Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO Review

Mar 21, 2011
by Mike Levy  



Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO


With bike categories seemingly springing up every month, it's easy to get confused when it comes to where certain models fit in. While this situation can quickly jade even the most enthusiastic of riders, looking at it another way reveals a brighter picture: never before have we, the riders, been able to pick from such a large number of bikes, some of which seem to be built exactly to our needs. Take the Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO tested here for example. With just 5mm more travel and some tweaked geometry when compared to its more sedate relative, the standard Stumpjumper, the EVO manages to retain its trail oriented manners while appealing to a more aggressive audience. Thankfully, Specialized wisely chose a component spec that lets the EVO be its own bike, as opposed to bolting on parts that wouldn't suit its intentions. The EVO looks great on paper, with its dialed geometry and sensible weight, but how does it perform in the dirt?



When dissecting the EVO it is important to talk about how the black bike is different from the conventional Stumpjumper, and while they both may look very similar at first glance, a closer look reveals some glaring contrasts between the two. Starting up front, the EVO's head angle sits at 67 degrees, a full 1.5 degrees slacker than the standard Stumpjumper, enough to fully alter the bike's personality. Bottom bracket height is raised ever so slightly, sitting at 13.3", or just 3mm taller than its more docile brother, likely done because of the EVO's 5mm of extra rear wheel travel that gives it 145mm in total. But that extra 5mm of travel pales in significance compared to Specialized's choice to forgo using an inertia valve equipped Fox Brain rear shock in lieu of a more conventional, but still custom tuned, RP23 damper. The Brain shock is a clever bit of kit that no doubt has its place, but an EVO rider is likely to be looking for a more active ride that responds to the terrain, and in my opinion, gives the rider more traction. The EVO's Fox shock features a ProPedal lever like you'd expect, but it actually works opposite to the way that we've become accustomed to: instead of using the tuning range knob to select one of three levels of compression when the ProPedal is engaged, the rider chooses which level of low speed compression damping, 1 -light, 2 -medium, 3 -firm, he or she would like while set to the open position. Going to be shredding some smooth, fast trails and looking to pump some backsides? Set it to the firmest compression setting to get the most out of the terrain. Wet and slippery day on some rooty singletrack? You'd be best to open it up to the lightest setting in order to eke out what traction is available from the ground. Because the open position now uses the ProPedal's three damping options, the climbing mode has a single fixed firm setting. You'll certainly have to know exactly what you want out of your bike to get the most from the special shock tuning, but it's great to see Specialized thinking out of the box.

The EVO comes stock with a lightweight Gamut Shift Guide, a smart decision given the bike's intentions, that attaches to the frame via its ISCG 05 chain guide tabs - you won't find those on the standard Stumpy either. This means that a rider is able to bolt up a proper single ring guide if he or she is strong enough to push a 1 x 10 setup, or even a HammerSchmidt if they desired (the low pivot position would be ideal for a 'Schmidt conversion).

Specialized has wisely chosen to spec a Fox RP23 out back instead of their more XC orientated inertia valve equipped model that is used on standard Stumpjumpers, presumably for maximum bump compliance and traction. There is still some trickery to be found within the diminutive Fox damper in that its ProPedal lever actually controls the amount of low-speed compression damping in the open position, giving you three settings to choose from. Turn it to the climbing mode and you have a predetermined climbing function that stiffens the rear end up for long, smooth climbs.
Specialized has wisely chosen to spec a Fox RP23 out back instead of their more XC orientated inertia valve equipped model that is used on standard Stumpjumpers, presumably for maximum bump compliance and traction. There is still some trickery to be found within the diminutive Fox damper in that its ProPedal lever actually controls the amount of low-speed compression damping in the open position, giving you three settings to choose from. Turn it to the climbing mode and you have a predetermined climbing function that stiffens the rear end up for long, smooth climbs.

The frame itself features some swoopy lines that could easily be mistaken for carbon at first glance, especially with the bike's stealth matte finish. The top tube slopes down drastically as it works its way back from the tapered head tube, giving the rider a generous amount of stand over clearance at its lowest point. Cable routing for the Specialized Command Post that comes stock on the bike is run cleanly under the top tube as well, making it nearly invisible until it exits at the far end. Shift and rear brake lines are routed on the underside of the down tube using Specialized's clean cable guides - it makes for a streamlined look, but its a point to keep in mind if you make a habit of hanging your bike over a truck's tailgate.

Predictably, the EVO uses their FSR suspension design to control the bike's 145mm of rear wheel travel. It can sometimes feel like companies are switching up suspension platforms every other year, but Specialized has long used this design, refining the system as time goes by. The result is a tidy package that may not have all of the flash and dazzle of this week's latest hot design, but it is no doubt proven itself year after year. Aluminum hardware holds everything together.

A de rigueur tapered head tube (<I>top right</I>) is used up front in conjunction with the Fox 32's tapered steerer tube in an effort to stiffen the front end. Down low on the black bike you'll find a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket shell (<I>bottom right</I>)that is fitted with a custom set of SRAM's XO double ring trail cranks, along with a Gamut Shift Guide bolted to the bike's ISCG 05 tabs. Specialized uses the Horst Link suspension design on all of their performance full suspension bikes and the Stumpy EVO is no different (<I>bottom left</I>). A smart clevis system (<I>top left</I>) eliminates the Fox shock's need for a rear bushing, instead connecting the damper directly to the bike's swing link via sealed bearings. Why? Worn bushings, usually found to be the rearmost bushing, will never pose an issue, and the design may make for a smoother stroke.
A de rigueur tapered head tube (top right) is used up front in conjunction with the Fox 32's tapered steerer tube in an effort to stiffen the front end. Down low on the black bike you'll find a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket shell (bottom right)that is fitted with a custom set of SRAM's XO double ring trail cranks, along with a Gamut Shift Guide bolted to the bike's ISCG 05 tabs. Specialized uses the Horst Link suspension design on all of their performance full suspension bikes and the Stumpy EVO is no different (bottom left). A smart clevis system (top left) eliminates the Fox shock's need for a rear bushing, instead connecting the damper directly to the bike's swing link via sealed bearings. Why? Worn bushings, usually found to be the rearmost bushing, will never pose an issue, and the design may make for a smoother stroke.

