2019 Specialized Stumpjumper Women's Comp Carbon 27.5 Bike

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Long-Term Test: Specialized Women’s Stumpjumper

How does the new Stumpjumper hold up in the long run? Vital's lead female tester saddled up on the Comp Carbon 27.5 model to find out.

Rating: Vital Review
Long-Term Test: Specialized Women’s Stumpjumper

This Specialized classic has gone through several generations and has been the companion to many historic tails about epic rides of yesteryear. In 2018, the Stumpjumper once again received many updates. Among them, it inherited the previous Demo’s spaceship-like sidearm main triangle design, got a bit longer than before, is now stiffer and lighter, has a geometry adjustment, and the little details are more dialed than ever. For the women’s models, a female-specific Specialized Rx suspension tune comes standard front and rear. It’s safe to say this is a big update compared to Stumpjumpers of the past.

The bike was previously ridden by the gents at Vital, but with a women’s version available as well – like eating lobster in Maine or drinking wine in France – Vital had to have a taste of that too. The women's version has since been ridden in a wide variety of terrain and put through the wringer. Let's dive in...

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Adjustable geometry allows you to tune your ride
  • Convenient SWAT storage option for stashing away a tube, jacket, bar, etc
  • Super lightweight and stiff frame feel
  • Comfortable frame geometry in and out of the saddle
  • Ingenious internal cable routing makes maintenance easier with less rattle
  • Built-in frame “sidearm” carrying handle (Cheers, Curtis Keene)
  • Great mud clearance
  • Some questionable component choices
  • Can be noisy on rough trails
  • Inconsistent suspension feel, making it less than ideal on technical climbs
  • Can get bogged down and hung up in rocky trail sections
  • Bigger 2.6-inch tire size can be a point of struggle

Women’s Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 27.5 Highlights

  • 150mm (5.9-inches) rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) fork travel
  • 27.5-inch (650b) wheel size
  • FACT 11m full carbon frame with asymmetrical design
  • FSR suspension design
  • Rx Women's Tune on the FOX suspension components
  • Asymmetrical sidearm frame layout
  • SWAT storage downtube compartment and bottle-cage tool
  • Fully-guided internal cable routing
  • Flip-chip in rear shock mount for high and low geometry adjustment options
  • Custom molded chainstay, seatstay, and downtube protection
  • GXP threaded bottom bracket
  • Boost 12x148mm rear axle spacing
  • 1X drivetrain only
  • XS, S, M, L women's sizes
  • MSRP: $4,220 USD

Specialized’s goal for the new Stumpjumper was to make a bike that connects with the rider to a point that it feels downright telepathic – no mixed signals from the bike’s feedback to the hands and feet. To get this balanced rider-to-bike feel, they determined that stiffness was key. Specialized set to work optimizing their layups, testing until they found the stiffness sweet spot with their FACT 11m carbon. Then, adopting the “sidearm” main triangle layout from the Demo provided the best possible stiffness-to-weight ratio. By connecting all three shock mounting points in one structure, they were able to minimize deflection when the suspension is active. This sidearm design also reduced the frame weight by about 100 grams.

The next point of focus was the suspension. Specialized's team of suspension gurus honed what they call their “Rx Tune,” aimed at ensuring that the base tune falls around the middle of the available adjustments. This leaves riders with a larger usable range for twiddling knobs and getting their perfect suspension feel. For the women’s bike, a Women's Rx Tune based on generally lighter rider weights and lower air-spring pressures was applied to both the fork and rear shock. Specialized even provides a specific Rx Tune for each bike size.

Lastly, it's up to date on new standards and full of added improvements. They did away with a press-fit bottom bracket and a threaded version returns. There's more room for more rubber, accepting up to a 3-inch wide tire. Standard shock stroke and eye-to-eye dimensions are used so aftermarket swaps are easier. The handy SWAT box was also revamped to be sleeker, lighter, and provide 20% more snack volume. A newly designed chainstay protector is used to disrupt the wave of the chain, stopping chain slap and quieting the drivetrain. There's also a super slick internal routing system that eliminates any fiddling about.

Geometry

On the geo side of things, the updated Stumpjumper went a bit longer in the reach and chainstay departments, making for a longer overall wheelbase. In addition, the head-tube angle is slacker and the seat-tube angle is steeper. Rider weight is further forward when pedaling up the mountain, and the added bike length adds stability at speed on the descents.

