While a company's bike lineup could include models for each and every discipline, with each one usually for designed for a specific type of riding, the 150mm travel category must surely be the most difficult to nail down. After all, depending on the type of terrain and rider skill level, the mid-travel bracket that that amount of suspension falls into could either be one man's all-day cross-country bike or another man's aggressive all-mountain rig. It certainly can get a bit cloudy, which is why it's nice to have some options to pick from. The Stumpjumper platform, in all its incarnations, has long been a favorite of those looking for a capable trail bike, but it goes without saying that a lot of riders look to alter the stock build of their steeds to better suit their given terrain - usually for more aggressive riding - no matter what bike they have under them. It is this sort of thinking that their Stumpjumper EVO lineup was born from. Specialized's Sam Benedict explains:
The Stumpjumper FSR is the most versatile machine on the planet, balancing climbing prowess and descending capability. The Enduro takes the downhills even more seriously with its slacker geo and extra travel, while still being able to tackle all sorts of climbing with ease. As these bikes have been ridden over the years, we found ourselves modifying our bikes to suit our particular style of riding. Maybe it was a wider bar for more control or a chain guide to keep the chain in check in every situation. It was interesting to us that many other riders we saw were doing similar changes to their bikes. It was that simple; we saw the need within our families of existing bikes to evolve to give the riders everything they wanted for their style. So we made EVO bikes for the riders looking for a more capable descending rig and an EVO R for a dedicated XC racing application.- Sam Benedict
The 2012 Stumpjumper EVO combines light weight with slack and low geometry that caters to aggressive trail and all-mountain shredders. There will be three models available to choose from; both a carbon or aluminum bike, as well as a 29'' wheeled model that may very well change some rider's minds as to what a big wheeler is capable of. Keene's personal bike, pictured above, is built around the Carbon EVO frame and weighs in at a svelte 24.8 lbs.
2012 Stumpy Carbon EVO details:
• Intended use: All-mountain/trail • All new FACT 9m carbon frame • Carbon front triangle, M5 alloy rear end • 150mm of rear wheel travel • Tapered 1.5'' to 1-1/8'' head tube • Carbon Press Fit 30 bottom bracket • ISCG-05 chain guide tabs • 12 x 142+ rear axle spacing • Internal routing for telescoping seat post • Custom Fox RP23 with Adaptive Logic with Boost Valve, Kashima coating and the all-new Specialized AUTOSAG • Both 26" and 29" aluminum frames available separately • Availability: August/September • Carbon EVO MSRP - $5,200 USD (price approx.)
The Stumpjumper EVO lineup consists of both aluminum and carbon framed models, as well as a 29'' wheeled option, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed and spec'd to better suit aggressive riding. That means that you'll find components like Gamut's dual ring guide and wider bars, but also slacker and lower geometry that will allow skilled, aggressive riders, and those who frequent difficult terrain, to open the throttle up a bit more on the descents. Watching Curtis Keene tackle the trails of North Vancouver on his 150mm travel Carbon EVO put it in perspective; yes, he is a gifted rider, but the bike looked to be more than up to the task.
Wallet friendly EVO:
While the Carbon EVO is certainly a head turner, the aluminum Comp version is bound to be more common on the trails simply due to its friendly price tag. It shares the same geometry as the carbon framed model that Keene is riding, as well as a tapered head tube, 142+ rear end and ISCG-05 chain guide tabs, and comes equipped with a 150mm travel RockShox Revelation RL fork and a custom tuned Fox RP2 shock. The Comp EVO will retail for approximately $2,750 USD.
Big wheeled EVO:
Riders who prefer big wheels, or those who have been thinking about making the jump, but haven't found a 29'er that looks up to the task, will be stoked to hear that Specialized is bringing the EVO attitude to the 29" world with their Expert EVO. The bike will use dedicated 29'er geometry that differs from its 26" wheeled EVO counterparts, including a head angle that is one degree steeper, but you can expect the same roomy top tubes, short rear ends, as well as an identical low bottom bracket, despite the bike's bigger wheels. The Expert EVO's aluminum frame features the same tapered head tube, Press Fit 30 bottom bracket and 142+ rear end as the standard EVO's, but makes use of 135mm of rear wheel travel due to the bike's bigger wheels.
