Upgraded suspension from Fox adds plushness, Brain technology adds efficiency, and all-around great components reduce weight. More fun climbing, more fun decending.
M5 manipulated alloy frame with 140mm of travel, aluminum rocker link, and sealed cartridge bearing pivots turns 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
Fox F140 RL air-sprung alloy fork with external lockout and rebound adjust can handle the big drops
Both 2Bliss Ready, the S-Works Purgatory 2.2" front tire works in concert with The Captain Control 2.0" rear tire to deliver exceptional traction for pinpoint cornering and braking in varied conditions
Super light, custom SRAM Carbon S-2200 10-speed double crankset with GXP spindle and removable spider promises stiffness, performance, and durability
Shimano Deore XTR Shadow rear derailleur with carbon cage delivers ultra-light, top-of-the-line shifting performance and legendary durability
Strengths: 1. Do it all/Jack of all trades bike.
2. Climbs as well as a XC bike.
3. Comes tubeless ready.
4. Alloy frame is only 100g heavier then the carbon.
5. Redesigned Brain shock.
6. Shimano XTR, SLX & SRAM X7 components w/carbon bash ring & fancy chain stay.
7. Fox fork is 650B compatible.
8. Easy setup & adjustment of Talas fork & AutoSag shock.
9. Stock wheels are convertible to TA.
10. Dropper Command Post.
Weaknesses: 1. Expensive.
2. Low BB causes pedal strikes on ST & rock gardens.
3. Stock tires have thin side walls.
4. Must modify stock grips/dropper post to fit new grips.
5. No TA fork, wheels use Spesh OE24 hubs.
6. Fork could benefit from 34mm stanchions vs 32.
7. Not as nimble DH has a dedicated AM bike.
8. Servicing Brain is expensive & must be sent to Spesh.
9. Avid 7 brakes can be grabby & noisy.
10. Wheels/rims could be wider.
This is a review of the 2012 model. Major differences between the 2011 & 2012 is the '11 came with a rear Capt tire & the '12 comes with a Ground Control. The '11 has a straight 1-1/8" HT & the '12 is tapered. Also for '12 the Brain was redesigned.
Major differences between the '12 & '13 model is the '13 comes with a 15mm TA fork, redesigned Purgatory front tire & the X7 components were down graded to X5. Spesh also raised the MSRP from $3900 in 2012 to $4100 on the 2013 models.
After researching a new bike purchase for 5 months & once I got over the sticker shock I pulled the trigger on the Elite after riding a HT RH for 4 years.
I chose the Elite specifically for the Brain shock as I wanted the feel of a HT on climbs but FS on DH runs. The Brain allows some movement when on flat or bumpy terrain, tightens up on climbs & opens on DH runs for that full squish feeling.
The bike climbs well & you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between this & a XC bike. Spesh has pushed the SJ FSR into the Trail category & it does a superb job. It isn't as fast as a dedicated XC bike or as burly as a dedicated AM bike but it blends the two well.
I ride mostly in SoCal & have taken this along the rolling firebreaks of the coast line & into the wicked single track of the desert. Along the way I suffered a few crashes but nothing the Elite couldn't handle.
The ST in the desert can be tight with a lot of sharp granite & this is where the Elites short comings begin to show. The low BB caused the pedals to slap just about every rock on the trail, this problem was magnified when rolling through rock gardens.
The stock tires are of the Spesh 2bliss variety & therefor trade weight savings for thinner side walls. Because of this I had side wall punctures on my second ride & I immediately took advantage of Spesh 100% tire satisfaction guarantee & traded for wider & UST rated tires of the same model. Look for my review of the stock tires in the tire section for more detail.
The brakes love to howl when put through more than moderate use. If you have an extended DH section & have to brake coming down get your ear plugs out because the Avids well let everyone know you're coming. The Avids also have a on off approach to braking & if you aren't prepared for this you can find yourself OTB quick.
I thought the dropper seat post was a gimmick at first but I find that I actually use it a lot. I'll save my thunder on the Command Post for a later review.
I have no complaints in regards to the drivetrain, it shifts smooth & the chain stay/guard keeps the chain from slapping around.
This bike isn't very popular because you can get a lot of bang for your buck going with a model down & $1100 less out of your pocket or drop $100 more & get a carbon Evo model. What you won't get with those other bikes is the better components on the Elite or the Brain. Simply put, buy this model for the Brain & if the Brain isn't important to you then move along.
If I could only have one bike this would be it & if it ever were stolen I'd buy it again.
Strengths: I don't know that I'll ever ride a "Perfect" bike so I couldn't give it 5 chilis...........I'll also be a little biased because I'm 6'7" and 230 lbs so most bikes don't fit me.........the XXL Stumpy does though, and it's pretty awesome. The Triad needs more air than it states online to have the right sag, but once there, it's great! No bob up hills (unless you stand up, then the rhythm can get off) Everything seems strong, I've hit some crazy trails and hucked some pretty good jumps and it keeps on going. Having some warble on the rear brake, but there's threads all over about the Avid brakes. It's a nimble and very controlable ride that you can throw around the corners and ride hard on!! I would say I lean towards All Mountain riding and it's done just fine for me
Weaknesses: Well, given that I'm so tall and therefore have the seat pretty high, it moves my weight a little too far back which makes for some difficulty in keeping the front wheel down on climbs. The low BB height sucks a bit, I get pedal strikes on little rocks and roots. Narrow stock low rise bars were replaced right away, and the stock seatpost was ugly. So far wheels have held up great!
