The Stumpjumper FSR Expert adds a Specialized Command Post, sweet 29" wheel spec, and all-around great components for a bike that hits the sweet spot on the trail and in the budget
Fully manipulated M5 alloy 29er frame uses 130mm of travel, lightweight ORE tubing, and sealed cartridge bearing pivots to turn rock gardens into Zen gardens
Specialized/Fox Brain rear shock with Brain Fade, remote Trail Tune inertia valve, and adjustable rebound lets riders dial in the perfect blend of pedaling efficiency and bump compliance
RockShox Reba RLT 130mm-travel 29er fork with tapered alloy steerer, adjustable rebound/compression/threshold, and 20mm Maxle thru-axle delivers lightweight trail performance
DT Swiss 520SL 29" rims, spokes, and rear hub combine with a Specialized Hi Lo front hub and 20mm thru-axle to create a wheelset that's strong enough to handle complex singletrack, yet light enough to make the climb out effortless
Specialized Command Post is a 3-position adjustable-height seatpost with remote lever for on-the-fly changes to riding position; 125mm travel
Strengths: Breaks: Best set I've ever had, they stop on a dime and lock up easy for turning on switch backs. Climbing: it is amazing going up hills even steep technical ones. Downhills: This thing is a beast. Nothing holding this bike back going down hills with maybe the exception of the rider. Command Seat Post: This is so awesome to have when doing jumps, sharp drop offs, and other technical stuff. No more trying to get back behind the seat and worrying about hurting yourself. Tires: They work great in all types of terrain and wet/dryness. Very durable. Durability: At just under 6' and 215lbs and being an aggressive rider, I put bikes to the test. This one hasn't given me a lick of trouble. The only thing I've had to do to this bike in the last 4 1/2 months is some cable adjustments.
Weaknesses: Factory grips: They are small and I had to switch them out after just a couple rides. Gears: Not a big enough gear in my opinion but I have left it as is for now.
This is the best bike I have ever owned. I could have made a book out of the strengths. The weaknesses are minimal at best. I can't believe how well this thing takes jumps and bumps. I've landed a nose dive type jumps that normally would have had my flying over the bars but the front shock took them so well you wouldn't know I screwed up my landing. I got the Brain adjusted where I want it almost right away. I haven't changed it in a long time. I don't find the need to lock out the rear on climbs or straight-aways. It really can tell when it needs to rode soft and when to ride stiff. The Formula breaks are the best. They work like breaks should under all types of conditions. The only thing I think that would be the icing on the cake would be XO front derailleur and shift levers to match the rear derailleur.
Overall I truly love this bike and see myself keeping it for quite a long time. If you want a bike that can do it all this is the one. I didn't know it was possible to love riding more than I already did till I got this bike. I also feel this bike has amazing durability due to my size and lack of any problems in the 4 1/2 months I've owned it. Rode it through the Black Hills Back 40 race without so much as a flat.
Bike Setup: 2012 Factory except for grips and bar ends.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2012
Strengths: Climbing including steep tech stuff, typically 29er advantages, great componetry,
Weaknesses: Some initial quality hiccups - front wheel bearing loose, cable routing was poor (limited turning). Grips wear extremely quickly and are too small in diameter. Mismatched shifting components (just looks a bit weird - one shifter is black the other silver).
I came from an '07 Fuel EX8 (first MTB ever). It's taken me some time to get used to the 29er/SJ experience. Owing to stiffness and geometry I have to be ultra careful about pinch flats when running "normal" tire pressure for typical XC riding. Also much busier on loose downhill. In addition to typical 29er advantages I'm am shocked that it climbs better than the Fuel. The only addition I made were 1.5" riser bars for 5+ hr comfort (hurt climbing a bit but just have to pay attention more). All in all a huge step up from the Fuel EX8 - I am faster and more proficient on the trail, and all in all things are much more enjoyable.
a Cross Country Rider
from Truckee, CA
Date Reviewed: December 30, 2011
Strengths: solid frame, it goes where you point it, brain (original brain had inoperable tumor. Specialized replaced it quick, all good), eats all bumps, super comfy ride. Rides over big rocks and logs with ease.
Weaknesses: Junk wheels, they are heavy and have to be trued often. Bike is too heavy, size med. with addition of joplin seat dropper weighs in at 34.5 lbs including pedals. Feels like towing a boat on long climbs due to weight of bike.
