With the Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy, Specialized has done something you don’t see often: bolting on top-spec suspension to an aluminium frame. Usually, those fancy bouncers are reserved for their fancier carbon-frame brethren. It’s not always easy to find top-end carbon frame features on more cost-effective alloy models, but that’s where the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy comes in. So, is this aggro trail bike as good as it sounds?
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy frame and suspension
The Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy shares a lot of details with its more expensive carbon siblings. Constructed from Specialized’s M5 alloy, it shares a host of the same frame features as its carbon fibre siblings. This includes the asymmetric frame design, adjustable head tube angle (changeable headset cups), SWAT internal frame storage, internal cable routing and a flip chip. The M5 alloy frame still employs Specialized’s sidearm strut, an asymmetric member that spans from the seat to the top tube on the driveside and is used to bolt the shock to the front triangle.
The alloy frame sports Specialized’s iconic side strut, which helps increase frame stiffness. The frame also benefits from size-specific tunes labelled Rider-First Engineered. This tailors frame stiffness across the bike’s six sizes, so riders on the larger S6 models should have a similar ride experience to those on the smallest size S1. Specialized S-Sizing denotes that bigger bikes grow in reach length without a sizeable increase in seat tube height. That means riders should be able to choose between longer and shorter bikes depending on their preference, but more on the geometry in a minute. The brand has also included its SWAT down tube storage in the aluminium frame. This has the capacity for a 625ml (22oz) SWAT bladder for carrying water, plus space for tools, snacks and other trailside essentials. The attached bottle cage also has room for one of the best multi-tools.
SWAT storage in the frame enables you to stash all your ride essentials, so you don’t need to carry them – or forget to take them with you. The bike comes with 29in wheels front and rear, but an aftermarket shock link is available if you wish to run a mixed-wheel setup and have a smaller 27.5in wheel on the back. This keeps the geometry and kinematics the same.
A flip chip at the chainstay/seatstay pivot enables you to choose between a low and high setting. The head tube also uses large 1.5in headset cups. The bike comes with stock 0-degree headset cups, but has 1-degree offset cups you can install so you can run the head tube angle plus or minus 1 degree from standard. Other frame features include internally routed cables, bolted-on chainstay protection and a 73mm threaded bottom bracket. In addition, there’s a 12x148mm Boost rear axle.
Changeable headset cups mean you can run the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy with a head tube angle between a slack 63.5 degrees and 65.5 degrees. Suspension-wise, the Stumpjumper dishes out 150mm of rear travel from its Horst-link platform, and the shocks use Specialized’s RX tunes. There’s a slight rearward axle path through the first 40mm of travel to help absorb bumps. The leverage rate has approximately 19 per cent progression through the travel to give the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy a blend of supple beginning-stroke travel, supportive mid-stroke and usable ramp-up.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy geometry
The flip chip in the rear pivot enables you to choose your preferred geometry depending on your riding style and local terrain. With the frame’s two-position flip chip (high and low), three-position head tube angle (-1/0/+1-degree) and additional mullet wheel-size link, there are 12 possible geometry settings for the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy. That should be enough to keep a diverse range of trail riders happy. Here’s Specialized’s Stumpjumper EVO geometry finder so you can see which setting suits you best.
I tested the size S3 frame in the middle head tube position with 29in wheels. From the shop floor (high setting), this has a capable 64.5-degree head tube angle, 77.2-degree effective seat tube angle, moderate 448mm reach, snappy 438mm chainstays, and low 31mm bottom bracket drop. These numbers are intended to result in a bike that balances aggressive descending capability with responsive handling. The low setting slackens the head tube and effective seat tube angle by half a degree, drops the bottom bracket by 7mm and shortens the reach by 5mm.
|Head tube angle (degrees)||64.5||64.5||64.5||64.5||64.5||64.5|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||78||77.6||77.2||76.8||77||77|
|Seat tube length (mm)||385||385||405||425||445||465|
|BB height (mm)||335||340||340||340||340||340|
|Top tube (mm)||538||564||590||623||647||679|
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy specifications
The sturdy 160mm-travel Fox 36 Factory forks are a spec highlight. Specialized has done an excellent job of blending together usable components. Nothing here needs immediate upgrading, bar setting the EVO Elite Alloy up tubeless, although the wheels are tubeless-ready. The Fox Factory 36 forks and Float X Factory shock are big selling points and quality pieces of kit. SRAM’s GX Eagle drivetrain is a proven workhorse, and SRAM’s Code RS brakes with 200mm rotors are plenty powerful enough for trail duties.
Roval Traverse 29 Alloy wheels and Specialized Butcher and Eliminator tyres help keep the price down. It’s good to see a OneUp V2 dropper post with decent travel specced, as well as a Deity stem. The bars, saddle and grips come from Specialized, all work well and aren’t a cause for concern. All this weighs in at 15.21kg without pedals in a size S3.
It’s nice to see a branded dropper post, and the OneUp V2 has been reviewed well in the past.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy ride impressions
I tested the Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy on various trails, from natural steep off-piste tech to smooth flow trails riddled with jumps and berms. Conditions ranged from wet and greasy to dusty loam and hardpack gravel. Climbing was tackled mainly on fire roads and double tracks, with some steep singletracks thrown in for good measure. I set up the rear suspension with 30 per cent sag, ran the compression damping fully open and rebound to my preference. Next, I set the forks with 90psi, ran the high-speed and low-speed compression fully open and set the high-speed rebound to 6 clicks from closed and the low-speed rebound to 13 clicks from closed.