So mine is the 2009, I bought it in 2012 new from a shop that hadn't sold it because it's an XXL ....... lucky for me as the price was right! Components are great, suspension is awesome, and for me, it's all I could get in my price range and size requirements. I highly recommend the bike, but understand that folks that are a more "normal" size get a whole lot more choices in specific price ranges, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
a Cross Country Rider
from LA 'burbs
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2011
Strengths: Components seem pretty hearty to me. Great looks, very lightweight, lightning handling, very good braking.
Weaknesses: Front derailleur seems to hang a bit when downshifting. I'm sure that an adjustment would help but it's in all the way at the shifter and needs to loosen up a bit. The location of the front shock makes it a little awkward for switching modes.
I'm stoked with the bike. It hasn't let me down, despite some pretty hard rides. I'd by another in a heartbeat if this one got stolen (I lock it even when it's in my garage. I live in pretty good area but it doesn't take long for these things to ride away under the ass of an ass.). I don't think that I'd do a lot of big jumps on it, considering the 120mm travel limitation and the lightness of the frame. However, since I only weight in at 160 lbs., it could probably take a few launches. The big question is, will I?
I'd give 'er a 5, but the brakes do seem a little wanton for a bleed already. Also, I've got to reserve a "5" for perfection, just in case it comes along. Sort of like not rating women "10's" back in the day when I used that system extensively. Sigh.....;-)
Similar Products Used: Closest I got was my first mtb, a Specialized Hardrock Pro Disc from 2003. That there's a workhorse of a bike, I'll tell you. It's my backup and I'm not hesitant to hop back on it at anytime, despite the better comfort and handling of the full suspension Stumpy.
Bike Setup: Bone stock but now running tubeless in the Captains.
a Weekend Warrior
from Amesbury, MA
Date Reviewed: November 6, 2011
Strengths: This is for the 2012 model, it's a new body, geometry, etc. from the 2011.
The suspension system and handling are simply amazing, it turns even the twisted, rocky, rooty trails of New England into something more resembling butter... That may be a bit of exaggeration, but the difference is still pretty amazing.
Weaknesses: The rock ring and carbon fiber cranks scratch easily, but it's a mountain bike, not a beauty contest.
This is simply the best bike I've ever ridden. The Brain was super simple to set up and with the auto-sag, you know it's set right the first time. I had the shop change out all the Shimano to SRAM and the drive train is so smooth. The Avid 7 breaks do a great job of handling the steep dives, hard stops and allow you to modulate the breaking effortlessly.
Similar Products Used: Banshee Pyre, Stumpjumper 29'r, hardtails, and a few others that I can't recall at this point.
Bike Setup: SRAM XO, X9
a Weekend Warrior
from Gilbert, AZ
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2011
Strengths: This bike is awesome all over. It got a penchant for both XC and heavy all mountain use. I just put this bike today through the wringer doing National trail all the way. After pushing the limits (both man and machine) real hard, I have a renewed respect for what this bike can do. It rips over the rough stuff like it's nobody's business. IT IS THE BEST ALL MOUNTAIN RIG. Also raced it a few times on XC races and it holds its own.
Weaknesses: Nothing really. I've heard a lot of complaints about the factory DT swiss wheels, but never had one with 'em. I guess being a lighter rider helps a bit. I've since replaced them with Mavic Crossmax STs which made the benefits from the Brain system a lot more pronounced.
Great bike. Would buy one again if this thing breaks (which so far, has been really solid). If you want an All mountain machine that you woould find difficult to outgrow, get this one. I don't know how much better the more expensive Stumpy models perform, but this one's more than enough firepower to bring to the trails. If your guts can handle it, this bike definitely can and then some.
Strengths: super versatile, relatively light (28.0 lbs stock with xt pedals), TALAS RL is great and adjustable on the fly if you are quick about it, positioning on the bike is great! I have no beef with SRAM or Brain stuff, but I love the Shimano and FOX kit on this bike (better quality than Comp and Expert FSR models, IMHO)
Weaknesses: wheels are a little flimsy but true ok, heard negativity about the Triad but have no complaints myself, tweaked the XTR r derailleur twice and had to rebend B axle assembly to get it to shift like it should
If you need one bike to do everything from AM to light XC racing, this is the bike for you! TALAS RL and Triad can be locked out to suit the occasion, adding versatility. Climbs like a champ in any suspension configuration and descends like it was made for it! What a great value!