Component highlights on the Expert EVO include RockShox's 140mm travel Revelation RL, complete with 20mm thru-axle (like all 29'' forks should use), a Kashima equipped Fox RP23 with Adaptive Logic and Specialized's AUTOSAG, as well as Specialized's own 28mm wide Traverse 29'er wheels. The Expert EVO is designed to be ridden in the same manner as its smaller wheeled brothers, and thus comes stock with a Gamut two ring guide to keep the chain in place over rough terrain.
The standard Stumpjumper and the EVO versions both use the same frames, but the shock link (the silver component in the photo above) and 150mm travel fork transform the geometry. By using a different shaped link Specialized is able to slacken the head angle out to 67 degrees and lower the bottom bracket height to a ground skimming 13.2 inches.
Keene's EVO, as well as the production models, will sport slick internal routing for dropper seat posts (left) that will make for smooth lines and lessen the chance of damaging a cable in a crash. While production versions will use aluminum chain and seat stays, Keene's EVO is equipped with these trick looking carbon stays from the non-EVO model (right), with the opening just forward of the brake mount designed to accept the Brain shock used on the those versions. The EVO also makes use of Specialized's 142+ rear end, a fully closed thru-axle design that features slots like a traditional drop out to allow for quick and easy wheel changes. The ''+'' refers to Specialized's own Roval wheelsets that use a wider dish, made possible by different hub end caps, that allow for a stiffer rear wheel.
The EVO uses a Press Fit 30 bottom bracket shell, but more interestingly for a lot of rider's will be the bike's ISCG-05 chain guide tabs (left) that are hidden behind the bike's trick Specialized carbon cranks in this photo. That's right - proper geometry, a lightweight carbon frame and ISCG-05 tabs that let you mount up a guide. The EVO looks to let you have your cake and let you eat it as well. Internal rear derailleur routing (right) keeps the chain from damaging the shift housing.
Up front you'll find a massive carbon tapered head tube that will accept both standard steerer tubes and tapered versions like the carbon steerer used on Curtis' 150mm travel RockShox Revelation World Cup. Keene's Carbon EVO was setup for aggressive trail riding, including a 50mm Chromag Ranger stem and chrome, 30'' wide OSX bars.
Specialized knows that the EVO is going to be pushed hard and constructed it with strength and stiffness in mind - the bottom bracket area is absolutely huge
Curtis is a World Cup level downhiller and it shows in the way he handles a bike. He took his Carbon EVO through this rock section faster than nearly any other rider could aboard a downhill rig. Nearly as impressive as Keene's riding was how quiet the EVO is over rough terrain.
Specialized put a lot of effort into making the EVO a capable descender that advanced riders could appreciate, but they also know that the bike will see just as much climbing as descending. It's light, but more importantly, it uses the great pedaling Horst Link (FSR) suspension design. If it pedals anything like the EVO that we tested earlier this year, which it should because the layout is very similar, it should accelerate like a rocket ship.
Curtis' Carbon EVO varies from the production spec, it being decked out with a slew of top end gear from SRAM, RockShox and Chromag. His machine is also sporting a set of prototype carbon wheels that are a collaboration between DT Swiss and Specialized, as well as prototype tires from Specialized.
There is no doubt that a well sorted 150mm travel bike is capable of some incredible things, but the progression of the breed in recent years has been beyond belief. Not only would the travel-to-weight ratio blow away the superbikes of only a few seasons ago, but we now have geometry to match what the bike's suspension is capable of. Specialized's Stumpjumper EVO platform is a clear example of this movement; it uses the proven Horst Link (FSR) suspension design that they have evolved over many seasons, along with slack and low geometry that is best suited to high speeds and challenging terrain. No, the Stumpy EVO will certainly not be for everyone, but Pinkbike is willing to bet that under the right rider and on the right terrain, the bike will come into its own and be a top performer in what is arguably the most competitive category of bike.