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Hands-on Gear Review

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon 6Fattie 2017 Review

The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie looks just like the rollover beast that it is.
Price:   $6,500 List
Pros:  Bouncy house fun levels, great for pushing limits
Cons:  Big bike to push around, vague feeling takes some of the fun out for experienced riders
Bottom line:  Super fun bike to push your limits on, whether your a newb or a MTB veteran
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Specialized

Our Verdict

If you are devoted to light, fast xc steeds, the 2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon 6Fattie might send you into a wheel-weight induced spiral of despair. If you like to go faster, hit harder and screw up without consequence — basically, if you like to have lots and lots of fun — you're going to fall in love. The 6Fattie is great for imprecise downhill smashing and serves as training wheels for anyone looking to try out a harder skill with a more forgiving ride, whether that be new blood hoping for a fun first MTB impression or an experienced rider seeking out a harder line. It also wins the 2017 Trail Bike Fun Factor award. Don't let its fifth overall fool you, this is a great bike. It's just hard to classify. Its handling is fairly responsive, but those 3" Purgatory, GRID tires don't need to be. They blot out every obstacle, even on the uphill, helping the suspension stay bottomless and bounding. You can't dampen the rebound of all that rubber. Riding the Stumpjumper 6Fattie is almost a different sport, like mountain biking on a powder day. It's playful, but lethargically so. One tester put it best, "this bike is just totally stoned."

Specialized FSR Pro Carbon 29 First Ride - The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon 6Fattie is 27.5+ and 29er compatible. We tested the Stumpjumper as a 27.5+ version but just switched out the wheelsets and had a few of our head testers rally the 29er build around. Read all about it below.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Trail Mountain Bikes of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Clark Tate
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
January 31, 2017

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Swapping 27.5+ Wheels for 29ers


It's a Jekyll/Hyde thing. With plus sized tires, the Stumpjumper is laidback, imprecise, smash-through-anything fun on the downhill. But it's also sluggish on the flats and smoother climbs. The 29er build feels faster and much more efficient, especially climbing up less technical terrain, but reduced traction takes away from the flat-out fun factor. Check out the 27.5+ on the left and the 29er on the right below.

Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie
 

When it comes to choosing between the two versions, our two testers, both aggressive descenders who like long rides, disagree. One prefers the original 27.5+ version, stating that much of the bike's personality disappears when rolling around on the 29er wheelset. To him, the 29er Stumpjumper's handling feels remarkably average. It's capable, but standard, cornering like a 29er and not coming close to touching the excellent traction and aggressive feel of the Yeti SB5.5 or the poise of the Ibis Ripley. It's hard for him to love. In contrast, with the 3" tires, the 6Fattie version puts a smile on his face despite how much he hates climbing on the Ohlins rear shock with its lack of a lockout.

The other tester appreciated the reduced traction of the 29er, feeling like it's cornering is excellent, faster than the 6Fattie version due to the lack of grip. The lighter tires are also easier for him to throw around. He sees it as a playful and efficient rocketship, charging efficiently, descending confidently and launching jumps. And it's fast, giving the brakes a workout. (They slow things down more efficiently with the 27.5+ tires.)

What they both agree on, is that there are better bikes out there. Either would choose the SB5.5 or Ripley over the 29er version, and the Pivot Mach 429 Trail is a better bike in both 27.5+ and 29er iterations. Read more below.

Switch Out Standoff — Specialized Stumpjumper versus Pivot Mach 429 Trail


The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie looks just like the rollover beast that it is.
Of course this goat is hanging out on a mountain top.
 
The Pivot Mach 429 Trail feels both more efficient and trail oriented than the Stumpjumper in both their guises, 29 and 27.5+. While the 3" tires on the Stumpjumper 6Fattie are fun, we think the 2.8" rubber on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail are the plus size sweet spot. The 2.8" tires don't have as much uncontrollable bounce and are lighter, making cornering easier. Basically, you can take advantage of all that traction because you can still move the bike around. They also work with a wider psi range, making the bike more adjustable. The 3" tires on the Stumpjumper are a little too forgiving, verging on gimmicky.

