Staff Rides: Photographer Matt Wragg's Specialized Stumpjumper Evo 29

Jan 20, 2020 at 1:19
by Matt Wragg  
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg



STAFF RIDES

Matt Wragg's Specialized Stumpjumper Evo 29



Lust. You never know when it is going to strike, or why. In late 2018, amidst the endless deluge of the latest carbon wonder bikes, the Stumpjumper Evo stirred something in me. I couldn't tell you why, but I knew I had to get my hands on one. The raw, almost unbranded aluminum frame and the wild angles looked nasty in all the right ways. So much so that I cancelled the carbon rocketship I had on order and started pitching calls to everyone I knew at Specialized to try and secure one. I picked it up in March of last year and have been fettling and refining it since into a bike I feel confident I'm going to keep for the next few years.

Before I get into what I have done with it, I should start with the why. In 2018 I fully embraced middle age and, for the first time ever, bought myself a full carbon DH bike. But after a year of ear-to-ear, shit-eating grins and bike park laps I had to admit that the reasons that I typically always had mid-travel bikes rather than full-blown DH rigs were still true - they're just too expensive and impractical to own. If I could get to a chair lift it was incredible, but even on the shuttle days around me a DH bike was the wrong tool for the job. So it sat gathering dust. I needed something a little, well, less. I wanted what I guess the kids would call a park bike, something that I didn't really worry too much about pedalling (I still have my Scott Spark for that), but would be perfect for shuttle days and bike park laps, and maybe some winch and plummet fun once in a while.


Sizing/Geometry


Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


In many ways the Stumpjumper Evo is an awkward bike for me - at 1.75m/5'9" the S2 sizing is too small for me and the 480mm reach of the S3 was right on the limit of what I felt I could live with, but I figured I could make it work with some tweaks. At 480mm in the high setting this is on the edge of my comfort zone - I know from about 460mm to 475mm I'm good, but beyond that, I start to struggle to really get a grip on a bike. The number that really got me going, though, was the chainstay length. Specialized has always pushed the short chainstay agenda, so to see them start heading the other way seemed significant and after playing around with adjustable stays a year or two before the 443mm chainstays, low BB and long reach left me certain that it was going to feel great in corners (spoiler: it does). The head angle is the one number I was mostly indifferent about, even though it is one I see discussed a lot, because after riding two seasons of EWS courses on a Mondraker Foxy with a 66/67 degree HA, I believe that overall wheelbase is far more important than head angle.


Suspension


I used the suspension to change the intentions and dynamic geometry of the bike. The big difference is at the back is the 55mm stroke RockShox Super Deluxe. The stock bike comes with 50mm stroke to give 140mm of travel, so the extra 5mm stroke bumps it up to something like 155mm travel - it works so well I really don't understand why Specialized don't offer this as a stock option. That extra 15mm travel took it from a bike that encouraged me to go charging in, only to remind me at the critical moment that it only had 140mm travel, to far more of a big hitter than can stay composed no matter what you throw at it. That extra travel means increased sag too, which helps reduce the reach when I'm on the bike. Up front I then upped the 36 to 170mm travel (and dropped in a GRIP2 damper for good measure) to further shorten the reach and raise the BB a little as I was struggling a little with getting weight on the front and getting pedal strikes. from the super-low BB.


Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


To get the Super Deluxe singing perfectly I popped over to see a friend who handles the suspension of a local SRAM-supported EWS racer. He dropped in a two-stage compression shim stack and a light rebound tune, and I then added 3.5 (of a possible 4.5 max) tokens and a Meg Neg can with a single band installed. I did try a DHX2 coil on the bike for a short while but found that the frame is far too linear for that setup, at least for me. The Super Deluxe set to around 30% sag has given me a comfortable, yet very progressive bike that picks up and holds speed easily. I was especially impressed with the Meg Neg can as it noticeably smooths out the wall you tend to get when your progression comes primarily from tokens and the extra mid-stroke support is subtle but useful. That mid-stroke support, combined with the longer fork and running the bike in the high setting has pretty much eliminated the pedal strike issue for me. Out front, the fork is still with the three tokens that came fitted from stock and on the lighter end of the recommended settings from the manual for the upgraded GRIP2 damper, except at 75kg I upped the air pressure to 80psi so it stood up in the travel a little more.


Drivetrain


Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


The drivetrain on this bike is more or less the same one that was on my Scott Spark I wrote about in 2018 - I switched that one over to an 11-42 11-speed setup, so had this one going spare. I've said it before, but I don't understand why everyone is so enamored with 12-speed setups as they are both heavy and expensive. This cassette is an 11-36 XTR 10-speed block that is around half the price and weight of a high-end 12-speed cassette and, for me, I'll take that cost and weight saving every single time. The derailleur is a short cage Zee driven by a Saint shifter. The crank is a Raceface Next R with a 32t ring, as I have a long history of running their Next cranks (I think it's coming up to 6 years now) and they have proven themselves utterly dependable, not to mention being sexy and light to go with it. Braking duties are handled by a set of Formula Curas, which I still rate as the best brake on the market right now - they have great initial bite, followed by good modulation and bulletproof reliability. On this bike, I have thrown on 200mm rotors for some extra punch.


Wheels


Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


After writing a long piece about how aluminum rims are better than carbon rims because they are more compliant, my choice of wheels should come as no surprise. DT Swiss' EX 1501s are coming up to being on the market for 7 years now, yet they are still the benchmark and are the only rim I can think of that have been ridden to both DH and Enduro world titles in the same season. They're not cheap, although compared to a carbon rim they're pretty reasonable, the weight is good and they are a true fit and forget component, I've never had so much as a loose spoke on them over multiple seasons. Inside are Effetto Mariposa rim strips and fluid. As I'm using this as more of a big-hitting bike than an all-rounder, I went for Schwalbe Magic Marys both front and rear. In the Supergravity casing, I run 21/25psi and they not only grip fantastically, but they are so reliable I don't understand why anyone this side of the EWS would need to add an insert to them.


Contact Points


Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Stumpy Bike Check. Col de Braus Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


I've been running Renthal bars and stems since 2011, so there should be no surprise what I have chosen there. With the long reach, I opted for a 32mm stem. I may try a 40mm at some point as I think the 32mm version makes the steering a little too fast and means I'm not getting the full benefit from the slack head angle. I went for a 30mm rise bar as that was what I had to hand and it seemed to work, so I haven't changed it.

When I wrote about my Spark I made a big point of disliking steerer spacers as they reduce the reach, but on this bike I wanted to bring the reach in a little, so popped a 5mm spacer under the stem. One big change for me this year is that I am running Ergon GD1 grips, which are pretty much the opposite of the Ourys I ran for so many years - they are thin and minimal. My wife is sponsored by Ergon and had a set laying around that I tried out of curiosity and they felt so good, there was a noticeably more direct connection to the handling, that I switched all my bikes over to them this year. The saddle is Ergon too - I'm not sure if this carbon-railed version of their enduro saddle is available to the public, but I like light saddles and after visiting their HQ some years ago, I like the way they do things. Popping that saddle up and down is an ultra-dependable Fox Transfer post with 150mm of drop. Pedals are Shimano XT because they just work.


Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


I don't know what this all weighs, but it doesn't feel heavy and I trust every single component on the bike. It took me some fettling to get the bike to where I consider it perfect, and there is a little bit of me is tempted by stories of people running 216x57mm imperial shocks with a 3mm offset bushing in the head to reduce eye-to-eye to give 160mm+ travel, but I don't think I want or need to go that far... In the end, it feels fast, steady and forgiving, which is exactly what I want for shuttle days and bike park laps. And as for the long chainstays/low BB combo I was so excited about? This bike corners like no other I've owned, you really feel like you're in the bike and can lean further and carve harder. It's exactly how I hoped it would ride, and a feeling I don't think I will ever get bored of.


