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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys, I'm looking to purchase a new bike to replace my 2010 Rockhopper Comp Disc 26 (heavily modified) and am looking for some advice on what to consider and test ride. I'm looking to make the leap to full suspension, that much is a given, but not much else.

I've got a budget of approximately $4000. I could save up to the Expert price range ($6000 - $6500), but that would mean putting of my purchase for a while. Ideally I'd want to ride the bike this season, but if it's really worth it I could be convinced to save up. I do really like the Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29!

I'm about 5' 9 1/2" tall and with my winter weight am about 195 pounds. I would say my strengths are descending when it's fast and loose and carrying speed on rolling or flat terrain. My weaknesses are steep climbs, extended climbs, and getting over abrupt/square edge obstacles, e.g. ledgey rocks, logs, etc. I ride in New England, primarily in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

Last year I kind of hit a wall of 15 miles for my rides out here in rocky, rooty New England. It didn't matter how much I went biking, I never managed to ride beyond 15 miles. I think it might be how rough the terrain is out here and the fact that I was getting beat up on a 26" hardtail. I would love the bike to soak up the roots and rocks so that I'm wasting less energy on them.

Here's what I'm looking at right now:

  1. Camber EVO 29
  2. Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29
  3. Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 29
  4. Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29
  5. Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 26
  6. Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b
  7. Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29
  8. Enduro 26
  9. Enduro 29

Any suggestions from anyone who has ridden one or more of these bikes?

Included the 26" bikes, because it's what I'm used to, I prefer the look of 26" wheeled bikes, and they're supposed to be more playful, fun,and tossable than 29" wheeled bikes. They should also be lighter and stiffer. My heart says go with the 26er, it will be fun!

My brain says go for the 29er. They should help me on the climbs with better traction, less rolling resistance, and more momentum. They should also help me with the techy, ledgey terrain that I'm struggling with, with their increased rollover abilities. Also liking the super short stays on the Enduro 29.

Included the 650b Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO because why not? Threw it in for good measure even though the jury is still out on it. Marginal benefits over a 26er? Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 front triangle? Trying to get rid of a surplus of 29er front triangles? Stopgap bike until they design a dedicated 650b frame? Who knows?

Looking at the three Stumpjumper FSR 29ers, the Comp, the Comp Carbon, and the Elite, do you think the money would best be spent on the better component spec of the Elite, the carbon front triangle of the Comp Carbon, or carbon wheels or some other nice upgrade on the Comp?

Finally, if I got one of the Stumpjumper FSR 29ers, could I replace the 130mm Revelation / 130mm Fox 34 with a 140mm Pike and not wreck the handling/geometry too much? I know I could on any of the EVO models, but how about the non-EVO models.

Also is it possible to get a 120mm Pike air spring so that I could run a 120mm Pike on the Camber EVO 29? Or is it possible to run it with a 140mm 29er Pike? Or would that ruin the geometry and handling too much?

Thanks for the help guys!


-mmckechnie
 

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You've posted a bunch of excellent bikes,save it for the 26 wich is very....26,IMHO. I would skip the HT Stumpy aswell,unless you race there is no need to beat the heck out of your back. It's Stumpy FSR 29 or Camber 29 for me. If your weakness are climbs forget the Enduro 29.
 

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From someone who has an Enduro 29 (me), I have to say that it climbs surprisingly well. Coming from a 26 to this, I have broken several PR on the same climbs. I just picked it up a few weeks ago, and rode tons of bikes before making my purchase. After I rode the Enduro, I was comparing every bike after to it. I rode the Stumpy EVO 29, the Camber 29, Rocky Mtn, Norco Sight, Kona Process 134, Giant Trance and Trance X, and a few others, and none of them rode as well as the Enduro, IMO.

True it may not climb as well as the Stumpy or Camber, but it will get you up the mountain efficiently and those bikes can't compare to the down hill capability of the Enduro. The Euduro is an amazing machine and clearly lives up to it's reputation. You can't go wrong. Good luck, you have a tough decision.