Specifications
Release Date 2011
Price $4100
Travel 145mm
Rear Shock Fox RP23-S with Boost Valve
Fork Fox F150 RL
Headset 1-1/8 and 1.5" Threadless, Campy style upper with 1.5" lower, cartridge bearings
Cassette Shimano HG81, 10-speed, 11-36t
Crankarms Custom SRAM Carbon XO, 10-speed AM double
Chainguide Gamut shift guide
Bottom Bracket PF30 BB
Rear Derailleur SRAM X.0, 10-speed, mid cage
Chain KMC X10, 10-speed
Front Derailleur SRAM X.7, 10-speed, S1 direct mount
Shifter Pods SRAM X.9, 10-speed
Handlebar Specialized Enduro low-rise bar, 7050 alloy, 720mm wide, 8 degree backsweep, 6 degree up, 31.8mm
Stem Specialized XC
Grips Specialized lock-on
Brakes Custom Avid Elixir CR SL
Wheelset Roval Traverse AL
Hubs Roval Traverse AL
Spokes DT Swiss Competition 1.8/1.6mm stainless
Rim Roval Traverse AL, 26mm, 27/32h
Tires S-Works Purgatory
Seat Specialized BG Henge Comp
Seatpost Specialized Command Post



The EVO's component package errs on the light side of the spectrum for a bike with its angles, which sets it apart from many similar travel machines that are spec'd with burlier parts. A Fox F150 RL 32 (with a tapered steerer tube and 15mm thru-axle) fork sits up front, as opposed to a bigger legged 20mm thru-axle option. This no doubt sheds weight, but it also clearly puts the EVO in a different category than its bigger travel siblings in the Enduro fold - despite the EVO using a head angle that is an ever-so-close half of a degree steeper. The bike is rolling on a set of Roval Control AL wheels that have been beefed up in the name of lateral stiffness with the addition of some extra spokes over the previous year, although they still weigh in at under 1700 grams. Stopping the bike is a set of custom Avid Elixir CR SL's done up in black and using a 185mm/160mm rotor combination (large and extra large models get a 203mm/185mm up size for more power)

SRAM has a monopoly on the EVO's drivetrain, kitting the bike out with an XO level 10 speed group that uses a wide range 11-36 tooth cassette out back. This paired with a 24/36 tooth chain ring combo (that is held together with aluminum c/r bolts) gives the bike a wide enough gearing range to both climb walls and carry speed when the trail opens up, but keep in mind that the low range is slightly higher than what you'd find on a standard triple crankset that is fitted with a 22 tooth granny ring (1.556m of rollout as opposed to a 22/34's 1.399m) Fitted in the Press Fit bottom bracket is a set of blacked out carbon XO cranks and a minimalist Gamut Shift Guide. Specialized smartly spec'd the EVO with a dropper post as well, choosing to use their own Command Post. I tested last year's version, and while it worked decently, its remote left a lot to be desired and I came away wishing for another inch of drop - both issues that Specialized has addressed for 2011. The completely new remote no longer suffers from excessive play at its pivot and the post now features a full five inches of travel.


Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO geometry, size medium

Head angle67°
EFF Seat Angle74.5°
Top Tube (actual)558mm
Chainstay420mm
Bottom Bracket Height338mm
Actual Frame Size (seatube length)445mm
Wheelbase1137mm



Riding the Stumpjumper EVO



The Stumpy EVO climbs quite well, enough so that I would guess that the bike was in the 120mm travel category if it had been a blind test, not sporting 145mm. The slack head angle and non-travel adjust fork seriously hurt the bike's technical climbing ability, although flipping the Fox shock's ProPedal lever helped keep the bike from sitting into its sag, and therefore the front end a touch steeper than it would be otherwise.
The Stumpy EVO climbs quite well, enough so that I would guess that the bike was in the 120mm travel category if it had been a blind test, not sporting 145mm. The slack head angle and non-travel adjust fork seriously hurt the bike's technical climbing ability, although flipping the Fox shock's ProPedal lever helped keep the bike from sitting into its sag, and therefore the front end a touch steeper than it would be otherwise.

The Stumpjumper EVO offers a firm climbing platform, even with the Fox shock's ProPedal set to the open position and the lightest damping level selected. The bike accelerates briskly, whether out of the saddle or seated, and without any of the wallowing that many bikes in this category are prone to. While the EVO doesn't force its rider to sit and spin like so many others, allowing you to throw your weight around if need be without worrying about overwhelming the RP23 damper, the EVO's steep 74.5 degree seat angle is ideal for riders who tend to sit and spin their way up climbs. The efficient suspension and light Roval wheels made for a machine that really took to attacking short steep pitches just as much as long climbs that need that diesel approach to get over. That is a rare attribute for a 145mm travel bike and it's one that I was thankful for when tackling the abrupt and punchy climbs found on the Gooseberry's trail system in Utah. The 2.0" wide Purgatory rear tire is never going to be as forgiving as a higher volume trail bike tire, but it does an admirable job of hooking up when needed. The EVO's 2 x 10 gearing is slightly taller than a traditional 22 tooth ring and 34 tooth cog combo, but I never found myself looking for another gear when the trail gained elevation. I'll once again give props to the bike's light wheels and tires for that manageable feeling - it would have been a different story with heavier hoops and rubber.