263 Comments

  • 141 3
 So refreshing to be able to see a rotor behind the cassette.
  • 40 0
 I guess if you have eagle you have to buy one of those new Galfer 246mm rotors
  • 18 43
flag ButtermilkBar (Jan 29, 2020 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 I'm curious why it's a priority to be able to see a brake rotor when looking at a picture of a bike from the left side?

Do you really miss your front derailleur that much?
  • 7 21
flag CrispyNuggs (Jan 29, 2020 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 Dumb comment @ButtermilkBar:
  • 18 0
 @ButtermilkBar: WOOOOSHHHHHHH
  • 2 5
 @Boosting: Yeah, I don't get these concerns. Are you worried that people will see the picture of the left side of your bicycle and think you don't have a brake rotor? Or is the large cassette is just considered ugly? Really?
  • 1 0
 If you’re in the left you’ll see the rotor? You mean the right side? @ButtermilkBar:
  • 102 21
 Just because you dont need the extra range of a 12 speed doesnt mean others dont. Come to nepal and let's see you pedal at 11-36 at 4-5000m for more than 2 minutes.
  • 69 3
 You do not have to go to Nepal. Any steeper access road and most people would die with 32x36 on a 29er. This may work on a dedicated climb trails and when shuttling. And when not riding in mountains ... Or if your name is Nino.
  • 35 2
 I'm confused, because round his way I would be pushing the bike most of the time with this setup. Can we see your quads please Matt?
  • 6 2
 Yup, went trekking in Nepal and it is STEEEEP
  • 40 0
 @BenPea: He writes in the second paragrah that this is his park/shuttle rig.
  • 86 2
 @BenPea: A request for nudes at this time of the morning?
  • 17 2
 @Ttimer: Yes, but: www.strava.com/activities/2938789743 Besides, I also wrote that I was running the same gearing on my trail bike.
  • 7 0
 @Ttimer: perhaps, but is he going to choose the Spark over this for a quick local blast around the steep rocky mess that is the Alpes Maritimes ?
@mattwragg: the early bird catches the worm
  • 13 5
 @mattwragg: Fair enough. But then you just happen to be the very uncommon exception of an extremely powerful low-cadence pedaler. Knowing that you are the exception, why do you complain that others are not? Look at Andrew Major of NSMB, he cleans No Quarter on a singlespeed but doesn't dispute the existence of more than one gear.
  • 4 2
 That's a pretty sassy setup. I was fortunate to rip one dipped in DVO coil front to back, great ride.
  • 10 1
 has everyone forgotten life before 11-speed drivetrains?
  • 10 7
 @altereg0: I'm still missing my 2x10. If only my 2019 frame allowed for a front derailleur.. Frown
  • 24 31
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 1:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Riwajc hahahahha. Except most of us don’t live in Nepal if you haven’t noticed. I’ll tell Sram to make 18t chainring 9-60t cassette and call it Sherpa. Oh the outrage...
  • 7 1
 @altereg0: no, but you've forgotten granny rings
  • 3 2
 @qdex888: I run a 2x10 and get a bit of grief for not being 1 by. I never really have issues unless I absolutely smash something and the chain comes off, will be sticking to 1 by for as long as i can.
  • 4 0
 @qdex888: I still have a 2×10 and it works absolutely great in XC
  • 91 6
 @Ttimer: I really don't think it's that big a gear and as flattered as I am by your description, I'm by no means exceptional in my athletic ability. Generally I find that if you push your gearing up a step within a few rides (and enough rest to let the soreness pass) you just get used to it, you adapt. It's no different to weight training in the approach - raise, adapt, raise again. The main downside is that you can only push hard gears 2-3 days a week up in the mountains and need to alternate with something easier on the other days.

I actually like 10-42t cassettes and I think the XX1 11spd cassette was fantastic, but I think 50t cassettes are for the most part unnecessary and if people really paid attention to the gears they are actually using they would realise that too. Instead people feel they need 12 speed, and on lower end bikes especially, I think a decent 11 speed setup would give you a lighter, more affordable bike. I would love to see SRAM and Shimano duke it out to produce a 10/11-42/44 cassette for 200g and 100 Euros - I think if we could get that it would be a far more useful benefit to more people than a dinner plate gear or electronics. The problem is that it's not sexy or exciting and it doesn't seem to be what the market wants seeing as SRAM can barely keep up with demand for AXS.
  • 21 0
 @lkubica: I hardly ever ride Nepal. But when I do, I walk up hills.
  • 8 0
 @mattwragg: That second part is pure GOLD.
My 11spd GX cassette is still in the same weight range of high end 12 spd cassette and it work great for me even since family and work took most of my training time.
  • 9 8
 @mattwragg: I appreciate your response, but keep in mind that there is a wide range of terrain and riding styles. Some like to push high gears, some like to spin a fast cadence (prevents knee-issues), some ride even steeper stuff than you do. Back when everyone was running 3x9 on 26", we had more and lower range than current 12 speed setups. And even then there were fit riders who would run 20t granny rings to eke a bit more performance out of their legs.

There is an interesting article and especially discussion over on NSMB about this topic which shows just how personal and terrain specific gearing is:
nsmb.com/articles/axs-strikes-back-does-future-have-fewer-gears-pt-ii
  • 15 25
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 3:34) (Below Threshold)
 @Ttimer: This a perfectly reasonable way to look at it. I agree... But there is a pitfall to this. It's like folks going back and forth on which form of exercise is best for whom under which circumstances, yet athletes still squat and bench, while a bunch of folks from Functional Movement and Yoga circles just keep saying: it depends in depends, quoting coaches who talk about nuance and complexity ignoring that they still prescribe basic compound movements. Same is similar for tire choice, off course there are different tires for different conditions and different tracks but... bzzzzz... they still run Minions and Magic Marys for most of the time, even if it's raining. Yeah assegai got thrown into the mix and very rarely someone puts on spikes when conditions get quite particular.

Now there is the issue of a principle of being better off with X than Y because at the end of the day X motivates to be more skilled or stronger - the ideological part. But the current principle, or rather dogma, is unchangingly, since tens of years (and you can see it in overdone seat angle trends) to spin 90-100RPM from the saddle... that is how we are all collectively taught to pedal. standing pedaling, lower cadences, pushing harder gear is viewed as ridiculous. So it ends with: whatever happens, just in case, for your better good... spin your balls out. That completely ignores the forementioned beautifl thought of "it depends, trails and humans come in many colors".