Bike Setup: 2009 FSR Elite: Stock, with Black Spire bashguard and XT pedals. I weigh 145 and run 150 PSI in the Triad to keep it more snappy for technical trails.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2011
Strengths: Nice, plush and fast ride. Love the Fox Tallas RL fork
Weaknesses: Factory DT Swiss Rims: spokes break to easy
Replace DT swiss 420sl as soon as you can or make a deal with the dealer. Worst set of wheels ever. Lost track of the number of times I’ve had to replace the spokes. Some under warranty replacement, until Specalized started to blame me. Then out-of-pocket I’m 6 1” 220. Hey Specialized I never broke a spoke on the Yeti AS-X.
Nice Plus ride. I’m still working out the setting on the Brain. I’m thinking the sales pitch set my expectations higher than it actually delivers. Still all in all a sweet bike in most conditions always a comfortable stable ride at any speed.
Strengths: Absolutely comfortable,confidence inspiring,simple and sturdy. It'a a Specy !!
Weaknesses: Wheels sucks bad,replaced them immediately with some swanky Rovals.Not impressed by the Brain. Some cheapish Specialized fixtures in order to cut costs(for them....)
I love my Stumpy Elite. I can do things with it I could only dream about with my Lapierre Zesty. It climbs everywhere and comes down in total safety and comfort.I only have 2 issues and suggestion for you out there : replace those DT swiss 420sl as soon as you can!! Worst set of wheels I've ever used. They roll incredibly slow,they're pretty heavy and there's a good chance you'll start to blow spokes at the very first ride even if you are a skinny XC chap like I am.
The other issue is the Brain valve. I was looking forward to test this mighty Specialized technology but bottom line I really don't like the way it conditions the shock. House suggested set ups for my weight are ok on the uphills but I would love a to have a fully open shock on the way down. Unfortunately this does not happens,or at least it does not happens for my likes.On very rough downhills I have to stop and disengage the Brain manually if I want to have a true joyride,if I decide to keep it engaged it will work just fine but nothing to be overly enthusiastic for.
from asheville NC US
Date Reviewed: March 24, 2011
Strengths: Plush suspension travel, great balance and feel.
A true do-it-all bike. I love the travel adjust on the talas
Weaknesses: wheels could be upgraded eventually, I'm not a fan of Avid brakes either, so I'll swap them out soon.
In my opinion, this is one of the best engineered bikes available. The total feel of the bike breeds confidence.
It can bomb the downhills and by hitting the pro-pedal and lowering the front shock it can still keep up with the hardtails on the climbs
I needed to have something that can pedal all day and be comfortable but it needs to be able to handle an occaisional 5 ft drop or tabletop jump. I had narrowed it down to the SJ FSR or the Enduro, and I got a great deal on the SJ.
I'd reccomend this bike for recreational riders to cross training or even racers for rough trails. This is the closest bike I've found to a true "do-it-all" bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from Fullerton, Ca
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2010
Strengths: Light, fast, good riding position. Great suspension.
I have the 2010 Stumpjumper Comp. Have been riding a 2008 FSR Expert for the last 2 years. This bike has made me a much better rider. The suspension feels tight and you don't even realize how much work it is doing. Trails that I used to cruise down (San Juan, The Luge) I now attack and flow down. Point and shoot, that is all you need to do. Riding positon is good too. Great on hills. The front end wanders a little bit on steep climbs.
Similar Products Used: 2008 Specialized FSR Expert
Bike Setup: Stock, except Candy Pedals
a Cross Country Rider
from Ellicott City, MD, USA
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2010
Strengths: Suspension - Fox Talas Fork, Fox/Specialized shock.
Nice geometry. XTR rear derailleur shifts smooth & clean, Avid Elixir brakes respond well with negligible 'grab'. Specialized tires 2.2 Purgatory front, 2.1 Captain Control rear handle well.
Weaknesses: mismatched components - SLX front derailleur (w/ XTR rear), should have XT crank, DT Swiss wheels seem a little flimsy (ugly too with red trim).
Very nimble bike, sure on descents, climbs well, springs forward out of turns. The rear shock configuration definitely gives bike more of a XC race feel over previous model, without sacrificing handling through the rougher stuff. Will look at upgrading to Mavic ST tubeless wheelset and Shimano XT crank & XT front derailleur in the Spring. Looking forward riding it in 2011 endurance races.
Similar Products Used: 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
a Cross Country Rider
from Athens Greece
Date Reviewed: October 12, 2010
Strengths: Nice Looking, Great Frame, Weight, Handling, comfort riding
Weaknesses: In the First month I had to change the whole drive train with Shimano XT, The saddler and the saddler stem with Specialized Avatar and KCNC scandium, the Brakes with Shimano XTR (the old disks were just rubish), the Handle bar and Handle bar stem with KCNC 98 gramms, and of course the rims with XTR.
a Weekend Warrior
from Sturgis, SD, USA
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2010
Strengths: Great ride! Coming from a hard tail, I'm surprised how well this thing climbs. Between the Fox Talas and Triad you can make this thing ride great on any trail.
Weaknesses: Rubber/plastic chain stay guard fell off a couple of times. No big deal I'm just glad I found it again. Now its staying on. Also, S-Works The Captain tires have gotten bad reviews so I'm a little worried about blowing a side wall mid trail... So far so good though.
Great Bike! I would recommend it to anyone. It has made me an addict again.