Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650B – Trail Bike – Review

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650B – Trail Bike

Last year we tested the specific Plus-tyre version of the Stumpjumper — called the 6Fattie. For 2018 this model only half exists, as it retains the name and the ability to run Plus, but actually comes with 29in wheels and 2.3in tyres. So, we’ve changed tactics, and used the 650b model for this test. Shod with 2.6in tyres means it meets our Plus bike criteria, but also makes the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon something of the black sheep here.

As it’s the cheapest bike in this category, there are obvious sacrifices in the spec compared to the competition; the Comp Carbon makes do with a RockShox Revelation fork and a 1×11 drivetrain with a narrow spread of gears. One major selling point of the Stumpjumper over its competitors is the SWAT door in the down tube of the carbon front triangle. Unlocking the hatch takes seconds and gives you access to a massive compartment that will swallow food, tools and even a jacket.

Suspension

The 650b Stumpjumper gets 150mm of rear-wheel travel, which is as much as the Scott and makes it the joint-longest travel bike here. But it also has the shortest-stroke shock, and this means the damping circuit in the Monarch RT has to work much harder than the Fox shock on the Scott to control the same amount of travel. While this is only really an issue on long descents, the Specialized design does relinquish its travel more easily than the other bikes here and doesn’t hold your body weight up particularly well in compressions and bermed corners.

Having a unique anchor point to the stirrup-shaped shock yoke limits your options for upgrading the suspension, too, and while the Autosag system is designed to make set-up easier, on this bike we struggled to achieve the right balance. Instead we used a tape measure to dial in 12mm of sag on the shock body, and this helped keep the bike from using up its travel in the blink of an eye.

Because the RockShox Revelation shares a sturdy 35mm chassis with the Pike, it slipped under the radar during our initial inspection. But on the first ride it barely moved, even on big compressions, and we decided something had to be wrong. Sure enough we found out that undersized bushings were choking the fork’s abilities to move. Apparently only a small batch of forks are affected, and it’s an issue that’s covered by warranty.

Components

Specialized’s 2.6in Butcher tyres boast a similar tread pattern to the Maxxis Minion DHF and work extremely well in a wide variety of terrain and conditions. The new Gripton rubber compound sticks to wet roots with such conviction that we could really trust in the traction where the Rekon began to flounder.

Put a Vernier caliper on the carcass and the width difference is only 4mm, but it’s a completely different ride experience. There’s a much more direct connection with the ground, and you can really load the tyre up in turns without any of that vague, squishy feeling that sometimes comes with a bigger-volume option.

Performance

Rewind 12 months and we gave the Stumpjumper 6Fattie a grilling for its diminutive sizing and disappointing suspension. A year has passed and none of our criticisms have been answered. In fact, by testing the Comp Carbon 650b, we’ve actually taken a step backwards, as the frame is even more compact. The size large Scott Genius shares a very similar seat tube measurement to the Stumpjumper, but the reach is 30mm longer and the wheelbase is 70mm longer. Yes, these are just numbers on a chart, but the consequences overwhelm the ride experience and the result is a bike that feels unsettled at speed and out of its depth on challenging trails.

Conclusion

Specialized’s motto is Innovate or Die, but the Stumpjumper seems to have lost sight of that battle cry. It desperately needs a refresh with more modern geometry and improved suspension to bring it back into the game. As it stands though, you’d have to be staunchly brand loyal, or completely sold on SWAT to forgive its shortcomings. Thankfully we know Specialized has the talent and the resources to fix it, so we’re convinced this will be a matter of when, not if.

  • Frame: FACT 9m Carbon/M5 alloy rear, 150mm
  • Shock: RockShox Monarch RT
  • Fork: RockShox Revelation RC, 150mm
  • Wheels: Roval Traverse wheels, Butcher Grid Gripton 27.5×2.6in tyres
  • Drivetrain: Race Face Aeffect 30t chainset, SRAM GX 11-speed r-mech and shifter
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide R, 180/160mm
  • Components: Specialized alloy bar 780mm, Specialized Trail 60mmstem, Specialized Command Post IRcc dropper post 125mm
  • Saddle: BG Henge
  • Weight: 13.80kg (30.07lb)

Rating 7.0/10

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.