While the black bike is an efficient climber, its 67 degree head angle and non-travel adjust Fox fork made the bike a bear when it came to technical pitches. Throw in a bottom bracket height that is half an inch lower than some of its competition and you have yourself a handful when the trail gets steep and tight. I found myself having to time my cranks so as not to catch on rocks and logs much more than on a higher bike, as well as having to attack challenging sections more aggressively in an effort to hold more momentum up and over ledges or through tricky switchbacks. Equipping the EVO with a fork that allows you the option of lowering would improve the technical climbing in some regards, but keep in mind that it would lower an already low bottom bracket. I found that flipping the RP23's ProPedal to climbing mode helped reign in the head angle slightly by holding the bike up in its rear wheel travel, thereby steepening the steering angle by a fraction. Doing this does improve the bike's technical climbing abilities, but it would be nice to take advantage of the extra traction provided by leaving the Fox shock in the fully open mode.

Riders considering the EVO should take into account the terrain that they climb: do most of your climbing on fire roads? Then the slack angles and low B.B. won't be as much of an issue. I can also see some riders looking past the bike's climbing faults, even if they do have to ascend tech trails, simply because the bike rips on the way back down. The same low bottom bracket height that hindered technical climbing is what allows the EVO to absolutely carve the terrain when the trail points the opposite direction. Handling quirks aside, the EVO proved to be a very efficient climber, especially given its 145mm of travel.

The black Stumpy EVO loves to be pumped through terrain, making much more of undulations and transitions than a longer travel rig could ever hope. Its angles and relatively low bottom bracket are always egging on its rider to go faster, so much so that the bike's Fox 32 F150 RL fork can be over ridden by an aggressive pilot.
The black Stumpy EVO loves to be pumped through terrain, making much more of undulations and transitions than a longer travel rig could ever hope. Its angles and relatively low bottom bracket are always egging on its rider to go faster, so much so that the bike's Fox 32 F150 RL fork can be over ridden by an aggressive pilot.

If ever there was one bike designed purely for fun, the EVO could be it. Descending on the black Stumpjumper will bring a smile to even the most timid of rider's faces. I attribute this to not only the bike's inspiring angles (the very same that I grumble about above), but also a suspension design that tames the ground while still providing feedback to let you know what is happening under you. There are many bikes out there that can descend competently, but certainly less that manage to do both of those tasks at the same time. No, it doesn't level the terrain like the Enduro does, but what it does do is encourage you to be light on the bike, look for backsides, and manual through even the smallest depressions in the trail. Don't get me wrong, the longer travel Enduro is a great machine, but I found that you have to be riding hard to make the most out of it, whereas the EVO is a much more enjoyable rig when not absolutely attacking the trail or on tamer terrain. Just as I am every time that I test a bike with Fox's RP23 damper, I was surprised at how well the small canned air shock performed. No, it isn't a coil shock and it won't ever be as supple, but it does an admirable job when pushed to its limits. I spent most of my descending time with the shock set to its lightest compression setting, but there was a noticeable amount of firmness added when either of the two stiffer settings were selected. I found that the bike was able to work the terrain so well in the full open position, even on smooth trails like Utah's Jem singletrack, that I rarely felt an advantage by firming the ride up.

As expected, the 67° head angle felt ideal once some speed was built up and the bike was allowed to be steered more by leaning than actually turning the bars. The relatively low 13.3" bottom bracket makes for a rig that doesn't take a lot of effort to corner hard - this bike wants to turn and doesn't feel skittish about doing it while going quickly. The EVO simply felt more planted and with better weight distribution than other bikes that use the same head angle, but sit higher. That feeling encouraged me to attack flatter sections of trail that I may have otherwise let off on simply because it was much more enjoyable to carry speed on the Stumpjumper than to relax and take a breather. As I said earlier, it is like someone penned the EVO purely with fun in mind.

The surefooted nature of the EVO was especially appreciated when the trail conditions got tricky.
The surefooted nature of the EVO was especially appreciated when the trail conditions got tricky.

While it is easy to rave about how well the bike descended, there were a few points of contention. The bike's Fox fork, with its 32 mm stanchions and 15 mm thru-axle, left a lot to be desired when it came to stiffness. I've ridden 32's before and I know that they perform well, but the EVO is probably capable of more than what the 32 series is really meant for. Riding downhill or technical sections on true cross-country trails at the speed that the EVO can carry resulted in too much flex for my liking, both torsionally and front to back. I also found myself having to run higher air pressure in the fork than I would have preferred in order to keep it from diving unnecessarily. Fox, if you're listening, more low speed compression control please. It would be worth the weight penalty for aggressive riders to equip the EVO with a Fox 36 that is lowered to 150 mm of travel. In the same vein, the bike could be pushed hard enough on cross-country trails to detect a bit too much flex coming from the rear end - a result of the svelte wheels and light frame perhaps. Will we see the EVO using a 142mm rear end for next season?

The EVO loves to go fast and has geometry that encourages its rider to do so. The low and slack stance inspires confidence, and the quality rear wheel travel proves that, in the right hands, a lot can come from a little. While flex up front was a hindrance when riding hard, even on cross-country trails, the bike was still a blast at all times, even when the terrain was less than challenging.

Warm Winter day - check. Fun bike - check. Stupid grin - double check. Every ride aboard the EVO was a blast. This is a bike that wants to make you smile, even on the tamest trails.
Warm Winter day - check. Fun bike - check. Stupid grin - double check. Every ride aboard the EVO was a blast. This is a bike that wants to make you smile, even on the tamest trails.