So what you wrote is involonutary It's hipocrisy. Eagle is a product with Niche usage that is sold to the masses as a superior compromise. Futhermore it was too much about winning the market, to not make me think it is mainly about making people come faster to the top of a hill. Humans are stupid. Humans like inches on TV, megapixels, we always talked about nr of gears, now we are talking about size of cassettes. So it's hipocrisy, Matt as someone coming up with his view on gearing is an extremely rare example, always talked down. I fully suppport the hypothesis that harder gear makes you stronger and marketing machine (including Leo Kokkonen and Chris Porter) is doing disservice to people who would be better off with something more in the middle. Whoever cannot understand how extremist Eagle is, lacks common sense. To give it some justice, i do think Matts 32-36 setup on a long travel 29er is extremist too. But I let him have it no problem, due to how rare such point of view is.
  • 4 2
 One more thing to note is that currently bike designers are pushing sh*t loads of PK ans AS. In the good old days, you would have lot of AS on a granny, and much less AS on bigger ring. So there is a noticeable difference in riding 30x42 and 36x50 for example - the ratio is ~ the same, but PK will be typically lower on the latter.
  • 17 2
 @Ttimer: I started riding trail bikes around the early UK enduro/trailcentre scene when it was normal to run 1x9 with a DH chainguide. A front derailleur meant you were going to lose your chain when it got fun, so most people I knew didn't run them. This was my "all-mountain" bike, circa 2010: ride.io/wp-content/uploads/stories/reviews/Saracen/Ariel1/Review/saracen-ariel-one.jpg The people I knew rode everything in front of them and didn't waste time thinking about cadences, power or gear ratios, aside from chainring size when they wore out - they just rode their bikes. And on that note, that's precisely what I'm off to do now.
  • 6 15
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 4:24) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: I have honestly never experienced pedal kickback on any other bike than Devinci Wilson... neither have I experienced brake Jack on anything else than Oranges, SC single pivots and older crappy Commencals. The issue is overblown big time and more of engineer chatter than a real life problem. Pedal kick back would be an issue if your cranks would rotate like 45 degrees.
  • 4 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Have you ever tried a chainless run? It is simply another factor to suspension sensitivity.
Brake Jack is big time BS, but suspension sensitivity is important in the long run, because of body fatigue and traction.
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: I recently switched my 2013 Anthem to 1x that is now running 32/36. I can confirm that it is a bitch... haha
  • 1 0
 It´s obvious that the guy doesn´t use this bike to AM or XC. So, if you must pedal through a car road to reach the top of a hill, you don´t need Eagle, unless you are under trainned.
  • 30 0
 Here's something I learned from years at MTB forums, several of them at singlespeed boards:
Discussing drivetrain gearing online is the most useless, meaningless exercise one can do
  • 4 2
 @mattwragg: do you share my option that the zee mech is the greatest mech if all time?
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: but...I'm simply not as capable as some of these old guys I roll with...while I'm working hard to get stronger and better, that 12th gear really helps out.

Jmi
  • 3 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 5:53) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: I have. And I can dig that with suspension action, I absolutely understand that chaingrowth is a fact, it tkaes place in the universe. But kick back, as something afecting how we ride a bike, shifting our weight and what not is not noticeable.
  • 2 0
 It's nigh-on impossible to lead both a healthy and unhealthy lifestyle and do without easier gearing, especially in the mountains. With ebikes beckoning, you have to ward off the temptation somehow. We can't all be fitness and strength obsessives.
  • 2 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 5:55) (Below Threshold)
 @felimocl: it would be best if it was possible to mount Saint Cage on it. Cages on 10sp Deore, SLX and for that matter Zee were terrible (pulleys as well). one hit and the chain gets frequently stuck between the cage plate and the pulley. I have never used pliers so often to bend a plate so that there's less room for chain to fall in. If Shimano made short cage XT - then that would be the best derailleur out there. Until then... I say X9 type 2 with carbon cage.
  • 2 3
 10 speed setup is good for bike park laps sure, but for long distance riding u need 12 speed cassete or 2x

And some of us are running 34 or 36 chainrings Wink
  • 2 0
 @felimocl: Defo, I got myself one when they came out years back and its still going, unbelievable !!! Shimano shot themselves in a foot with the introduction of ZEE group, just think of how many people never went back Saint Big Grin
  • 15 0
 @mattwragg: I remember when I was in my mid-twenties, worked evenings as a bartender in Denver, weighed 150lbs soaking wet at a BMI of roughly 7% and would ride bikes or ski 4-5 days per week year-round. I was so proud that by early-June each season I wouldn't have to shift off my "big ring" on my 2x9 to make it up super steep and technical climbs. By July, I didn't even need my bigger cog until all but the most hellacious sections. Then I got an office job, got married, had children and took up weight lifting as evenings were my only workout times. When your full-time job is not bikes, or when your limited time is divided between multiple fitness hobbies and 2 rides a week is a good week, a 1x12 sure does make biking a lot more accessible while leaving a really nice chainring size for putting the power down on when things get fun.

For those of us who don't mind an extra $100 on a cassette investment, and whose total, geared-up + bike weight is somewhere around 235 lbs., having an extra gear at the expense of 0.093% weight penalty (comparing SRAM cassette weights to reach this figure) is not only worth it, but completely negligible.
  • 4 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 7:33) (Below Threshold)
 @KJP1230: it has nothing to do with price. It has to do with your head. Some people are fine with spinning fast and riding slowly. my yperactivity disorder make it impossible for me to bear it. I often see people blissfully cranking up... I truly, honestly envy them. I envy them that they are fine with this snail pace, that they don't feel anxious over someone passing them from behind. But most of all... I envy them for not being angry... because when I see them ride slower than me, troll who doesn't ride, and come to the top more tired than me? I burn... off course there are areas like high altitude, Colorado or whatever, places with high temperatures like Italian Alps... but for the most part... I envy folks who don't feel the need to man up (according to my personal standards off course) in that area of life that climbing a bike is. I can't go for long when I crank hard, no more than 1.5h and I am not fast, but I am really giving it most of what I have, as much as needed to save fuel for the descent. Sram Eagle does not fall into that area. Unless I use 40t front. You mentioned weight lifting... Eagle is like people who can de sets of 20 squats... or not increase weight for a month.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: There are many lower cost hacks to get riders into wide range cassettes that perform well. Those 10-speed 42t cogs from OneUp and Wolftooth worked great for me prior to the Eagle swooping in. I do agree with you that probably 99% of the time a 42t gear is plenty for pretty much anyone and I say this as an old schwettefatphuck riding a big travel behemoth. In three years of flying the bird, it's been very rare that I use the 50t and this is riding said behemoth all over from XC to multi hour high mountain epics. I am kinda curious to check out what Box is doing with their 9-speed drivetrains. If they get the weight and cost reasonable it would be a killer.
  • 3 0
 It would take a 22t front cog with a 36t cassette to match the granny gear or 30:50 eagle setup, I'd love to go back to a little zee mech, at the expense of the bottom half of my eagle cassette. Not to be worth modern frame designs though, bring back Hammerschmidt cranks.
  • 7 2
 @WAKIdesigns: have you considered oestrogen supplements?
  • 4 2
 @lkubica: And yet I would bet that you have clutched mech that actively fights chain growth and hinders suspension performance to achieve the same thing proper chain guides did decade ago even better... BTW, it was discussed quite few times before, that above certain speed (that most of mortals actually can achieve regularly going downhill) freehub action negates kickback, the only time where it´s noticeable to me is when standing still/moving very slowly and hoping around to stay ballanced in trials manner. And I´m as obsessed with suspension performance as possible, have tried neutral gear etc. So what is killing suspension action is clutch not allowing the mech cage to accommodate for chain growth, not chain growth as such.
  • 2 1
 In the past I ran a similar setup even though my typical rides are 2/1.5:1 elevation to distance (2K feet per 10 miles). It just takes some adjustment time, but I now run Eagle with a 34T up front so I can relax more. That gearing is not for everyone and you have to be riding a lot.
  • 4 3
 @WAKIdesigns: "...or not increase weight for a month". I don´t know how long you´ve been working out, but I can tell you that 99% of people who trained HARD for 10 years won´t be able to increase weight on the bar ever, let alone after a month. 10 years is long enough to reach you genetic potential, typically with few pains and aches collected during that time frame to go with it. You can either mature, deal with that as something inevitable, or hop on steroids and make your body stronger than you were meant to be.
  • 3 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Sounds like you are used to inferior suspension, are not very in tune with bikes you ride, or more likely don't ride steep terrain.(Remember when you used to insist a 125mm dropper was adequate for everybody? Ha!)