Ultimately the Pivot Mach 429 Trail is the better switch bike, acting like a legitimate XC racer in its 29er form and smashing trails so hard and efficiently as a 27.5+ it could go enduro.

Wheelset Switch
  • 29er — Roval Traverse 29, Boost, 29mm rim width, Tires — 2.3" Butcher GRID Front, 2.3" Slaughter GRID Rear
  • 27.5+ — Roval Traverse 650, Boost, 29mm rim width, Tires — 3.0" Purgatory GRID

6Fattie Analysis and Test Results


Find out how six pro bike testers pitted six pro bikes against one another in our How We Tested article.

The Stumpjumper 6Fattie knows how to show you a good time.
The Stumpjumper 6Fattie knows how to show you a good time.

Overall Speed


The Stumpjumper 6Fattie feels slow, and pedaling all that rubber around tends to tire you out. But, here's the thing, it rarely is slow. Combining the results of our three time trial courses — one downhill, one technical climb, and one smooth climb — places the Stumpjumper in second place for speed overall. The chart below shows the results in seconds per minute, as in, if each of the three courses lasted one minute, each bike would have gained this many seconds over the bike in last place, the Intense Recluse.

The Stumpjumper smashed its way to first place on the rock stairs of our technical uphill course, The Soul Grinder. While its fat and grippy tires take it easy on our technical skills, the 6Fattie doesn't take it easy on our legs, or lungs. Keeping enough speed to climb the rocks is a tiring task. We strive to put in the same amount of effort on every bike, every time, but we always arrived at the top gassed on the 6Fattie. After crossing the finish line, every one of our testers felt like they had just registered their slowest time ever. Many assumed they'd have to rerun the lap because it felt so laboring, so slow. But it wasn't. To universal disbelief, we looked down at the clock to find our fastest times.

As we got more comfortable with the 6Fattie's climbing style, we stopped panicking as much about the pace and just enjoyed the ride. We still had a hard time believing the times we registered, but we enjoyed the ride more. Knowing that you'd be leaving your buddies in the dust helps you care less that you feel slow doing it. We're still not sure what kind of black magic animates this bike, but we'll just take it and run.

The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie takes its technical climbing abilities to second place in the test for overall speed  shown in how many seconds each bike gains on the rest per minute ridden.
The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie takes its technical climbing abilities to second place in the test for overall speed, shown in how many seconds each bike gains on the rest per minute ridden.

It's not the fastest on our downhill test course The Scorpion, but it's the funnest. The Stumpjumper came in third in our downhill time trials, dropping behind the review winning Yeti SB5.5 and Ibis Ripley LS. The 6fattie still makes you work for it in the flatter sections linking the steeper drops, but it kept us smiling. Overall, the Stumpjumper keeps pace with the other bikes until you pedal up featureless singletrack, then it moves into second to last place. Its biggest speed advantage is its forgiving, confidence-building nature. You rarely have to shut it down.

A blast on the descents  the Stumpjumper 6Fattie opens up your options on the trail with it's unflappable stability and forgiving tires.
A blast on the descents, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie opens up your options on the trail with it's unflappable stability and forgiving tires.

Downhill


We have one question: Why didn't someone figure this out sooner? Everyone agreed that bouncing downhill on 3" of tire is an insanely fun way to spend a day. One tester climbed off the bike raving: "This is this my favorite test bike to ride downhill, ever!" That includes the bashing machines he rode during the 2016 Best Enduro Mountain Bikes Review. As we pried it away from his joy-locked hands he swore he never wanted to head downhill on another mountain bike. In the same breath, he wondered if plus bikes were just a fad, afraid that his current devotion would become a future embarrassment if the trend didn't stick. But we say when a bike is this fun today, who cares about tomorrow?

That said, the Stumpjumper didn't end up as the downhill favorite. Over time we appreciated the almost as unshakable and much more nimble Yeti SB5.5, rated 9 of 10, and more playful Ibis Ripley LS rated 8 of 10. The 6Fattie tied with the Santa Cruz Bronson at a 7 for its nearly too stable nature.