What about those parts...

• The bike's Purgatory tires perform wonderfully. They roll decently fast, especially the thin 2.0" wide rear tire, and offer predictable traction. Great all rounders.
• SRAM's 10 speed XO group has once again impressed me with its shifting precision and speed, even when abused and caked with thick mud. Another knock against those who claim the ten cogs out back will never work as well as nine.
• The one drivetrain part that did let me down were the bearings used for the Press Fit bottom bracket. It was only a few months of riding before they were toast.
• The bike's Gamut Shift Guide works very well at keeping the chain put. I rode the bike sans lower chain guide roller to see how effective it was and quickly learnt that it is far better with it on.
• The Avid Elixir's brake bleed from the factory left a lot to be desired and required some work before they were trail worthy. I mention this for two reasons; one, because it isn't ideal, and two, because Avid just recently put a lot of effort into improving the factory bleeds that come on original equipment brakes. The EVO's stoppers were too early to get the new treatment, but expect good things down the road from bikes equipped with Avid brakes on the showroom floor.


The EVO is a dream come true for a lot of riders. The bike manages to spot that hard to find middle ground where it can make even the most boring trails fun, but without losing its cross-country sensibilities. If you are really looking to define the EVO, even though the bike seems to do everything in its power to resist, you might refer to it as a trail bike with an attitude. It's stoked to climb all day, it's happy to carve turns like others can only dream of, and it will bring its own party to trails that you may otherwise find less than fun.

You can check out Specialized's entire lineup on their website.


83 Comments

  • 6 0
 Mike,

I'm glad you said this: "While it is easy to rave about how well the bike descended, there were a few points of contention. The bike's Fox fork, with its 32 mm stanchions and 15 mm thru-axle, left a lot to be desired when it came to stiffness. I've ridden 32's before and I know that they perform well, but the EVO is probably capable of more than what the 32 series is really meant for. Riding downhill or technical sections on true cross-country trails at the speed that the EVO can carry resulted in too much flex for my liking, both torsionally and front to back. I also found myself having to run higher air pressure in the fork than I would have preferred in order to keep it from diving unnecessarily. Fox, if you're listening, more low speed compression control please."

------ because we're both about the same weight and riding style (or lack thereof) and I feel the same way about the Fox 32 150. Tough to tune low speed compression and holds back an aggressive descending bike. Perhaps it's a better fork for more mellow terrain but might not be well suited for BC technical trails. Of course this is just a personal opinion and others might, and probably will. agree to disagree
  • 3 1
 I agree with that the 32 is a bit under-forked with a 32.. I think that it would benifit from a bit burlier fork that could take the beating that this bike will see I have herd quit a few complaints on some of the Fox's lately, our Shops manager has the Fox 32 on his Yeti 575 and he hates it.. Just like Mike said, the fork dives hard in corners unless you keep the air pressure up.. and at that point the fork is no longer plush, I have herd the same from another riding buddy as well.. thats why the Fox 36 that came on my Yeti got sold for a Lyric 2 step air..
  • 2 0
 EDIT- *The EVO is under-forked with the 32*
  • 2 0
 I agree, Lee. The 32 can be a great fork for certain riders and places, but it didn't seem to be enough for me on the front of the EVO. I've ridden other bikes equipped with the 32 where it performed better. Regardless though, the bike was a blast!
  • 1 0
 So even though it uses tapered steerer, the performance wasn't that good? Was it stiffness and handling precision in general that suffered? Do you guys think an average rider can take an advantage of that? I am asking as i am wondering to trade off my Lyrik from my Nomad to a tapered Revelation qr20 - weight saving and I'm not a fan of slack head angles anymore - 68 for what I do is excellent. I actually run my Lyrik on 130 to get that.
  • 2 0
 agree totaly..already had a 32 talas 140mm, stifness wasnt good and it needs a LOT more low speed damp then it has...a lot, at least for my liking..result, sold the fork...
  • 1 0
 Yea LSC is what I'm affraid about here: anybody having a comparison Revelation to Fox 32 series in that department? Lyrik with Mission control doesn't shine in damping quality already, you have it either divey or really rough, though at least stabil
  • 3 0
 well, i dont have a revelation, but i do have a Sektor, wich is almost a revalation..and i have to say (even tho i hate rockshox), i am in love with the fork, its a lot stiffer then the fox (consider i have a 20mm axle on the sektor) and the compression/rebound/progressivness of the fork is simply peeerfect..rebound is very linear, compression goes from all open to all locked in only 5 fast clicks (if u want more range of adjustment u can take the steel ball that makes the "clicks" and u will have infinit adjustment, wich is what i did) and the air chamber is perfect, very linear with enough progression at the bottom, so much that i freeride with the fork (150mm) and use at the same time 30% sag..so..yeah, i have to admit, the fork is very good..revelation should be the same, being also lighter..dont know tho..
  • 1 0
 ok thx!
  • 1 0
 I'm really glad this conversation came up. I just sold the float RL 150 that came on my diamondback mission 2, and I got a lot of grief for it from my friends. I actually had a very similar set up to this bike due to some aftermarket changes and I wasn't quite satisfied. I weigh 180 and, while the Float was a great fork under certain circumstances, I felt I needed something a little longer and stiffer (no jokes please). Unfortunately, nobody wants to buy the Float RL 150 for what it is worth since it is too long for most xc, and most lighter trail bikes come with it already. So I ended up getting a boat anchor Rock Shox Domain 318 with the money made from the sale. Still, it is more adjustable, is easy to maintain, and should supply that firmness I need. Maybe I'll get a lyrik next birthday. That depends on the wife. . .
  • 4 0
 Ditch 32s. Float 36s FTW
  • 4 0
 the (no jokes please) made me laugh)))
  • 2 0
 mhahemeh... it all dpends on application, this bike has already a 67deg HA, which is on the edge of usefullness o technical trails requiring pedalling and uphilling. It's still fine but 66 deg with such high fork like 36 float is over the edge. For instance in all my modesty and humility, I find perfect Up/down balance on 68HA with cockpit height just below seat level.

