The Good: - Descending friendly Geometry
- Plush suspension
- Legitimate tires
- Dropper post comes stock
- "Autosag" on the rear shock makes setup fast and simple
The Bad: - FSR suspension isn't quite as efficient as Maestro or other VPP designs but with the Pro Pedal activated (the switch is easy to reach) there is no excessive "bobbing".
Compared to the other Stumpjumper FSR's, the EVO models have slacker head angles, lower bb's, bigger/more aggressive tires, and 150mm of travel versus 140. So what does all that mean out on the trail? Except for on the steepest of climbs the bike ascends smoothly without the need to exaggerate how far you position yourself over the front wheel but its when the trail starts to go downhill that the bike really begins to shine.
The first thing I noticed was how plush the bike feels. While the FSR suspension may not be the most efficient it is definitely one of the most active and smooth riding designs out there and for me this is a major bonus. Handling the suspension duties are a Fox RP2 shock and Rock Shox Revelation RL fork that are both simple and highly effective at keeping your ride smooth and under control. The slacker geometry combined with being able to drop the seat on the fly makes for a bike that inspires confidence on steep terrain while begging to be pushed hard in the corners and on the high speed straights. Being a downhiller at heart my goal has been to ride this bike like I would ride my DH bike (a Specialized Demo 8) and so far I have been more than impressed with its performance.
Bottom Line: Dialed geometry, intelligent spec, and plush suspension all add up to make a bike that not only climbs well but is more than capable to shred on the way down