There is also a Flip Chip in the rear shock mount to go between High and Low geometry positions, adjusting the bottom bracket 6mm, slackening the head tube by half-a-degree, and changing the reach by 5mm, letting you to dial-in the Stumpjumper to suit the ride de jour.

On The Trail

This bike went on some incredible MTB road trips, raced some local fun-duros, and has been on countless rides. It’s been ridden on fast, flowy trails with super fun turns, through mountain forests with a mix of rocky conditions, and in sandy, rocky deserts that keep you on your toes. Then, to push its limits, this Stumpjumper Comp 27.5 faced the abuse of the Angel Fire Bike Park on a handful of occasions.

Before heading out on some of the more epic journeys, the bike was dialed in on the trails around Durango, Colorado. The FOX Float DPS Performance shock was set at a 30% sag (25% to 30% sag is Specialized’s recommended range), and the FOX Float Rhythm 34 GRIP fork as specified by FOX for a 150-pound rider. On the smoother, pedaly trails around town, the bike instantly felt like it had good pedaling efficiency – even better with the rear shock set to the middle compression setting. Power put into the pedals felt like it went straight into propelling the bike up the hill. Even with big, knobby tires, it rolled well. When descending, the geometry of the bike quickly felt comfortable and balanced.

These first rides were in the low geometry position. It wasn’t until pedaling up an early-season high-country ride to the snow line did the Stumpjumper feel at odds in the low position. On steeper, extended climbing, it was hard to make the front end track precisely where desired. The front wheel wanted to wander a bit, demanding a more forward body position and very intentional steering to keep it on trail.

The first trip on the summer schedule was to Oakridge, Oregon. This was the perfect place not only to burn through all the brake pads but also to dial in the bike. Throughout several trails and multiple laps of each, the geometry adjustment was swapped back and forth and suspension adjusted. The fork had no volume spacers installed and there was a 0.6-cubic-inch spacer in the shock from Specialized. Preferring a more progressive feel, a spacer was added to the fork and the shock's stock spacer was swapped out with a larger one. Combined with a little extra compression damping, the added progressivity brought the bike to life a bit more and made it more enjoyable to play with when pumping and popping off of terrain – especially the kind found in Oakridge.

These suspension settings could be a bit jarring on rougher trails, but I preferred the more supported feel it provided and staying further up in the travel a majority of the time. Ultimately it was most comfortable around 27% sag and in the middle compression setting.

Riding the same trails in both high and low geometry positions was a great way to feel the differences. Both are good and can be ridden on anything fine, and each will improve different aspects of the ride. In Oakridge and later back in Durango, the high geometry position was preferable for the majority of rides. Climbing uphill took less energy and controlling the bike felt more intuitive. Yet, there were still rides where low was the way to go, and having the ability to switch the geometry was awesome. In the high position, while descending rocky trails, the bike would sometimes get hung up and the front end would pinball. Riding the same chunk in the low position was often like riding a different bike. Things felt much better when descending steeper, rockier, and more technical trails. At Angel Fire Bike Park, for example, a swap to low was definitely in order after a single lap in high.

Power put into the pedals felt like it went straight into propelling the bike up the hill. Even with big, knobby tires, it rolled well. When descending, the geometry of the bike quickly felt comfortable and balanced.

As summer progressed, so did confidence on the bike. Expectations and goals were raised while more challenging trails were ridden. Yet, during this time it sometimes felt like my faith was lost in the Stumpjumper. Part of this I attribute to the tires, and another part to the suspension.

While they gripped pretty well, the big ol’ meaty 2.6-inch-wide Butcher and Purgatory GRID tubeless tires needed to be adjusted to an exacting PSI to accommodate for each ride’s expected terrain. These larger-volume tires had their advantages when the pressure could be low by making things more comfortable, but they made for a ride experience I didn’t love otherwise. As soon as the trails got rockier, more pressure was needed to defend the rims from getting dinged. Likewise, extra pressure was needed on hard-packed trails where lots of pumping and pushing happens. If pressures were off by just a few PSI it was very noticeable – much more-so than a narrower tire. Additionally, for some rides, there wasn’t one pressure that felt acceptable for all the trail conditions covered. This was the most apparent in Sedona, Arizona on trails that transitioned between chunk and slickrock often. I’d feel bounced around in a rocky section, then in the next section the squirm and pull of the tires made me feel much less in control.