With HA lower than 67 you will flip flop and with such high cockpit (please no jokes here) you will have trouble with getting straight back for seated pedalling. XC/Trail bike even an NUskool one, with such properties like slack HA and short TT is simply not effective even on fire roads. It's super fun when going down the hill, but for such use man created 6" bikes Wink
  • 5 0
 If this bike had a stiffer rear end and a 20mm fork, I think it would be an Enduro in different clothes.

Personally, I don't think it's been made for large production numbers; rather to test public acceptance of some different ideas with travel and geometry that will work their way in to the Stumpjumper lineup through time.
  • 1 0
 @ Hustler,

Great points for sure. I would still like to see it with the same amount of travel, just be stiffer in the front and back.
  • 2 0
 How much of the flex was due to 27h front wheel? Could you try it out again with a 'proper' all-mountain wheelset?
  • 2 0
 I love my EVO but I am considering a 36 talas for mine.... Gives you more suspension for the decents and you can drop it down for the climbs.
  • 1 0
 @grandmastere,

Surprisingly, I would say that it is next to none. I've got loads of time on the exact same wheelset on my personal bike, as well as last year's version as well. I never found the wheels to be overly flexible.
  • 1 0
 so excited for this review. havnt read it yet, but this is a very high potential bike!
  • 1 0
 this review makes it sound just like my 2000 enduro. hahaha.
  • 1 1
 whack some u turn domains on it!
  • 1 0
 One thing i cant understand it the 2.0 inch rear tyre. Fair enough spec it but then at least have it avalible to buy aftermarket as well as a tyre will wear out and then you cant replace it with another 2.0 as they arnt avalible at lest not in the uk anyway.
  • 1 0
 The fatter the better up to 2,5" and max 900g is the way for XC and Trail riding. Schwalbe Nobby Nics 2,4" or at least 2,25 end up around 600-700g each, with all round thread pattern for mixed wet dry conditions, then running them tubeless is just funfakintastic... If you are really fast and trails you ride include fast downhills with sharp rocks then you need thicker and more stabil sidewall and there 2,4" Exo Ardents or Minions F in tubeless setup work wonders
  • 1 0
 first off on the 32 front, have a blast at the rs revelations 150mm 1.7kg. and 4K for a bike that weighs 31.lbs with pedals.... just a thought
  • 1 0
 Just got mine set up 1x10 with new 2011 hive stuff and a new thompson elite post. Now 26 lbs
  • 1 0
 yea, if you use 1x with light CG like MRP G2 Mini to replace 2x setup with bash and 2ring CG, you save a full pound. Problem is to be strong enough to ride trails with 1x10. I hammer on 36t but I need the granny ring for regeneration. I prefer to coast a bit on it rather than stopping for a breather. But if you are strong enough and the terrain allows you to use lightweight tyres such as Nobby Nic run tubeless, the weight goes down bonkers...
  • 1 0
 I would rather run a real Tubeless tire though.. I had a pair of NN on my Yeti and I went to the Specialized 2Bliss tires.. personal preference..
Yea if you are strong enough to push a 36t all the time then there is defiantly weight to be lost.. I think most could maybe go 34t single with a 36t cassette and still probably be fine.. I know I could (given this is on a 7 inch travel Yeti) and I climb some steep +15% climbs at times.. I'll bet the EVO could be ridden as a 1x10 fairly easily.. you just need a mildly strong motor.. that being said, I will just keep my 24t so I can sit and be a wimp and spin, because there are times I dont want to go full anaerobic when I am climbing my bike.. haha
  • 1 0
 I mean even James Wilson recommends the granny and I am sure he doesn't have problems both with engine power and fuel capacity... a thing is: if you would have a bike only for fast spins in the woods, then you can go single 32T up front even as a weekend warrior. Trouble is with 32 and 34 of even 36 on back, it starts to be tiring to get to the woods when you spin like a maniac with 150 cadence Wink


As for NN, as I said it all depends on location, where you ride. My local trails are too technical to pick up higher speeds and there aren't many really sharp rocks and stones. Schwalbe Evo versions are tubeless ready so you just put a bit more sealant in than you would do with full on UST. You end up more or less 150g per wheel lighter than with UST version. I will run this season toiletpaper thin evo up front, and doubledefense on back with my full on UST rims.
  • 1 0
 I raced on the 1x setup today for the first time and the race was noticeably better. Running the 33t hive ring was perfect for the course. So far so good
  • 1 0
 Mhm great to hear. I am cracking slowly towards 1x but I think I will begin with 32T. 32f x 36b is still a bit higher ratio than my current 2x setup with 22T granny. But since I have a 11-34 cassette and very rarely use two biggest cogs, actually never the 34 one, I might try it... It's just that the try is super expensive...
  • 1 0
 I hate to be buzz kill here but Specialized's Pitch remedies every complaint above and below that people have about the Evo, and it costs $1500 less. It has a travel adjust fork, a 20mm front axle, a non-proprietary rear shock, and stiffer rear end.
Geometry-wise it's got a 0.6mm higher STATIC bb, 5mm more rear travel, and only weighs 1lb more,

