2016 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b (discontinued)

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Discontinued
2016 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b
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2016 Test Sessions: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650B

Rating: Vital Review

Reviewed by Fred Robinson and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller

While Specialized may have been a bit late to the 650b wheel game, they're doing it right for 2016. The all-new Stumpjumper FSR gets a ground up redesign for the new year, gaining a more aggressive attitude, an ultra short rear end, updated shock tune, and a wild-looking SWAT compartment hidden in the downtube. We tested the Comp Carbon model during the 2016 Vital MTB Test Sessions, which offers some pretty clever and exclusive tech combined with high value components right out of the box.

Highlights

  • Carbon frame with aluminum rear triangle
  • 27.5 (650b) wheels
  • 150mm (5.9-inches) of front and rear wheel travel
  • FSR suspension
  • Tapered headtube
  • Fully enclosed internal cable routing
  • Chainstay, inner seatstay and downtube protection
  • SWAT door integrated into downtube
  • Taco Blade front derailleur mount
  • Sealed cartridge bearing pivots
  • PF30 bottom bracket with ISCG mounts
  • 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size Large, no pedals): 30.1-pounds (13.7kg)
  • MSRP $3,800 USD

Out back the Stumpjumper uses Specialized's FSR suspension, which they've been tweaking and tuning for over two decades. Also known as a "Horst Link" design, FSR is a four-bar linkage claimed to effectively isolate chain torque and brake loads. Sealed cartridge bearing pivots throughout keep the system running smoothly. It's equipped with a custom FOX Float Evolution CTD rear shock, which utilizes Specialized's unique AutoSag feature for easier setup. The rear shock mount and 197x47.6mm shock size are proprietary, so shock swaps and upgrades are unfortunately very limited.

It was only a matter of time before the short chainstay technology used on the Enduro 29 made its way into the rest of Specialized's lineup, and the 2016 Stumpjumper is among the first to benefit with stays that measure just 420mm (16.5-inches). That's really short! While the removable "Taco Blade" front derailleur mount is a big part of the equation, going this snug meant saying goodbye to the seatstay bridge, freeing up more room for suspension movement and tire clearance. Despite the missing seatstay bridge, Specialized says the end result is actually stiffer than the previous design. Drastically beefed up stays and larger pivot bearings contribute to the stiffness equation, and the rocker and shock extension around the seat tube have also seen some modifications.

One standout feature is the SWAT Door. Simply flip a few clasps, remove the bottle cage/door, and viola! You're able to discreetly store essentials in the downtube. Being able to put a spare tube, CO2 canister, tire lever, a light rain jacket, M&Ms, etc, inside the frame instead of having to store them in a pack or strapped to the frame is a wonderful feature. While both hydration packs and SWAT bibs have their own merits, it was nice to be able pack hard items in a place where we’re not worried about landing on them in the event of a crash. A supplied tool roll in the SWAT compartment ensures that items don’t move around and make noise while riding. Specialized also made a convenient multi-tool slot near the upper shock mount, which allows the tool to be slid into place with a reassuring snap.

Also new for 2016 is improved cable routing, which no longer follows the underside of the downtube. The new internal routing uses molded tubes inside the frame to eliminate rattling and make maintenance as pain free as possible. All cables enter on the sides of the head tube and exit just before the bottom bracket, where they’re then externally routed along the stays.

Other details include a PF30 bottom bracket, ISCG mounts, 12x142mm rear end (with 142+ wheels), and an impressive 19mm (0.75-inches) of mud clearance. The frame is protected on the chainstay, inner seatstay, and downtube by custom molded rubberized guards.

Specialized offers the Stumpjumper FSR in a ton of different models, including 29-inch and 6Fattie (650b+) varieties. The 650b version comes in three carbon models ranging from $3,800 to $8,600, and two aluminum models at $2,900 and $4,300. Frame/shock packages are also available. Top of the line S-Works frames use a higher end FACT 10m carbon on the front triangle and seatstays with M5 alloy chainstays. We tested the $3,800 Comp Carbon which uses a FACT 9m carbon front end paired with alloy chainstays and seatstays.

Geometry

We're pleased to report that while the Stumpjumper 650b previously used a hodgepodge of leftover 29er frame parts and spacers resulting in some odd geometry, the new bike is much more dialed. Highlights include 420mm (16.5-inch) chainstays, 333mm (13.0-inch) measured bottom bracket height, 74-degree seat tube angle, and reasonably long reach measurements across the four sizes. You won't find an EVO model in the lineup anymore, as Specialized chose to give all of the bikes a slacker 67-degree head tube angle.