EVERY single pivot bike I've ridden had noticeable brake jack, and it's especially noticeable on steep terrain. Even some bikes that claimed to be fully actually weren't because they lacked the horst link and its noticeable when breaking on steep terrain. You do get sorta used to the brake jack but I would prefer a neutral, fully active bike.
  • 1 1
 @Ttimer: yeah this is the point here. Not sure why he shits all over 12 speed though, still, considering he states outright he’s not climbing with it.
  • 2 1
 @Mondbiker: Sorry, have a chain tensioner on my Meta 29 simply because monopivot and clutch = a few added clicks of compression.
  • 1 2
 @lkubica: If you have derailleur without clutch I salute you...
  • 2 1
 @Mondbiker: No, I have a Shimano meh where you can easily disable clutch...
  • 1 2
 @lkubica: The point still stands, disabled clutch is just added unsprung mass for no reason at all though.
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: to be honest I think one saint and my current XT are the only mechs I've ever broken. Within reason, higher price means better robustness but when you take value into consideration I don't think you could be zee. I never actually rode x9 but I I would have a similar opinion on the value/performance aspect.

When 11-36 was a thing and when salvaging parts I used to run XT 10sp with a short cage mech.
  • 1 0
 Nepal? Why yes I was there 2x just last year as a matter of fact!
  • 14 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Ahhhh, my first interaction with the infamous Waki. @mattwragg said very clearly in his article " I don't understand why everyone is so enamored with 12-speed setups as they are both heavy and expensive." Please note the words "heavy" and "expensive". So to your first point, and my latter point, it DOES have to do with price. To the point I made in my response, I was helping Matt to understand circumstances where non-fulltime cyclist may very well find themselves enamored with 12-speed cassettes despite cost and (negligible) weight.

Next up is your long response that essentially boils down to your view that people who use 12-speed cassettes are not able to "man up" - veiled in some ridiculous attempt to shroud your humble-brag by espousing envy for these people. I do live in Colorado. My rides range between 6,000 - 9,000+ feet of elevation. The air is thin, the mountains are steep, the climbs are long, and the trails are technical. In my very first post, I pointed out that when I had less responsibility and more time to ride, I was able to effectively ride in both a large chain ring AND my 2nd largest cog on a legacy 2x9 setup. I assure you that your ability to assess from a keyboard my or anyone else's capacity to exercise mental discipline and "crank hard" is suspect at best. I too am giving my all when I ride, especially as I love fitness in general and only get to ride on average every 4 days during season.

Last up is your asinine point that somehow a Sram 12-speed prevents you from giving it most of what you have. How is that true? With 12-speed you can either run a larger chainring, or you can simply opt to only use your 2nd, 3rd or 4th largest cogs as your fitness improves. This is, in fact, exactly what I find myself doing as my season and fitness progress during a given year. Amazing!

TL;DR - your hyperactivity prevented you from responding logically to a single point in my response. Instead you decided to humble-brag the entire way and claim that a 12 speed cassette prevented you from working as hard as you'd like, as if you don't retain control of how to use it.
  • 2 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 10:46) (Below Threshold)
 @felimocl: my only issue with zee/slx is cage durability and quality of pulleys. Shifting wise it’s on par with XTR imho.

@Buttermilkbar - I owned VPP bikes but rode every platform out there But that whacky Marin/Polygon
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Serious question, what is wrong with those cages?
  • 1 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 11:02) (Below Threshold)
 @Mondbiker: From 10sp I have owned a Zee and two SLX. Currently there’s XT on my commuter. In almost every single case when I hit the rear mech into something, the chain was falling Into the gap between the plate and The pulley. I needed to bend it back. I never had this issue with X9 and XT
  • 2 1
 Sunrace 11-50t
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: I'm with you. Unless you are riding non MTB specific trails (those from Nepal apparently being a vocal minority), 11 speed with a 32 up front will get you up anything.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: interesting, thanks. I haven´t hit derailleur when I was using zee and it worked ok so was wondering what could be wrong with it as it seems like it should be the hardest one to damage with it being short and using two "arms" instead of one.
  • 5 2
 @WAKIdesigns: you have a huge amount of spare time to post nonstop about how strong and fit you are...
  • 5 0
 @mattwragg: Meh, while I seldom drop into my 50t, I like it being there for the ultra steeps. I also like the fact that everything up to the 42T are all steel and my "heavy" cassette is now entering it's third season. And much like you not caring about how heavy your pedals are, I don't care that much about the weight in the middle of the wheel as it doesn't add much rotational weight when it offers other benefits.
  • 1 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 13:28) (Below Threshold)
 @TypicalCanadian: no I am neither strong or fit. That is why I find it ridiculous with 50t.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: yeah, I (as well as all but the stoutest of leg) wouldn’t be able to climb most of the trails around me with that setup. Maybe Wragg has monster legs and stamina. For me, I’m good with a 10, 11, or 12 speed setup as long as I have my granny cog.
  • 1 2
 @BenPea: or femine hygiene products??
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: same opinion, using 1x10 or 1x11 with cheap mech like zee or xt and keep the cage short, that's the way
  • 4 0
 @bok-CZ: yep. xtr shifter, xt medium cage derailleur, sram x01 xg1195 10/42 11spd cassette. it's the truth.
  • 4 0
 @KJP1230: Don't waste your time with this retard. He's built like a 60 year old woman and rides like a commuter. Go enjoy those mountains. I'll be in Breckinridge in April.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: wise words well said
  • 18 1
 There's a lot of comments knocking 10-speed drivetrains, but those were the norm not too many years ago. Sure, 12-speed offers the luxury of larger range, but it's not like 10-speed is some radical departure from the norm or dinosaur-age tech. I ran a 10 speed until last year when I moved to the 12, and it's nice but not essential. Besides, a lot of the guys I know running Eagle have got 10 or 11-speeds after about three months of use and a .1 micrometer deviation in the derailleur hangar.
  • 3 1
 I love the spacing and range of my e13 9-42 cassette, 10 speed. It shifts like crap, but its worn down and I'm using an 11 year old X9 derailleur with a bent hanger. The biggest issue is that the 42 low gear requires a 28t chainring, and most frames nowadays are optimized for 32-34 front chainrings because of the dinnerplate cassettes with 12 speed.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: I'm extremely interested in the Box Prime 9. I like the Eagle range, but the precision nature of the Eagle components seems antithetical to the entire concept of mountain biking. The Prime 9 seems like it would allow much larger tolerances before shifting becomes non-functional.
  • 2 0
 @Landonop: Ya. Its still frustrating, the 9-42 spread gives more range than the box prime 9, and is lighter. The smaller cogs just make more engineering sense, but other than hard tails they aren't optimized for rear suspension anymore.

I'll wait (its winter anyways) for when the prime 9 actually ships to see what others think. I just wish it finished on a 10 or 9 tooth, instead of 11.
  • 2 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 11:07) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: erm... I pedal 34t to 42t rear with dh tires...
  • 5 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Oon 650b, not 29, and not 2300 foot climbs
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: this is literally the closest trail to my house www.strava.com/activities/2733590665
  • 14 0
 "He dropped in a two-stage compression shim stack and a light rebound tune, and I then added 3.5 (of a possible 4.5 max) tokens and a Meg Neg can with a single band installed. I did try a DHX2 coil on the bike for a short while but found that the frame is far too linear for that setup, at least for me."