Suspension wise, the bike didn’t always respond as expected. While the bike pedaled quite well, attempting more powerful moves on challenging climbs felt like my efforts were being vampired by the suspension and I had nothing to support my execution, even in the high geometry position with added compression on both the fork and shock. I’d liken it to playing sand volleyball: you go to dive for a ball but your feet push through the sand, leaving you on your face and down a point on the scoreboard. Descending too, there were occasions when I would put a lot into the bike trying to pop over a rocky section on the trail and the bike didn’t consistently respond as expected. Going against Specialized's goal of an almost telepathic connection with the bike, different rides and even different moments on the same trail could feel so varied.

Build Kit

The Women's Stumpjumper Comp Carbon is Specialized’s most affordable carbon build with contact points tailored specifically for female riders.

Building and setting up the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon was a pretty easy task. Out of the box, it was as simple as putting on the wheels and handlebars. With a stock 750mm bar width and 45mm stem length, there was no need for making swaps in the cockpit. Without any markings on the Specialized handlebars, however, finding the center required a measuring tape. The only change made during testing was the grips once bike parks came into the rotation. The stock Specialized Sip grips, while fine for trail riding, didn’t have quite enough cushion to help the hands withstand the chatter in the park.

Performance wise, the FOX FLOAT 34 Rhythm fork performed decently well and got the job done. One downside was that it was noticeably noisy on rougher trails, making squishing and squeaking noises over bumps.

The Roval Traverse alloy wheels did not come out of this test alive. The rims provide 29mm of inner width to support the wider tire, but the wheels gave up the ghost a while ago and have been barely holding on. The rims have some pretty sizable dings in them, but the most disappointing part is that the rear Specialized hub was shot when a bearing went kaput after just four months. When they were fresh though, they were fine. The hub engagement is good enough for what I ask of it, and the wheels felt plenty stiff laterally.

A saddle is a personal and individual experience that seems to be different for every rider. For me, I found the female-specific 155mm wide Specialized Myth Sport saddle a bit firm for my liking. Riders who wear a chamois probably wouldn’t find the firmness uncomfortable. It also felt like it didn’t quite match up with my bones, being a bit wider through the middle portion of the saddle than what I have become accustomed to.

X-Fusion’s Manic dropper post was consistent and reliable. As for travel sizing, the 150mm travel length now provided on size medium bikes is great for a 30-inch (762mm) inseam length.

The Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain ran smoothly with little drag and seemed to hold up during the extended testing period. It’s not the butteriest of shifting when going across the whole cassette but gets the job done. For some of the gears, it pops in a bit roughly and more noisily compared to other drivetrains. The only odd thing noted was that it went through two derailleur cables. Both frayed at the derailleur, each after about three months of riding.

Shimano's SLX brakes with 180mm and 200mm rotors had great power, which took some getting used to out of the gate. Coming off a SRAM setup, I had to adapt my braking to avoid going straight into skidding or feeling my weight pitch forward. From there things were pretty solid on the trail. As soon as the pads wore past halfway, though, the brakes would feel pretty poor. Despite doing a few rear brake bleeds, inconsistent lever pull was unpleasant enough to send us straight to the bike shop for fresh pad replacements.

Note that the most recent version of this bike is equipped with SRAM Guide R brakes and a SRAM NX 1x12 drivetrain, bumping the price up $300 to $4,520. Based on our other tests, these components are reliable and comparable in performance to the items they replaced. The updated drivetrain choice also provides an easier gear for steep climbs.

Long Term Durability

After one year of use, several components proved to be clear weak points. These included the brake pads, rear hub, rear rim, lower derailleur pulley, upper two cogs in the cassette, and the original rear tire which went goodbye pretty fast due to a sidewall cut. Additionally, the bright paint colors seemed to fade in the sun over time.

On the positive side, the custom rubber guards and clear vinyl used in several locations kept the frame in good shape, the bearings all felt good, the nicely designed derailleur hanger was still straight, and the front tire, dropper post, and steel chainring proved to be in it for the long haul.

Specialized backs the frame with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner.

Things That Could Be Improved

A flip-chip is certainly a neat feature and, in the case of the Stumpjumper, it makes a noticeable change. Unfortunately, making the swap is not quite the easiest. Both shock bolts need to be removed, completely detaching the shock from the frame to make the switch. Then, almost without fail, a part gets drops into the dirt, rocks, grasses, etc. As far as a tool for the job, being supplied with a SWAT tool, that’s what you reach for. Alas, the asymmetric sidearm of the frame gets in the way of making full revolutions with a small multi-tool. The flip-chip is nice but perhaps has some room for improvement – especially when the rest of the frame details are so dialed.