Love the ride comfort and stability but too heavy for the long climbs in my area. Thought about buying the carbon stumpy frame to custom build until I saw the price; $4100 for frame and seatpost. Note to Mr. Speacialized: your brain has gone to your head....in a bad way. It's not worth that kind of money. Back away from the pipe. Niner jet nine rdo here I come.
Strengths: I am a 6'5" 200-215 pound guy that is pretty strong. Great overall all bike for the first 3 rides. Loved the way it climbed and descended.
Weaknesses: Almost everything: So frustrated! I have been a big Specialized fan for almost all of my life.
-suspension took a lot to get used to and adjusted(mostly the rear brian)
-took some time to get use to the large wheels in tight conditions
-Seat failed after about 2 months
-Brain failed after 4-5 rides(Specialized replace it for free)
-Seat post failed after 5-6 months of riding(Specialized replacing it now)
-Brian has failed again(this weekend)
-DT rims are failing(several rear broken spokes and both can not longer be trued they need to be replaced)
-Front wheel is never aligned with the stem so it always looks like the tire is to the left or right of the stem alignment.
I would not recommend this bike to anyone that is over 6'0 180lbs and is a strong aggressive rider.
from Santa Cruz/Tahoe ca usa
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2011
Strengths: Spec dollar for dollar compared to similar 29ers.
-I was skeptical of command post but use it all the time and feel that it is not just some gimmick.
-Additionally, having never used brain before, I felt weird not turning off propedal or locking out rear. After a few weeks of various adjustments uphill vs downhill, I pretty much just leave it set in one position, whether peddling up or riding down.
-Big fan of the brakes as well. I am a bigger guy (6'3" 225 with gear) and I feel that the brakes have done a tremendous job stopping me, even after trips to downieville where I am getting them nice and hot.
-2bliss ready wheels where a snap to setup and held well
-2x10 setup is nice, allows for the bashguard and since I don't seem to be doing much high speed flat ground cruising, I havent really missed the big ring. Bashguard is proof that I need it, tahoe granite eats it up quick, if it wasn't for it I would be buying new rings.
Weaknesses: I initially was getting very frustrated with some warranty issues. To date here are issues I have encountered.
- Front shifter crapped out after 2 weeks. Shop promptly swapped it out, mentioned that early 2010 bikes had problems and new bikes they where getting had additional shifters in box ready to swap out.
- Brain blew, had to be sent away for 2 weeks to be rebuilt, even though fox and specialized are about a 30 minute drive away. Thankfully shop was very helpful, and put shock from demo bike so I could keep riding.
- Cables rub on bottom bracket, wearing through the stickers that come from factory, paint and started to wear groove into frame. Also caused premature wear through cables. I am on second set of cables now, shop has made some adjustments to how they are run now, we will see how long it lasts this time.
-bashguard I like a lot, however being carbon it gets smashed pretty good, I guess weight saving is nice, but I can see replacing this soon
-2x10 I felt I was missing a bit so I picked up a bigger ring, which means bashguard now is just a hair larger than ring, so I guess I need a bigger guard now.
-Front derailluer was swapped by shop after numerous shifting problems. Eventually realized that wrong front derailluer was installed from factory. New one seems to improve shifting.
-Prior to purchase I demoed the comp version a few times and every ride I seemed to snap my chain. This happened again a few times with expert once I bought it, whether it went away because of replacing front derailluer, upgrading chain or me shifting better I don't know.
-grips are a little to soft, I burnt through them way faster than any other pair I can remember
-command post seat itself is solid. Initally it slipped, but after tightening clamp, it stays put. The actual seat portion takes some fine tuning to get clamp to seat just right I have found. Been on the pointy end of upturned seat after a few hard hits, but after latest round of tweaking, hasn't happened again. Seat also creaks like crazy.
- Feels a little light in the front on steep uphills
-typical 29er handling in tighter corners, which just takes getting used to
Overall I am completely satisfied with this bike. It rides great uphill and downhill. I have been riding it about 3-4 times a week at least for the past 6 months now. A few of my riding partners are hardtail 29ers and I notice no difficulty keeping up with them on long climbs. Downhill this thing is a machine. I have found the only thing holding it back on descents is me. While initially I was pretty pissed to be bringing it in to the shop all the time, now that the factory/warranty issues seems to have all been handled, it seems to be quite reliable. I can see that without a good shop to support me through the warranty issues, my experience would have been totally different. I guess I just happened to be the one guy that had all the problems possible rather than just one or two.
