The 2014 Stumpjumper FSR Expert EVO 29 is equipped with a 140mm RockShox Pike up front and 135mm of plush FSR suspension in the rear. The EVO models consist of a beefier spec, wider bars, a shorter stem, meatier tires and a dropper post. In short, this bike rips.
I opted for the EVO model for extra travel and an aggressive trail spec. Right off the bat I decided the stem was a bit too short for my liking. I'll probably swap it out with something with at least 15mm longer. It's not uncomfortable, but I do like to stretch out.
The tires are nice a grabby, but I think I'll swap out the Purgatory for the front and shave off a little bit of weight by going with another Purgatory or Ground Control in the rear. The Butcher is nice, but I can really feel the extra rotational weight. The Purgatory has the same cornering blocks, which I love, and are quite a bit lighter, so I think it'll be a good front tire option. I took out the tubes and put in some Stans sealant.
Up front is the new RockShox Pike fork with really beefy stanchion tubes and 140mm of the plushest and bottomless feeling suspension I've ridden so far. It's really stiff and could tackle anything I threw at it, but I'm a lightweight trail rider and didn't huck myself off too many drops or jumps. I probably could have dropped another 5psi to get the most of its travel. It just felt so completely solid and supple.
The part spec featured an all X0 Trail groupo, complete with a 1x11 drivetrain and X0 Trail quad-piston caliper brakes. I later switched part of my drivetrain for a Wolf Tooth Components 30t chainring, mated to the new S-Works carbon cranks. The gear spread hit that nice sweet spot for being my trail bike.
I also upgraded my wheels to the new Roval Traverse SL Fattie 29 wheels, which feature a super wide rim profile and a new spoke hole plug system that eliminates the need for a rim strip, dropping an additional 50g of rotational weight. The new setup is lighter and grippier.
I have seen the light.
Big trail bikes are fun.
The frame is constructed from 9M carbon, paired with an alloy rear end. The Fox shock out back features Autosag and their newish CTD trail adjust platform. I'm still understanding how it all works, but basically there are three modes, and another set for the Trail setting. I kept it in the descend mode for most of my ride, flicking it over into Climb mode for the long grunts back to the top of Skeggs. From what I gathered the Trail mode is the best all around setting for using your suspension to push and pull the bike in a playful manner. I found the Descend mode to dive through its travel rather quickly, but it just soaked up every hit. I couldn't tell if I needed to up the psi or put it into Trail mode. I'll keep playing until I have a better feel of the differences. So far its just jaw-dropping with the amount of ravel I had at my disposal.
Climbing was a slightly different story. I'm used to stiff rear ends, having had a fully rigid hardtail and more recently my Epic to compare it to. It can certainly climb, but because of the short stem and heavier tires I definitely had to work harder to get myself up and over the top. Perfect training, actually. Eventually I might lighten it up with some carbon wheels, but for now the tire swap will hopefully keep things rolling quicker. Over the rough stuff I just stayed seated, put it into the lowest gear and spun. The suspension allowed me to maintain momentum without faltering too much. Speaking of gearing, the other mod I made was switching my front 32t ring for a 30t. When it got really steep I ran out of gears and had trouble finding power to get over the top, granted I was at the end of my three and half hour ride of nearly 8,000' of climbing.
I raced the Stumpjumper FSR at the Downieville Classic this past year, piloting my steed to a solid 8th place out of 60 or so gravity hungry trail buffs in the Open Expert field. I was a bit slow to start but kept my pace consistent up the monster climb to the top. I had never raced the course before, andI was completely blind to all the rocky chaos that remained. My bike never let me down, and I was able to make up some time on the remainder of the race.
The dropper post has been somewhat of a revelation to me, having used one for the first time on the borrowed Enduro. Setup took a bit of work, but once dialed in it was all fun. I actually could go with a dropper with just two positions. The new Command Post comes with three settings, Power, Trail and Descend, where full extended and the middle position were all I needed, but hopefully there'll be a time for the all-out, weight off the back descend mode. I had to get used to having all that extra room to maneuver the bike, but it made a huge difference while descending in most cases.
The bike came with a SWAR equipped water bottle cage and multi-tool. I used it halfway to dial in my brake lever position. On my way up Manzanita I found my tool in the middle of the trail! I must have dropped it on the initial descent. You really have to be careful with the new tool carriage, as it's pretty easy to slide it in, but not in the correct position. The EVO also came with the headset chain tool and links.
I love the Stumpjumper FSR. It's a very capable bike that climbs well and descends with so much confidence. I do experience a few of pedal strikes from time to time, due to the low bottom bracket height, but I think it helps make the bike feel more stable. The wheels are solid enough, but I wish it had come with carbon hoops, stock.