Is there something I'm missing or not getting?
  • 2 0
 No one needs more than a bike like Spec Pitch equipped with SLX, some decent rims (mavic 317s?) and 2,3" allround tyres with 60a compound. All non-racers could ride that anywhere in any conditions and have tons of phun and exercise. Still human is a strange creature, and trying to force it to be happy with one, most convenient design/idea just creates even more trouble than pure greed...
  • 2 0
 I know this is really late, but what about a rockshox revelation? Wouldn't that fit the bill pretty well?
  • 5 1
 I just hate how Specialized feels the need to run proprietary rear shocks on their Enduros. It sucks because if you ever want to upgrade your rear suspension, to something like a monarch plus (or anything for that matter), you cant, because of the "Specialized linkage" that links the rear shock to the rest of the bike. This alone is a beef that I have had with their bikes for years.... they try to be different by running their own technology on their bikes, which no one else has access to, and it basically limits the consumer to riding the bike with the stock suspension. They did it before with their stupid forks and the 25mm front hub... if you wanted to change your fork you had to also buy a new wheel... Just seems backwards to me... While most of the other bike manufacturers are working to attain standards, specialized is working to make their bikes completely annoying.
  • 2 1
 It is amazing to see both side of the argument. Specialized gets bashed for using the same old "tired" suspension, people ask why are they afraid to try something new and better.
Then they try new things like a diffent hub size or a dual crown trail fork and they get blasted. The job of the engineer is the easy one, the job of the marketing manager in charge of implementing certain ideas and supressing others is the tuff one. Typically if there is a new idea differnet than the standard, it is because an engineer thought of a better way. (Doesn't always work in application, but the idea was meant for good.)

My point, take the bad with the good. I like this bike, and if I bought it, it would be with the intention of leaving it stock, although with this review I question the fork, hopefully a better match will come up next year.
  • 3 0
 Nice write-up, nice pics, and nice bike. A nice offering to close the gap between the standard Stumpie and the recently beefed-up Enduro. I wonder if they went a bit too far with the head angle though.. maybe if they didn't slacken it up so much the bike would be less inclined to outrun the 32 fork and still fit nicely between the Stumpie and Enduro. Alternatively, the could've fit it with a 36, but then it might be too close to the Enduro..

interesting to watch the Enduro, Stumpjumper, Trek Remedy, and others play around with geometries and specs to dial-in the trail / AM offerings.
  • 2 0
 I have ridden the Evo since last fall. I think the 32 actually fits the bike quite nicely, plus it has tapered steerer and 15mm axle to reduce flex. Anyway, this is a good bike for people who want a light trail bike with slack angles. This bike really shines in descents when compared to "normal" trail bikes, making it good for faster riders. I had chance to compare my Evo to a Nomad mk2, and the head angle of Evo felt the same or maybe even slighly slacker, although the Nomad felt noticeably burlier. Only things you have to consider with Evo is the lowish BB because you have to avoid pedal strikes to rocks etc. And the wide bar (72cm) can catch trees and bushes on tight trails. And one thing about the FSR suspension: it relies on the shock to provide a pedalling platform. You can either use pro pedal to get bob-free rear end, but then the suspension isn't very active and plush. On open mode there is still some platform on Evo, but then it doesn't feel as efficient as DW Link rear (spent some time on Pivot Firebird).
  • 1 0
 I would agree with your comments about FSR (4-bar horst pivot) - I've owned a bunch of bikes using FSR suspension and you have to use the pro-pedal on the Fox shock to stop the rear suspension being SO active climbing up or pedalling along fast singletrack that it absorbs pedalling forces, but this makes the suspension less active and compliant on rough ground meaning the rear wheel does not have good traction which you can feel in the pedals and bike balance

the Split-Pivot I am riding on my Devinci Dixon is simply amazing!

-because you get the pedalling efficiency of a well-designed single pivot

-but with the active braking of a FSR, plus a great shock tune with minimal LSC (Dave Weagle did great work here for Devinci)

....the Split Pivot is weird to ride because it does not have that over-active "squatty" feel of the FSR and you consider it is not working?? it feels transparent...

until you look down at the rocker / shock and you can see them working, but there is not the power loss feeling of FSR? after a ride you can see the 'o' ring on the shock shaft has moved down, but you don't feel that whilst riding, what you get is great pedalling and great traction