Bottom line is great all mountain bike. It feels just as comfortable on long cross country rides as it does on steeper dowhill runs like downieville or demo.
Sidenote, highly recommend Family Cycling Center on 41st in Capitola, guys have been great there, always making sure the problem gets fixed asap, even if it means stripping parts from shop bikes so that I am not without a bike.
Bike Setup: stock, with exception of bigger big ring, tubeless, xtr chain
a Cross Country Rider
from Ann Arbor MI
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2011
Strengths: super strong, good climber, excellent downhiller, all around easy ride, super comfortable
Weaknesses: none yet
This bike is fun, fun, fun. I don't know what other reviews are talking about when they say it dosen't climb well. I am comming off a Ibis Mojo 25 pound bike that didn't climb as well. The brain shock is amazing, once you get it set up it works fantastic. The slacker head angle is a bit of a deterrent for some but I like it fo it's confidence in all situations. I was looking for a do it all, go everywhere bike that does everything well. This bike is it....so far. I am 5'7" and a medium fits me perfect. Don't be so concerned about standover, look at TT length.
a Cross Country Rider
from Corvallis, OR, US
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2011
Strengths: I bought this bike because I am not a racer and decided it was time to try something different. After riding light weight XC bikes for the past 10 years, it took several rides to adjust to the bigger heavier feel of the bike. I spent the first five rides figuring out bike setup. Once dialed in, I have not been dissapointed with the purchase one bit. Climing is much better than I initially thought it would be. I was able to validate this by timing a climb that I had data on from previous bikes.
Weaknesses: VPP is a better rear suspension platform in my opinion. The tires are the worst I have ever used for hard pack. Setup as tubless and run the front at 22psi and the rear at 25psi and they are marginal at best.
This bike is an absolute blast to ride. It really shines when the trail gets steep and technical. All of the components seem solid so far and I have no complaints with the bikes handling.
Similar Products Used: Redline D460, Santa Cruz Blur, Titus Motolite, Specialized Stumpjumper, Giant Trance X, Specialized Epic.
Bike Setup: Stock, air pressure in the negative chamber -10psi than the positive chamber.
a Cross Country Rider
from broomall, pa, usa
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2011
Strengths: ride, hanlding, go anywhere, climbing, downhills are a blast
Weaknesses: low bottom bracket - but same as prior stumpy so "bunny hop" more.
I did lots of research before settlign on this bike. I was seconds from a RIP but after almost 10yrs of service from my prior stumpy, i was tipped in favor of the new model. I wasn't disappointed. As with any bike it took a little break in time but worht it. I did take it back once for a brain issue - they replaced it under warranty without question. I love it.
Is it big? yup. is it less nimble than a 26? probably initially but learned the difference and the reward outweighs the slight lack of turning. I am not a racer so it's not a loss to me. I have fun, i'm safer and can go places much easier without pounding my body.
I tend to keep bikes for a great while (still have my 1st mtb - a trusty 93 Trek 950!) and this stumpy will fit the bill for a decade or more of trail fun. A great buy!
a Weekend Warrior
from Grover Beach Ca USA
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2011
Strengths: After being out of sorts for a few months I have got it where I dig it Strengths; Good Fork Great Drive Train Great adjustability strong frame Great Brakes Good components Extremely adjustable
Weaknesses: Didn't like the bars Don't like the stem very adjustable but i think its overkill Seat lasted 2 months bent the rails Tires are JUNK!!! I like the Brain concept and was the reason I bought this bike and now I think it is overkill the same results could be achieved with a regular shock with Pro pedal. The 2 worst things about this bike is the creaks that develope in the linkage and the front end Push! The Creaking I am always searching for the sourse never the same twice and the front end was 1st and forost the tires but also to much brain in the rear coupled with great brakes. Still not 100% confident front end. I think it is very easy to get lost in the set up of this bike because it is so adjustable.