This sport must seem like complete gibberish to someone that doesn't do it.
  • 13 1
 Agree with the head angle indifference. I have done some of the gnarliest riding I’ve ever accomplished on 66/67° HA and I really don’t feel any more confident on slacker bikes. If anything I prefer how taught the bike is with a slightly steeper steering angle - the fork flexes less and works properly, the steering is neutral and not floppy and I find it easier to make the front end grip (I’m not very heavy and ride light). There are a few other things I’d do first to gain some confidence from the front end if I felt I needed it. No.1 being a nicely damped front tyre like a Minion DH casing.
But I know I’m a minority on that one so not here to preach, just nice to see I’m not the only one Big Grin
  • 4 0
 such a great looking frame but for my tastes the headangle is too slack. a geo between the normal stumpy and the evo would have been great. and i hate pedalstrikes with that low bb. waiting till the regular stumpy gets a bit more wilder geo but not as crazy wild as the evo.
  • 3 3
 @ProperPushIrons These type of statements about geo fly in the face of reality. If there were any truth in your claims World Cup downhill racers would be experimenting with steeper angles. But no, they always seem to go slacker. If it works for you great, but I'm very content with my 63° ha on rowdy terrain.
  • 1 0
 @funkzander: Get the normal stumpjumper and install 1 set of offset bushings.

Im Overall very pleased with the normal Stumpjumper- im faster than on every other bike Ive ridden so far
  • 1 1
 @NotNamed: an offset bushing doesn't get it slack enough, or increase the wheelbase...
  • 4 0
 @ButtermilkBar: HTA on the world cup circuit have been remarkably stable over the last 10 years. A decade ago the 2009 Demo had a 64 degree HTA, and most bikes now average around 63 degrees- hardly a revolution
  • 3 3
 @hamncheez: an offset bushing doesn't increase the wheelbase...
How exactly did you came to that conclusion? Because they typically increase both front and rear centers which together create WB.
  • 2 1
 @Mondbiker: it doesn't significantly increase wheelbase. I ran one on my old Enduro 29 and on my BMC trailfox. We are talking 2-3 mm.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: the wheelbase is long enough- and I personally Like the "steep" ha.. its easy to manouvre the bike while going fast or (slow).... But to each his own
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: depends on kinematics but even +1mm is still longer. If that would be significant change is different question.
  • 15 5
 Every Stumpy Evo I've seen has been over-forked/over-shocked, which begs the question, would the owner have been better off with an enduro bike? Is there any point in an aggressive "trail bike"? I wonder how this compares to the new Enduro?!
  • 42 0
 Why does a bike have to fit into a category? I wanted a bigger bike than my Spark and at 140mm it wasn't quite enough, but the geometry was good. Maybe it should suggest to you that Specialized were a little off the mark with the initial specs, I figured they didn't want to step on the toes of the then-160mm travel Enduro with this, and I think it will be interesting to see if and how the specs gets updated now the new Enduro is out at 170mm. I can tell you categorically that in the current spec my bike would not be out of place at an EWS.

I was tempted by the new Enduro, but for a whole bunch of reasons didn't follow through on that. Not least of all is that I don't like the general cycle we all seem to buy into of searching for something "more" - at the end of the day I'm happy with this bike, why do I need something more or better if I'm already happy?
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Definitely, if you enjoy the bike you are on then why question it!
  • 5 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 29, 2020 at 3:49) (Below Threshold)
 @mattwragg: have you tried running intermediate tires, less sag and a click too little rebound damping on longer travel bikes? I did it as an experiment on my 160 bike and 2 other ones and it actually works well for more pedally rides.
  • 6 1
 Is it "over-forked" if the longer fork is approved by the manufacturer? Because Specialized allows for a 160mm fork. Also, over-shock in this case is just the removal of a tiny spacer.

For many, me included, the Stumpjumper Evo was not purchased as an "aggressive trail bike" but rather as a way to get, with a couple of tweaks, the enduro bike that wasn't available in the market.
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: I completely agree... why not make a few tweaks here and there to turn it into a fabulous enduro bike, especially as air shaft and spacer removal is very cost effective (and adds no weight), and the current enduro wasn't available back then.

My issue is that long travel seem to be uncool, but as soon as someone produces an aggressive medium travel bike, it's massively improved by adding some more travel. Specialized shouldn't have been embarrassed to release this at 170mm/160mm. Then it would be the bike that it deserves to be right out of the box!
  • 10 2
 @WAKIdesigns: To be honest, I take the first world option and ride my Scott Spark. Wink
  • 6 0
 @rojo-1: totally agree, and I've commented repeatedly how I don't understand this emerging crop of "trail bikes" that are build like Enduro bikes, weight like enduro bikes, climb like enduro bikes but are handicapped going downhill.

Concerning the Evo, I would bet the stock travel was a marketing thing to avoid eating into Enduro market. Seeing it's compatibility with the longer fork and how well it works with the 210x55 shock I wouldn't be surprised if that's how Specialized employees ride it.

And even today, and ignoring price, I'd still get the Evo over the new Enduro. I don't like carbon frames and I'm highly skeptical of the new design in muddy conditions
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: What about THE enduro? If you went with an even longer stroke shock (with the offset) at what point are you just in the Specialized Enduro space? The actual Enduro has a steeper STA, more progressive & coil friendly rear, and probably has better resale value (but no raw aluminum).

Also, have you considered trying a progressive coil from MRP or Cane Creek? It looks like the stumpy evo has about 10% rise in leverage ratio, and combined with the roughly 15% you can get out of a progressive coil you should be about right.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Yes, but it's a stiffer, burlier frame, which is great for park and DH, but I worry it would be a little but harsh on the natural trails I mostly ride. the BB looks a shade high to my eye, although the S3 reach looks closer to my size. I will admit that I made inquiries about one as they look fantastic, but for various reasons I decided to stick with the Stumpjumper. Apart from more practical reasons, I don't want to get caught up in worrying too much about chasing something more when what I have already feels good.

I'm sceptical about progressive springs, in the past I know that they used to essentially average out, so you just end up with a slightly stiffer but ultimately consistent spring rate. Maybe the new ones work, I don't know, but I want more than 15% progression and I'm happy with the setup I have.
  • 2 1
 The new Enduro has been next to impossible to get until the last 45 days and did not even exist a few months ago. The previous gen Enduro was more trail geo so that wasn't an option either.

Find another major brand with this geo and flexibility to run 140 or 155 rear with 150 to 170 up front without having crazy geo changes? The flexibility of this platform and geometry is why people buy it. The Evo is still slacker than the new Enduro as well.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: I have the Storia on my EXT and the hydraulic bottom out is so good. I also have the Smashpot on mine at 170mm. BB in low with 165mm cranks. No issues with pedal strikes. I had to put a 60mm stem on to get weight on the front.
  • 3 0
 @jaydawg69: I am tempted to try an EXT - wife is sponsored by them too... 165mm cranks would be good too, but I already had these cranks from a previous build and it seems a little profligate to buy another set just because of 5mm...
  • 3 3
 @mattwragg: if you’d crank 165s with 32t-36t, 29” and super gravity, I’d tell you to take your chances at XCO...
  • 4 0
 @salespunk: Great point. Seems the EVO is one of the more customizable bikes out there right now. Plus you can buy one pretty cheap or high end, in metal or plastic, and then set it up long travel, trail travel, high, low, etc. All those choices and options make it a really cool platform. Specialized did good with this bike.
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: and lower
  • 3 0
 @Speeder01: if only Specialized didn't use integrated headsets! Then you could play with HTA too!
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Thanks for this article Matt, i've just bought an Evo Pro and i cant wait to ride it in squamish asap
I will keep in mind the 55mm stroke to increase travel.
After all the comments on how slack (and low BB) the evo can be i'm scared to Flip the Chip^^
Cheers
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Stevo S3 owner run in high. i have the EXT storia on mine too which is incredible. i have the new pike ultimate up front @150mm. interesting so many have gone bigger
  • 3 0
 @RandyWatson321: my assumption based on own experience with this bike and a few other big bikes is that with so slack and long geo this bike is simply undercushed for how fast it can go...
  • 1 1
 BB is to high on the new enduro
  • 1 0
 @fussylou: here you go... not many bikes have received more flak for too low BB than the previous Enduro so it seems Spec who always made great bikes now bent to mediocrity and cluelessness... folks were hitting pedals when sitting on their bum you know, they can't corner so they don't care about anything even remotely improving bike handling, even on bikes that are built for best handling possible since they are virtually DH bikes...
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: agreed.