Brandon
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You've posted a bunch of excellent bikes,save it for the 26 wich is very....26,IMHO. I would skip the HT Stumpy aswell,unless you race there is no need to beat the heck out of your back. It's Stumpy FSR 29 or Camber 29 for me. If your weakness are climbs forget the Enduro 29.
Devastazione, thanks for the reply! Can you explain why you made the switch to 29ers, I see that you own a 2014 Epic Marathon 29 and a 2013 Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29. Also what you mean about 26ers being very 26? How about 650b? Any thoughts?

I'm not considering a Stumpjumper HT. Coming off of a hardtail and am looking to make the switch to full suspension. I've noticed that after long rides, my knees and back are a bit sore, so hopefully a full suspension bike will help with that. I've also had issues going beyond 15 miles on my Rockhopper. My theory on that is I'm using so much energy to absorb all the roots and rocks. Not really planning on racing because I like to ride mostly for fun, but I might do an occasional XC or Enduro race if it's close.

When you bought your Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29, did you consider the Comp or Comp Carbon at all? If so what made you decide on the Elite? Brain rear shock? Better component spec?

Thanks again for your help!
 

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When you bought your Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29, did you consider the Comp or Comp Carbon at all? If so what made you decide on the Elite? Brain rear shock? Better component spec?

Thanks again for your help!
Rear Brain shock was the main thing. I've owned the same bike in 26 and loved it, can't ride without the Brain. Also i needed a no fuss aluminum bike. I've regret that tho,my next trail bike wil be 100% carbon.
As a roadie can't ride without the 29 wheels. They are fast and comfy and they forgive me a lot of mistakes. Also, I'm not a skilled downhiller, big wheels provide me a lot of help and safety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rear Brain shock was the main thing. I've owned the same bike in 26 and loved it, can't ride without the Brain. Also i needed a no fuss aluminum bike. I've regret that tho,my next trail bike wil be 100% carbon.
As a roadie can't ride without the 29 wheels. They are fast and comfy and they forgive me a lot of mistakes. Also, I'm not a skilled downhiller, big wheels provide me a lot of help and safety.
I wonder if I could ever upgrade to the brain if I got the comp or comp carbon. Maybe I could buy the brain specific chainstay and link and the shock-hose-brain assembly from Specialized.

Also wondering if I could ever upgrade to carbon by buying the front triangle and/or stays separately if I got an aluminum or comp carbon frame.

I guess if I go aluminum I can use the money saved to upgrade the wheels or some of the components.

Thanks again for the help!
 

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couple comments that might help

as far as getting to the 15 mile mark and not being able to go further that is probably related more to your nutrition on the bike than the bike it self. make sure you are eating something every hour during your rides and put some mix in your bottles for the longer ones. if I remember right the rule of thumb is 250-400 calories an hour.

I also live in mass and by my guess you probably ride a lot of the stuff north of boston which tends to be more rocky than the stuff south. if you don't plan on hitting the big drops or any of the other man made stuff out there I wouldn't bother with the stumpy, plenty of people have them and they do work but I think they are overkill for trail riding where we live.

I would opt for the camber carbon. not the evo model. you don't have to worry about the brain. plus you save some weight with the carbon, and won't have to carry around the extra travel of the stumpy that you probably won't need. I am a fan for finding a bike that will do 95% of what i want. plus the bike is 3800 on the speshy website and you will probably see it at the bike shops for 3500. all the stores around us sell the bikes below what you see on the website buy usually 10%

i would stay in the 4000 or less range. those bike seem to not take a huge hit when you try to sell them a couple years later. the only thing you will probably want to upgrade is the wheels which can be done later after you put some miles on it.

if you turn your interest to something racey let me know. i have a carbon epic for sale. we can meet up anytime if you want to take it for a cruise.
 

