Strengths: +1 Improved traction all around.
Carry extra speed in corners.
Greater stability in off-camber.
Rear wheel tracks better.
Stumpy geometry is razor sharp, well sorted.
The carbon Roval wheelset is the business.
Weaknesses: Low bottom bracket height?
2011 XX World Cup brakes: The worst MTB product. Ever
I bought the bike on a whim. I loved the looks and I've recently developed a healthy respect for the big "S". This wass my first 29er, and I had a few preconceptions with regards to big wheel MTBing. My view was pretty much that a 29er would be good for those long boring fireroad climbs, and would suck big-time in the tight and twisty stuff. Good for efficiency, not for having a blast on the trail...
My 2011 Stumpy weighs 9.4 kg fully built. That's with 2.25 Racing Ralphs (Snakeskin Tubeless Ready), XTR pedals, 2 bottle cages, and a garmin edge. The only other modification to date is that I've installed EZI chunky grips.
My local loop is not a trail where 29ers should excel. It includes a few fairly sharp switchbacks, as well as some tight'n'twisty sections in amongst the trees. My best average speed with a 26" dually has been just over the 17.5km/h mark. On the 3rd ride with the 29er Stumpy on Saturday I got a 17.4 average. This loop is now longer by a few hundred metres, and includes a slow grassy climb that didn't exist when I did a timed run with the 26" Yeti AS-Rc. That had me scratching my head as I thought I'd be much slower, especially during the first few rides.
The switchbacks were not the battle I thought they'd be. Standing or seated, didn't matter, I climbed them easily. The Stumpy changed my view of 29ers, because it has been such a fun bike to ride in terrain that's meant to be "not ideal" for 29ers.
The HT might not be ideal for a 6hr enduro on a twisty, bumpy, technical course. If the head rules I'd take the 4" dually. If the heart rules I'll take the 29er. Never thought I'd be thinking that way. How's that for challenging preconceptions?
from Mountainville, NY
Date Reviewed: December 16, 2011
Strengths: Gets the power down better than anything I've ever ridden. The carbon wheelset.
Weaknesses: Shock is setup on the firm side, yet comes close to maxing out its travel (155lb rider) taking the switchbacks real fast...or sharp turns for that matter; holds up well flying up or down the trail though. Sram brakes.
The transition from what I had been racing previously (22lb SC Blur) to this carbon 29er was eye opening. I was torn at first of reverting back to a hardtail and especially a 29er for racing, yet this carbon 29er does what I expect from a 26" full suspension race bike with the benefits of a hardtail. Its stiffness and efficiency is amazing, and it really soaks up the rough stuff if you're running tubeless at the right pressure. Climbs effortlessly. For myself, this is a perfect balance in the search for a great race machine. Specialized has been building carbon fiber frames since the early 90's, so hopefully this one holds up well after several racing seasons, or until they come out with something better. Value rated "5" because I got a good deal.
Favorite Trail: Blue Mt., Buffer Zone, Porcupine Rim.
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Similar Products Used: This is my first carbon hardtail...have ridden aluminum and scandium hardtails in the past. Have, until now, steered clear of 29ers.
Bike Setup: Stock with eggbeater 11's. Running the renegade tires that come stock on the bike tubeless, which is essential. 18.8 lbs.
a Cross Country Rider
from san jose, ca usa
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2011
Strengths: Extremely light, but rigid, forgiving, and super responsive.
Weaknesses: Lack of lockout on the top end of fork crown.
With all the carbon parts, the strength to weight ratio is insane. Off the showroom floor, this featherweight came in at a measely 19 lbs. It's a mad climber and flies downhill flawlessly. Although I was a little leery of the 2x10 drivetrain coming from a triple up front, this set up is second to none; very impressive.
Bike Setup: OEM other than added XTR clipless pedals and straight carbon bar-ends
from salinas, ca, usa
Date Reviewed: August 10, 2011
Strengths: First of all, it's a specialized, the life time warranty is something really nice to have with the bike.
Secondly, it's 19.4 pounds with pedals on, and feels like a feather on the climbs.The carbon wheels included with the bike feel incredibly different then anything I've ever ridden. It was like i was directly connected with the wheels on the climbs, and i felt like i was on a nimble carbon road bike when i was smashing the peddles up the local climb "The Grind"
Finally, the fork with the brain has far exceeded my expectations. After a lot of tinkering to get every little nob properly adjusted, i have it set up perfectly for the kind of riding i enjoy and my weight. It's stiff on the climbs and feels like butter on the descents.
Weaknesses: The price of course. The wheels aren't the lightest set you can get, and the gear ratios that come stock with the bike are a little weak for racing. Also, the front chain rings that come stock are just a specialized specific Truvativ set that really don't compare to the XX specific rings you get if you were to buy the individual cranks. Coming off a complete 2011 XX drivetrain, i felt the front shifting was affected by this off market chain rings.
The book/website from specialized said the large and XL frames come with a 185mm front rotor, mine came with a 160mm.
The heavy non specialized brand tubes, (another lie on their book/website)
Coming off a fairly light 29" wheel bike that was aluminum and about 22lbs, to this super light carbon bike was actually quite incredible. Surprisingly the most noticeable difference was descending on the bike. The bikes was just so much more twitchy and nimble, which i absolutely loved. Climbing reminded me of a road bike, having such a rigid and stiff frame when standing, while the gear ratios were low, spinning was still a very comfortable way of climbing. The bike fits perfectly, every time i sit on that Phenom saddle i feel like i'm sitting on a fat cruiser saddle and don't want to get off the bike.