Cornering > the odd pedal strike
  • 1 0
 i had the same question for years but from the other side of the espectrum... why would someone buy a bike like the Enduro and hindrance his uphill capabilities?, if you are fit enough with an Stumpy Evo you could both bring XC medals home and enjoy a good weekend downhill.
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: because there is no hindrance in uphill capability between identically specced Enduro and Stumpjumper... geometryis virtually identical, almost every component is identical, fork is near identIcal. Only difference is tires. As far as stumpy evo goes I’d spec it with same tires as E29
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: some subtle differences between the two but the main thing is the amount of travel, Antisquat, axle path and bb height.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: ehh... please climb both bikes with identical setup... then tell me about graphs. Tire choice decides climbability to biggest degree, given there’s nothing awkward going on. PB journos don’t even use lockout and encourage everyone to do so, so what are we even talking about?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i disagree, i've tried them both, same day, same track, both bikes were fun, Enduro was definitely a good climber but whenever i tried the Stumpy Evo going up the same hill I felt like a Beast, the EVO is simply a better climbler.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: no it wasnt tires, it was geometry, saddle angle and position mostly, also headtube angle, i honestly cannot pin point it to one thing, but the Stumpy helped more on keeping an upright position when compared to the Enduro. Again, both bikes were good climbers, just one better than the other one.
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: what were the tires? what sidewalls? Did you engage the Lock out?
  • 1 0
 i didnt pay that much attention at the tires, it was an specialized demo ride, they do it once a year close to where i live, they must've had the OEM tires i guess. But still... i own an Stumpy Evo, i have a Continental Keiser on front and a Hans Dampf on the back and i feel the same way whenever i ride that trail.

Of course i engaged to lock outs, come on man what kind of question is that?
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: was it on a new Enduro?
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: it’s easy to track tires if you say model year of both bikes. Pretty sure Enduro came with heavier casings possibly different tire patterns. Difference between Butcher/Butcher and Butcher/Slaughter is evident. Then add 400-500g rotational weight increase and you have an obvious difference in climbing. Descending as well off course... if you ever have a chance: take a set of 2x DHr2 or AssegaiS in DH casing, and out it against exo DHF with SS. Not only you will wonder what the fk by just rolling on the asphalt on the first combo, You will not believe you are on same bike on downs. Eith DH casing on slow rolling tires you will feel as if you have 20mm more travel. Tires make profound effect on bike’s character.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: couldn't agree more. When Gwin switched to Intense everyone assumed he performed poorly because of the bike (can't ever just have a bad day, I guess) but he also switched tires. With the state of the bike industry today, unless you have a wierdo frame like R3act 2 Nail or whatever the biggest performance difference will come down to tires.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: not completely sure about that. I have personally inspected his bike post race in VDS. He won by 7 seconds on Butchers... considering how shitty V1 Butchers were compared to Minions 3C that’s more insane than chainless run...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: they both were 2019 bikes.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: I think wheelbase is up there as well.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: ok I'll agree butchers were trash
  • 9 0
 All the weight saved by a 1X system has now been gained back on bloated cassettes.
I have an 11spd XT/SLX drivetrain w/11-46t cassette waiting when I switch from 10 speed. Then I saw that Shimano came out with the Deore 11-42. I tried the 10spd Deore 11-42t with a 26t NW chainring. It works great! A 10 speed drivetrain is actually a nice compromise, as it has a clutch derailleur, and there are some good cassette choices out there (specifically the HG-500 10 speed 11-42t.)
Before complaining about the 26t not being suspension optimized, realize that until 6 years ago, we were all pedalling around on bikes that were designed around a 22/32 or 24/34 front chainring set up. I tend to not pedal on the way down, so optimum chainring size matters far less than coughing up a lung and blowing my knees out.
YMMV
  • 1 0
 sorry for the late comment, but the issue on the DH is that you'll have more pedal kickback and chain drag on the suspension with a tiny 26 tooth cog. It frustrates me, massive boat anchor cassettes that need long cage derailleurs (which should have died when 3x9 died) are a step backwards. I love my 9-42 e*13 cassette. I feel that is optimum for 90% of people and 90% of trails. The larger jumps between spacing is nice too, and it weighs just 300 grams.
  • 7 0
 Good read, I have a 29er S3. I like the bike but don’t love it.

63.5 HA is just too wild for Australian trails I find. It’s ok when riding real hectic shit like cannonball/Awaba but other than that getting enough weight on the front is a struggle. It was fantastic in Queenstown were it gets steep.

The rear end kinematic is ordinary at 9% progression. Thankfully cascade components is coming out with their new link for stumpy’s.

55mm stroke mod is a must. Also going up in travel in the fork. I went to 170 (coil smashpot) but dropped it down to 160 as 63.2deg in high mode was bordering stupid. I tried cane creek coils, DB air, deluxe with megneg, ext storia (magic) and the rear end still had me searching for that illusive comfort and support other bikes had given me in the past.

TLDR: good bike but almost too wild. Replaced it with a commencal meta am 29
  • 4 0
 Amen to 11-36 cassette and Zee derailleur! Having a short cage makes the drivetrain perform much better on descents.
Fair enough if you need more range for where you ride, but I don't see the importance of more gears: the 8speed SRAM e-block as spec'd on the grim donut seems like the perfect range and number of gears! Shame about the crazy price though!
  • 2 0
 Agree entirely and the short cage Zee will work fine with an 11-42 cassette. Least chain slap I've had with any set up.
  • 3 0
 After riding a bike with a corner railing low BB I have to say that there is a trade-off in terms of pedalling confidence and sprinting in rougher ground. These low BB bikes bite hard when you are least expecting it and verge on the margins of 'fit for purpose'.
  • 3 0
 I'm a well above average climber but I'd be walking a lot more in my area, pushing a 34/32 low ratio on a 155mm Spesh 29er with DH tires.
Wish I could pull it offcause I certainly like the idea of less gears, better ground clearance, and lower weight.
  • 2 0
 Same story here, Suns. Sure, 32f42r or bigger would be usable and probably a little lighter. But when I'm at 7,9, or 12k' of elevation, winching my way up some nut buster climb, 28/50 feels about right. Heck, even at sea level 32/42 felt like a major grind. Age is the great equalizer.
  • 2 0
 Great article on a great bike. I have the 27.5 S3 version and have made similar changes. Same tyres, Sram rather than RF carbon cranks, same seatpost, Burgtec rather than Renthal controls, same fork, same changes to the shock stroke, etc.

It's like Specialized need to see how people have actually used the bike and re-release as an Evo-Evo (Evo Squared?) based on how people have made the most of this gem of a frame.
  • 2 0
 Running a lighter cassette is the cheapest, easiest way to cut unsprung weight without performance or reliability trade-offs. 3/4 of a lb difference between nx and xx1 eagle 12sp cassettes! Although with current 11 and 12 speed drivetrains it’s a lot more expensive than it used to be. My 10sp is around 240g which is over 1/4 lb (120g) lighter than 12sp xx1. I wish it fit newer microspline freehubs, that’s what really sucks.
  • 1 1
 My Wife's X01 12 speed was actually 8 grams LIGHTER than my XX1 12 speed. And the XX1 was well worn.
  • 2 0
 Exactly!
  • 2 0
 Great bike check!! The 55mm shock that you install requires any addiontal modification, is there not interference with the frame? also maybe you could know, if I can install a RS SD shock in a Specialized Enduro 29er 2018, offcourse changing the yoke?