On The Trail

In concept, the AutoSag shock sounds pretty cool: Inflate the shock 50psi over rider weight, sit on the bike, depress the red release valve until it stops letting air out, cycle shock to set negative and positive spring, then go ride. In practice, however, we found the system to not function as well as we'd hoped. We couldn’t get the sag correct despite multiple attempts, forcing us to set up the shock the traditional way. We initially set the FOX Float Evolution CTD to the "plush" 30% sag recommendation.

We tested the Stumpjumper in on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, and our rides had a technical climb to the top and an incredibly fast and rocky descent with a few flowy high-speed sections mixed in for good measure.

Once on the trail, it was immediately clear the Stumpy was one of the better climbing bikes at this year’s Test Sessions, despite its 150mm of travel. With a 2X drivetrain you get a very efficient and immediate pedal feel in the small chainring. If you'd prefer a simpler setup or a different model, know that the antisquat properties are well suited to a 1X drivetrain with a 30 or 32-tooth chainring.

The front end didn't wander while pointed uphill, and even on steeper climbs we didn't need to get excessively over the front end to keep the bike planted. Thanks to the somewhat upright 74-degree seat tube angle we felt very centered. It pedaled great both seated and out of the saddle, and with the rear shock in the open mode the back wheel stayed glued to the ground well, giving us traction when we needed it on technical climbs. On bigger, ledgy obstacles requiring lots of body language, the rear end did tend to caught a bit deep into its travel, but switching to the medium compression mode alleviated this and was our preferred climbing setting. While we never felt the need to, we did try the shock in the firmest setting which didn't completely lock the shock out, allowing it to still open up over big obstacles to take the sting off. In practice we’d only use the firm position for extended road climbs, as it does result in a pretty rough ride. The bottom bracket height is pretty low, and as a result careful pedal placement was needed to prevent rock strikes.

Descending flowy and fast sections of trail with some chundery bits was an absolute blast. The extremely compact chainstays encourage you to pick up the front end and dice your way through turns. We found ourselves playing with line choice, hopping sections, and pumping the terrain lending to a playful ride that was both stable and predictable. So much so, in fact, we found ourselves going for some pretty unique lines just to see how the bike handled them, which it did quite well.

Squish! Watch the Stumpjumper's FSR suspension system in action.

The bike has a gently progressive leverage curve that regresses a bit toward the end of the stroke, which typically pairs well with low volume air shocks. Running a few numbers you'll find that the overall leverage ratio is pretty dang high at 3.15:1. On trail this results in a bike with good small bump performance, despite not having FOX's latest DPS damping or EVOL air can technologies. Only time will tell if the shock will hold up to extended abuse.

We did push the bike a bit out of its comfort zone a bit on steeper, rockier bits of South Mountain's Geronimo trail. Once in downhill bike worthy territory we had to back-off from pushing the bike into the terrain and ride it more cautiously than we would have a more aggressive ride. While its ability to tackle square edge hits at a moderate pace was good, in fast successive hits we noticed it tended to blow through its travel a bit more than we'd have liked. Removing a single click of rebound damping on the rear shock helped keep the bike a little bit higher up in its travel. In an effort to further improve this we also firmed up the rear end by about 5% sag, and found the slight adjustment helped through high-speed sections and deep g-outs without hindering other ride characteristics much.

Specialized runs a volume reducer in the FOX Float rear shock, though a slightly larger reducer will help with bottom out support for seriously hard charging riders. Despite being a bit overwhelmed in the roughest bits, it was still a fun bike to ride in those conditions.

Under heavy braking the rear end stayed active, helping us maintain control and traction when we often needed it most. We experienced no issues with pedal-kickback.

Build Kit

Key items like Specialized's Butcher and Purgatory Control tires, Command Post IRcc dropper, and wide Roval Traverse Fattie rims carry through all Stumpjumper models, giving each bike similar ride qualities. The $3,800 Comp Carbon model uses a variety of other high-value components that perform surprisingly well given their low price point.

Cockpit wise you'll find a Specialized branded 750mm (29.5-inch) wide alloy handlebar paired with a 60mm Specialized XC stem. While they'll suit many riders, our taller testers preferred the descent-favored handling provided by a wider setup with a slightly shorter 50mm stem.

With a dropper, two shifters, and two brakes, there's a lot going on cable wise up front. Specialized did do a good job of keeping it as clean as possible with the use of the Shimano’s I-Spec system, which allows the brake and shifter to share the same mounting clamp, and Specialized’s own dropper lever takes the place of the left grip's inner lock-on clamp.

New for 2016, the Command Post IRcc dropper adds several 5mm stop increments in the center portion of its travel, making it easier to find that perfect seat height. It still comes up pretty violently, but reducing the post's air pressure can help in this regard.

