only used on our DH race track and when I go on trips.
  • + 3
 @islandforlife: I like to go fast too. I just think people get confused because they're being sold an idea. Faster in terms of bike geo is meaningless. Faster what? Faster turning, pedalling, chainging lines, going down, going up etc... what about that means anything in terms of what a person finds fun? It's just a description that's not even provable.

A faster bike is a funner bike... See? It doesn't make sense. If going fast is your main thrill, why buy a bike that you can pedal uphill at all? Get a DH rig and shuttle. On the other end of the spectrum, if faster pedalling is your thing, why even buy a mountain bike. Get a gravel bike, or even faster, a TT bike.

By choosing to compromise with a bike that can pedal (or descend), you've already proven faster isn't funner all by itself, because you're not having fun if you can't ride your bike as the fastest bikes suck for everything else.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: I’m on a normal SJ 29 alu and I would never say it’s too short.
  • + 2
 Another thing to consider is rider ability. Longer/slacker allows for greater margin of error. So for some, even trails like Galbraith in B-ham, the longer/slacker bike allows them to stay within their abilities and try some things they wouldn't normally get to ride on a more "twitchy" bike.
  • + 3
 @dj100procentenduro: I demo'd bikes with similar numbers and they were fine, but then I demo'd and ultimately bought a bike with more modern numbers and knowing what I know now... I would consider those numbers too short. But it's not like the bike sucks... still a great bike to have a lot of fun on.
  • + 1
 @hangdogr: What? I think it's dead simple. I like to f*cking crush the descents as fast as I can. But then I still want to be able to climb fireroads and tech confidently. The newer, more modern geos allow this... yes you can go to far (geometron, pole, etc), but something in the middle is great.

To make it easier for you - A bike that allows me to ride down the hill at very fast speeds is more to me than one that does not as long as it still allows for competent climbing.
  • + 56
 Just a coupla downcountry boys doin downcountry stuffs, god bless this country
  • + 4
 Make Downcountry Great Again!
  • + 6
 @joeyrotundo: IT WAS NEVER GREAT! REEEEEEEEEEEE
  • + 36
 I’m content with my bike, I’m content with my bike, I’m content with my bike, I’m content with my bike, I’m content with my bike...
  • + 30
 I'm riding the alloy Evo. I've had three Knolly Warden's, alloy and carbon, an Endorphin, several Turner's and two other Stumpjumpers – one being the first iteration of the Evo in 26".

This bike is a game changer, it climbs better than any bike I have ever had (and I don't ride gravel), it descends better than any other bike I have ever thrown a leg over, jumps better, corners better, downcountries better, it's literally the best bike on the market for actual mountain biking. You can spend an extra couple g's and get a Sentinel or a Ripmo, but for $3600 bucks retail you can't beat the Evo alloy.

Only gripe is the increased length has given me some tennis elbow, this bike requires more upper body strength than previous mountain bikes. It rides tight stuff fine, although the suspension is less supple than anything I have had on other bikes. I've had Ohlins for the last couple bikes, front and rear, and the Fox stuff that came on the Evo is just fine, not great, but fine.
  • + 14
 The bike is nuts bike but I think they're right that it's too much for most people and the terrain they ride.
  • - 23
flag jclnv (Apr 17, 2019 at 7:45) (Below Threshold)
 Oh and get the DPX2 off that thing. That shock is junk.
  • + 8
 @jclnv: not junk, just consistently specced on bikes that should have an x2.
  • + 8
 I´ve got an alloy Sentinel -so I disagree with you on the best bike on the market thing ;-) - but I hear what you are saying about the upper body strength part and everything else.
I cut down my bars to 760 and I really helped me. This article from RC made sense for me:
www.pinkbike.com/news/handlebar-width-vs-handling-are-your-bars-too-wide.html
Will be intersesting to see the evolution on this long-low-slack
  • - 3
 @spaceofades: Every bike I've ridden with it has crap small bump and I know it isn't the kinematics. It's a stiction/friction, wheezing, pile of crap.
  • + 4
 @jclnv: umm actually it is Not!
  • + 5
 I took a full day demoing the Evo 29 alloy on steep trails, a lot of climbing, and some high speed chunk. Super fun bike. That said, I didn't feel like it was a great climbing bike. It was fine, but felt slower than my coil sprung enduro 29, which isn't saying a lot. High speed and steep descents were awesome, I was into it. That bottom bracket height just didn't work for me though. If the BB was just slightly higher I would have bought it.
  • + 1
 63.5 ist slack. It should be the norm for enduro bikes, since they are gravity oriented.
  • + 3
 @necros:

that's the main drawback for me too..... 160mm air shaft and high setting seems to be the way to go.
  • + 2
 Park Baker for Major of Brevard, Riding the EVO to the Town Hall
  • + 4
 Yes , I noticed my shoulders are more sore after riding my S3. More push-ups . I glad people don't think this bike would work for them. Less people will be on them. I rode the stumpy LT 29 for a month and then went to the S3 Evo 29. It is totally f@cking awesome and I look forward to every ride, up and down.
  • + 2
 @jclnv: yeah, you don't need slack (sub 67°) geo for individual features and short chutes. You just need a long enough bike to be able to run a reasonably short stem and the bars appropriately high. It's only on steep descents and rock gardens that you start to see the real advantages of a really slack bike.
  • + 3
 @ncrider5: Damn you got downvoted.
  • + 2
 @ShreddieMercury: dang... I tried homie
  • + 3
 I'd like to see Stumpy EVO vs Sentinel. Both are pretty similar in geo and price point. My main gripe with the aluminum Sentinel is the weight! Size L is 10lbs frame with shock, thats pretty insane lol.
  • + 2
 @cole-inman:

good idea... also, that's freaking ludicrous! Is that number verified? The alu Sentinel comes in at about 9.5 w/ rear shock for a medium and it's kinda a pig on the trail (tho hard to knock offline on the dh!)

I picked up an evo s3 at a Spesh demo back in the fall and it felt heavy, but not quite alu Sentinel (which i've ridden) heavy.
  • + 1
 Are you on 27.5 or 29?
  • + 2
 @Flowcheckers

Adrien Dailly's experimenting down into the 62 degree range!
  • + 26
 Dear bike industry, Going fast as possible is not the only way to have fun!

We live in an age where most bike company's seem to believe that speed is the only thing the consumer wants, and people are eating that crap up. Being able to go as fast as possible is not the only way to have fun and It is awesome that company like Specialized (SJ and SJ Evo) and Trek (Remedy and Slash) make bikes that can ride the same caliber of trail yet suit very different riding styles.
  • + 31
 Dear bike industry, going fast as possible is just so much fun!

What you say is true, but there are also lots of riders who think the most fun they can have on a bike is when we're going as fast as we possibly can. And I'm not saying I'm fast... I'm not, it's just that when I get on a bike I can't help myself from just f*cking pinning it and trying to go as fast as I can. I often skip little hits and jumps and such because they slow me down... I'm addicted to the speed... MOAR SPEEED!!

Which is why I f*cking love these lower, longer, slacker bikes... just so much f*cking fun because they let me comfortably go faster than I've ever gone before (again, which really isn't that fast :-)).

But I also think, when you find the right lower-longer-slacker bike that works for you... like I have in the Knolly Fugitive LT... when I want to slow it down, and pop off everything, hit every little feature and jump, I can and I have tons of fun.