Thanks!
  • 2 0
 So cool to see function focused build opposed to "look at me I have so much money and don´t know what to do with them" build. I will even let those carbon cranks slide lol. If you get older and knees start to hurt a bit though, Garbaruk´s 11-42 cassette weights the same or even slightly less than xtr Wink
  • 1 4
 How does garbaruk shift under power? More like Sram or more like Shimano?
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I haven´t tried it pretty much at all to make any conclusions yet and my setup is not with stock 10speed derailleur(goat link/leonardi offset pulley and 11speed chain), as it is it feels close to stock 11-36 xt cassette riding around on the street and in stand, without those parts it was just out of optimal range for derailleur and upper pulley too far from smaller cogs as a result. Will have to wait for warmer weather and treat my messed up feet first to test it properly. Feel free to ask later in the season though Wink
I have to say I´m not impressed at all by friend´s XO1/XX1 eagle to be honest, sounds like it´s going to explode with every downshift under even moderate power, knowing that it did cost 5 times as much as mine 10 speed xt/saint... 11speed SRAM (X1 which was XT equivalent I guess) shifts ok to me though, still prefer feel of shimano shifters but that is preference thing obviously.
Oddly enough I think and feel 10 speed shifter with 11 speed XT mech is the best, for some reason even better than with full 11 speed xt setup. Might be caused by wear on 11 speed though ad shifting always feels noticeably better after new chain/cassette and cable change while shift quality deteriorates too slowly to notice normally. If they made 11 speed XT with GS cage and no clutch I would be all over it for my next mech as it shifts so fast and smooth on brothers bike, and that is with low end zee shifter. I have never tried XTR but I wouldn´t expect too much difference compared to XT.
  • 2 0
 I recently remove the spacer in negative chamber on my stumpjumper 27.5 with fox dsp 210x52.5. The spacer is 0.41ci ! And the result is incredible. The suspension is very plush, without issues during pedaling. I must increase pressure from 235 psi to 265 psi in order to find same 30% sag. Thus the midle stroke support is better. The specialized Rx Trail Tune is a joke !
  • 5 0
 The piggy loves touching the nipple.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: I enjoyed this article a lot and appreciate most of all the candid expression of opinion on drivetrains, rims and tire inserts, even though I would never move back from my 1x12 drivetrain and I do currently use cush core (that I probably don't need) on my Santa Cruz Reverse carbon wheels. Have fun!
  • 4 0
 I thought you couldn't fit the GRIP2 damper into the Rhythm chassis? Could you elaborate on that swap?
  • 4 0
 The damper goes straight in - it's the air spring that is specific.
  • 2 1
 Such a beautiful frame, and in all raw aluminium aswell. Just lovely. The Stumpjumper always seemed like that one trail bike to me that everyone had confidence in to be reliable and sturdy enough to really go big and charge hard and I think that the aluminium frame really accentuates that characteristic a lot better than carbon ever could.
  • 3 1
 Race Face Customer service; 2 thumbs up. Race Face Next cranks 100% dependable for 6 years? Not my experience unfortunately. Two bikes and 4 warranty claims between them. But again, refer to sentence #1.
  • 1 0
 I have this bike, it's the best thing I've ever ridden. The ONLY flaw with it is that you can't run a full chain guide with a bash unless you modify two different guides and a BB ISCG adaptor. And yes the over stroke gives it that extra plush and doesn't change anything!
  • 1 0
 @mattwrag I've sorta kinda did the same thing.Trail bikes are so good now that i sold my 2015 Demo alloy and Bronson V1 and got a Bronson V3 alloy frame and built it up. For the bike park, I use a 40mm stem for stability at speed. For trail riding, a 35mm because the steering is more responsive in the climbing techy stuff.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg - Have you used the Effetto Mariposa rim strips for a while and how have they been holding up? I'm considering the 2Bliss strips instead of retaping next time I need to, but saw the Effettos too. Getting tired of patching tape when replacing nipples and having to clean and retape rims.

Also replaced my old 11-36 XTR cassette and Zee derailleur with more of the same parts last summer. Wink
  • 2 0
 They're pretty good - easier to mount, there was a batch a year or so ago that seemed to lose their elasticity a little quickly, but they seem to have sorted that and the current batch are doing well. I like them and have them in all my bikes.

Good choice. Wink
  • 1 0
 "I think the 32mm version makes the steering a little too fast and means I'm not getting the full benefit from the slack head angle."

Why would a longer stem get more benefit out of the head angle?

A shorter stem increases the "out front" measurement of grips to wheel, making it easier to stay behind the front axle.

Unless you mean that slow steering of a slack head angle... and the 8mm shorter stem makes the steering fast enough (really?) that you feel you're countering that aspect of the slackness.

You could also use the low setting on the shock to slacken the [static] head angle, stick with the stock shock, rely on the less sag to keep the BB up, and stick with the short stem.
  • 1 0
 Especially since you mentioned that you think wheelbase has more to do with stability than head angle... so 8mm difference of stem (minorly) changing the steering feel doesn't make sense: the wheelbase is still the same, so stability at speed should be similar, according to your own feels.
  • 1 1
 A slacker headangle slows down the steering a little, you have more time to react and countersteer into things. The shorter stem speeds the steering back up again, so you lose most of that that lovely DH bike-esque counter steering feeling. If you look, it's rare to see a DH bike with a stem shorter than 45mm.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg : I ride a Mondraker and found that short stems don't really work in general. From 40-50mm is the sweet spot for stems on all modern geo bikes imo, otherwise in flat turns the front tire doesn't stick.
  • 1 1
 @SunsPSD: it´s not the stem that is not working dude.
  • 1 0
 Shorter stem, less weight on the front tyre.
  • 1 0
 I'm still relatively new too all of this but I kind of thought that rear travel was more or less locked in, while fork travel was more malleable. Does messing with the rear shock travel happen on a regular basis, or is it just one of those things where you could do it, but it might really throw off the geo, so better leave it to the pros sort of thing?
  • 2 0
 All depends on the linkage & frame design, if there’s enough clearance then go ahead and try it out...but it’s not a viable option on most bikes
  • 1 0
 Love the mods you’ve done to the bike. I have been thinking about buying the 27.5 frame and building it up long shocked as a 29er. The bb height is an issue on my local trails and it sounds like the big wheels would fix that in conjunction with the longer fork.
  • 1 0
 Really nice bike indeed! "I've said it before, but I don't understand why everyone is so enamored with 12-speed setups as they are both heavy and expensive" @mattwragg: Because they offer a wider range too :-) ?. It seems obvious, but while exist people still considering a 1*10 enough (it has been my every day and Avalanche set-up back in 2013, Short ZEE included), other ones prefer more gears. Personally I am on a budget 1*11 set-up now, but I have to admit that the best drivetrain I had has been the Eagle X01.
PD: Eagle chains last really forever, discovered way before Cyclingtips article ;-)
  • 4 0
 Really like the approach of this bike. But my legs are too weak for 1x10
  • 2 1
 He writes that this is his park/shuttle rig which doesn't see much (if any) self-powered uphill.
  • 4 1
 Yes! A fellow hard rider that has tried and subsequently turned away from most carbon parts
  • 4 0
 Aluminum! The people's material!
  • 2 1
 these are really informative and useful, be cool to see more of them. But you've been extremely lucky with NextSL cranks. I had two pairs where the pedal thread unglued from the carbon arm, and I'm only 75kg..
  • 1 0
 Every set of NextSL Cranks I know of has broken, some riders have broken multiple times. I'd think he'd snap 'em just pedaling that 34 low gear up a 30 degree incline.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg I really dig your drivetrain approach. What 11-speed setup did you end up going with on the Spark?
  • 4 0
 XTR shifter, XT mech and SRAM 11-42 X01 cassette.
  • 1 1
 "it works so well I really don't understand why Specialized don't offer this as a stock option"