Speed


The Stumpjumper 6Fattie has a light pedaling feel but is slow to accelerate. Once you get to speed, however, it holds itůdecently. Our testers felt like they were working a lot harder on the downhills to reach their proper pushing it in a repeatable manner level of sprinting. You're never coasting on this bike.

Hanging in the middle of the biker gang for downhill speed  the Specialized took a time penalty for its slow pedaling on The Scorpion. The trail took an average of 3:41 minutes:seconds.
Hanging in the middle of the biker gang for downhill speed, the Specialized took a time penalty for its slow pedaling on The Scorpion. The trail took an average of 3:41 minutes:seconds.

The tires maintain more momentum than the 27.5" Santa Cruz Bronson or Intense Recluse but as your speed drops off in the flats, it's really hard to get it back. What speed you do whip up is comfortable to keep due to all the traction and extra cushion offered by the tires. Keeping off the brakes put the Stumpjumper in third place on the downhill test course, The Scorpion, as shown in the chart above. The 6Fattie stayed 6.5 seconds ahead of the Intense Recluse and 2.9 seconds behind the ever-winning Yeti.

It's easy to get where you need to go with a cockpit this comfortable.
It's easy to get where you need to go with a cockpit this comfortable.

Confidence


In the way that driving a monster truck in rush hour traffic makes you feel pretty confident that you'll get to your destination on time, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie guarantees that you'll make it down the trail just fine. It feels secure. Never threatening to pinball through the rocky stuff, it just tanks over it all.

The 6Fattie has technical skills all its own. You have to struggle to do anything wrong on this bike. If you blow a line you can choose to recover (which is more challenging for our smaller riders) or just let it ride. Either way, you'll probably be fine. The 6Fattie pretty much just requires you to keep the tires on the ground. If there is a bike to step up your game by trying that bigger, burlier line, this is it.

The Stumpjumper 6Fattie offers unstoppable confidence levels and backs it up at every turn.
The Stumpjumper 6Fattie offers unstoppable confidence levels and backs it up at every turn.

Handling


It takes a minute to get used to most bikes. When you jump on the Stumpjumper 6Fattie for the first time, it feels like you've been riding it your whole life. It's incredibly stable, smooth, predictable and forgiving, tracking nicely through chunk sections. Even timid handling will get you through. More aggressive steering can put you right on your line, which the Stumpjumper will also roll through no problem. This bike widens trails. You can make mistakes without punishment.

The handling is fairly responsive for our bigger riders, if on the slow side. One of our 5'7", 140lb testers had a really hard time wrangling the 6Fattie around. Even for our largest, most aggressive riders, it's not quite nimble, but then again it doesn't need to be. Its tires more or less eliminate the need for bike handling skills. It's almost less effective to pick a line than to just bulldoze down the trail.

You don't even really throw your weight around. The 6Fattie sets you up in a very neutral position, centered over the cranks, and it wants you to stay there. It starts to lose it if you move too far forward or back. There's just not that much to do, and it's hard to change this bike's laid back mood. Only our most aggressive rider considered it playful on the descents. When you're moving slowly it can feel pretty clunky and sluggish.

This bothered some of our test riders more than others. A big part of what these pros like about mountain biking is using the precise handling skills they've spent years perfecting. The Stumpjumper 6Fattie doesn't require all that mental hard work and physical finesse. Since it will roll over your line choice anyway, it often doesn't seem worth the effort. One tester found the outside of his forearm totally worked from wrenching around the handlebars after a long descent on this bike.

The suspension and tire combo keeps the bike feeling smooth on the descents but can suck up pedal power on the climbs.
The suspension and tire combo keeps the bike feeling smooth on the descents but can suck up pedal power on the climbs.

Suspension and Traction


The Stumpjumper simply erases the more jarring aspects of mountain biking. Ghostly quiet and incredibly plush, the 6Fattie's suspension, added by those 3" tires, feels like it belongs on a downhill bike. The boosted 150mm RockShox Pike RC 29/27.5+ Solo Air fork feels excellent, though its action is hard to isolate from the cushy tires. On smoother tracks, it feels like we're in the middle of the travel the whole time. While the front end feels exceptionally plush, we still like the Pike RCT3 fork on the Santa Cruz Bronson better.