I think the EVO and others like geometrons and poles go too far, but there is definitely a very happy middle ground, probably somewhere between these two stumpys where you get the best of both worlds.
  • + 7
 @islandforlife: Yup, 5'9" on a large Fugitive and I have so much confidence when the going gets rough and steep. Fast on the downs and climbs tech better than anything I've thrown a leg over. Fast=Fun
  • + 18
 STRAVAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 23
 I have this conversation with a lot of my customers. The only metrics the industry can use to compare products is weight and speed. Everything else is subjective. Consumers want a simple flow chart showing why one purchase is superior to another, and these two metrics make marketing a lot simpler. But it never tells the whole story. You have to ask your self: what do I enjoy most about MTB? Is it being able to brag about having the lightest bike amongst your friends, or that you hold the fastest Strava time on your local descent? Or do you do it for yourself, to satisfy the inner 10yo that makes moto sounds, blasting off root lips, kicking out a Canadian flick before the corner, wagging your tongue like a goon, and in general trying to get rad whenever possible? I enjoy the sensation of speed, but I don't care how fast I'm actually going. All that matter is that I feel like I'm pushing my limits and going for trail features that have a high fun vs risk ratio.The bike industry hates this conversation because they can't engineer a marketable solution. You need designers who ride and understand riding ENJOYMENT, and who can translate the sensation they prefer on trail into a technical package that can be built and sold. Thats a hard thing to do well.
  • + 6
 @hypermoto: Great points! For me Kona fits that bill. Never been focused on being particularly light, eh.. sometimes fast, depending how you ride. But many of their design decisions seem to take cues from just hooning on the trail and having fun. Beefy, fun bikes that like to pop off every lip and root in the trail (Process 111 I'm looking at you). But "enjoyment" is a subjective measure, and you're absolutely correct that it's hard to quantify that from a technology marketing perspective.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: definitely in the fast is fun camp.
Watching my endurance improve picking the perfect line while hauling ass learning to rail flat dusty corners letting the ass get a little loose this is all fun.
Popping off little rocks and shit I can do that on the way to the trail or in my driveway.
  • - 2
 @gumbytex: I love Strava I can track my self improvement challenge myself and others or like last week guy was complaining of spider webs so I thanked him for clearing the trail for me to PR.
  • + 2
 @islandforlife I totally agree, faster just means more laps and more roost. Love it. Although if you haven’t tried a geometron you can’t say it’s too far (maybe you have tried one). I just built up a g16, best bike ever. So stable, so planted, and it boosts to the fckin moon. Also climbs better than my devinci Django (don’t underestimate steep seat tubes). I drank the Kool aid, and I’m not looking back.
  • + 6
 Dear Pinkbike Readership:

You don't need apostrophes to make things plural! For the most part, just add an 's' to the end like you would any other word. Sometimes, if the word used to end in a 'y' you might need to change it to 'ies' at the end! If you're making an abbreviation (like CD's) plural, it is okay to add an apostrophe there.

Happy spelling!
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer I see a future poll opportunity here! (or maybe you did this already and my old brain has forgotten)

My riding buddy and I are complete opposites - he's all about speed and start-to-finish runs while I'll seek every little feature, eat up as much trail as I can and am happy to stop and session a feature over and over for fun or practice.

At the end of the ride, we're both smiling!
  • + 5
 @islandforlife @jibbandpedal a good rider can ride the vast majority of trails you'd find in any awesome riding destination (Bellingham, Pisgah, Moab, Sedona, Park City, etc) competitively fast on a 120-140 bike with numbers around the normal stumpy in this video (66.5-65 HA, ~435 stays, 20-30mm bb drop.) Not even considering pedally "xc" trails, this is true on everything but the handful of trails that most riders would be hard pressed to clean on a DH bike. There are guys racing EWS races on bikes with these numbers. I think the bike industry has seen a huge amount of people buying bikes that leave them way over-biked on their normal trails because it make them instantly more comfortable and faster on the downhills. This is good in many ways, but I think as those intermediate to advanced riders progress into expert riders (assuming they want to), they would likely have more (or equal amounts of) fun on less aggressive bikes on all but the most gnarly trails (bike park DH runs (ie not the jumps lines and green/blue trails), anything you'd see in a PRO GRT, certain enduro races, etc.)
  • + 2
 @trialsracer: Totally agree... except that the green stumpy, while it's angles and travel are just fine, it's reach and top tube are too short. Like I've mentioned, something in the middle would really suit most people best but yes at those travels and angles.

Which is why I race and ride a 135 / 160 Knolly Fugitive LT (bumped it up to 160 on the front due to my local terrain) on the west coast of Canada. 5'11" on a large with a 160 fork in neutral setting: Reach - 472, wheelbase - 1222, HA - 65.5, SA - 75.5, BB - 342 and 430.5 stays. It hauls ass but is also a really fun bike and great climber.
  • + 2
 @gumbytex: f*ck YAH! STRAVA LINES AND CRAZY SICK SKIDS. ALL DAY, ERR’ DAY. #youevenstravabro
  • + 2
 @jibbandpedal I would argue we spent too much time going slow, bikes started getting 'fun' just a few years now so let us have it our way for the time being. Yoy can always get ypu old bike just for fun
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: How did you come about the geometry numbers for the Fugitive with the 160mm fork. I am hoping to build one up soon and was going with 160mm fork and was curious what that would do to the HA numbers. If what you say is correct I’m assuming it would have a HA of 65.0 in the slack setting which is what I was hoping to achieve.
  • + 3
 @hypermoto:
Very true.
I wish They had ridden these bikes on a more diverse set of trails. The only climbing was on a fire road. But what about those of use who climb on singletrack? That is where a shorter, poppier bike is probably more FUN. Also what about contouring, rolling singletrack and tight, steep slow speed trails?

I think for most people, FUN is the number one, and that comes form a combination of speed and playfulness.

I do worry that the emphasis on making bikes slacker is driving the market towards bikes that are becoming less fun for the majority of riders out there.

I am not saying they dojn’t have their place, just that we might be overshooting the middle of the bell curve.
In Specialized’s Defence, they don’t claim the Evo is aimed at the middle of the bell curve, they specifically position it as an outlier.
  • + 2
 @hypermoto: Very good point. Much comes down to the difference between "feeling fast" and "being fast". The latter often involves leaving out features and taking the easiest line. But taking that cool line with the right amount of flourish might feel faster and the clock be damend.
Essentially i want a bike that helps me feel fast, without necessarily being fast. My inner 10yo has a poster of Evel Knievel on the wall, not of Michael Schumacher.
  • + 2
 @Prh: I use this - bikegeo.muha.cc

It's an awesome bike with a 160 fork, in the neutral setting, it's a killer all round bike for my area (west coast of BC) and then in the slack setting (64.8 HA), it just destroys the downs... not as good at tech climbing with that HA, but super fun down.