I didn’t run into other setup issues with the bike. I easily got my handlebar height and saddle to a position that suited me. The only issue I had was a rear-tyre puncture on the very first descent. Specialized has told us it sells its bikes with inner tubes, so the tyres stay inflated on shop floors. However, if you want to push this bike to the full extent of its capabilities, we think you’ll have fewer punctures with a tubeless setup. The good news is the rims and tyres are tubeless-ready.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy climbing performance
Climbing on the Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy is decent. With its 150mm travel, it will let you winch yourself up some pretty steep grades. Pedalling up climbs on the Stumpjumper EVO is as I would expect from a 150mm-travel trail bike. It’s certainly no slouch for its aggro nature, and most of the time, I didn’t reach for the shock’s climb switch to firm up the rear suspension. The back end remained composed during seated efforts. It gave helpful comfort and traction over chunky terrain without wallowing into its travel or robbing power. Its low bottom bracket height will catch you off guard with pedal strikes sometimes, but I feel it’s a compromise worth making.
The shock position makes it easy to find the lever to firm up the rear suspension. I used it on steep climbs to help preserve the bike’s climbing geometry and prevent my weight from sliding further backward than needed. The seated position was comfortable for extended-pedalling rides. I never felt I had to move around the bike to keep myself balanced between the wheels. However, with the moderate effective top tube length, I could easily shift my weight fore/aft on the bike to load either wheel on steep pitches if needed. The EVO Elite Alloy climbs well, but won’t keep up with more dedicated trail bikes. However, it’s less of a chore than an enduro bike.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy descending performance
Tight, awkward turns are navigated with ease, thanks to the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy’s geometry. On the descents, it’s a similar situation. I settled on the middle headset position and low flip chip setting (64-degree head tube angle, 443mm reach, 443mm chainstay length, 42mm bottom bracket drop). This geometry configuration made me feel confident on the Stumpjumper EVO thanks to its low bottom bracket and trustworthy head tube angle. Through the turns, it delivers plenty of grip and a stable platform to dance the bike from side to side. It’s a real benefit for slicing through tight trails, helped by its well-balanced front and rear centre lengths.
On longer corners, the low-slung frame hunkers down and grips the ground with tenacity, whether railing a berm or hugging a flat corner. As a result, I never felt I had to actively ride over the front of the bike to get it to steer how I wanted. This allowed me to ride the bike with plenty of efficiency. While the top-spec Factory Fox suspension does a great jump of taking the sting out of the bumps, and the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy is a stable bike over rough and choppy trails, don’t expect its suspension to behave as capably as its geometry allows through the turns. The 150mm of travel is measured, and it’s not a plush magic carpet ride.
The kinematics still shout ‘trail bike’ at you. While it will carry speed well through the bumps, the bike prefers to be ridden light, seeking out the smoother lines and using its support to pump and flow down the trail rather than bash through whatever’s in front of you. I felt the suspension was more supportive than plush, and riding over high-speed rough sections, there was a decent amount of feedback coming back to me.
It used less of its travel than I was expecting it to. Compared to the Focus JAM 8.9, for example, with its 150mm, that bike feels planted and tracks the ground. The Specialized appeared to prefer skipping over the bumps rather than smoothing them out. It’s fast, but to me, its travel prioritises efficiency over comfort. This is great for more mellow trails, where the bike doesn’t subdue them into feeling like tedious motorways. Instead, you can get the most from them by playing around on the trail.
The low-slung frame gives plenty of confidence when the trails point down. On steep trails, the geometry and capable fork promote aggressive riding. However, I found the rear tyre’s limitation. It struggled to deliver the braking traction required for total commitment. Still, for 90 per cent of the riding, this wasn’t an issue. This bike makes total sense for a lot of UK riding, and the variety of trails it can handle is wide. It shines on natural hand-built trails in the woods. However, it will still tackle the bike park, although not as well as the best enduro bikes, and it’ll blast around a trail centre, though not as speedily as a shorter-travel trail bike. However, for a UK one-quiver killer, the Stumpjumper EVO is impressive and will suit a lot of people
How does the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy compare to the Privateer 141 SLX XT?
Specialized has filled a bit of a void in the mountain bike market with the Stumpjumper EVO Alloy, which is a little hard to fathom considering the vast number of bikes out there. The aggro geometry and travel that falls between trail and enduro is rare for a rival aluminium bike with top-tier suspension. So I’ve looked at the Privateer 141 SLX XT as a good comparison. Both use aluminium frames and contemporary geometry, and are well kitted out. The Specialized has 10mm more travel front and rear, though. Both bikes have efficient suspension when pedalling and are quick to pick up speed on the descents. The geometry figures for a 175cm rider from the brand’s size guides give recommended frame sizes with very similar dimensions.
The lower bottom bracket height of the Specialized makes it splendid through the corners. One thing our testers noticed about the Privateer is you need to be on your game to get the most from its handling. Pedalling in chunky terrain will be more of a hit-or-miss affair on the Specialized. Pick your sizing carefully and these are both tremendous aggressive trail bikes that won’t hold you back.
Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy bottom line
It’s great for a brand such as Specialized to release a bike with this spec on an aluminium frame. The price-to-performance ratio is impressive, and this bike provides tons of fun on many types of trails. There are plusher 150mm-travel bikes out there, but this one makes the most of every ride.