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I'd have to say Camber Evo or SJ 29 Comp. The bikes are similar price and nearly identically spec'd. The geo is also nearly the same but the camber climbs/pedals a lot better, where as the SJ has a more plush feel. They both descend very similar though and both could benefit from a bigger Fork.

If you go Camber, A 120mm Pike (extra $$ to swap the air shaft) or the 34mm X-Fusion Trace would be my choice. For the SJ a 140 Pike or Trace would be a sweet upgrade, but the stock Revelation is a great fork and looks sick!

Either bike with the fork upgrade is below your budget, and if you sell the stock fork you might have enough to upgrade the wheelset. Of keep the SJ stock and upgrade the wheels.

For the type of trails out your way a 29er is the way to go. I'd go test ride them and go with one that fits and feels the best!
 

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Rear Brain shock was the main thing. I've owned the same bike in 26 and loved it, can't ride without the Brain. Also i needed a no fuss aluminum bike. I've regret that tho,my next trail bike wil be 100% carbon.
As a roadie can't ride without the 29 wheels. They are fast and comfy and they forgive me a lot of mistakes. Also, I'm not a skilled downhiller, big wheels provide me a lot of help and safety.
I'm with ya'. Being a roadie myself the transition from road bike to mtb is much easier with the 29'er than it was with the 26. I've been on hard tails since I switched to 29'ers back in '08 (I think thats when it was) and haven't had much interest in a full suspension until the new Epic. It's not that I don't like them, I just really hate wearing hydration packs. The two 26 inch epics I had were perfect because I could run two bottles.
Back on topic, out of the bikes you've listed, i'd go for the Carbon stumpy. Would make a good all around bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So after spending hours on Specialized's website comparing component specs and geometries between all 9 bikes, watching every review I could find on YouTube, reading several written reviews, browsing several forums for user reviews and opinions, and talking to the owner of my LBS, I think I have a frontrunner, the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29.

I've all but ruled out the two 26" bikes, the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO and the Enduro Comp. Here in the northeast we have a lot of logs, roots, and rocks. They kill your momentum and drain your energy. A 29" wheel makes perfect sense for our conditions. Increased rollover ability and reduced rolling resistance. Not to mention the 29" tires have a larger contact patch for greater traction in climbing, cornering, descending, and braking. Finally, I love the speed advantage that 29" wheel bikes have, especially over rolling terrain which we have out here.

I've just about ruled out the Camber EVO for a few reasons. Having a 120mm hardtail, I didn't want my new bike to be too close in function to what I already have. The Camber EVO also has 120mm of travel and is more of an XC-Trail bike, like my 120mm Rockhopper. I also didn't like the Reba RL fork. I'd rather have the Revelation with its RC3 Motion Control DNA damper and black stanchions. Lastly, I like how the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29 comes with a dropper post. The Camber has price on it's side, but those last three points are easily worth the $300 price difference for the Stumpjumper.

I'm on the fence about the Enduro 29. At 155mm rear travel and 160mm front travel, it will probably be way more bike than I need right now. Its hard to justify the weight and pedaling efficiency penalty if I'm not going to be using the bike to its potential. I do like the stock Rockshox Pike RC. It's something I would upgrade to on the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29 anyway, so having it stock is a nice bonus even if it doesn't have the RCT3 damper. I also like the idea of the 430mm chainstays for better handling, but the 455mm chainstays on the Stumpjumper has its advantages too. More stability at speed with a longer wheelbase and better weight distribution over the bike for easier climbing with greater traction. The cost is also a slight factor. It's $200 more then the Stumpjumper and doesn't include a dropper post.