As stated after a few months of regretting the purchase of this bike I got her where I really dig it! I think set up is cucial to preformance The brain can be great for going up and really give the front end nightmares comming down. I run it 7 quater turns in for long climbs and 3 quarter turns for going down. On technical climbs I drop the seat to second setting and find this bike very comfortable. I ride some pretty rocky knarly stuff (for me at least) and if I could only ride 1 on my bikes ( S.C. Butcher, M.B 29er HT and this one) this would be the one.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Enduro Specialized Epic
Bike Setup: Stock with Titec Riser Bares "WIDE" WTB saddle WTB ExiWolf tires going to try a Nevegal rear next
a Weekend Warrior
from NC, USA
Date Reviewed: August 28, 2011
Strengths: Slack Head Angle and Seatback Position makes this bike a very stable descender and stable at high speed. Tunable Brain Shock and Reba Fork with 130mm front and rear lets you set plushness or hardness to avoid pedal bob however you want. 2x10 drivetrain works well on this bike giving just enough of range to stay in highest chain ring more often. Climbs okay...as long as you stay with 105mm stem and weight forward. Adjustable seatpost is a nice addition.
Weaknesses: Bike is not very maneuverable...you need to pick a line and stick with it and let the travel do the work. Tried a shorter stem but 90mm made the front float too much on climbs. DT Swiss 520 SL rims are cheap with flex. Have had a lot of trouble with spoke loosening, spoke breaks and more pinch flats than on any other 29er tubed bike I have ridden. Make sure you go tubeless or put extra pressure in tires.
4 chilis for value, 3 chilis for overall due to Specialized taking too many quality short cuts with wheels and too much of slant to descending.
Bike is all mountain and best for going straight up and letting the 130mm travel do the work on descents without changing lines. I think geometry needs to be tweaked a bit more neutral to get back some maneuverability and climbing.
I have seen other negative comments online about Specialized Branded DT520SLs as I don't think these reflect the DT Swiss brand name.
I saw Specialized rep in LBS recently and told him my concerns with DT520SLs and spoke loosening. Ironically, he flippantly commented "time to upgrade wheels" and I replied "yes, to Stans! and that "Specialized should not have cut back so much on rim quality for an AM bike" But, of course at price paid, I guess they had to cut back on something for an All Mountain 130mm bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from Lakewood, CO
Date Reviewed: July 7, 2011
Strengths: Solid Frame. Brain technology is awesome!
Weaknesses: Paint scheme is pretty boring. How about a carbon version!
This bike was custom built from the frame up, so this is more of a frame review. I think my setup weighs about 28 lbs. It took a few rides for me to get this bike fully dialed in, but now that I've figured out the best set up I'm loving it! After quite a bit of tinkering, I ended up using the recommended rear shock pressure and set the Brain 2 or 3 clicks from fully plush and it's awesome! The inertia valve Brain technology has been improved dramatically from the 2006 SJ 26er I owned previously. You really don't need to make it super firm. A couple of clicks eliminates bobbing and prevents the suspension from squatting on steep climbs, but it still soaks up the bumps when you want it to without the need to blow through a propedal platform. If you choose to, you can make it nearly as firm as a hardtail. This is the only rear shock I've ever used that allows me to get out of the saddle and just hammer. The rear suspension transfers power to the pedals and doesn't budge until you hit a bump. On downhills you never even notice anything but plushness. The frame is plenty stiff. I weigh 205 with gear on, and I've never felt it flex. I've owned a LOT of different bikes. Most recently I owned both old and new designs of the Niner RIP9 and before that I tried old & new versions of the Yeti 575. I liked them all, but the Brain shock is in a class by itself. If that technology was available to other manufacturers it would make any FS bike a dream to ride.
I can't speak to value since I only paid $950 for my frame, but I think you get a lot of bang for you buck with this frame. It easily rivals competitors' frames costing $1,800 or more.
Similar Products Used: 29ers: Niner RIP9 (old and new designs). 26er FS: Intense Tracer and Spider, Specialized S-works carbon Stumpjumper FSR, Yeti 575 (old and new designs).
Bike Setup: 2010 frame, I9 wheelset, XT 3x10, Avid Elixir CR brakes, Fox F29 QR15.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2011
Strengths: Stiff, strong frame, nice all around geometry. Some of the components are good... brakes, BB, Headset, Fork(caveat), cranks, derailleurs, cables... that's about it. Climbs great, decends even better. Suspension as set up now isn't overly plush, but not harsh at all... just the right amount of feedback. Soaks up big stuff with ease.
