Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here’s some initial impressions from the weekend couple of rides on my new Stumpjumper Expert FSR. I prefer leaving a first report 'till after a few more miles, but 30 miles seems enough to post up first thoughts as nothing's changed

It was a beautiful early Spring day for a maiden ride on Sunday morning, with a slightly damp top covering from yesterday’s rain giving decent tacky grip and reasonably fast going.

My riding: Rolling hilly, woodsy, rooty, hardpack with kitty litter, 50% climbing (hilly to steep XC stuff, with some rutty, rooty techie) the rest flowing singletrack, descents – mainly short steep and quick, some long & very fast. No fire roads, no rocks, some 2’ max drops.

Previous 29er’s: ’07 RIP9, SIR9, Lenz Behemoth, Banshee Paradox, plus test rides Sultan TNT, Surly KM, GF Rig.

Sum-up: very well sorted trail bike. Just does everything real well.

Build: I went for frame only and swapped parts off my outgoing ‘moth. Reba 120 TA; Formula Mega’s 120/180; XT crankset 2x9 with bash; Gravity Dropper (to be fitted as I’m waiting for a shim – I do miss it); 50mm stem & 2” Nukeproof 29” risers level with saddle; Stans Flows with tubeless 2.4 Ardent, and anything big (~2.4) up front, conditions dependent, 25/22psi

Brain: No clunks, noises, operating sensation through the frame, no once it’s open the suspension keeps on bouncing, or anything else I’ve heard said for that matter. In fact, the brain is totally silent, and integrates seamlessly with the shock.

I turned the brain fade compression adjuster a bit this way and the other to start with and quickly settled on a setting I liked. When I turned it all the way I found the setting was 3 clicks from fully firm (which I’ve noticed a few others mentioning they have settled on). This gave a firmish feel with very little bob, and seamless progression into the rest of the shock’s travel.

I had imagined the suspension would be totally inactive and HT like with the inertia brain damping valve closed, with noticeable and obvious excursions into travel when the trail demanded. What actually happens is that the suspension is a little active all the time, the brain does NOT completely lock out the shock, even on fully firm.

So when climbing, over roots for example you get some suspension activity which makes the rear hook up very well. Better traction than a HT in this situation. Progression when needed into the rest of the rear travel is seamless.

So overall the rear suspension just works very well with what seems like fully tuneable preference, from a softer downhill rough trail setting to full race. I am very impressed with the way the brain fade compression works, from an efficiency and performance point. It is much better than I expected.

Ride: Minor tweaks of brake lever positioning and saddle alignment were all that was needed to feel very comfortable. The immediate feeling from the first off was of a well sorted bike. Solid, well designed and appealed to what I was hoping for - the HA is slack, which I measured to be 69.5 and the short chainstays make the front easy to lift with a nimble overall feel. High speed stability was quite apparent – better there than the Lenz and the Banshee here. I think the bigger sizing has much to do with this (large cf mediums), but the feeling of solidity and composure was very reassuring, cringe alert on - it railed. I haven’t got the rear suspension dialed fully as I couldn’t get the sag to Specialized’s recommendation of 9-11mm, despite inflating the shock to 240psi (I am 190lbs). Only just over half the travel was used on the ride and I will try more sag to see what that gives.

Things I like so far: Great standover. Curvaceous looking, TT/ST brace doubles as grip sized pick-up handle :) Has TT cable anchor points for Gravity Dropper remote

Nit picks so far: The only thing I don’t really like is the way the brake and gear cables course underneath the BB shell. To me this seems to make them vulnerable

Here's a couple of pics taken on Sunday's ride
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Another nice feature is the front der cable routing through the frame.

It has a metal gland with a extended inner guide through the frame (not shown) which the cable inner & outer seat into. Shown is the rubber compressible dust cap which fits over the metal guide

The pic of the cable routing under the BB which I don't really like

I've been getting the suspension dialed/run in, and it can best be described as extremely impressive...
 

Attachments

·
Powered by ice cream.
Joined
·
6,356 Posts
Nice bike. It seems that of all the main manufacturers, Specialized "gets it" the best IMO.

Did you get a new tapered Reba with the frame or are you using reducer cups?

I bounced around on a Stumpjumper carbon hardtail with tapered HT and tapered Reba, and it was impressively stiff indeed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Enel said:
Nice bike. It seems that of all the main manufacturers, Specialized "gets it" the best IMO.