Because in the low setting, the seat stay brace is like half a mm from the frame at "max travel", and would probably hit the frame on a true hard bottom out: enough to squish the bottom out bumper and maybe flex the whole system a bit. Though the sidearm does make flex unlikely, I'm certainly not removing the second travel spacer from my shock (52.5 to 55mm, on a 27.5 frame) because I'm pretty sure you're not getting a warranty claim if there is a dent or crack on the back of the seat tube.
  • 1 0
 Nope, zero contact - I cycled the shock through full travel before riding it to make sure and after a summer of bike parks there are zero black marks on the ST, so all good.
  • 1 0
 Don't know about the 27.5 version, but on the 29 clearance is fine
  • 3 3
 Full of hot takes on carbon wheels, Specialized shock spec and 12 speed drivetrains. It is like the product managers that get paid to spec bikes are total idiots. You seem a bit self-righteous about your specs on your Specialized. I don't understand the obsession with weight on a bike that is designed to go fast downhill?
  • 1 0
 It´s about where that weight is located, for downhill it matters even more, unless you ride rigid bike and don´t care about suspension performance.
  • 3 0
 I have no idea what a "hot take" is. And I firmly believe in saving weight without compromising performance - hence the carbon saddle, cranks and bars and the minimal drivetrain, it's not like DH racers don't shave every single gram they can...
  • 3 0
 Gearing discussions/threads on bicycle forums = Oil discussion/threads on Motorcycle forums
  • 1 1
 ‘winch and plummet fun’... well sorted rig for specific use for a specific rider with access to all the products/hype/spin. Good to see some ‘must haves’ get called out. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, pedal feedback, range...cough cough gearbox.
  • 3 0
 How good that there is still a choice between carbon and aluminum
  • 3 0
 Now do one for the grim donut.....
  • 2 0
 11sp shifter, derailleur, and chain work flawlessly with 10sp cassettes, btw.
  • 2 0
 Yep, I have a similar setup on my Process (profile pic). 11spd derailleur w/ 10spd shifter, chain, and cassette. Allows the use of 11-46 cassettes. Shifts great.
  • 2 0
 @iduckett: Small world! Process for me as well, 153. Loved that bike for the most part. Much more than the ‘96 Amp b3 (profile pic)
  • 2 0
 @iduckett: funny, I first tried a 10sp derailleur with 11sp shifter, no go, then reinstalled the 11sp derailleur and it was good with the 10sp cassette. But I like your set up better w/10sp chain
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg bcs of the chainstay length: how difficult/easy is it to pop into manual and to hold the manual?
  • 1 3
 It's fine - I tend to think that people who complain about bikes not manualling need to raise their bar height - my ebike has a 475mm chainstay and pops just fine with a high enough bar.
  • 1 2
 @mattwragg: Nailed it with the bar height,it isn´t that hard to find logic in that either (at least to me) as higher the bar relative to the rear axle the more leverage it gives you for pulling the wheel up. With slack head angles it´s better to use higher rise bar to accomplish this, just like you mentioned in the article as with stem spacers not only you loose reach but they also give you the less stack gain than they would with 90deg HA.
  • 1 1
 @mattwragg: that does not come without penalty for climbing position...
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Of course, but what in bike setup isn't a compromise?
  • 3 1
 @mattwragg: Leo Kokkonens...
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: Same thing goes for most things in life.
  • 1 0
 In many ways awkward...it's exactly how I hoped it would ride. S2, slammed 45-50mm stem, 50mm riser. When did we get so much bigger/taller than we really are?
  • 3 0
 His seat angle says he's climbing. His cassette says he's not climbing.
  • 2 0
 Well the cassette might say he’s not sitting and spinning hi rpm going super slow. That’s spinning. Obviously climbing was happening before massive cassettes happened. Seems like when it gets steep, climbing is hovering over your seat trying to keep the front end down. If you can stand up before that happens and keep some steam, you may not actually need a huge pie plate. Then again I feel no pride lost for getting off and hiking it now and then.
  • 3 0
 Damn. A lot of people getting triggered by a bike they don't have to ride.
  • 1 0
 This bike is awesome. I've often thought about mini-dh converting my Enduro bike for bike park/shuttling because they're just so capable these days!
  • 2 2
 2 points.
I'll tell ya what it weighs: a lot.

You will get bored of the weight, especially when light bikes start making a comeback.

Dont mean to come across as self righteous but Ride a Top Fuel if ya dont believe me.
  • 3 0
 Did you miss the bit where I mention my Scott Spark? It's about 11kg, mostly plastic and an utter rocketship, and it's what I ride most at home - I deliberately built this bike to feel as different to it as it could...
  • 1 0
 Is anyone else running this over-stroked setup? Does the bike behave a little more like an enduro bike?
  • 1 0
 Now the enduro is out it will be interesting to see what spesh do with this bike on the next iteration
  • 3 1
 Too much common sense to be a pink bike article.
  • 1 1
 The bike really looks and sounds awesome. But I can't help but think if it takes that much tweaking surely another bike would have been a better fit..?
  • 1 1
 We're going to see a new Evo SJ with the geo and suspension of the current E29 very soon, that's going to be a rad trail machine!
  • 1 0
 Source?
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg articles always hinder me to change my 10spd 11-34 with 34 ring setup. thanks, saves me a lot.
  • 1 0
 That bike is pretty trick but I doubt you could hang on big rides in my neck of the woods with that gearing.
  • 1 0
 Shred metal! Nice thought process on 12 vs 10 speed. My old 10 speed Praxxis is still the best cassette I've owned.
  • 1 0
 I like a true opinion????????????????
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg what bottle cage is that?
  • 5 0
 Specialized side-loading - they're fantastic.
  • 1 0
 Sick bike Matt, and nice customisations!
  • 1 0
 Soooo...what's your bar width?
  • 1 0
 780mm.
  • 2 0
 Formula Curas huh
  • 3 0
 Been running them on multiple bikes since 2016 now, I cannot recommend them highly enough.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: I've had several others tell me they're pretty damn amazing in every way. any little gripes about them at all? hows the absolute power
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Same, once tried them things, I've never got back to any other brake. Perfect it's a big word for mtb component but Id say these are pretty much there for me. I am now saving for a Cura 4 calipers, I cannot imagine the gooodnesss of these ...
  • 4 0
 @Kimura: I think I found the limits of the absolute power when I had a set on my DH bike last year, with the extra speed and grip from 200mm of travel I felt like I was a little undergunned, but on everything else they have had more than enough.
  • 2 0
 @Kimura: It´s not a gripe in true sense of a word but they have relatively short free stroke that cannot be adjusted, something to consider but even if you don´t like it at first you will get used to it after few hours/days at most. Other than that they are perhaps the best brakes when it comes to price/performance/weight ratio.
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg what width Marys are you running on the 30mm rims?
  • 5 0
 2.35 - I think the 2.6s are too heavy.
  • 2 0
 @mattwragg: Yeah, fat tires are cool, until you realize 90+% of the time you're just commuting.
  • 1 0
 Appreciate the grinder gear
  • 1 0
 4th bike for this xtr cassette? Wowsers!
  • 1 0
 Love that bike and drivetrain. Best shifting unit ever. No hate.
  • 2 0
 Sexy!
  • 1 1
 Y’all should just buy my EVO. Carbon wheels, carbon bars, DVO shock (with ability to change to 155mm travel) and GX eagle!
  • 1 0
 I only came here to see the @Wakidesigns downvotes :-)
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