As for the Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29, Comp Carbon 29, and Elite 29. They're all great bikes, but I prefer the geometry and suspension travel of the Comp EVO 29. I've ruled out the Comp because it's the same bike as the Comp EVO, but it doesn't have the geometry or travel I'm looking for, so it makes no sense. The Comp Carbon and Elite are really stretching my budget at $4000 and $4200 respectively, and that's before tax! I've ruled out the Elite because I'm not fond of the Fox 34 Evolution fork. For $4200 I would have expected it to come with at least a Performance series Fox, maybe with the TALAS feature or with the CTD Trail Adjust damper. I do like the Brain rear shock and the nicer component spec (SRAM S-2200 carbon cranks, Shimano SLX brakes and XTR rear derailleur), but $4200 is a lot of money, especially when I want to replace the fork immediately. I could upgrade to a 140mm fork, but would lose the brain if I upgraded to the EVO shock and linkage kit to EVO out my bike, and it would be tough to justify the cost of these upgrades on a $4200 bike.

I haven't ruled out the Comp Carbon yet. I do like the idea of having a carbon bike, even if it's only the front triangle, and there is the possibility of buying the carbon chainstays and seatstays from Specialized, turning it into a full carbon bike. I could also buy the EVO kit and a 140mm fork and turn it into a Comp Carbon EVO at some point. These upgrades probably won't come cheap however and in the end might not justify the price.

I'm on the fence about the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 650b. Might fit into my rational about not going with a 26" wheeled bike, but I would like to test ride it. I am a bit skeptical about the minimal gains over a 26" wheeled bike. Also it does seem like Specialized had a bunch of Stumpjumper 29 front triangles they needed to use and they needed to make a 650b bike quickly to stop losing sales, so they put this bike together in a hurry. I just seems like they threw this bike together instead of designing it. I would like to test ride it though.

That brings me to the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29. It's got the 29" wheels. It's different enough from my Rockhopper that I won't be overlapping. It's got enough travel with 135mm in the rear and 140mm in the front. It's got the geometry I like with a slack 68 degree HTA, low BB, comfy top tube, generous standover height, and good length wheelbase. I've got the option to upgrade to a 140mm Rockshox Pike RCT3 and a Rockshox Monarch Plus rear shock. It's got a dropper post. Finally it comes in a a very reasonable $3300 or $3500 after tax here. Right where I wanted to be with my budget and it leaves me room to upgrade.

I'm almost certain this will be the bike I end up with. Now I just need to pick my color and place my deposit.
 

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Honestly I read most of what you said but not all of it. I too plan making a similar purchase to you but I’m 100% sure already what I’m doing. I currently riding a Giant Anthem X 29er (100mm/4” travel, 71 degree head tube) which is a fantastic bike, but after recently demoing something with a more slackened head tube and 650b/27.5” wheels I decided to stray from a pure XC bike. I’m choosing the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 650b EVO (150mm, 68.4 degree headtube) as an alternative to my Anthem, and it should be in within a few weeks. With a BMX background the 650b wheel seemed to be a fun, more “playful” wheel size obviously with its pluses and minuses. I plan on using this mainly for enduro and all mountain riding as opposed to XC.
Later in the summer I do plan on selling my Anthem X 29er and also purchasing a Specialized Camber EVO 29 or Expert Carbon Evo 29 (120mm/4.7” travel, 68.8 degree head tube). I plan on using this as my XC bike and am choosing the EVO version because I like to ride a little more aggressively. I ride in the North East as well and find myself often in very rocky, root fill, trails with aggressive climbs and descents and feel the 29” wheel is almost mandatory for most of the trails here. I really can’t choose between 29 and 27.5/650 when it comes to favorite, but I can tell you that the 26” wheels are going to be phased out. I don’t want to say they suck or the other sizes are “better” because each have strengths and weaknesses.
I must also mention I am a bicycles store employee so I do help people with similar decisions somewhat frequently, and being I am looking at similar bicycles for my own purchase I’ve been doing a lot of research. From what I’ve gathered so far I would point you towards the Stumpjumper 29er, Camber 29 EVO, or the Camber 29er. I also personally don’t think you want to start switching out forks and what not and changing the geometry because they typically ride best how they are. The reason I pointed you towards those bikes is because it seems like you are looking to a more efficient bicycle you can go use on all terrains. I may be wrong, but you didn’t mention and crazy drops or big jumps or downhill style parks so I don’t think an Enduro or enduro style bike are necessary. If you really NEED to get something super aggressive without sacrificing all efficiency look into the Stumpjumper 29er EVO (carbon or not they are sick). The reason I love the camber is because of the minimal travel it has without being a pure XC race bike.