We find the Custom Íhlins STX rear shock to be an oddly complicated spec for a plus bike. The tire volume hides so much of its function. And, much like our experience with the Íhlins single tube, we tested on the 2016 Specialized Enduro, we can't discern a difference when adjusting compression and rebound settings on this shock. Oh and don't try to use the autosag setting. It doesn't work either. The shock always feels wide open, twist some dials, move the levers and.. nothing. It's fine for the descents. Otherwise, it's just annoying. Still, the plus size tires maintain tons of traction and send small bump compliance soaring off the charts.

One complication in the tire/suspension system is the undampened rebound you get out of the tires. The suspension has no way to control all that rubber. Sometimes they work together and sometimes they're fighting, and you're the one getting punched. Occasionally the tire just skips along the ground where the suspension should be keeping it in firm contact. They work together great on big hits but get disheveled on smaller, consistent impacts. For that reason, it's super important to dial in the fork and rear shock rebound settings to reduce this effect to the extent possible. As we've mentioned, it's a difficult feat on the vague feeling Íhlins.

Still, the traction is superb. The only time we lose it is when we move around on the bike and unweight the tires. Out of the saddle climbing and poorly set up turns that make it hard to press the tires into the corner are the main culprits. Either of these situations can give you a momentary spin out. When the tires are on the ground they conform and grip, their pliability creates amazing traction. We'd like to ride this bike with a rear shock that offered some actual adjustability.

It's a struggle to get the Stumpjumper 6Fattie up a hill but it rock crawls way faster than we would have guessed.
It's a struggle to get the Stumpjumper 6Fattie up a hill but it rock crawls way faster than we would have guessed.

Climbing


Fine. The Specialized climbs just fine. Those fat tires make climbing up our smooth or technical trails freakishly similar. Just give the 6Fattie some vague inclination of where to go and pedal. What's also universal is how much work that pedaling will be. The spinning pays off in time on the technical trails but not so much on the packed dirt tracks. Thus the "fine", it's an average of "awesome" and "awful".

Whereas the 6Fattie's rollover demands appreciation for simply eliminating technical trail features. It's harder to appreciate its performance on smooth trails. "I didn't know modern bikes could climb that bad," said one of our climbing testers on the mellow trail The Crank. "It's like trying to get a lazy boy up the hill." As a result, we rank the Stumpjumper a 5 of 10 for climbing, in second to last place. The Pivot Mach 429 Trail wins the category at a 9 of 10 for unstoppable uphill spinning skills.

Speed


Technical Uphill Benchmarking Performance — The Specialized registered shocking results on our technical climbing course The Soul Grinder. On every lap our testers would reach the top, expecting a depressingly slow time result, only to find their best, their best by far. But it was hard work. Our testers strive to produce repeatable efforts on every timed lap but have to pedal hard enough to keep the bike climbing the stairs. Still, it paid off, with the Specialized trouncing its closest competition, the Yeti SB5.5, by 3.1 seconds.

The Specialized dismantled the competition on our technical uphill climbing course  The Soul Grinder  which took an average of 2:07 minutes:seconds. Results show as the number of seconds gained over our slowest bike.
The Specialized dismantled the competition on our technical uphill climbing course, The Soul Grinder, which took an average of 2:07 minutes:seconds. Results show as the number of seconds gained over our slowest bike.

Smooth Uphill Benchmarking Performance — Taking it up the smooth Crank was a less painful, and slower, process. We really had to work to keep up momentum. We could hold speed in sandy steep corners but there was a steep rock slab that slowed us down every time. Here the Stumpjumper 6Fattie upheld all of our climbing expectations, coming in fifth, 4 seconds ahead of the Intense Recluse but 6.9 seconds behind the winning Santa Cruz Bronson.

The Stumpjumper 6Fattie turned in a more expected result on the smooth climbing Crank course  which took an average time of 3:24 minutes:seconds to complete.
The Stumpjumper 6Fattie turned in a more expected result on the smooth climbing Crank course, which took an average time of 3:24 minutes:seconds to complete.

