Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Stumpjumper Comp HT ... a review

So, now that I have had my Stumpjumper for a few weeks, I suppose that I could give a completely uneducated and from-the-hip review.

Let me start by saying that I live somewhere in the limbo between "purist", "hack", "zealot", "freak", "hard-core", "fred", "heretic", "roadie", "wannabe", and "bikist:" (I made that last one up ;). I love bikes and bicycling, but by no means am I an expert on anything related to cycling... hell, I am barely an expert on anything relating to ART and I consider myself an artist! I love riding in all it's various forms and over the course of my life (aside from a brief respite) cycling has been one of the very few constants...

I get on a bike and ride -- not because I need to achieve something... not because I have to overcome something... not because I gotta hit my gains... not for any other reason other than that I LIKE IT; I LOVE IT. That being said... here is my review:

2010 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp HT 

I have ridden a few MTBs in my time... not as many as some, I admit, but in my admittedly limited experience I think that I have cultivated an appreciation for a good bike, and this is not my first MTB.

Prior to this bike I have done some time on a:
  • '94 Rockhopper (hardtail, steel fork) which was, incidentally, my first MTB.
  • 2004 Rockhopper Comp W/ Manitou Axel Elite fork
and most recently a few tours on a:
  • 2008 Trek 6000 W/ Rock Shox Dart 3 fork
I liked all of them but none of them (save the Trek) came close to being what I really wanted from a MTB. The Old 94' was a great bike but was "back-in-the-day" prior to my rekindled love affair with cycling; and my friends who rode were just too competitive for me and so, as a result, it was never fun.

The 04' Rockhopper I bought used and the fork was shot... aside from being a bit too small and a bit too heavy, I just didn't like it.

the Trek was actually a rental during several trips that a few friends and I made to the Kingdom Trails in Vermont last year... it was certainly a very good bike and I had mad fun on it... was still not quite what I was looking for.

Almost as soon as the last trip to VT was over I began hoping and planning for a new mountain bike of my very own... alas, unemployment and other economic factors conspired to keep that aspiration on the back burner for several months (try... 13 or 14 months!). But at least this gave me plenty of time to research, save, plan, and talk to people about it.

A lot of people, bike shop people especially, all suggested a full suspension MTB... now, I rented the 6000 specifically because I liked hardtails... I like the rigidity and speed, the lack of loss of energy transfer. I rode the full susp. Trek that one of my other riding buddy's had, and I was not overly impressed; for my style of riding. Several people I spoke to said "oh don't worry... the new shocks..." blah blah "lock outs..." blah blah... etc.. etc...
...and while all of this technical mumbo jumbo and engineering speak may very well be true -- it doesn't change 3 very important (to me, anyway) facts:

1) More parts = more potential issues/maintenance
2) More parts = more weight!

Now, I had a budget and an idea of how I wanted the bike to be spec'd. This immediately eliminated most full suspension MTBs... and certainly ALL the ones that fit my component criteria. Which, you have to remember, is OK because I DID want a hardtail!!! All of this culminated in the last week in September when I had finally narrowed all my choices down and decided upon a bike...

Nearly a year goes by and finally I was in a position to decide and my LBS (local bike shop) is apparently in bed with Specialized so I was able to get my new bike for a bit less than I expected...BUT that did not seem to matter too much as I had to wait nearly 6 weeks for my bike to "arrive" though it was only supposed to take a few days... but arrive finally it did.

Here it is prior to even removing the reflectors...

All I can really say with regard to an actual review is this:

It's almost as light as my roadbike (which I was astounded by)... and despite, or perhaps because of, this fact; it is mad fast on hard packed trails, pretty formidable on the road just cruising around, and really easy to handle out in the woods.

After I got all the elements dialed in (seat, stem, bars, etc...) I was able to climb easier than on any other MTB I have ever been on. One might think that this "lack of" weight would be a detriment on loose gravel/sand uphills, but I did not experience that at all. Up loose stone and dirt, over a forest of roots, and down more big ass rocks than I was really ready for, the combination of the Fox Float F90 RL and the Specialized M5 AL frame allowed me to attack the terrain from crazy to tame with confidence... even with my +200 lb frame, everything felt solid and predictable, which I consider to be an ideal quality in the machines I trust my well being to!

Here it is after a shower needed by my first mudding excursion in Fresh Pond ... post rainstorm!

In conclusion: I couldn't be happier... It's fast, agile, able, light, and a hell of a lot of fun.


  1. nice..

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  2. My MB experience is limited to the black Murray I rode in junior high and high school in the 1990s. I think yours is a little nicer though : )

  3. Filigree--

    It is truly a "lovely bicycle" as far as being a capable MTB ;) I am a bit disappointed that, even in their high-end bikes, Specialized does not build in the US. It makes me somewhat happy that I bought my Cannondale road bike one of the last years they still hand-built them in Connecticut.

    I also have to say that I have a mean "like" for some of these independent, locally built bikes. Perhaps I'll save up for a nice touring bike! I would love that.

    Thank you very much for the comment!