I thing I didn't realize I'd do is switch between the slack and neutral settings so often. It's so easy to do trailside (one bolt and you don't have to deflate your shock), unlike other bikes with multiple links and flip chips... it's takes like 30 seconds to switch between modes. Sometimes if I'm headed somewhere really rowdy, I'll climb in neutral and switch to slack before heading down.
  • + 2
 It really sucks for us riders that don't care about speed. I'm always the slowest one to make it down lol.
  • + 12
 Doing a geometry comparison with bikes that have different shocks is probably not the most informative. There is a good chance that some of the heavy, ground hugging feeling Levy described while on the EVO is do to the coil shock.
  • + 1
 For sure. That EVO is a pound lighter and with better ramp up with an air shock. There's no way around the EVO feeling more heavy-handed, as it's more stable, but plenty of EVO owners report it having plenty of support and being a great bike for jumping and a good climber. Riding the Sentinel has opened my eyes to the concept and i think tons of riders would love that bike or the EVO.

The standard stumpy (demoed one) in it's stock setup is a bit of a snoozer compared to comparable bikes with steeper sta, longer reach, and slacker hta (ripmo, sentinel, sb130). But if you slammed the bars on the standard stumpy (long head tube), upforked it, slammed the seat forward, had a proper reach and a high end rear shock, I think it could shred. That's kinda what Vital mentioned could be a good halfway point at the end of their Stumpy head to head review.
  • + 3
 @spunmonkey Yeah, I was hoping they would try swapping the shocks to see how much of that playfulness could be attributed to the air shock vs the more conservative geometry. Swapping the shocks would also nearly even out the weight of the two bikes for a slightly more fair climbing comparison too. I suspect the regular stumpy has a different leverage ratio and would require a different spring rate for the coil, though.
  • + 12
 I own both bikes right now. First off the SWorks vs GX equipped Evo is going to cause some variation in the way the bikes ride. The other big difference is coil vs air, swap the rear shocks and then see how they feel on the climbs and descents.

Overall the Evo climbs better than the regular SJ. It has a much more progressive spring curve with more mid stroke support. It has way more pop off everything compared to the regular SJ. With the same rear shock the SJ is the more dead feeling bike. The climbing position is better on the Evo as well. One thing you do have to figure out is the way the Evo wants to drop into slower/sharper corners. You can use this to your advantage, but it takes some getting use to. After a few rides it becomes a weapon going uphill.

Descending obviously goes to the Evo, but the regular SJ can hold its own. The standard bike is much easier to move around from line to line. The Evo is damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! This one really comes down to what style of descents do you want to ride and personal riding style. The Evo rewards aggressive descending where the standard is more enjoyable for the average rider.

Both are incredible bikes and you can't go wrong with either one.
  • + 2
 How do you do, fellow mogul?
  • + 2
 Do you have any comparisons between them on flatter sections of trail, or tighter trails where a less "progressive" geometry usually shines? You mentioned that with the same shock, the normal SJ is more dead feeling, which is interesting.
  • + 1
 @larryssman7: The standard bike feels quicker side to side, but in raw speed they are about the same on more tame stuff. The Evo definitely has more pop so you can hop around and jib more. I also feel that the Evo holds a line better in corners, but you have to adapt your riding style. Get over the front wheel and there aren't many bikes that can keep up in the corners.
  • + 1
 What size bikes do you have and how tall are you?

I ask, because the Stumpy’s don’t size up their chainstays, so the handling and weight distribution willl be very different for the S vs the XL.
  • + 1
 IMO super slack bikes are way better for climbing narrow switchbacks. They were so easy on my Sentinel vs my Ripmo. Just took my Ripmo down to 64.9 head angle using offset bushings and narrow switchbacks feel easier.
  • + 1
 @nedersotan: I have an S3 Evo and XL SJ and I am 5'10". I sized up on the SJ because the L feels like a toy with the 445 reach
  • + 8
 Going with Levy on this one. Super slack bikes are rad and likely fun, but for me I enjoy shorter travel bikes that are slack enough to get rowdy when necessary. Prospective bike buyers, do yourself a favour and demo as many as you can at Crankworx/Outerbike/etc. The cost of entry and effort/time spent is totally worth it. I was set on a longer travel enduro style bike but after demoing dozens and dozens of different styles from different brands, I found short/medium travel slack-ish 29ers were my jam and I am so glad I figured this out early vs spending like $5k on something that I'd not fully enjoy.
  • + 7
 I would want the "regular" stumpjumper, but with a 1 degree slacker HTA, a 500mm reach in XL, and a 76 degree STA. Best regards,
Bob, an experienced arm chair engineer and MTB lover.
  • + 6
 Just raced my alloy evo at sea otter, I own a demo 8 and am primarily a dh rider. Throwing a leg over this bike feels like home and the bike fucking rips. Carries speed like a freight train and can pop up and fly with a little pull. I'm thoroughly in love with this thing especially the price and spec.
  • + 10
 A box of donuts should have been included in the debate.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy forgot them in the car. So I guess he has to eat twice as many in the next one?
  • + 1
 @jasonlucas: how many can he fit in that wee-bitty car of his? Surely not enough to ensure his quest for type 2 diabetes continues unabated?
  • + 6
 I think you’re both right !
I recently bought a Kona process 111 and for 350 days of the year it’s exactly right for me and the places I ride. However for the rest of the days when I’m somewhere else it could definitely be slacker and have more travel.
  • + 6
 Would have loved to see the two bikes side by side with the back wheels even. Then you could really see what the difference in head angle or length was as opposed to trying imagine the mm and deg of differences.

Also, is the weight argument really valid? Isn't the regular Stumpy the $8k top line kit and the evo is the $4.5k GX kit? Of course they're going to have weight differences. Would be nice to compare apples to apples on that one with similar parts spec so you can get the weights more even and see how much feel is geo and how much is actual weight.
  • + 5
 It was interesting for me to hear Levy kind of speaking for "the average rider"- or claiming to anyways- as I always viewed his opinions as a bit more esoteric or off the center. He is an amazing rider- I have heard many a story about his ability to clean ridiculous sections and be a glutton for punishment- however I've personally felt Kazimer spoke more to my experience and those I ride with. Different strokes for different folks. Love this! there is no one reality- only your reality and the unique realities of everyone around you so the more info and perspective the better. Thanks for this and I also vote for more of these! Do one on light bikes and their influence! This to me feels like the biggest bit of garbage science in the industry at the moment- the unbridled assumption that lighter (and stiffer) equates to better when my experience, and stats if you were to weigh all bikes at a world cup or EWS and compare to performance or fun, don't always line up as such.
  • + 5
 This just reinforces my decision that my next bike will be a @GuerrillaGravity Smash, awesome bike, numbers fit pretty much in the happy medium of Mike (leaning a bit more toward the Evo, but not as extreme). A great compliment to my more playful "trail" bike ...when's that Revved Smash review coming out Mike!?
  • + 5
 I have an SJ Evo 29er and I also feel it's one of the best climbing bikes I've ever owned. It's the first bike I've ridden that actually feels like your sitting inbetween the wheels, so it doesnt matter how steep the climb or descent is, your always centered and stable.

I also agree it is a bit of a pig on slower pedally stuff, but nowhere near as bad as the geo numbers suggest. I wouldnt call it dead, it's just long and takes more work than your typical less aggressive bike. At speed it jumps amazing and is a fun and playful bike.