Despite its predictably disappointing performance on the smooth uphill, the 6Fattie comes in second for uphill speed overall when we combine the course results in seconds per minute that each bike gained over the slowest bike, the Intense Recluse. The Specialized does so well because it can completely trounce obstacles. It's not a free ride, though. You've got to work for every inch and even though it was one of our best climbing bikes, we wouldn't pick it out of a quiver for a big climbing day. Still, it rides pleasantly enough to compel you to ask, If you aren't racing, how fast do you really need to go?

The Stumpjumper 6Fattie comes in second when you stack the uphill climb performance advantage (shown here as how many seconds per minute each bike gains on the slowest bike  the Intense Recluse).
The Stumpjumper 6Fattie comes in second when you stack the uphill climb performance advantage (shown here as how many seconds per minute each bike gains on the slowest bike, the Intense Recluse).

Pedaling


The Specialized has a lethargic pedaling feel, lugging those big wheels around comes at a cost. We didn't feel the need to get off and walk at any point, but you're hitting the tank to get it up a hill or across a flat stretch. Once you get it going it rolls reasonably well. When you get it over the hump and head downhill it just spills over the edge, like an avalanche, a really, really fun one.

When it's sandy and loose you don't notice the slower pedaling, the float and grip of the 3" tires offset their weight and their traction works in your favor. You definitely notice it on good, tacky hardpack though and the pedaling dragged on the paved climb. What it lacks in acceleration it makes up for in steamroller smoothness and its lightweight feel. Basically, it makes the struggle worth it.

Then there's that plus-sized tire bounce. Our flat pedaling tester noted that her feet bounce off the pedals on this bike, which isn't normally a problem for her and wasn't an issue for any of our other test bikes. She lost focus while repositioning. Traction was similarly affected. Tire grip is superb when seated and pedaling but when you stand up to climb or the tires otherwise bounce up off the ground, you can spin out.

The shock can also drop the seat tube out from under you if you hit a root at the wrong time or when taking a sharp transition to a steep section. The seat tube angle drops back and you feel like the bike is leaning back for lift off, it's not altogether pleasant. On the sustained technical climbs, it's not such a big deal since you're out of the saddle much of the time. The torque on the pedals exacerbates the issue of settling into the shock on steep climbs.

There is also a noticeable amount of drivetrain induced flex in the frame, which is lighter than it is stiff. Our 160 lb testers experienced quite a bit of flexion.

It's a stable bike with direct but slow steering.
It's a stable bike with direct but slow steering.

Handling


The 6Fattie doesn't twitch, not a movement feels unpredictable. There is some amount of play through the tire but it feels really planted on the ground. The Stumpjumper can feel really playful on the climbs. It's especially impressive when hauling its bulk over the rock juggernaut of our technical uphill climb The Soul Grinder. You trade out the snappy feel of the Ibis and the Pivot for the Stumpie's vague tractor pull.

Due to the monstrous tire volume, there are times when tire deflection can make the 6Fattie go haywire. Wheelie into a steep rock step and miss your mark and it kicks back. It's not jarring but it's a lot of rebound. You'll find yourself spending heavily to rescue the bike. Other than that, you don't really need many handling skills or mental input to clean some really technical lines. As long as you can stay neutral and keep putting the power down, you're golden. Again this offends the hard-won skills of some of our testers.

Suspension and Traction


On the less technical climbs, there's the feeling of levitation. You're working hard to pedal up the hill, but the Specialized's suspension is just floating over everything. You don't feel a firm top or bottom. Between everything going on with the fork, shock, and tires you never really know whether you're in the travel or not.

As such, it's not the most efficient-feeling platform for pedaling. The Pike feels soft compared to the Fox forks in the test and the Íhlins STX shock doesn't seem to have more than one setting, open. You can watch and feel your energy draining down into the fork stanchions and can run through half of the rear shock travel on smooth climbs. The tires suck up even more power. It's not awful, but it's not energizing either.

As we mentioned in the pedaling section the suspension can be borderline unacceptable is when the rear shock sags far into its travel on a sudden steep section when climbing. It drops the seat tube angle back too far, making it very hard to generate power. This leaves you feeling like you're pedaling your way out of the bike's back seat. If you could lock out or dampen the action of the rear shock compression when pedaling we would be more excited to take this bike on smooth uphill rides.