While limited on the compression damping front, adding a Bottomless Token to the budget friendly 150mm (5.9-inch) travel RockShox Revelation RC3 will allow you to run the suggested air pressure settings and keep it from blowing through the travel excessively. It offers excellent small bump sensitivity and tracked well in chattery corners. In terms of rigidity, the fork resisted twisting and sending us off in weird directions when things got rough, but we did notice a little fore-aft flex compared to the Pike alternative spec'd on other models. As a result, bigger riders may want to upgrade the front end to something a bit more robust.

While the 2.3-inch Specialized Butcher Control tire up front and rear Purgatory Control offered generous amounts of traction in both cornering and braking situations, we found the casing to be a bit outgunned when it came to the rock infested Arizona trails. We cut the sidewalls of both tires on our first descent, forcing us to patch the tires with tape and run tubes. For those riding loamy trails with minimal rocks it's likely these tires would be adequate, but for anything else we'd recommend upgrading to the burlier Grid casing versions of the same tires.

Wheel performance was good with the Specialized’s own Roval 650b alloy wheelset. Under heavy braking or acceleration we experienced no spoke windup or excessive flexing, and the wheels were snappy and predictable through corners and in the rough. In fact, just pairing the 29mm internal width rims with some meatier tires would go a long way to helping the bike feel more capable when things got steep and nasty.

Coupled with 200/180mm Ice-Tech rotors front and rear, the Shimano Deore brakes offered plenty of controllable power. The large front rotor is pretty rare on trail bike builds and makes decelerating quickly from higher speeds very manageable, even with a budget brake. We never experienced any fade despite dragging our rear brake down some extended descents.

While shifting performance was good with a mix of Shimano XT/SLX and SRAM X7 parts, we had a few issues in this department. Specialized chose to spec the bike with a 2x10 drivetrain, which lead to several dropped chains while descending in the big ring. With the lack of a chain-retention device or running a dedicated 1x11 setup with a narrow/wide chainring, we don't see a good solution for keeping the chain in place. We also managed to fold a few cogs on the SRAM PG-1030 cassette while climbing a steep section of trail, which had to be replaced. It should be noted this failure wasn’t due to poor shifting practices or chain-slipping issues, it simply folder under heavy load. We also noticed a bit of noise from the chain slapping, which could likely be remedied with some mastic tape.

Long Term Durability

The Stumpjumper frame held up great to the abuse we were able to throw at it during this review. We experienced no loose bolts or strange noises from the linkage, and overall everything looked solid by the end of our test. As noted, we found the tires not to be up to the task of rocky trails, but luckily these are a disposable part that is usually the first to wear out on a new bike. We also exploded the rear cassette, which was one of SRAM's least expensive 10-speed cassettes.

Specialized offers a generous lifetime limited frame warranty, and two year limited complete bike warranty, which would likely cover the cassette issue. Suspension equipment coverage is limited to five years.

What's The Bottom Line?

The 2016 Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b is a blast to ride, and Specialized has done a great job making a bike that's just as capable going up as it is going down. While it's not a standout performer at either discipline compared to other bikes in the 150mm travel class, it's a great all-around performer and a welcome improvement from the previous 2015 version. The bike showed its limitations when trail conditions got super hairy, but for fast, flowy, and moderately rough trails the bike is very enjoyable. It has a very balanced, controlled feel and the ability to charge head-on into unfamiliar terrain. The SWAT feature is incredibly convenient and will be loved by minimalist riders.

In terms of value, this model was one of the best bikes we tested this year at $3,800, which was substantially less than many other similarly spec’d bikes. With its overall performance and value, we think this Stumpy is a great choice.

Check out www.specialized.com and revisit our First Look slideshow feature for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Descending: 3 stars - Good
  • Fun Factor: 4 stars - Excellent
  • Value: 4.5 stars - Outstanding
  • Overall Impression: 4 stars - Excellent

Bonus Gallery: 26 photos of the Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650B up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Fred Robinson - Age: 31 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Height: 6'1" (1.85m) // Weight: 240-pounds (108.9kg)

"Drop my heels and go." Fred has been on two wheels since he was two years old, is deceptively quick for a bigger guy, and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. Several years of shop experience means he's not afraid to tinker. He's very particular when it comes to a bike's suspension performance and stiffness traits.

AJ Barlas - Age: 35 // Years Riding MTB: 15+ // Height: 6'3" (1.91m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

"Smooth and fluid." Hailing from Squamish, BC, AJ's preferred terrain is chunky, twisty trail with natural features. He's picky with equipment and has built a strong understanding of what works well and why by riding a large number of different parts and bikes. Observant, mechanically inclined, and always looking to learn more through new experiences and products.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

About Test Sessions

Four years ago Vital MTB set out to bring you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. That tradition continues today as we ride 2016's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes in Phoenix, Arizona. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Rage Cycles. Tester gear provided by Troy Lee Designs, Royal Racing, Smith, Fox Racing, Race Face, Easton, and Source.