I wouldnt recommend the SJ Evo if you only have one bike, but it pairs perfectly with a shorter travel "play" bike like a Scout or a similar 130mm 27.5 bike.
  • + 3
 Stumpy EVO + Stumpy ST would be a pretty dialed setup.
  • + 0
 This!
  • + 5
 It's the father son bike lineup. Dad gets the more conservative bike which allows him to still f*ck up your life on the climbs but that Evo let's you race to the bottom so when your dad gets down you can say shit like "nobody cares how fast up you can go, they only care how fast down you can go"

Great little video guys!
  • + 5
 I've ridden both and I think the EVO climbs tech better because of the massive rear end. It's impossible for the front end to pop up on steep climbs. However the regular stumpy is way more fun with the stubby rear end. I had no issues with the low BB height. The extra balance helps any issues that you'd have with pedal strikes.
  • + 5
 I built up my alloy Evo a few weeks ago and have around 20 hours on it now. Definitely a weird climber. So slack that on tech climbs the front wheels wants to flick to whatever side the terrain might push it towards. Also the suspension platform is very active - which sucks some of my energy on the ups.

That being said, it performs as expected. I didn't buy it to race up climbs, I bought it to ride trail and rip the bike park. Highland opens in a week so I expect that I'll confirm how much of a plow this rig is! Feels incredible on the downhills I've ridden so far and with 160 on the front(running it in high) I've got the geo numbers I want.
  • + 4
 Its tough for an average size person to manual a longer bike... I like the idea of long and slack, but have trouble with the reach and stay lengths... This video shows me that each person basically got the right pick for their riding style and body shape.
  • + 2
 Having recently bought a new longer slacker bike, I've actually found it easier to manual in the car park. Actually feels like the balance point is more consistent, but where I do feel it, is on trail when I need to pick up for something quickly. I definitely have to pull harder and earlier to get over the same stuff that I could wait a bit longer for on a shorter bike.
  • + 1
 It’s not the chainstay length. The reach, yes. The reach and chainstay, yes. But you can have long chainstays and a normal reach and it will be fine to manual. Actually, it is even a bit easier to balance.
  • + 2
 @burnadette - under rated comment. I like to jib and play. Modern geo is substantially harder to manual. I don’t know why that is, but it is. I never see anyone mention it so I assumed it was just me. Who can definitely tell me why this is? And what can I change on a bike to make it less so?
  • + 2
 @speed10: it’s hard because the length of the bike has increased massively. It is fighting you going over the bars and conversely over the back. You are effectively making an a frame with a long base and trying to pull it from a central point.

If you want to manual properley again, you’d be advised to drop the frame size.
  • + 2
 Shortening the stays creates a pivot point that is closer to the center of the axle and is usually the first thing most companies will change to make a bike manual better.

other things that factor into making a bike easier to manny:
-taller bars, more stack, higher rise stem
-shorter reach
-taller bb
-24" rear wheel
-long arms
  • + 3
 I have a "normal" stumpjumper. I live on the East Coast. I ride it everywhere. Techy xc, ripping smooth singletrack, gnarly descents, long-ass climbs, some bike park. It's the perfect bike for 99% of riding. The long low and slack "revolution" while interesting, really isn't making bikes for most people. Around where I live in Massachusetts, there are plenty of people riding big enduro sleds on cross-country trails, and complaining. Granted, this is also a place where people will tell you that you only need a hardtail (which, to be honest, might be true). I'm a huge proponent of the idea of having one bike that fits most situations. And the standard stumpy just is that bike. Give me 140(ish) rear travel, 150(ish) front, 66.5-67.5 HA and a suspension platform that works, and I'll ride it anywhere (including Bellingham) and have a blast.
  • + 3
 So exactly what I expected: more traditional geo is probably more fun here in Ontario where the longer travel is for hunting out the tough stuff on xc/trail rides, while the slacker geo is probably the better pick if your rides are more of the west-coast-style of long climbs followed by the fun part.
  • + 3
 The Evo is a bit too slack and just generally Spesh bikes aren't great climbers unless you can lock them out. But fit is solid. The standard SJ is freaky short front to back, so awkward. Upsize for sure if you buy one, probably 2 sizes.
  • + 6
 Nice bike comparison, but the dingle-dangle swinging helmet buckles were so distracting.
  • + 2
 Can't focus on another thing than the damn moving chin straps of Kazimer!
  • + 13
 Sorry, we'll buckle up next time.
  • + 3
 I'm actually somewhere in the middle of the Mikes here. I'm selling my Enduro because I don't like being so glued to the ground. It isn't as fun, and I actually am a bit slower because my style is to move around the trail a bit more and pop off things. But I do like having slack geometry. So I'm going to buy a slacked-out hardtail instead.
  • + 2
 But is the lower longer slacker trend making cycling more enjoyable for people? I think it’s part of why so many people are getting into it. Mike and mike could ride anything down most trails. 66.5 is pretty slack compared to bikes from 10 years ago and all bikes are way longer. I’m happy with the trend, I f’n hate hitting my cranks... but will happily deal with it to have slack and long.????
  • + 2
 They had the same conversation I'm having with myself about my '15 and '18 Transition Scout....new one doesn't seem nearly as poppy and "fun". '18 feels like it wants to stay on the ground more...kind of dull in comparison to the lively feel of the '15. Same bikes, slightly different geo
  • + 1
 This. Same reason I'm still on my 2015 scout
  • + 1
 @jamesdippy: I snapped three chainstays so the guys at Transition told me I should get an '18 since they're built "burlier". It definitely looks and feels more stout, but now with the fourth chainstay my '15 is still getting used. I'm tweaking the suspension on the '18 but don't know if I'll ever get the same feel I was hoping for.
  • + 2
 Yes! Mike Vs. Mike is everything I've ever wanted on this Wednesday! Down-Country Vs. Up-Duro, Sleeves Vs Skin, Doughnuts Vs Cookies (?).

But seriously, love these and think the conversation is spot on. I'm with Kaz overall, but also you have to agree with Levy that the SJ Evo is too long and slack for most people who aren't living next to gnarly terrain.
  • + 2
 I’d bet that the majority of you folks talking about the eco being too slack, long, blah blah blah, haven’t even ridden it. I’d put money on about 85 percent of you. If you haven’t ridden it, please leave your lame theories at the door. Thank you
  • + 2
 I am with @mikelevy on this one, because if I lived in Pacific North West and I were to use an argument "I like to go fast and feel more confident on a bigger bike" I'd get a bloody Enduro 29. That geometry of that Evo requires DD/SG tyres for most fast folks out there, so climbing prowess goes out of the window right away, and since you climb fireroads anyways then I doubt E29 is slower up the hill than Stumpy Evo. Especially with the lock out that Kaz doesn't use, so he's slower Smile