I don't even use Pro-Pedal on my Dixon SP, its simply that efficient Smile
  • 3 0
 It does seem to be a kinky bag bit of trick clever kit that blurs the categories and perhaps invents yet another. Thankfully I am not one of those enthusiastic riders who is jaded by this inexpedient phenomenon.
  • 2 0
 Excellent review; this looks like a very useful bike. In fact, it looks like it would probably be the perfect bike for me. Unfortunately, I bought a new Enduro Expert at the end of the season last year. I definitely can't justify another new bike...
  • 2 0
 Bing fan of the Stumpy, have an '07 elite. Thought I'd upgrade and the EVO seemed to be trending along w/changes I had made to the '07. Been on the bike 12/15 times now throughout the East. NC, NJ, PA, NY, soon VT. Had some concerns about the front end wandering, coming from the adj TALAS on the '07. So far it does not seem to be a real problem. I must agree, and I'm a huge Fox fan, the front end on my X-Large ( I'm 6' 3' 195 and like everybody on here, "rides aggressively") is overwhelmed by the speed the geometry and style of the frame generates. I won't basically repeate all that has been well laid out here. I will state this and its VERY IMPORTANT. On about the 5 or 6 ride, coming down a familiar section, encountered some logs, went over as I often do ( well, most times,) when the front wheel hit dirt the wheel went right, bars went left, and I went right over, some how landed on my feet. Upon inspection, the top cap was gone and the threadbolt from cap down into head tube had split. Soon at LBS remaining bolt was removed, very light duty, low grade material. Just today, took the '07 out for a tune up spin. Have ridden this bike hard all up and down the East. Same low grade bolt, cracked. Ok, granted this bikes a bit older and while always maintained, has been ridden hard. I do perform checks on my rigs on a reg basis. I have of course replaced your normal wear/tear items, tires, cables, drivetrains. I often, while cleaning the bikes check the frames, bars, seatposts and such for cracks. It has never dawned on me, never been mentioned, by a manufacturer or shop, no mention online or the mags I've been reading for yrs to check/replace this item. Heck, I'm still riding my '97 GT Avalanche. Anyway, I guess what I'm getting at, especially if on a Specialized (Not trying to knock 'em here, I've bought two and encouraged my girlfriend to buy one) REPLACE THAT BOLT even if new. Enjoy the ride.
  • 1 0
 This bike is defiantly one of the sickest Trail/AM bike on the market.. I have spent a bit of time on the Stumpy and the Enduro and I sadly couldnt get my manager to let me take the EVO off the rack and "test ride" this bike.. it should be a great bike to do it all on.. would be a great addition in between a 4 inch XC 29'r and a DH rig..
  • 1 0
 A trailbike with 558mm top tube for Medium?! There is no way to put power down effectively while seated. Even 170cm high person will have trouble with straightening their backs and pushing the chest forward to strain the back. Other than that geo looks good, but If I were to buy this bike I would opt for one size larger than one should usualy take. That TT is like 3cm too short. Or maybe it is meant to be a super light FR-bike dunno
  • 2 0
 Dude it's not 1996. The bike is made for aggressive riding. If it were any longer you wouldn't be able to get off the back on steeps.
  • 1 0
 Your body did not change since then you still need a straight back to put power down withotu wasting energy. Tech trails are not only about technique, they are a lot about efficeincy and proper energy management. Short bike is fun, but that is not the only important factor, minimizing pain in getting bike up to speed cannot be forgotten Wink What was a wrong assumption in what you call 1996 was too long stems. Right now what you need is the same reach but it is proven that wide bars and short stem improve handling signinficantly. Therefore the top tube has to get longer and chainstays should be as short as possible. That's why guys like LeeMcCormack and Gene Hamilton use frame sizes bigger than recommended.

I actualy rode a super old XC bike of my friend lately, with like 130 stem and I could still do steep rockgardens with it and do some drop offs - it's a matter of technique, mianly proper riding stance. What those super short XC and AM bikes do is they they are just easy to ride for everybody, they let people run away with many bad habits, especially being too far back. Let's be honest, the target group is weekend warriors. But nonetheless I don't like the fact that these promote bad habits.
  • 1 0
 I tested the medium and the small. And I decided to get the small. Super playfull and extreme aggressive on trails. I'm 1,90m. Long toptubes are perfect for DH but such a trailbike needs to be compact.
  • 2 0
 great write-up! i would love to have a do it all bike like that! any idea on weight?
also, there should be a way to favorite articles like you can favorite photos and videos!
  • 1 0
 good review, very in-depth, the Stumpy Evo is a good compromise between trail (Stumpjumper) and All-Mountain (Enduro)


I'd agree with the comments on the Fox 32, it can feel overfaced on rougher faster descents and a bit "twangy" on hard impacts and hard braking


I am currently riding a 2011 Devinci Dixon Split-Pivot with 145mm of rear travel and a 150mm (lowered) Fox 36 Float RC2

I've ridden the same bike with Fox 32 Float 150mm and it felt good for lighter trail riding, but a bit out of control on rougher all-mountain trails


the boundaries between trail and all-mountain are blurring, and its interesting how each manufacturer has their own take on this area

Specialized have made a smart move with their "Evo" range, and Devinci have said the Dixon can be run with either the Fox 32 or Fox 36 whilst maintaining the lifetime warranty on the frame

my Dixon is 27.4lb with Fox 36 Float fork, SRAM X-9 (2 x 9 with Blackspire device), SLX crankset, Elixir CR brakes, ZTR Flow / Pro II wheels running Stans with Specialized Control Purgatory and Eskar tires, Easton Haven stem and post, Renthal 750mm bars, as a reference to the weight of the Stumpy Evo
  • 1 0
 As you said it's some kind of dream come true bike. I own one for myself. The fox and the wheelset were thrown out right away to get a fork with the ability to lower for climbing and to bang it more on the descents.

And here is the problem of the bike. It allows it to insanely fast in rough terrain. In such kind of terrain the Fox RP shock heats up in a glimpse of an eye and by that rebound is getting faster. I own a Specialized SX (the 4x version with only 100mm of travel) and the SJ evo. On both bikes it took only 4 (!) riding days to blow up the shock. The big problem is the system integration specialized always uses on his bikes. You are not able to switch to another shock to go riding while your blown up shock is in service or switch to a shock which can take the abuse.

If possible I try to get some custom links to switch to another shock. My experience is sadly that Fox won't last if you ride it hard.
  • 1 0
 "There is still some trickery to be found within the diminutive Fox damper in that its ProPedal lever actually controls the amount of low-speed compression damping in the open position"

is that not essentially what propedal does anyway?
  • 1 0
 stumpy evo is a siiick bike. been riding one since january, definitely glad i bought it. climbs almost as well as the 2010 expert carbon stumpy i had before it and way more fun on the downhills. so far ive been pretty happy with the 32 fork, although it would definitely be nice to be able to drop the travel. 36 seems like it might be a little much for this bike, i think its pretty much a perfect balance between trail and am as it is. but thats just my opinion. great review!
  • 3 2
 For $4200 one could buy a x9 equipped MOJO HD, which will be at least as capable of a climber, much stiffer platform for both climbing and descending, 160mm travel, 35mm fork, all at essentially the same weight and working with a customer service oriented small company vs evil empire...
  • 2 0
 Baltik, I have to say calling Specialized the evil empire is not very fair. I have found them to be more customer-service oriented and problem-free to deal with than some of the smaller bike companies. (Don't even get me started on Felt, talk about EVIL). Anyway, their warranty is amazing - they really stand by their products. I love them for that!
  • 1 0
 first ride out today changing from a tricked out 2008 trance x1.