Weaknesses: The rear shock was a piece of junk, seat - junk, wheel build - junk (though I really like the 470's it was just this build), lack of a dropper post (more later on this), grips and I upgraded the bar though I don't think it was completely necessary... did I mention the rear shock was junk?
I have modified this bike quite a bit. I almost got rid of the frame because I disliked the rear shock/susp so much. I ended up having a RP23 and a Monarch RT3 custom made for this frame by PUSH IND. and it changed the way I look at bikes in general forever. The way this bike handled and rode with a custom tuned shock was indescribable. What was more amazing was how this bike compared to other much more $$$ frames once I modified the suspension (for the record I was so impressed by the work on the shock I sent the fork to Push as well). This frame imo compares at parity with the best 100 and 120mm suspension 29ers out there now. I also put a KS 950i on this frame and that also made a huge difference. 29ers have you sitting so high that in tight, twisty or gnarly stuff being able to drop the seat an inch or two lets me go significanly faster... not to mention the advantage it gives for hitting jumps and drops. And though I don't recommend it and don't think this is the right bike for doing drops... I have hit up to 6 foot drops (mostly 2-4 footers) on this bike with a set of Stans Flow/Hadley wheels (with 9/10mm thru bolts). I think this speaks very well of the strength of this frame. After two years of abuse the frame is still quiet and solid. I am pretty light at 165#s.... but still. Pre mods I would have given this bike 2 Chilis. It is a solid 5 now. Bike now probably stands me $4500.... and this doesn't include maint. or repairs.
Similar Products Used: Sultan, Tallboy, Evolve (test rides only).
Bike Setup: Fox RP23 and RS Monarch RT3 (both custom made and tuned by PUSH IND), PUSH custom tune on a REBA SL as well. KS 950i post, Stans Flow 36h on Hadley hubs (thru bolts both F & R), Maxxis Ardend 2.4 and Ikon 2.2 (love the EXO side wall - these tires rock - thou I am trying WTB Bronsons right now and they are also great). Truvativ AKA stem (110mm - long but it works for me)
a Cross Country Rider
from Missoula, MT
Date Reviewed: May 3, 2011
Strengths: ummmm the seatpost?
Weaknesses: Front Hub has loose sealed bearings; they don't fit in the hub properly. Every Stumpy in the store came with a loose front wheel. The BRAIN failed, again! The wheels are extremely heavy, even with XC tubeless tires. The BRAIN is not designed for other Specialized bikes. IT WAS MADE FOR THE EPIC! The Command seatpost is heavy and slips/rotates the saddle nose up when I sit down too hard. The carbon chainguard is worthless. The 2x10 is just a triple w/o the big ring, consistently running out of a big enough gear. Floppy steering.
Junk. I've grown to dislike the Big S. I've had multiple BRAIN's fail over the years. Trying to get a fix on this bike and both Fox and Specialized referred me to the other company for service? What else is there. Specialized was of little help when I tried to get a wheel w/o a half inch of side to side play. I tried to find a 29er that rode well. After all of the available models listed I gave up. The handling isn't there. I felt I was forcing the bike into turns.
Gary Fisher has figured it out. 10+ years now; try a TREK/Fisher 29er with Genesis Geometry. You'll be amazed.
Similar Products Used: Epic, Stumpjumper HT and FSR, Trek Superfly 100. All 29ers
Bike Setup: Stock
a Cross Country Rider
from Weimar, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: April 18, 2011
Strengths: This bike is a light weight tank. Second full suspension bike I've owned. The first turned me off to full suspension. I'm reborn.
This is a great bike. Burly but quick. I'm a big guy 235# and rough on equipment. First serious damage was over the weekend, taco'd front wheel - but deserved it. Was suspicious of two sprocket front, but have learned to love it.
Similar Products Used: Canondale Jeykel - don't go there.
Bike Setup: 29, brain, 2 sprocket front
a Weekend Warrior
from New Zealand
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2010
Strengths: 2011 model, looks sweet in polished metal, rides well and now taking trails faster as you can ride over anything, isn't as sensitive to ride as epic so feels more relaxing, you can feel it gaining speed on any small down hill trail, climbs well which was making me nervous before purchasing.
Weaknesses: None as yet after twenty rides.
If you want to change for the better you need to demo one of these babies!!