What's The Bottom Line?

It’s tricky to declare the Specialized Women’s Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 27.5 a total win or loss. It feels like the bike could excel but is held back by some of the components, whether it be short lifespans, bodily discomfort, or simply those that are what they are as budget options. There were standout moments where the bike would shine, but others when it didn’t ride consistently. Specialized’s frame design, geometry, and resulting general feel of the bike are great, however, and with the right upgrades the bike's true potential can really show through.

Visit www.specialized.com for more details.

Vital MTB Rating

  • Climbing: 3.5 stars
  • Descending: 4 stars
  • Fun Factor: 3.5 stars
  • Value: 3 stars
  • Overall Impression: 3.5 stars - Very Good

About The Reviewer

Courtney Steen - Age: 32 // Years Riding: 12 // Height: 5'7" (1.70m) // Weight: 155-pounds (70.3kg)

"Going downhill puts a smile on my face and I climb for beer." Courtney routinely shocks the boys with her speed and has experience in various disciplines. A silent force behind the scenes for Vital MTB, she's posted up in Durango, Colorado and has experience with dozens of women's bikes. Her technical background helps her think critically about products and how they can be improved.

Photos by Brandon Turman

Specifications

Product Specialized Stumpjumper Women's Comp Carbon 27.5 Bike
Model Year 2019
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Women
Sizes and Geometry
XS, S, M, L View Geometry
Size XS S M L
Top Tube Length 547 570 595 627
Head Tube Angle 66.5° 66.5° 66.5° 66.5°
Head Tube Length 100 105 110 140
Seat Tube Angle 75.3° 75° 74.6° 74.2°
Seat Tube Length 380 380 410 455
Bottom Bracket Height 336 (-21 drop) 336 (-21 drop) 336 (-21 drop) 336 (-21 drop)
Chainstay Length 432 432 432 432
Wheelbase 1135 1157 1179 1212
Standover 739 739 743 758
Reach 395 415 435 455
Stack 587 592 596 623
* Additional Info All measurements in mm unless otherwise noted
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details FACT 11m carbon fiber
Rear Travel 150mm
Rear Shock FOX Float DPS Performance, Rx women's tune, rebound and 3-position compression adjustment, 210x52.5mm
Fork FOX Float Rhythm 34, GRIP damper, 44mm offset, 2-position sweep adjustment, 15x110mm, tapered alloy steerer
Fork Travel 150mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered 1.125"-1.5"
Headset Direct drop-in cartridge bearings
Handlebar Specialized Trail, 6061 alloy, 8° backsweep, 6° upsweep, 27mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clamp
Stem Specialized Trail, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6° rise, 45mm
Grips Specialized Sip
Brakes Front: SRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 200mm rotor
Rear: SRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 180mm rotor
Brake Levers SRAM Guide R
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle, trigger, 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG05
Chainguide None
Cranks SRAM NX Eagle, DUB, 165mm on XS, 170mm on S/M/L
Chainrings 32 tooth, steel
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, threaded
Pedals Specialized Dirt
Chain SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed, 11-50 tooth
Rims Roval Traverse 27.5, hookless alloy, 30mm inner width, tubeless ready, 28 hole
Hubs Front: Specialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 110x15mm
Rear: Specialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 148x12mm
Spokes DT Swiss Industry
Tires Front: Specialized Butcher, GRID casing, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss ready, 2.6"
Rear: Specialized Purgatory, GRID casing, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss ready, 2.6"
Saddle Specialized Myth Sport, steel rails, 155mm
Seatpost X-Fusion Manic, infinite adjustable, two-bolt head, bottom mount cable routing, remote SRL LE lever, 100mm on XS, 125mm on S, 150mm on M/L
Seatpost Diameter 34.9mm
Seatpost Clamp Nutted alloy, 38.6mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions Boost 12x148mm
Max. Tire Size 3.0"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Satin, acid lava, acid pink, and black
Warranty Lifetime for the original owner
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous SWAT door integration
Sealed cartridge bearing pivots
Fully enclosed internal cable routing
Flip chip to change the bottom bracket height by 6mm and the head tube angle by half-a-degree
Price $4,520
More Info

www.specialized.com

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