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I ride tight twisty rooty (!) singletrack with lots of short ups and down (like 5-10' maybe as I'm in Houston). No more than 2-3' drops and like to keep wheels on the ground (too old). No marathon climbs and definitely no long cruising downhill sections.

Coming off an old 4" front and rear travel 26" wheeled bike. If you were to pick one based on trail description which would you think is better? I seem to think ST STUMP is more suited for tight singletrack.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I ride tight twisty rooty (!) singletrack with lots of short ups and down (like 5-10' maybe as I'm in Houston). No more than 2-3' drops and like to keep wheels on the ground (too old). No marathon climbs and definitely no long cruising downhill sections.

Coming off an old 4" front and rear travel 26" wheeled bike. If you were to pick one based on trail description which would you think is better? I seem to think ST STUMP is more suited for tight singletrack.
Fuel, for a lot of short accelerating climbs, the Stumpjumper is going to be more lethargic and mushy. If the climbs were longer the stumpjumper might be ok to put your shock on the "climb" setting and deal with the extra harshness, but the Fuel has a flatter anti-squat curve and should keep the front end down and pedal more consistently as your weight shifts, you weigh less or more, the suspension cycles, etc., without having to use a climb-lever thing.

The fuel does have 10mm more travel, that's probably a bit much and 115-120 is probably your sweet spot for that terrain. I felt 100mm was ok in Dallas/SA/Austin but in a couple spots I wanted just a bit more.

I'd look at Devinci, Ibis, Pivot, SC and Yeti. All have solid offerings in that range that will pedal better than the Specialized and keep the front end down.
 

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I have the new SJ ST in 29er flavor. It is anything but mushy and lethargic. It would be a really good bike for your type of riding and trails. I am in my 40's, been riding along time and had lots of bikes. Trust me, they did a good job with this one. Its a fast bike. Climbs great, drops great. Rides fast and smooth. I am 220lbs loaded up and can tell you that the short travel version SJ has plenty of travel for its purpose. You cant really go wrong with any of the modern bikes out there. The bike before this was a Tallboy +. That bike was a dam good bike, but I like the new SJ more. Before the Tallboy, a Trek Fuel for short time. I hated that bike. Just did not gel with me. But my buddy ****ing kills it on his Fuel and loves his. You can throw all the geo and technical suspension curve charts out there all you want, none of it matters like how the bike performs while you are riding it.
 

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"Jayem"...i did not mean to come off as a douche. I should have portrayed our different opinions on the same bikes more light hearted. my bad
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Pivot Trail 429 ;-)

'Born to ride!'
The hub size is a big drawback on that one for me. Great bike, but I have absolutely no interest in super-boost.
 

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I have ridden both and you should also----for me the Stumpy climbed sluggishly and both were similar downhill----my daily driver is a Pivot 429T so that is what I compare to---I wanted to love the Stumpy but if just felt sluggish in comparison. Everyone will have an opinion and other options and those who own a bike seem to have trouble being critical so in the end you must ride them yourself
 

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No Clue Crew
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I’ve owned both (though the regular version of the Stumpy, not the ST). Which do I still own? The Stumpjumper.

Jayem likes to trot out tired cliches about bikes he’s likely never ridden.

I wanted to like the Trek, but it just didn’t do it for me.

All that said, the older Pivot Mach 429 Trail is an excellent bike for the trails you describe. And you can find them on closeout. Only issue is the odd sizing. I owned an XL at 6’2, 34 inseam, +2 ape index. The geo is a little old-school, but still a rad bike.
 
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