On the technical climbs, the ever-open suspension works better. With the nonstop action responding to every impact and hinging the bike up the hill in a way that is shockingly effective without feeling like it. The front end really takes care of business. It's very plush and predictable with a nice suspension curve.

The Stumpjumper 6Fattie certainly maintains traction. You have loads of it on the climbs, even in the sand. Again, it's outstanding when you're seated but when you stand and unweight the tires, the dirt flies before the tread hooks back up.

It'll get you around with an imprecise feeling that is confidence building for beginners but too vague for the tastes of our experienced crew.
It'll get you around with an imprecise feeling that is confidence building for beginners but too vague for the tastes of our experienced crew.

Cornering


The Stumpjumper 6Fattie tied the Pivot Mach 429 Trail in last place for cornering at a 5 of 10. Both are a lot of bike to get around a turn. It's not that they are that bad at cornering, the other bikes are just better. The Intense Recluse comes in just ahead with a 6 for a being easier to whip around but tending towards twitchy handling in the turns. The Ibis Ripley LS wins with an 8 of 10 for its uncanny no way is this actually a 29er ability to whip around corners with speed.

The 6Fattie has good traction in the corners, as long as you are forcing weight evenly into the tires, but it feels slow. If you keep your weight on the rubber, it excels at slower speed. It takes flat and loose corners cleanly and maintains traction where there would normally be none, feeling much more stable than any other bike in those situations. It's also fun in the berms where it's easy to press the tire into the wall.

Overall, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie is a vague feeling bike, and cornering is a precise skill. That's where it took a big hit in the cornering scores. It suffers most from a slow and sloppy sensation and wresting it over gives your arms a real workout because, at speed, it takes a lot of power to initiate a turn. As one would expect, it takes a while to traverse the three inches separating the "edges" of these tires so you've really got to be aggressive.

Of course, it doesn't have edges in the traditional sense due to the consistently rounded, ballooning nature of the tire and rim combination. So while you have insane traction one minute because there is so much tire, when it slides out (which isn't often) it just goes, no warning. Our lead tester got some slide out of the front tire in flat, loose corners. It was predictable and manageable, but even in a 3" iteration, the Purgatory GRID tires can't give us the traction we'd like.

The flip side is, for newbies not yet comfortable with laying a bike over to rely on those cornering knobs, the consistent traction around the tire feels more secure. If more experienced riders aren't riding for speed and can let go of expectations it can be silly good fun. You can bounce it through the turns, pumping the tires and weighting it in funky ways.

It corners really well on the climbs, not giving us problems getting it around the stairstep switchbacks, which are surprisingly easy on this bike. It also drills with traction on the slow speed, uphill sandy turns.

Floating in the air and catching you like a cloud on the landing all we have to say about popping the Stumpjumper 6Fattie off the lip is "wheeee!"
Floating in the air and catching you like a cloud on the landing all we have to say about popping the Stumpjumper 6Fattie off the lip is "wheeee!"

Fun Factor


The Stumpjumper is a riot, so fun it made our faces hurt. You have the confidence to roll into anything, knowing you'll come right back out, allowing you to approach abrupt technical transitions with reckless abandon. The margin for error is enormous. This bike's got your back. It even clobbers pinecones — a big plus on our woodsy rides. The 6Fattie lends itself to unorthodox adventures, like night rides, times when you don't want to have to work hard just to stay upright. As long as you have the strength to pedal it is going to charge. This bike even makes rocky uphill singletrack fun, because it makes it easy.

It's also surprisingly playful at slow speed. You'll want to hit every side jump, lobbing through the air so slowly and caught by the tires so gently that you won't be certain you ever left the ground. "What just happened?" It will give you a lot of pop if you load the tires, or just let you bounce house around.

It does, however, sanitize the trail, and nothing is more murderous to the great outdoors than the nose withering stench of bleach. On smooth singletrack, you're just dragging those heavy tires around, not having such a good time. You'll enjoy it more if you primarily ride down more technical terrain.