Leviathan wins!
  • + 4
 3lbs is a big difference in weight. Levy is right when talking about the bike feeling slower on the ups. It is not just in the slow steering slackness.
  • + 3
 It is more about the rear shock
  • - 1
 @salespunk: I have had both coil and air. The weight is a bigger difference when climbing. Just flip the lockout on both and see how much easier the 28lb bike climbs versus the 31lb bike especially after long rides. Your legs will definitely be feeling it more after a long day on the 31lb bike.
  • + 1
 @tacklingdummy: not my experience, but I run CushCore front and rear with heavy tires and do 5K climbing days so maybe I am just weird? It takes me a few days to adapt after installing CushCore, but after a week I don't even notice it. Jumping back and forth immediate, yes definitely feel it but it doesn't really slow me down.
  • + 1
 @salespunk: Well if you notice one pound of extra weight, you surely would notice 3lbs of extra weight. Lol. I notice a lot of things that drag my bike down. Weight, heavier tires, slower rolling tires, tire size, etc. I think it is a big stretch being faster uphill on a 31lb bike compared to a 28lb bike. Cheers.
  • + 6
 I think Mike definitely won that one.
  • + 2
 What we need is a trail grading system so that we can genuinely know what we are riding. What i'm riding seems normal to me. But looking at man made trails with tons of berms, boy do i ride rough stuff (normal hiking trails that can often be also quite steep). But since i ride it all the time, it, like i said, seems normal.
  • + 1
 On a side subject, I am wonder how big a difference is the the new smaller fork offset (44mm) versus the larger fork offset (51mm). Seems like a slightly steeper head tube angle would be same effect as a smaller fork offset while getting the same wheelbase. I want to see a Mike vs Mike on that subject or just a topic in an article.
  • + 1
 I did exactly what you said: bought a bike, steepened the headangle by a degree, but went from 51mm offset to 37mm, so fork trail actually increased a bit.
Combined with a longer reach than my old bike I still have longer front center(to prevent OTB’s) and higher fork trail (for stabilty at speed or in G-outs), but while keeping the wheelbase in check (important when you have are around 1300mm already)
  • + 1
 Oh, you did both, a steeper head angle and lower offset fork.

I was referring to comparing a steeper head angle w/ a 51mm offset fork versus a slacker head angle w/ 44mm offset fork while having the same wheelbase on both. I kinda think it is splitting hairs and don't think it makes much of a difference, but I haven't really ridden both side by side to see how different they are. It would be an interesting test.
  • + 1
 Long and slack is great but it’s not faster on flowing single track, sure as soon as things get steeper and chunky that’s where it comes into play.

Annoyingly it means I need at least two bikes, trail and enduro/downhill. Tough times.
  • + 1
 For me, I got a transition patrol thatls pretty long low and slack, but riding only on the north shore (really old, techy, sketchy trails) I find I would rather like a shorter steeper bike. Working on my driver license now so I can ride squamish and whistler more..
  • + 1
 This. Same reason I'm still on my 2015 scout
  • + 1
 Sorry long man wrong comment - by the way you think patrol too much?
  • + 1
 I'm with Levy on this one. Owning a Nomad 3 confirmed this for me. That bike was great, but you had to be on gnarly trails going as fast as possible to really make it shine. That would mean speeds that made me want pads and a full face helmet, which I don't want to ride with all the time.
  • + 2
 I think the EVO is targeted at Enduro racers who aren’t concerned about jibbing off every trail feature and whose priorities are central around speed and stability. Just different demographics with different priorities.
  • + 1
 This is like an argument about what your favourite flavour of ice cream is. Which bike is better? The one that you like more. If you're racing the answer is very clear cut- the fastest bike is the best, but if you're not racing this isn't a question that can be answered with an absolute statement.
  • + 1
 Yep. Couldn't agree more. This "review/reports", like most things written about bikes these days, is long on feelings and short on objectivity.
  • + 1
 I'm not a big jumper but am wanting to get more confident in being airborn, so I like the idea of something more playful. Plus I live in Northern Utah and want to start having more fun on the climbs when I can't dedicate a half day to shuttling. So i'm going with steeper angles
  • + 1
 I love slacker bikes on big drops and technical downs. Hate them on tight technical trails, especially if it’s one with a climb and / or falling off a cliff is a possibility. I’ll side with levy on this one. For my northwest Arkansas trails, a balanced more traditional geometry makes the most sense for everyday riding and the majority of my trails.
  • + 2
 Hilarious. My son and I were just having this argument this morning when I was taking him to school.

Predictably: he is Team Evo. I'm Team Stumpy (or Team Boring as he'd likely call it).
  • + 1
 At 5’10” I just went from an S2 Evo to S3. The S2 felt long at first but once I adapted and begin to push it the reach just felt too short out of the saddle and more like a BMX. The S3 is less playful for sure but after a short time It’s already starting to feel normal. The trails are fairly steep here in Colorado and maybe it’s my age but I find the least “fun” thing about mountain biking is feeling like you’re about to go OTB when things get hairy.
  • + 1
 My personal experience got me to think and feel that in a small travel bike a coil willmake the bike way less playfull Personal opinion but I wish they would of been on the same rear suspension and only looking at geo A coil is a little bit heavier and could be one reason it stayed glued to tje ground
  • + 1
 I demoed the regular stumpy carbon comp 29 for 5 weeks. I had a 2018 enduro before it. It was pretty good. I went out on a limb and bought the Evo S3 29 without testing it. I am so glad I got the S3. It does everything better. If you are an experienced rider you will have no issue with the bottom bracket height. Just keep it in high and don't run tonnes of sag.
I m glad people don't think the Evo is a good bike for them ( they haven't tried it). there will be less people buying them.
  • + 1
 I really like this argument! I have 3 bikes. A dj, trail and DH. I would hate to hit the pump track or the jump lines on my trail or DH bike. I also feel uncomfortable on double black knar on my trail bike and have hella fun on the DH. Somewhere in between is my trail bike. My trail bike is a little slack and long on average and it is way fun for a lot of the rocky jumpy trails I ride. Sometimes I wish I had a steeper shorter bike especially when I am climbing a lot and when the trails are smooth and bermed and I want something closer to my dj bike. After watching this, my conclusion is that I need one more bike. Which is the best conclusion I can dream ofSmile
  • + 1
 Hey @mikekazimer and @mikelevy. Great watch and love all the insight. Curious what are your thoughts on seat tube angle not just between these two bikes but in general with them going steeper? From a bike fit stand point seems like you want the seat in the same position relative to the BB no matter the seat angle to keep your leg angle and knee position proper. Reason i ask is i recently been riding a new bike with a fairly steep seat tube angle 77deg and i am finding knee pains now. Not sure if its contributed to the seat angle/saddle placement or just from over use but got me thinking about it. Thanks.
  • + 1
 @davidsamuelhu, well, there are limits to everything, and I do think it's possible to have a seat angle that's too steep. But there's a reason saddles aren't fixed in one place - you might want to try sliding your seat back on the rails and see if that helps. A visit to a shop with a good bike fitter could also help.

Another potential downside of a really steep seat angle is the top tube can end up really short, creating a cramped seated position. It's a balancing act, and some companies have figured it out better than others.
  • + 2
 thanks for the response @mikekazimer. I have been doing bike fits my self just filming myself on a stationary and pulling the videos onto my computer to get the pick up points and measurements but am maxed out on the seat rails. Might have to go to a setback seat post. But yeah i am finding out 77deg is too steep for my body geometry and will have to take this into account on the next frame.

