[First Ride] Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Alloy
Last year, I had an opportunity to test the newest version of the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO carbon. The bike took its geometry to another level of aggressive, maintained SWAT storage and improved its suspension amongst other things. Perhaps one of the biggest updates, and engineering feats for that matter, was the adjustable headset cup – a first of its kind. Rather than requiring tapping out headset cups with a burly set of tools, riders could swap between a 0º and +/-1º simply by removing the stem and swapping or rotating the upper cup. Fast forward to present day and Specialized have managed to implement all of these nice little updates into a more affordable Aluminum frame. Before shipping off to Rampage I had just enough time to get a couple of rides in aboard their new high value Elite model.
- 29″ front and rear
- Mullet option via $60 link, sold separately
- 160mm front travel / 150mm rear travel
- SWAT downtube storage
- Fully internal sleeved cables and hoses
- Adjustable geometry
- 32.9 lbs – tubeless, our scale, no pedals, tool, bottle cage or fender.
- $5,600 USD
Much like the carbon fiber offerings, Specialized continues to offer the unique two color paint scheme with a hard break between colors on the downtube and a gradual fade at the seat tube/sidearm area.
The big story is of of course the fact that the genius SWAT downtube storage is available in the Alloy model as well, where you can easily stash a spare tube, pump a jacket and lunch.
Compared to the carbon fiber frame “Expert” model, this “Elite” model sees Fox Factory level suspension with a Kashima coating, as opposed to the black anodized Performance level suspension. This comes in the form of a 36 with a Grip2 damper, with four way adjustable damping and an included fender.
Out back is the new trail duty shock – the Float-X with single compression and rebound adjusters a lockout switch and an Rx tune. Also note the plastic cover which fills in the hollow section of the asymmetrical “Sidearm” construction.
A full front to back SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain is featured. Great value and very high performance at a slight weight penalty.
The bike also sees a 50mm Deity Copperhead stem. I love the low stack height as it allows for a big range in height adjustment.
Specialized also wisely opted to include a full coverage MRP chainguide. Smart as this bike will likely be seen as a good choice for those looking for a bike that can take a thrashing.
Last, but certainly not least, Specialized chose a straight head tube and engineered a new version of their adjustable headset specifically for this Alloy frame. Shown above is the zero degree upper cup. Additional props are due for leaving a fairly long steerer tube on the fork. Lanky guys like myself who want a tall front end will appreciate this.
On the trail
All in all, I didn’t feel a substantial deviation between this bike and the carbon fiber Expert model I tested last year. For a deeper long form dive into that – and Stumpy EVO in general – you can read up on it here. With that in mind, it’s worth touching on some differences. Yes the carbon fiber model is ever so slightly more lively on trail and it weighs a little less. While I was mainly impressed by the X-fusion dropper, the slight bump and improved quality of the OneUp was quite nice as was the the Deity stem. Quite frankly, aside from maybe changing the back tire to something with a slightly softer compound, I would ride this bike bare bone stock. That’s saying something because I generally nit pick grips, seats and other various cockpit parts. Specialized has done a great job of not skimping out anywhere. Another nice aspect is the full coverage chain guide. What’s likely the best part about this bike is how nicely Specialized implemented all of the best parts of the more expensive carbon fiber frame. This means it’s dead quiet, has frame storage, clean lines and easy maintenance thanks to the dialed internal routing which seamlessly runs front to back. From a value standpoint, given the increasing prices that are trending as of late, this is an amazing bike for the money. All in all, I’m very much impressed so far…