We liken this bike to the introduction of parabolic skis, opening up more miles of trail for beginner or intermediate riders. It'll get you through sections where fear is the primary factor holding you back. While the 6Fattie's big tires are a riot for our testers, they're having trouble letting go of their more traditional riding style. "I feel like the old skeptic," said one tester, "it makes it too easy." If it catches on as a wider trend, technique might suffer, but the kids won't know the difference.

Here are the Stumpjumper 6Fattie's geometry numbers as measured by OutdoorGearLab. Check out our measurement methods over at How We Test.
Here are the Stumpjumper 6Fattie's geometry numbers as measured by OutdoorGearLab. Check out our measurement methods over at How We Test.

Build


Overall the build is fairly good, the components working together without complaining too much. The 6Fattie took a hit in our build ranking however for having aluminum bars and cranks and for the lack of pedal platform in the rear shock. At 29.05lbs it's also nearly a pound heavier than the next beefiest bike, the Yeti SB5.5, and our SWAT was empty. Since that weight detracted from our climbing experience on this bike we count it as a negative. It got the second lowest build score at a 5 of 10. Only the Intense Recluse came in lower for an aluminum bar that rattled us around and a lack of pedal power. The Santa Cruz Bronson rated a 9 for its well-considered spec.

Cockpit and Fit — The fit is standard on the Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie. It's a very comfortable bike for all of our testers, setting them up in a neutral, upright position in a compact cockpit. Between that and the extra cushion provided by the tires, this bike is a really good bike for longevity. It's a luxurious ride, easy on your body, your wrists and back. It's like everyone's been driving cars and this is the first SUV.

The SWAT satisfies our desire to ditch the backpack.
The SWAT satisfies our desire to ditch the backpack.

Frame and Suspension — For the most part, the frame is a good one, the bottom bracket height (the second lowest in the test at 329mm) does force pedal strikes. You've gotta time your pedal strokes in the rocks. Several of us also had problems with our calves hitting the rear triangle as we moved back over the bike. We didn't use the SWAT much during testing but love the utility and were pleasantly surprised by everything you could fit in there.

The Custom Öhlins STX offers a great downhill ride but won't slow it's action for the climbs.
The Custom Íhlins STX offers a great downhill ride but won't slow it's action for the climbs.

We really liked the boosted 150mm RockShox Pike RC 29/27.5+ Solo Air fork. It vied with the Santa Cruz Bronson's RCT3 version for best in the test. The Custom Íhlins STX gave us a cushy ride on the descents but drove us crazy with its lack of anything approaching a trail mode or lockout for the climbs. And that autosag feature is useless, just get on your bike and set it up the old fashioned way.

The 3" Purgatory GRID up front provided a lot of traction  but we can feel it let loose a little when pedaling  braking or cornering. We'd prefer a Butcher GRID.
The 3" Purgatory GRID up front provided a lot of traction, but we can feel it let loose a little when pedaling, braking or cornering. We'd prefer a Butcher GRID.

Wheels and Tires — The boosted Roval Traverse 650 wheels with 29mm rims wheels worked well. The hubs were a little slower to engage than the DT Swiss 350s on every other bike in the test aside from the Intense Recluse, which also had a slower to activate hub on its Mavic XA Elite Ultimate wheelset.

While those 3" Purgatory GRID tires offer up traction in spades, we wanted even more. The knobs are spaced pretty far apart, which is apparent when pedaling, braking or cornering. The front tire isn't that awesome. It's not as grippy as we would like. We'd rather see a Butcher GRID on there. We also had trouble keeping air in the tires and sealant bled through the rear tire's sidewall. Meant to lighten the load of those tires, the wall is a thin one, and the tires finicky as a result.

Sealant bled through the walls of the rear tire.
Sealant bled through the walls of the rear tire.

Groupset — We like the SRAM X01 Eagle's crisp shifting and lazy-rider range of gears, but the chain freaked us out, especially when we were putting the hammer down in extreme gears. Due to of all the cross loading pressures it didn't seem like it would last that long. We were right. One of our testers busted it during testing. This also happened on the Pivot Mach 429 Trail and Yeti SB5.5, making us reconsider our Eagle affinity.

The Eagle feels great to shift and offers a huge gear ratio  but breaking three chains in seven weeks of riding gives us pause.
The Eagle feels great to shift and offers a huge gear ratio, but breaking three chains in seven weeks of riding gives us pause.