But my original question which i didnt phrase very well now reading it again. You guys mentioned in this video comparison and is mentioned many many times in bike reviews all over the internets that the steeper seat tube angle helps with climbing. I assume that people are saying this as they are actually moving their bodies more forward with the steeper seat tube angles which helps position you to better manage steeper climbs but maybe also putting them into an unfavorable fit. If people are putting their seats based on proper bike fits the seat tube angle should not make a difference unless it hinders you from getting to your position which seems like the situation i am in. So i guess in the end my question is people must be running their seats more forward than maybe ideal with the steeper seat tube angle if they are taking advantage of the forward riding position for climbing. are more and more people finding knee pains due to this?

the main reason why seat tube angles are driving steeper and steeper is cause we are moving to 29ers with longer travel and larger size/volume tires. We either have to make chain stays longer, change to rearward axle paths or go to steeper seat tube angles or a combination of all to make everything package. I think the claim of the steeper seat tube angle for climbing is really more just a cover up to the inherit design of the bike. Thats my theory at least.

Thanks
  • + 1
 @davidsamuelhu, the steeper seat angle helps shift your body into a more central position, rather than ending up over the back of the bike. This helps you keep keep weight on the front wheel, which would be harder to do on a bike with a long front center and a really slack seat angle.
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: totally agree and understand that but your body can only be in one position if you are fitting your self to the traditional bike fit positions like knee cap over the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal, ball of your foot over the pedal axle and knee angle of 140-150deg when pedal is at the bottom of its stroke or 1.09xinseam for saddle height. Seat tube angle has no play in this body position. To move the body forward to follow the seat tube angles for a better climbing position you will likely be violating one of the above aspects possibly putting your knee into an unfavorable position for fit. Maybe i am missing something.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: First off, I appreciate your skills and knowledge period as you usually bring a fresh spin to learning about new mtb technology. Thanks for that! That being said I'm puzzled as to why you would choose to compare geometry on a brand that simply copies most of their tech. Specialized had no part in pushing modern geometry and in fact once publicly stated they "have no plans to make 27.5 wheeled bikes". I recognize that they produce some excellent bikes but they're spin-offs of other companies technology, proven by others efforts and $. Nicholai, Pole and Mondraker have all been some of the brands on the forefront of this design/geometry revolution, not Specialized. Feels a bit like catering to advertisers when an article like this appears and I think you're better than this. Really, you are!
  • + 1
 @manco, we’ve reviewed / featured bikes from all the brands you mentioned. We went with the Stumpjumper for this video because there are two dramatically different versions of the same model, and they’re bikes that a large segment of the riding population could potentially get their hands on. Not everyone has a Pole or Mondraker dealer in their town.

As for Specialized saying they wouldn’t make 27.5” bikes, that’s because they already had a line of 29ers they were happy with, ahead of many other manufacturers.

No, they’re not a perfect company, but we’re not going to ignore them when they make interesting bikes either.
  • + 1
 Hey @mikekazimer, curious we didnt really get to a common agreement. Do you agree that by putting yourself in the traditional bike fit position that the seat tube angle does not play a role in defining that position and by following the newer bikes with steeper seat tube angles and putting your riding position more forward you could be putting your knee into an unfavorable position for bike fit?
Thanks
  • + 1
 I think with 29er wheel sizes and finally getting that geometry really dialed...we don't need the extreme sides of these bikes for most people. 29ers are already fast and stable with great rollover and big wide-trail DHF's etc. For a regular rider, I just don't see the need. That being said the regular stumpy is odd too...its really short in reach, even or like 4 yrs ago. Switchblade has quite a bit more than it? I think the Ripmo/Jeffsy29er/Offering have pretty much nailed the aggressive trail geometry and the Stumpy should have gone that route. There isn't much downside to it and it fits a wider range of riders (profit).

The Evo tho...its a specialty bike for guys that need it. Seems cool for the hard riding crowd. Getting closer to MX geometry, prob a good thing for guys that don't need to climb a lot.
  • + 1
 I think the Evo and other super long and slack, shortish- to mid-travel, bikes are the obvious choice for trails/riders like Kazimer rides in the video:
High speed (so long and slack comes into play), fairly wide (so no drawbacks to the length) and not crazy steep or rough(In this case there is some very rough stuff, but they jump over it every time). Many modern flow trails in bikeparks and trail centers are like this.
  • + 3
 Levy's comments at about the 6 minute mark about the bike feeling "dead" could perhaps be attributed to the fact that it's running a coil while the other bike is air.
  • + 1
 Levy I love you buddy but Kazimer is always right . Just kidding your both right . I think there will be a compromise between the 2 bikes made in the near future . Longer and slacker will become shorter and steeper to make them more lively for the average rider . Kinda like trail geo with longer top tubes
  • + 1
 This is laughable. The geometry battle that Specialized had no part in pioneering? The company that said it would "never" make 27.5" wheeled bikes, lame. The forefront of this geometry revolution is Nicholai, Pole, Mondraker, etc! These brands are making the next generation of mountain bikes, not big-box-ripp-off-queen Specialized.
  • + 1
 The less aggressive bike will feel faster compared to the longer and slacker one. Whether it actually is faster is irrelevant in regard to fun. I’d pick regular stumpy. Only the evo if all my climbs were fire roads, which where I am you up the actual trail as well as down.
  • + 5
 Don't care about wich bike, I just want that trail!
  • + 1
 I have the 27.5 LT Stumpy and the Evo 29. I don’t live in an area with steeper trails and I still prefer the Evo. Since I bought the Evo I haven’t ridden the regular Stumpy once. I did by the S2 so you get a little shorter wheelbase with the slacker head angle which is the best of both worlds.
  • + 1
 I went to the store to buy the evo and while I was waiting for the guys to get my size from the storage I tried a women's regular and I instantly fell in love with it. I left the evo and ordered a regular stumpy and gosh, i love it so much!!
  • + 1
 I thought about this when I bought my EVO. I'm 6' and I bought the S2. Seems like it'd be too small, as the S3 is more marketed towards people my size. But I'm just not one of those guys who wants 480mm of reach. I like my cockpit to be within reach, but it never feels cramped. Plus the wheelbase is 1220, so right in that sweet spot where it's not too long to thread the needle through tight trees, but long enough to be exceedingly stable. I side with those who say the EVO is a game changer. Maybe just because i've spent money on one, but honestly, theres nothing I feel like I can't do on that bike.
  • + 1
 So, Mike and Mike have both ridden both bikes and have developed an opinion. Then ask me who has never ridden any of these bikes to share my opinion. Sorry, I have ridden neither, I don't know. I prefer lively and fun over fast and efficient. So indeed fast and efficient doesn't necessarily imply fun for me, though I understand for others it does. Which would suit me best? I understand Anneke Beerten got a reduced travel version for slalom racing. Now that sounds like a fun bike. The SX models were popular for a reason Smile .
  • + 2
 I'd need both bikes for say a year or so ... ya know, so I could contrast and compare at Black Rock, Alsea Falls, Oak Ridge etc... let me know and I'll PM you the shipping address Big Grin
  • + 1
 out of these two I'd only buy the Evo...but that aint as long/slack/low as the bike ride anyway.

and as for climbing, mine can get up stuff that my old bike (Mondraker Dune) could never even dream of! The wheelbase and basically the entire set up (which came off my Dune, meaning the ONLY difference is frame and shock) means the front doesnt lift on steep climbs that the Dune would loop out on and when i stand up to crank hard in first it still doesnt lift and the rear grip is much greater (same wheels n tyres as the Dune)

There is basically no down side to this unless you specifically want to ride slower lol.

