Introducing The 2021 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo, Rowdy Trail Tamer
Introducing the 2021 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo. For 2021 Specialized gave a us a double whammy of a bike launch in not only the Stumpjumper, but also it’s bigger brother the Stumpy Evo. Now the two names are very similar but don’t let that fool you, the regular Stumpy and the Stumpy Evo are two very different bikes with very different intentions. While from afar the 2021 bikes might look relatively similar to the 2020 models with an FSR suspension layout and the single-sided shock brace, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
The Stumpjumper Evo name has been around for about a decade now, and oh boy has it ever changed since the early days. The Stumpy Evo has always been a slightly more burly version of its little brother the regular Stumpjumper, but 2019 saw it take on some geometry numbers that were pretty radical for a brand that usually plays it fairly safe. Some might even say that the numbers were a little too extreme, with a ground-scraping bottom bracket height of 328mm and a super slack head angle of 63.5º for example. This is great for the super shredders that charge hard all the time and love to send it big on huge jumps and fast trails. For the rest of us, maybe not.
This is where the 2021 Stumpjumper Evo comes in. Rather than giving it the longer, lower, slacker treatment as many brand are wont to do right now, Specialized have actually given the Stumpy evo some slightly more conservative geometry numbers, sort of. What Specialized have done is simultaneously make the new Stumpy Evo more useable and more capable by giving it a couple of adjustable options.
Where the previous bike had a high and low shock position that let the rider choose between slack and even slacker, the new bike instead gives the rider an adjustable headset that with three head angle positions from 63º to 65º simply by swapping the top cup. There is also an adjustable chip in the chainstays that allows riders to switch between two different BB height settings that range from 331 to 343mm. What Specialized have done here is enable the bike to be as rowdy as someone wants to make it, but also allowing it to be a mild mannered trail machine with relatively ‘normal’ geometry numbers.
More effective geometry adjustments aren’t the only change Specialized have made to the Stumpy Evo for 2021. In an effort to make the bike much more well-rounded, they have added a whole bunch more S-sizes to the bike, which now goes from an S1 to an s6, where previously only two sizes were available. The new Stumpy Evo now also rolls on 29″ wheels only, with the exception of a limited edition mullet version. There are no alloy models for 2021, with their FACT 11m carbon layup being the only option – this is what helps to make the new Stumpy Evo one of the lightest bikes in its class. The new bike also gets 10mm more travel all around than the previous 29er bike, sitting at 160mm up front and 150mm out back.
This all sounds great on paper, but we know what you’re thinking. How does it stack up when rubber meets dirt? Pretty amazingly is the answer. The new Stumpy Evo is a very different beast to the last one that’s for sure. Let’s start where most rides start, the climb. The new Stumpy Evo is a great climber, I’ll let that be known first. It feels very similar to its smaller brother in that it has a very supple feeling when climbing with very little pedal bob and an energetic feeling inviting you to push harder. The legendary FSR system finds grip and remains active while not feeling inefficient. It’s not quite the mountain goat that the Stumpjumper is, but it’s not far off.
When it comes time to point the new Stumpy Evo downhill is obviously when it comes time to shine. It does a great job of filling the gap between the Stumpjumper and the Enduro, and these are big boots to fill. It feels plush enough but retains a lively, poppy feeling that the Enduro lacks a little. The leverage ratio on the new Evo has been tuned for a less linear and therefore more progressive leverage ratio than the previous version. This means that it’s super easy to dial the suspension in for a ride that doesn’t bottom out harshly while still feeling plush.
The handling on the new bike predictably feels quite neutral in the mid head angle and high BB position. It’s fast and stable where it needs to be but is easy to ride with great all-around handling traits and no surprises. It’s a really comfortable and easy to ride bike on mellower and more technical trails alike with just enough travel and modern enough geometry to be forgiving and fun, but not so crazy that you have to be pushing hard at all times for the bike to come alive.
The Stumpy Evo’s party trick comes when you flip that headset cup and drop 1.5º off the head tube angle to change it from mild mannered all-rounder to slack and stable gravity sled. Don’t confuse it for a rival for the Enduro however. The Stumpy Evo retains its poppy suspension feel and snappy handling in the low and slack position, meaning it feels more like an extra burly trail bike than an out-and-out plush enduro/gravity sled like the Enduro does.
This type of riding certainly has its own appeal, and means that riders that like to finesse their way through technical sections and pedal back to the top again will enjoy the Stumpy Evo more than those that like to smash through as fast as they can and maybe catch a shuttle to the top.
Models and spec
As mentioned earlier, the new Stumpy Evo comes with a carbon frame only, starting with the Comp model at $5,819, followed by the Expert at $7,799, the Pro at $10,849 and the S-Works at $14,999. All bikes come with a Fox 36 fork running 160mm travel, a DPX2 rear shock, 4-piston brakes and a 12sp drivetrain. Across the board then the spec is sensible and doesn’t trade off on performance.
The humble Comp model runs Fox Rhythm performance suspension with a Shimano SLX groupset. At the top end of things the S-Works bike runs Factory Fox suspension and a Sram XX1 Axs wireless electronic groupset including Axs Reverb, Code RSC brakes and Specialized’s Roval Traverse carbon wheelset. They really didn’t skimp on that build.
In a time when riding styles are more and more blurred, the Stumpy Evo gives riders just one more option in the Specialized range. Rather than feeling compromised as an enduro bike, it feels like an extra capable, burly trail bike. If you love to descend as fast as possible and don’t care about how long the climb takes, the Enduro is the bike for you. If you love to descend but prefer a bike that can go all day and sacrifices a little on the descent, or prefer something a little more playful, the Stumpy Evo is probably the bike for you. As always, come visit our showroom to talk to a salesperson and figure out your sizing, or check out our website with live stock levels.