I just read your second most recent response.
My current bike is 100mm and it rips. I originally wanted a hard tail but got this instead thinking it would be close but I was wrong, and I made the right choice. First, you’ve never had a full suspension bike, so I don’t think you would miss the extra travel the Stumpy will give you if you get a Camber, evo or not. My good friend has the Stumpy Evo 29er Carbon and thats why I’m 100% going to get a Stumpjumper. I am choosing to get the 650 because I need to get a good opinion on the new wheel size and feel like it will be a great choice for what I plan on using it for. I do have to say I think its a bit overkill for regular XC use. Which is why I also plan on getting the Camber Evo 29er.
ps. I joined this forum to tell you this.
 

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I would definatly go the evo route if you get a stumpy. I got a 2012 26er stumpy comp that I have converted over to an evo. Pike fork, evo link, wide bars, beefer brakes, and love it however I regret not getting the evo in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Honestly I read most of what you said but not all of it. I too plan making a similar purchase to you but I’m 100% sure already what I’m doing. I currently riding a Giant Anthem X 29er (100mm/4” travel, 71 degree head tube) which is a fantastic bike, but after recently demoing something with a more slackened head tube and 650b/27.5” wheels I decided to stray from a pure XC bike. I’m choosing the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 650b EVO (150mm, 68.4 degree headtube) as an alternative to my Anthem, and it should be in within a few weeks. With a BMX background the 650b wheel seemed to be a fun, more “playful” wheel size obviously with its pluses and minuses. I plan on using this mainly for enduro and all mountain riding as opposed to XC.
Later in the summer I do plan on selling my Anthem X 29er and also purchasing a Specialized Camber EVO 29 or Expert Carbon Evo 29 (120mm/4.7” travel, 68.8 degree head tube). I plan on using this as my XC bike and am choosing the EVO version because I like to ride a little more aggressively. I ride in the North East as well and find myself often in very rocky, root fill, trails with aggressive climbs and descents and feel the 29” wheel is almost mandatory for most of the trails here. I really can’t choose between 29 and 27.5/650 when it comes to favorite, but I can tell you that the 26” wheels are going to be phased out. I don’t want to say they suck or the other sizes are “better” because each have strengths and weaknesses.
I must also mention I am a bicycles store employee so I do help people with similar decisions somewhat frequently, and being I am looking at similar bicycles for my own purchase I’ve been doing a lot of research. From what I’ve gathered so far I would point you towards the Stumpjumper 29er, Camber 29 EVO, or the Camber 29er. I also personally don’t think you want to start switching out forks and what not and changing the geometry because they typically ride best how they are. The reason I pointed you towards those bikes is because it seems like you are looking to a more efficient bicycle you can go use on all terrains. I may be wrong, but you didn’t mention and crazy drops or big jumps or downhill style parks so I don’t think an Enduro or enduro style bike are necessary. If you really NEED to get something super aggressive without sacrificing all efficiency look into the Stumpjumper 29er EVO (carbon or not they are sick). The reason I love the camber is because of the minimal travel it has without being a pure XC race bike.