On that note, when its so muddy i have no choice but to go slower, i get out my much shorter bike LOL
  • + 1
 Terrain has a lot to do with it...but in this case Levy is spot on ...got to climb it to rip it ..why struggle
on too slack a bike plus I understand his "FUN" factor..yup Levy on this oneSmile
  • + 1
 There is no way the EVO is 31 lbs with a coil and a 36. My expert is 31. So Levy is right, a real weight difference and if you want or need to loft the front end up it's much harder on the evo.
  • + 1
 Can I have a hybrid version with the evo frame but the regular build. I won't go fast enough to need the coil and burly build but would notice the 3lb weight saving on a 1000m vertical days ride
  • + 0
 I really appreciate that Levy has been so open about how he likes his bikes to ride and feel and that he has incorperated that into his reviews for years. It's great to see Kazimer do the same. It has helped me narrow down the list of possible "next bike" to a manageable number. However, I wish they, (and most others in the MTB media and comments sections) would stop speculating who would like which bike or which bike works best for most people.

The opinions of how well a reviewer or owner likes a particular bike or part, and their reasoning for the opinion, is helpful because I can compare the reviewer's preferences and experiences to my own. But speculating in what "most people" would like best isn't helpful since I don't know how my preferences and trails really compare to most people's. And I doubt there are many who know how they really compare to the majority either.

If I had followed the speculation of what media guys and comment section warriors had told me was best for most people, I would never have purchased a DH bike because there are no super technical and steep trails here, and even the few trails that have jumps are regularly ridden by guys on "enduro" bikes without problem. But I bought the DH bike, and I have more fun on those trails than I did before when riding them on my enduro because I am more relaxed and my head is in a better place for hitting biggish jumps (the biggest gap is 35 feet, and you can come up short without crashing.)

In short, opinions are helpful, but, speculation on others opinions is wasteful.
  • + 3
 Some people DO know what “most people” want. For example, Bike Magazin in Germany was complaining that mid-travel bikes were getting too heavy for most people using them to ride long rides in the Alps, uphill and downhill.

The reason they know this is from reader surveys where they get several thousand replies about what kind of riding people do.

These days, with Strava and Trailforks, I bet you can get some pretty good data on what people are riding (not perfect of course)
  • + 2
 @nedersotan: Your example does not actually prove my point as invalid. In fact, it reinforces my point.

The Bike Mag Germany's survey was likely a voluntary response survey, I say this because you said it is a reader survey, and that is how reader surveys work. This webpage, www.reference.com/world-view/voluntary-response-sampling-daf6a6c947b30a94 explains why surveys like Bike Mag Germany's can only provide unreliable, or biased data.

This same problem will apply to data from Strava and Trailforks, since there is likely a statistically significant difference between those who contribute to those apps, and those who don't.

So my point stands, people in MTB media and the comments section cannot possibly know what most people want, so they should stop pretending that they do.
  • + 1
 short bikes are for short people. 6'3" and loving my sentinel with 500mm reach and 64ha. Real question is how does chuckanut do in the rain, I have friday off and coudl do a Bham day.
  • + 1
 Chuckanuts are running great right now, a little rain always does the trails good in these parts.
  • + 0
 Evo owner here, I actually bought one after the glowing review from Mike about the alloy one.

I live in Sydney were there isn't really any "mountains" but I'm lucky enough to ride a lot of bikes and this is the most capable bike I've ever ridden. Throwing a coil in the 36 fork and a DBIL coil in the back has turned it into the bike I've been lusting for, a DH capable bike that climbs just as well. It's now 170/163mm travel, 29 inch wheels, long wheelbase and roomy reach for a bigger rider at a bargain basement price (just over $4k AUD I got mine for)

Is it too much bike.... absolutely for my local trail, when I go down to the ski fields, or shuttle days... it's a game changer.
  • + 1
 From CT here, and I am awakening to this exact point. Lots of 'sections' with serious downhill gnar, but for the vast majority of saddle time, its too slack and I am losing time and energy!
  • + 2
 Levy is right - Majority Rules, and the Majority does not need the Evo - which is why it's a niche bike made in only 2 sizes.
  • + 1
 Its definitely rider preference... I feel I'm usually faster on more traditional geometry.. And my Strava times back that up... But, I'm an old guy and the more traditional geometry tends to fit my riding style better..
  • + 3
 I'm very happy splitting the difference with my Ripmo: 65.9 HTA, 76 STA, 435 mm chainstay, 1220 mm wheelbase, 29 lbs.
  • + 4
 27.5 version with a 160mm fork and you get best of both.
  • + 2
 Stop doing this format of embedded video where it's across the whole page by default. We can fullscreen it if we want to, we know how.
  • + 3
 This was AWESOME like a real-time version of the pinkbike comment section. Killing it, Mike.
  • + 4
 Mike stump jumper much more better than mike stump jumper
  • + 3
 For taller riders, longer reach and a steeper seat angle is the only way to go.
  • + 2
 6'5 here, and you're totally right. Except for one thing. The steep seat angle is a must, but if the reach number doesn't increase by like 15-20mm per degree compared to what you're used to, then the bike will still feel too short while seated riding/climbing. Standing up and descending, it feels awesome regardless of what the seat angle is. But consider that you spend probably 75-80% of your time climbing to your descent. If your cockpit still feels too short even with a way longer reach, it still kinda sucks.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: The nice thing about STA is you can slide your seat around to make small 10mm adjustments to sit centered (or a bit forward). I'm 6-4 with a normal ape index and ride a bike with 487 reach, 66HT and 75d STA (actual is steep with no kinks). I slide the set forward a bit to climb in the middle of the bike, very nice. The reach is nice too and is a bit more playful than the long bikes. Easier to get the wheel up and move around. Going a lot longer would be nice for really steep/sketchy stuff but I'm already on a 29er with Fox 36...that added playful feel is nice to balance the big bike/wheels. Stumpy tho...man that's a short bike.
  • + 2
 @Svinyard: Yeah true you are def not "locked in" to a seat angle. So there's room to plan with it. I found on my last few bikes I had to angle the saddle down to give myself a fake angle where I'm perched a bit more forward and putting more weight on my hands. This was uncomfortable for my hands/arms but kept me in a better pedaling position. My latest bike I'm able to even out that saddle angle a lot more, so that's nice. But bike still feels a little short even though the reach on this is 50mm longer than my last bike. I had to ditch the stock 35mm stem that came with it and changed it to a 50mm with higher riser bars rolled forward a bit. Crazy that with that much of a reach change, it honestly felt about the same cockpit length. Because the seat angle is 2.5 degrees steeper.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: cool man. How do the bars rolled forward feel? Any downside? I'm also on a 50mm stem and 35mm Highrise bars. I could easily do 50mm rise (stem slammed) but I'd have to switch to Enves M9 and a new smaller stem.... Ugh. Money what bars are you on?