The SRAM Guide RS brakes work well enough but we prefer the extra adjustability of the RSC's and some of our testers found them a little squishy after the Pivot's benchmark Shimano Deore XT stoppers. We also could have used a 180mm rotor in the rear to power them up a bit. Tires this wide should be able to utilize more of the power that modern brakes provide.

We'd like a wider  carbon handlebar on this bike.
We'd like a wider, carbon handlebar on this bike.

Handlebars, Seat, and Seatpost — The 750mm alloy Specialized Trail 7050 handlebars are a bit narrow, and aluminum. We didn't need the vibration dampening that carbon supplies since the tires didn't take any hits hard enough to transfer up the frame. In contrast, the aluminum bars on the Intense Recluse vibrate like a tuning fork. Still, we would have liked carbon for the price. The 750mm bars worked well enough for handling and were great when squeezing through the rocks.

It works  but the Command Post IRcc is frighteningly fast and can't compare to the RockShox Reverb or Race Face Turbine.
It works, but the Command Post IRcc is frighteningly fast and can't compare to the RockShox Reverb or Race Face Turbine.

The saddle is fine but the Command Post IRcc dropper was not the best. It's overactive, coming up at you scary fast. We prefer the RockShox Reverb on the Santa Cruz Bronson or Intense Recluse or the Race Face Turbine on the Yeti SB5.5.

Not necessarily a bike for your longest days in the saddle  the Stumpjumper 6Fattie has enough of a sense of humor to keep you smiling on a wide range of terrain.
Not necessarily a bike for your longest days in the saddle, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie has enough of a sense of humor to keep you smiling on a wide range of terrain.

Best Applications


We wouldn't appreciate the Stumpjumper 6Fattie for a long day of grinding uphill but it's game for pretty much anything else. A blast on the descents and good for improving your technical skills on the climb, it'll slow you down on the flat and mellow hardpack. As long as you aren't racing or trying to keep up with your quad-zilla buddies you won't be bumming about this bike. That being said, none of us would want it for our only ride.

The 6Fattie is an especially good choice for dedicated beginner or intermediate riders who would like to push through those scary sections on the trail or really get the feel of rolling around corners at speed. Even then, having a more traditional bike on hand to dial in the more nuanced aspects of bike handling seems wise. If you're obsessed with nailing the narrowest of lines or hitting the rails on the corners just right, the it's-cool-bro, whatever vibe might not suit your needs.

Value


The Stumpjumper 6Fattie comes in at $6,500 or $99 less than the Editors' Award-winning Ibis Ripley LS or the third place Santa Cruz Bronson. The Ripley LS rivals the 6Fattie for downhill confidence and fun, corners far better and is a superior long day bike. It beats the Specialized out at everything aside from technical climbing. the Bronson is also a far more versatile bike. Both the Ripley LS and Bronson have better builds as well so they both hold value. We also say the extra $549 to jump up to our other Editors' Award winner the Yeti SB.5, would be a better bang for your buck if you're looking for a one-and-only kind of ride. That being said. The Stumpjumper comes at a pretty fair price.

The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie looks just like the rollover beast that it is.
The Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie looks just like the rollover beast that it is.

Conclusion


The Stumpjumper 6Fattie makes us feel like suburbanites from the '50's, we're not sure what to make of it because it doesn't fit into any of our boxes. Most of us would never have considered buying one, then we rode it. Now we're considering it as a special uses addition to the quiver. It's hard to recommend the 6Fattie as anyone's only bike. It's a lot of bike to push around and it's not in a hurry to get anywhere. We can't deny that riding it has a way of wearing you out. Still, the Stumpjumper is an awesome ride to calibrate your confidence — from a beginner looking for some positive singletrack experiences to an intermediate or expert taking on new terrain. That means dumbing down a lot of technical aspects of the trail, which can be the fun part for experienced riders. As one tester puts it, "it's good for drunk mountain biking, or as a rental." Having ready access to one would always be a plus.
Clark Tate, Curtis Smith, Joshua Hutchens, Paul Tindal, Sean Cronin, Cat Keenan, Otto Trebotich

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