Did you get a new tapered Reba with the frame or are you using reducer cups?

I bounced around on a Stumpjumper carbon hardtail with tapered HT and tapered Reba, and it was impressively stiff indeed.
I went for the frame only option and swapped everything, including the non-tapered Reba. Included was this adapter (reducer headset cup) with a bearing - they think of everything for you.

I bounced (tried) around on a friend's 23" (yes 23") Rockhopper - man that thing seemed nukeproof
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
D3DO said:
Why did you swap out from your 'moth?
Two reasons - the frame was too small, and I wanted better pedaling efficiency.

I bought the 'moth with a play bike in mind and we have had fun, but what it came down to for me, was if a bike, whether FS or HT is under delivering in an area you need for your riding, and there are better alternatives out there, the alternatives for me win out. For my XC lots of mixed ups & downs short, long grunts, I wanted more efficiency.

It's going to hurt to part company

What I've got with Specialized's rear suspension is alot more than just efficiency though. I've been mulling over how best to delicately relate the comparison of these two bike's suspension performance, and have to say simply the Spesh blows the 'moth's out for the water. Usual caveat applies that this is my preference, and for my terrain likes etc...
 

·
Working Man's Toilet
Joined
·
834 Posts
bonesetter2004 said:
I've been mulling over how best to delicately relate the comparison of these two bike's suspension performance, and have to say simply the Spesh blows the 'moth's out for the water.
If that is delicate I would hate to hear you be blunt!:D

Thanks for your candor- am looking forward to reading a comparison once you have more time in the saddle.
 

·
boba fett on a bike
Joined
·
405 Posts
Nice Stumpy. I really need to get a test ride on one of these. I'm just curious...are you happy you went with the frame only and built it up with the parts you had from a previous bike or if you could do it all over again would you buy complete? $2500 for the FSR Comp 29 seems like quite a deal. I see the FSR Expert 29 frame runs $2000 (no fork).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am not familiar with the parts on the stock Expert, but read everything seems well synergised to the intended use of the bike.

I would probably tweak a bunch of stuff on a stock bike, so prefer to go for custom builds
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,199 Posts
For starters, the Comp does not have the Brain shock. The Expert completed bike has a MSRP of $3300.

Ronnie.
 

·
Powered by ice cream.
Joined
·
6,356 Posts
bonesetter2004 said:
What I've got with Specialized's rear suspension is alot more than just efficiency though. I've been mulling over how best to delicately relate the comparison of these two bike's suspension performance, and have to say simply the Spesh blows the 'moth's out for the water. Usual caveat applies that this is my preference, and for my terrain likes etc...
Interesting. It really looked to me, that aside from dampers, the speshy and Moth are not all that different. I only have a couple demos on old Spechy's and they were active, and they bobbed and pitched like mad. This is not necessarily bad, but they weren't exactly the best pedaling things without "brains"
 

·
Bodhisattva
Joined
·
10,843 Posts
Enel said:
Interesting. It really looked to me, that aside from dampers, the speshy and Moth are not all that different. I only have a couple demos on old Spechy's and they were active, and they bobbed and pitched like mad. This is not necessarily bad, but they weren't exactly the best pedaling things without "brains"
The suspension and linkage design are very different

A well tuned FSR suspension rides very efficiently
 

·
Powered by ice cream.
Joined
·
6,356 Posts
The Squeaky Wheel said:
The suspension and linkage design are very different

A well tuned FSR suspension rides very efficiently
I heard from many reliable sources:rolleyes: that the TNT design rides even better:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
lucky me....

I feel like one of the lucky ones, mine just came in last week.

First impressions are spot on to all the glowing remarks from others. Below are what impresses me the most....

Head angle....it's wierd, it feels slack when descending, but is plenty responsive when climbing tight stuff. Almost bipolar. I took it climbing through some very tight steep switchbacks today and it did great - much better than my previous steep head-angled 29er hardtail. I think slacker head angle 29er's are definitely the way to go. Specy is on to something here.

Rear shock....hard to explain, but the brain is amazing. I know there are personal preferences, but I can't imagine the triad is better. When you put this thing all the way to soft, it's wide open and ridiculous plush. When you put it firm, it's - well - plenty firm. Having a wide spectrum to choose between these too is really nice.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top