I hear you on the angled seat. I've tried that and it's not cool with that extra pressure on the hands/thumbs.
  • + 1
 @Svinyard: I def like the high rise 40mm bars. Just switched from a 25mm rise carbon bar to a 40mm rise renthal fatbar. Maxed out on spacers underneath too haha. They're not aggressively dorkishly rolled forward. Just a bit. Takes the pressure off the hands but still feel it after a long ride.
  • + 1
 True. For tall riders the steep seatangle, longer chainstays and longer reach of the EVO would be good. Except, that it only comes in middle of the range sizes, no XL or XXL equivalent sizes.
The other problem is the slack headangle. This is not good for tall riders unless you also lengthen the chainstays even more.. In which case you are talking about wheelbases heading towards 1350mm, that’s definitely not a length friendly to tight trails.
  • + 1
 @nedersotan: A problem with ultra long bikes I didn't even think of recently until I had to replace my (stolen) bike rack was most racks only can fit bikes up to 48inches, some work with up to 50in. I'm maxed out on my rack and anything longer into the 1300s will require a new rack or some sort of hanging style North Shore rack option. And yeah have fun trying to twist that thing through super tight trails.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33:
Absolutely, tray style racks can reach their limits quickly. You also have to start paying attention to how you drive, when the bikes stick out that far to the side.
  • + 1
 @gbeaks33: I ride a Pole Evo 140 medium size at 1280mm wheelbase. The 1UPUSA rack works perfectly and mounted on a VW Alltrack the bike is still narrower than the side mirrors so no issue. I mean no disrespect but it appears most folks commenting about modern long-geo bikes being hard to transport (or hard to get around corners) have likely never ridden them:/
  • + 3
 63.5 is ridiculous. Most riders would prefer to have that effortless flick-ability than all out speed. Levy wins this one.
  • + 3
 You guys need to get out of the PNW sometimes. There are other trails out there. Where I live, fireroads are not climbs.
  • + 1
 That's just the easiest trail to lap. The other side of the hill, you get to walk your bike and carry it up 100+ stairs. That's probably a case where the EVO wouldn't shine.
  • + 1
 It will be a shame if specialized does away with the Enduro which is right in between the stumpy and the Evo geometry wise. -with 20mm more travel to boot!
  • + 1
 I'd go conventional (non Evo) but with the slack head angle and steep seat tube from the Evo.
Interestingly they both seem to agree there is such a thing as too low.
  • + 0
 Would you aye?
  • + 2
 Regular stumpy 160mm fox 36 up front rear shock in the low position Abolsute monster truck Best of both worlds
  • + 1
 well done guys!! mho- I too live in the PNW, ride steep loamy trails and value the downs more than the ups. love to try that Stumpy EVO.
  • + 2
 If only there was a way to determine how much slower the Evo was on a climb, you know like a stopwatch or something.
  • + 1
 Pre-broken top tubes is my number one gripe about bikes nowadays. I can see that they're going to break from images you're trying to sell me the bicycle with!
  • + 2
 With all of the XC guys here enjoying this, we'd like to see the Mike's riding this stuff on the new down country setups.
  • + 1
 It is all dictated to what you plan on riding. Big hits big bike. More flow and not as much chunk, trail bike.
  • + 2
 Just get a Ripmo and be done with. Have your doughnut and eat it too.
  • + 0
 I can’t tell by watching a video!!! If you want to know who is right you need to let me try in person ride both . My sat is pretty free at the moment ...
  • + 2
 I'm down(country) with Levy
  • + 1
 To ride a chopper or not is that not the question......................I agree with Mike!
  • + 1
 79 deep and still going strong in the down below.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHFc7NGp5Hk&ab_channel=ViRLeRViDeos
  • + 1
 Wrong wheel size for me. I tried both and I think they both suck but If I had to choose I'd go with the Evo.
  • + 1
 Lordy, 3 years ago 66 deg HA WAS in the longer and slacker department. Now it's mild.
  • + 1
 Sounds like hardtail 26ers are still a good way to go! At least geometry wise...
  • - 2
 I think mountain bikes hit the top of the geometry roller coaster and that if they go any longer/ slacker then they will start riding like shit. i've spent time on bikes with modern geometry and I definitely prefer more traditional geometry (~2015 geo lol)
Shorter steeper bikes corner better, they are more nimble they jump easier, manual easier and just seem more fun in general. From my experience it seems that only slow riders or riders not skilled enough to jib/have fun on the trail are concerned with how fast they are going

i would agree with Mike Levy
  • + 6
 I would strongly disagree with this. You can read my comments below since I own both bikes, but fun is relative. The steeper bikes do not corner better or jump easier. They do require completely different styles. Old school geometry has most people riding off the back wheel. This is a result of running wider bars and shorter stems with geometry that is a direct descendant of road bikes. New school requires riders to be on the front wheel much more. This is foreign to most people since it would result in massive OTB's on traditional geo. Once people make that adjustment the new school is significantly faster in corners.
  • + 1
 So racers don’t care about how fast they are going? Sounds about right. It’s not like they get payed to ride fast or anything.
  • + 2
 how about slack WITHOUT road bike reach?
  • + 0
 I can’t tell by watching a video!!! If you want to know who is right you need to let me try in person ride both . My sat is pretty free at the moment ...
  • + 1
 The evo seems like the right geo for an ebike. Self shuttle up and bomb down, then repeat.
  • + 1
 The question is: How do these compare to the new Specialized Enduro that is coming out soon?
  • + 1
 just get both versions and choose for the trail you riding this day .. its so easy
  • + 1
 There was nothing in the video that needed a fucking 64 degree head angle.
  • + 0
 Bikeradar 2018: "Pole and Geometron showed the way here. Many testers (myself included) were initially shocked at how well these bikes climb. More recently, the Bird AM9, RAAW Madonna and others have adopted this steep seat angle philosophy. It’s the future, folks."
If you haven't ridden one of these bikes you really have nothing speak from. Most people will come to love the new geo bikes... 3% of folks won't love anything but the past. Good luck with that mate!
  • + 1
 I'm with levy on this one.
  • + 2
 Buy all the bikes....
  • + 1
 SPECIALIZED E-BIKES WHERE YOU AT?
  • + 2
 That was exhausting....
  • + 1
 Interesting floppy dog ear look with the unbuckled helmets
  • + 1
 Put the short chain stays on the slack bike and you have a winner!
  • + 1
 Okay mike and mike why get the evo when I could just get the enduro 29?
  • + 1
 stop arguing ride your damn bike god damn it!
  • + 1
 Great job guys, keep up the good work! I’m with Levy.
  • + 2
 por que no los dos?
  • + 1
 you didn´t swap them for a ride?
  • + 1
 Thanks Mikes, interesting stuff.
  • + 0
 I’m with Kazimer!!! Long low slack. Not a fan of twitchy bikes! Breathing out of your eyeballs. Hahaha!!!
  • + 1
 Not much uphill pedaling on double down so evo for the win
  • + 1
 Buy the Evo for those scary days, and a hardtail for most other days.
  • + 1
 Levy automatically loses for wearing a white helmet
  • + 2
 Mike Knows whats up.
  • + 1
 GO MIKE!!! You're better than Mike!
  • + 1
 No plow bikes for me. I'll take the 66.5 HT.
  • + 1
 Kazimer for the WIN!
  • + 1
 Evo all the way for sure
  • + 1
 Where are the donuts?
  • + 0
 You guys are a bunch of total frauds.
  • + 1
 34
  • + 1
 I'd have the stumpjumper
  • + 1
 Name that trail, please!
  • + 3
 Chuckanut Mountain ... Double Black Diamond and Double Down. One of my favorites up there!
  • + 0
 THERE JUST IS NOTHING LIKE BIKE DORKS TALMBOUT BIKES NOTHING
  • - 3
 22
  • - 2
 i agee with mike
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