Evo desends better and climbs better than the trance but with a few points.

Descending you have to keep the pedals level or you be hitting them on every little root - never had this problem on the trance - but once i adapted my foot work it was fine.

Climbing you need to lock out everything, the non-travel adjustable 150mm fork makes the bike want to wheelie on technical climbs, even when sat on the nose of the saddle trying to push the front down. unlocked i reckon the trance is a bettter climber but locked the spesh takes it due to the lower overall weight.

on a little side note my trance has a travel adjustable revelation if i was to take into account this then the trance is a better technical climber with the fork wound down. Why spesh didnt spec some sort of travel adjustment to the fork i dont know - probably cost - but that would have sorted 1 of the only issues this bike has.

overall i reckon on my first ride out i was going as fast on the downhills as my long term bike and generally, as long as it wasn't too technical, faster on the up hills.

for those that know the trails the first ride was on the new red (difficult) trail at Eastridge in shropshire.
  • 1 0
 just an update. spesh really should have put a travel adjustable fork for technical climbing on this bike. Down hill it rocks but the climbing gets steep and technical its not as much fun - though all the reviews i read did point this out - going to try putting a slightly longer stem on it to get more weight over the front for climbing, hopefully this shouldn't effect the DH ability much.
  • 1 0
 Been spending some real time on this bike. Only changes made: WTB saddle and Panaracer Rampage SCs 26x2.35. All these tires do is grip, no slip! Put 'em on, or a Nobby Nic, (If ya can get 'em) Ardent, (too heavy?) Blue Groove, and that bike will billy goat the climbs and really lean/grip the turns!!

But please.., can someone tell me why Im dropping the chain, 4 times now, on really fast rutted downhills?? Never had a bike w/a chain guide. What shld I be looking for? Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Here we go....bought it because I wanted some travel and a ride that had a good position. Sat on it and knew it felt right. A few rides and it was confirmed. Been crazy fun so far. I would say itis a very trusty steed and gives me massive confidence to tackle anything!

Yep, could be beefier, but then it wouldnt be as nimble. I am a big and I think it's solid enough for me. Yes, the fork dives a bit and it would be great to have adjustable height for climbing occasionally. You do need to time your cranks on technical climbs to avoid strikes and the wide bars occasionally feel clumsy (most the time they are blinding).

There are lots of possible tweaks (tyres,seat, dropper, rubbish grips) but you would change character and style of bike. I live my EVO just the way it is. Pure rock and roll!
  • 1 0
 ...update The BB problem has turned up. Is the SRAM PF30 not man enough or he bike? Probably.

Will be avoiding this in teh future and SRAM kit in general. I have more Shimano parts across my 3 bikes and the other 3 family bikes and yet not one problem, wish I could say the same for SRAM.
  • 1 0
 So the BB damaged the XO carbon crank. Specialised warrantied to their credit, so thumbs up to them!
SRAM?....well my confidence is smashed....X9 "fell apart inside" according to SRAM (warrantied), dropper post had to be rebuilt by a mate with different rings (no units available to swap for 8-12weeks) and now the BB/crank. Am nervous of using SRAM on long all mountain rides.
  • 1 0
 Its only a shame, that Specialized bikes have integrated headsets. And no chance for upgrading for quality headsets like Chris King or Cane Creek.


chrisking.com/tech/int_headsets_explained/int_hds_explain_4
  • 1 0
 I am considering buying a bike in this category and EVO could fit perfectly. Nevertheless I'm interested in how does it compare to the Trek remedy 8? Any experiences from anyone? Tnx!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the writeup! You confirmed for me that I made the right choice. My new "black bike" is on it's way home to me this week! Can't wait to experience all this fun for myself. Smile
  • 3 0
 liking the pics of a muddy bike!
  • 3 0
 Our bikes get muddy more than half the year as it loves to rain here. This bike has been to Utah, Washington and all over the lower main land here in BC.
  • 3 0
 I wish you guys would do reviews that a larger majority of us can afford.
  • 2 0
 Nice write up mike. Mixed with good photos, good combo.
  • 1 0
 wonder how many of the 70 poster have actually ridden one for any length of time?

as an owner my comments above are above.
  • 1 0
 Well..beat me to it Mike. I don't have the Evo though hahahahaha
  • 1 0
 i'm confused why doesnt thid have a 142 rear end when the epic evo does?
  • 1 0
 Epic 29er frames have a 142mm rear end.
  • 1 0
 You can bet that we'll be seeing more 142mm rear ends coming out from Specialized in 2012.
  • 1 0
 Looks like it'd be in the same category as a diamonback mission 3.
  • 1 0
 Wonder what its like compared to an ST4...
  • 2 0
 Excellent write-up Mike.
  • 2 1
 I liked it better when it was called the Pitch.
  • 1 0
 They still have the Pitch. I think this is a totally different bike.
  • 1 0
 "looking to pump some backsides? " Oh Dear!

I love it!
  • 1 0
 poor riders blame poor forks - get over it, ride it!
  • 1 0
 Did I miss what size the rear end was?
Anyone know?
  • 1 0
 a.m beast.
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