The Carbon Evo has the ability to create a gap and hold it. It is stable on the rockiest gullies, yet it is agile. One needs to be deliberate with the moves but it will change direction and hold direction.
Last spring, Specialized resurrected the iconic Stumpjumper EVO nameplate, in the form of the solid and well-priced Comp Alloy model. The “63.5” head angle number stopped traffic as consumers and journalists alike said, “Whoah.” We’ve seen that number before on a head tube but on a trail bike? From Specialized? The new Stumpjumper EVO’s progressive geometry and well-sorted FSR suspension kinematics quickly garnered accolades and its fare share of post-ride high-fives. But while the Comp Alloy EVO’s attractive pay/play ratio earned it praise, the most frequently asked question was, “So, when will the carbon version show up?”
Well, we are fans of the “long and slack” movement so this one got our attention. Went to the steeps of Henry Coe State park and took the bike home to our local favorites. How did it do? Read on and find out.
The bike comes in two wheel sizes, 29er and 27.5 and each is available in two bike sizes, S2 and S3, redefining the old S,M,L model. They are long and longer, taking the old seat tube and standover height standard and focusing on torso length and riding style for sizing.
We rode the 29er S2 in High flip chip mode, resulting in a reach of 450mm and head angle of 64 degrees. Seat angle had us perched forward at 76 degrees above a 150mm travel fork with a 44mm offset. Stem was about 35mm and bars at 780mm. For our 5’7″ stature, it was love at first pedal. It was so low and long and ideal for the unknown descents. Yet we felt comfortable pedaling steeps and working with the 160mm dropper post.
We’ve done several 2000 foot climbs on this and it is a surprise indeed. The bike weight is light and the climbing position is close to ideal. We just leave the rear shock in the wide open position as it actually feels very efficient up the fire road and steeps. And there’s the surprise right there as previous Specialized bikes we’ve tried seem to drag on those long fire road ascents. This one though seems to stay high on its travel and scoots forward nicely. The 76 degree seat angle with 160mm dropper really seems to unweight the rear nicely during those steep climbs with the rider perched sliding forward on the saddle and perched over the front.
The 29 x 2.6 Butcher tires on Grid compound had something to say about the climbs of course as it sunk its big knobs on the soft Norcal winter soil. But we are drooling about the prospect of putting a fast rear tire on this and seeing how the chassis can really climb. On tight switchbacks, there’s no getting around it, it’s a long bike with its 1220 wheelbase. And its slack at 64 degrees. So it’s not the ideal slow techy bike for sure. It has to be muscled around the tightest trails with deliberate intent.
Descending is where it all makes sense on this steed. We have the 2019 Stumpjumper and we believe in the platform as it is a dramatic improvement over the predecessor and it does most things well. However, it doesn’t really one-up a YT Capra, Wreckoning, Hightower LT or Ibis Ripmo. It just hangs around and keeps them within reach. This Evo Pro Carbon though is another story. It has the ability to create a gap and hold it. It is stable on the rockiest gullies, yet it is agile. One needs to be deliberate with the moves but it will change direction and hold direction.
Options lines are its speciality too. We’ll have to don a full-face helmet since the bike is not afraid to hit lines beyond our wheelhouse. It’s not a huge fork with big rear travel but it is the Grip 2 Fox 36 with Fox DHX2 rear coil shock. It is supple and controlled under duress. Huck to flat lines are no problem and it achieves a margin of rider error without calling on too much suspension for daily needs.
Couple this remarkable descending performance with its climbing and we can’t wait to really shred and travel with this bike in the most demanding terrain around us.
Stay tuned for a longer term test of this bike.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect shred sled—you know, a “trail bike” that you can take to the bike park, huck off blind drops, or plow through the rowdiest rock gardens—you’ll find yourself right at home on the Stumpjumper EVO Pro 29. But don’t be afraid to climb because this bike has dirty little secret. It has a massive sweet spot as its not afraid of steep climbs either.
Maybe a little quicker, and a bit more agile on the ground and in the air, the 27.5 version is ready to party. It may give up a little bit on the climbs and rock-eating ability, but changing direction on the trail and in the air will be performed with more authority.
For more info Specialized.com