Specifications

Product Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650b
Model Year 2016
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 558mm 587mm 618mm 646mm
Head Tube Angle 67° 67° 67° 67°
Head Tube Length 95mm 105mm 115mm 125mm
Seat Tube Angle 74° 74° 74° 74°
Seat Tube Length 396mm 430mm 468mm 523mm
Bottom Bracket Height 335mm 335mm 335mm 335mm
Chainstay Length 420mm 420mm 420mm 420mm
Wheelbase 1096mm 1126mm 1158mm 1184mm
Standover 737mm 743mm 757mm 759mm
Reach 388mm 414mm 442mm 464mm
Stack 590mm 599mm 608mm 617mm
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details FACT 9m Carbon, FACT IS Carbon Construction, M5 Alloy Rear Triangle
Rear Travel 150mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT Evolution CTD, AUTOSAG, Rx Trail Tune, 197x47.6mm
Fork RockShox Revelation RC3 650b, Solo Air Spring, 3-Position Compression Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Tapered Steerer, 42mm Offset, 15mm Maxle Lite Thru-Axle
Fork Travel 150mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Hella Flush, 1-1/8" and 1-1/2" Threadless, Campy Style Upper with 1-1/2" Lower, Cartridge Bearings
Handlebar Specialized, 6000 Alloy, 8° Backsweep, 6° Upsweep, 25mm Rise, 750mm, 31.8mm
Stem Specialized XC, 3D Forged Alloy, 4-Bolt, 6° Rise
Grips Specialized Sip Grip, Light Lock-On, Half-Waffle, S/M: Regular Thickness, L/XL: XL Thickness
Brakes Front: Shimano Deore, Hydraulic Disc, Resin Pads, Ice-Tech Rotor
Rear: Shimano Deore, Hydraulic Disc, Ice-Tech Resin Pads with Fins
Brake Levers Shimano Deore BL-M615, I-Spec Compatible
Drivetrain 2x
Shifters Shimano SLX, 10-Speed, Trigger, I-Spec
Front Derailleur SRAM X7, Mid Direct Mount, with Taco Blade
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow Plus, 10-Speed, SGS Cage
ISCG Tabs Yes
Chainguide N/A
Cranks Custom SRAM S-1250, 7050 Alloy Arms, 10-Speed Double, 104/64mm BCD Spider
Chainrings 36/22 Tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM, PF30, OS Press-In Bearings, Sealed Cartridge
Pedals Nylon, CEN Standard, with Toe Clips
Chain SRAM PC-1031, 10-Speed, with PowerLink, Nickel Finish
Cassette SRAM PG-1030, 10-Speed, 11-36 Tooth
Rims Roval 650b, Alloy, 29mm Inner Width, 24/28 Hole
Hubs Front: Specialized, Hi Lo Disc, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 15mm Thru-Axle, 24 Hole
Rear: Specialized, Hi Lo Disc, 4x Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 12mm Thru-Axle, 28 Hole
Spokes DT Swiss Industry, Stainless
Tires Front: Specialized Butcher Control, 60TPI, 2Bliss Ready, Folding Bead, 27.5"x2.3"
Rear: Specialized Purgatory Control, 60TPI, 2Bliss Ready, Folding Bead, 27.5"x2.3"
Saddle Body Geometry Henge Comp, Hollow Cr-Mo Rails, 143mm
Seatpost Command Post IRcc, Cruiser Control Technology, Micro-Adjust Height Adjustable, Alien Head Design, Bottom Mount Cable Routing, Remote Adjust Lever, S: 100mm Travel, M/L/XL: 125mm Travel
Seatpost Diameter 30.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Specialized, 7050 Alloy, Single Bolt, 34.9mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142mm x 12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Gloss Blue Carbon Tint/White Clean or Satin Black/Gallardo Orange/Moto Orange
Warranty Lifetime for Frames and Forks
Five Years for Suspension Attachment Points and Related Equipment (Pivot Points, Bushings, Chain Stays, Seat Stays, Shock Links, Fasteners)
One Year for Paint/Finish and Components Attached to the Bicycle/Frameset (i.e. Saddle, Wheels, Drive Train, Brakes, Seat Post, Crankset, Handlebar, Stem, Baskets, Racks, Etc.)
Weight 30 lb 2 oz (13,664 g)
Miscellaneous SWAT Door Integration
Fully Enclosed Internal Cable Routing
Replaceable derailleur hanger
Price $3,800
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