The storied Specialized Stumpjumper EVO—arguably the most famous mountain bike model in the history of our sport—is back for 2021, and the newest incarnation feels more refined and adjustable than ever before.
With a headtube angle that’s adjustable from 65.5 degrees all the way down to 63 degrees, and a bottom bracket with height adjustability from 32 millimeters of drop to a ground-hugging 39 millimeters of drop, the new Stumpjumper EVO Expert we tested comes with multiple geometry options that can radically change its personality on a wide variety of terrain.
The 2021 Stumpjumper EVO certainly has retained some of the climbing characteristics of its previous iteration. Specifically, it’s a bike that is far better to climb in the seated position than hammering out of the saddle—a trait attributed to the FSR suspension platform, which gives impressive traction through chunky terrain while climbing in the seated position. While climbing in the seated position, my weight felt balanced between the front and rear wheels, allowing me to stay comfortable and in control on even the steepest of climbs. I found the lowest bottom-bracket setting to be the best for climbing, as it extends the chainstay dimensions, adding to its overall stability. When it came to dialing in the compression on the super-active Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite shock, I preferred switching it into the middle setting on the climb switch to slightly stiffen the pedaling platform.
Geometry & Specs:
Wheel size: 29"
Rear travel: 150mm
Head tube angle: 63°
The new bike’s downhill performance, however, is even more impressive than its tractor-like climbing ability. With the head angle raked out to 63 degrees, the long wheelbase paired with the low bottom bracket made the Stumpjumper EVO feel like a turbo-charged rally machine on the descents. I was impressed by how much the 63-degree head angle added stability at high speeds, while also giving massive confidence when charging down some hideously steep rock rolls. In this slacked-out setting, the bike really does pave the trail in front of you, and I found I was quickly shoving the fork into rocks and holes without a care in the world. What’s more, the new kinematics of the shock allowed me to land deep off big drops without fearing the dreaded bottom-out clank of days past.
For me, the best thing about the new Stumpjumper EVO is that with 160 millimeters of suspension in the front and 150 millimeters in the back, I always felt connected to the terrain underneath me. And with the reasonable reach of 468 millimeters, the EVO still feels incredibly agile, especially given the bike’s high level of stability. Even with the 443-millimeter chainstay on my size S4, the EVO was easy to pull up for manuals. And perhaps even more importantly, in the low bottom-bracket setting the EVO cornered tightly despite its lengthy chainstay.
The thought that Specialized put into the new Stumpjumper EVO is obvious, and it addresses some of the issues with previous iterations while retaining its signature characteristics of less suspension with slacker geometry.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Expert - $4,900