I just read your second most recent response.
My current bike is 100mm and it rips. I originally wanted a hard tail but got this instead thinking it would be close but I was wrong, and I made the right choice. First, you’ve never had a full suspension bike, so I don’t think you would miss the extra travel the Stumpy will give you if you get a Camber, evo or not. My good friend has the Stumpy Evo 29er Carbon and thats why I’m 100% going to get a Stumpjumper. I am choosing to get the 650 because I need to get a good opinion on the new wheel size and feel like it will be a great choice for what I plan on using it for. I do have to say I think its a bit overkill for regular XC use. Which is why I also plan on getting the Camber Evo 29er.
ps. I joined this forum to tell you this.
Sounds like a great two bike quiver you're building! I'm going with the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29. It seems like the perfect blend of downhill and rough terrain capability with pedaling and climbing efficiency. It should be confidence inspiring on those rough descents and stable at high speeds. The 29" wheel and 140mm of travel should make going over the roots and rocks we have here in New England much easier and less fatiguing. Finally, it should still be efficient enough for long rides.

Thanks for your help!
 

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I think it's foolish to narrow you're choices to one brand. I say this from experience.

FS is a much different animal than HT and each design has it's strong and weak points. I've had several Specialized in the past and when I decided to buy a 29er FS I just bought Specialized.

2 years later I've ridden a few different suspension designs and have found that there are others I prefer over the FSR. It was a costly mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Why committed solely to Specialized?
My LBS only carries Specialized and Trek. I've parking lot tested the Fuel EX 29 and did my research on both the Fuel EX 29 and the Remedy 29. They're nice frames and the ABP suspension with the DRCV shock work great. I just am not a fan of how the bikes are spec'd. I'd have to swap out a lot of parts in order to get it to feel right to me. The Specializeds come a lot closer to how I would build them and I wouldn't have to swap out nearly as much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think it's foolish to narrow you're choices to one brand. I say this from experience.

FS is a much different animal than HT and each design has it's strong and weak points. I've had several Specialized in the past and when I decided to buy a 29er FS I just bought Specialized.

2 years later I've ridden a few different suspension designs and have found that there are others I prefer over the FSR. It was a costly mistake.
My LBS only carries Specialized and Trek. I parking lot tested a Fuel EX 29 and liked the DRCV rear shock and ABP suspension design. I went home and researched the Fuel EX 29s and the Remedy 29s. They're nice bikes, but I am not a fan on how they're spec'd. To get the bikes to feel right to me, I'd have to swap out a lot of components on the Trek and it doesn't seem worth it to me. The Specializeds come much closer to how I would build the bike myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would definatly go the evo route if you get a stumpy. I got a 2012 26er stumpy comp that I have converted over to an evo. Pike fork, evo link, wide bars, beefer brakes, and love it however I regret not getting the evo in the first place.
I've decided to go with the Stumpjumper FSR Comp EVO 29. Will eventually upgrade the stock Revelation to a Pike, the Fox CTD rear shock to the Monarch Plus DebonAir which Specialized recently announced as an upgrade, and the Formula C1 brakes to either Shimano XTs, Avid Elixir X0 Trails, or their new Guide brake. May upgrade other things as well like the wheels, the tires, the drivetrain, the bar and stem, but not sure what those will be yet. I'll definitely be running the bike stock for a while.
 

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My LBS only carries Specialized and Trek. I parking lot tested a Fuel EX 29 and liked the DRCV rear shock and ABP suspension design. I went home and researched the Fuel EX 29s and the Remedy 29s. They're nice bikes, but I am not a fan on how they're spec'd. To get the bikes to feel right to me, I'd have to swap out a lot of components on the Trek and it doesn't seem worth it to me. The Specializeds come much closer to how I would build the bike myself.
That won't matter if you ride something later a say to yourself ****, I like the ride of this much better. Trust me, I've been there. My Stumpjumper was 6 months old when I test rode a Tallboy- big mistake.

You may love the feel of a Specialized, who knows. You're telling me you have one LBS anywhere close to you. You're spending 4k, I'd think you'd be will to drive a little to make sure it's money well spent.
 
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