Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 – 2016
Trail bikes are all the fashion these days. With high intensity racing starting to plateau or even decline in popularity, riders are looking for the best gear and bikes to get out and hammer their favorite trails. The Stumpjumper name has been around for literally decades, each year, Specialized has made tweaks here and improvements there to refine the bike into one of the best trail bikes in the industry today.
Carbon framed bikes allow the manufacture the ability to manipulate the frame in a way that aluminum cannot. Super stiff bottom bracket area? Done. Storage compartment in the downtube? Done. The Stumpjumper frame is insanely stiff, letting the suspension do the talking to the nasty stuff on the trail and keeping the ride going right where you point the bike. The rear of the bike is constructed from aluminum, keeping things working fine, but mainly keeping the cost of the bike in check. While frame material is important, and can be a massively noticeable change in frame feel, what really sets the Stumpjumper apart is the updates in geometry from any previous year to date. An inch shorter chainstay and a 1.5 degree slacker head tube make this bike the ultimate trail slayer. How do these tweaks translate on the trail? Shorter chainstay’s mean a more playful ride, slacker headtube angle means the bike will be stable and want to shred the gnarest of trail and the steepest of said gnarest trail.
The stock spec on the Expert Carbon is spectacular, however when you have a full XTR kit laying around from a previous bike build, you use it. This is what I did, so unfortunately my review is a bit skewed in regard to parts, however, the brakes stayed stock. The Shimano XT platform offers the rider plenty of power and fantastic modulation, meaning you can keep your wheels in check and not out of control skidding up your favorite trail. While the stock Pike that came on the bike is a great fork, the temptation to replace it with a DVO Diamond couldn’t be contained. Bells and whistles are great, but when you can adjust the bajeezus out of them, it gives you the ability to dial your bike in like never before. Much of the rest of the bike has been swapped for other parts that I have personal preference to, making the bike a great fit for my style and specific wants.
If you are looking for a mountain bike that is capable of nearly anything you can throw at it, minus say some double black diamond downhill runs, this bike is it. With the trail geometry to make its big 29″ wheels feel small in the turns and fun enough in the air, this bike will descend any trail other than the extreme as mentioned above and, while not meant for climbing, it will get you up the hill, as long as you work for it. My favorite spots to let the bike open up, are trails like ‘Red Trail‘ at Copper Harbor, ‘Southern Cross‘ in Marquette, or some steep spots at Baird Creek in Green Bay. Overall, the bike is plenty and maybe even overkill for our more tame Wisconsin area trails, but when the going gets rough or the going gets ‘UP‘, the ’16 Expert Carbon has you covered.
|Buy It||If you want an all out performer on the trail|
|Nope||XC Racer or you like spending more time in the air than on the dirt|