The northeast section of Lost Valley Trail in Weldon Spring, Mo., is notorious for its succession of toothy rocks and loose pebble. Imagine riding on the side of a highway with rumble strips and road debris, and you get the idea. It can be a jarring experience, unless you’re on a bike like the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie. Then, it’s relatively smooth sailing.
The bike’s 150 millimeters of front suspension and 155 millimeters in back evened out that choppy trail and made it less work (and more fun!) for me to ride. A lot of that credit also goes to the 3-inch-wide, 27.5-inch-diameter tires, which provide even more cushion, along with a tenacious grip. Ruts, roots, hard-packed dirt, wet creek beds. None of them mattered.
You can be pretty hard on this bike. The frame geometry is built for all types of trail riding — climbing, descending, technical, whatever. The acceleration and handling were great, even with those plus-size tires. It didn’t hurt that the S-Works model I rode was lightweight carbon fiber from tip to tail. (It weighed in at 27.6 pounds.)
Another benefit of the carbon model is the SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) compartment in the down tube, which holds a tire tube, pump and whatever else you can fit inside. It’s a cool feature that lets you ride with less stuff on your back or crammed in your pockets.
All 2017 Stumpjumpers are available in 29-inch, 27.5-inch and 6Fattie wheel sizes — and all for the same price. So, go ahead and pick your poison. We tested a medium frame size; small, large and extra large are also available. Plus, the bike comes in a women’s version, the Rhyme 6Fattie. Five 2017 Stumpjumper models are available, starting with the Comp ($3,000) and ranging up to the S-Works ($8,500).
Whichever model and build you choose, you can count on the Stumpjumper heritage and go-anywhere, do-anything capability, which has made it one of the most consistently popular bikes on the market for years. specialized.com
Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain magazine