Hands-on Gear Review

Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 2019 Review

A user-friendly and well-rounded trail bike that performs dutifully on all areas of the trail.
By: Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens, Paul Tindal, Annie Clark  ⋅  Jun 28, 2018
Price:  $4,200 List
Pros:  well-rounded performance, easy-going attitude, SWAT stroage system
Cons:  relies heavily on climb switch, poor fork specification
Manufacturer:   Specialized Bikes
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 30
  • Fun Factor - 25% 8
  • Downhill Performance - 35% 8
  • Climbing Performance - 35% 7
  • Ease of Maintenance - 5% 7
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The all-new 2019 Specialized Stumpjumper received loads of attention when it was announced in April. In fact, the new Stumpy was surrounded with more hype than any Specialized mountain bike, ever. Four testers spent six weeks charging the Stumpjumper Carbon Comp 29 around California and Nevada to determine the key characteristics. We found this bike to be a marvelous all-arounder that performed dutifully on every area of the trail. The Stumpjumper descends with composure and climbs comfortably while offering a fun and spritely feel. Make no mistake, there are bikes that are superior descenders and more effective climbers. That said, few bikes produce the well-rounded performance, attractive price point, and quality components that the Stumpjumper boasts. At $4200, the Stumpjumper Carbon Comp is an above average value and wears functional, if not flashy, components.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:
The Stumpy is capable on a huge range of terrain.
The Stumpy is capable on a huge range of terrain.

Should I Buy This Bike?


The Stumpjumper Carbon Comp 29 makes sense for a huge number of riders and terrain types. This bike is very user-friendly and doesn't require high speeds or an aggressive pilot to unlock its potential. Anyone can enjoy this bicycle. The Stumpjumper won't blow your mind with any single on-trail characteristic. That said, it can comfortably ride anything you put in front of it with confidence and composure. Folks who are less concerned with having the latest and greatest geometry or the most advanced suspension design will appreciate this bike. Specialized has been known to avoid going too extreme or cutting edge with their designs, and as a result, their bikes meet the needs of the vast majority of the mountain bike population. That is a high compliment.

Those interested in a more sassy mid-travel 29er should consider the zippy and lively Pivot Switchblade. The Pivot has 135mm of travel and makes its money on a stiff frame design with razor-sharp handling. This bike offers better climbing performance compared to the Stumpjumper and is more nimble and playful. The Switchblade is less comfortable, capable and confident than the Stumpjumper on rowdy and rough terrain. Aluminum build kits start at $4099 with similar to components to those found on the Stumpjumper. One major drawback of the Switchblade is its weight. Our large Pivot is nearly three pounds heavier than the Stumpjumper. That's quite substantial.

It can be difficult to balance small bump sensitivity on the Fox 34 Performance with the GRIP damper. The low-speed compression doesn't do much until it is fully closed.
It can be difficult to balance small bump sensitivity on the Fox 34 Performance with the GRIP damper. The low-speed compression doesn't do much until it is fully closed.

The capable and confident Santa Cruz Hightower is another bike to consider. The Hightower features 135mm of travel and offers a more calm and efficient climbing motion compared to the Stumpjumper. Downhill performance is comparable but the Stumpjumper has a better feel of small bumps and chatter while the Hightower offers better support on bigger hits. Handling and fun factor are comparable between these two bikes. It should be noted that the Hightower is a bit more spendy. This bike is available in carbon fiber only with build kits starting, ill-equipped, at $4000.

What about the consumer direct, 140mm travel, YT Jeffsy 29? The Jeffsy AL Comp 29 sells for $2799 and offers extremely impressive components at an eye-popping price. The build kit includes a RockShox Pike, SRAM Guide RS brakes, and an E*Thirteen extended range cassette. The Jeffsy can't match the climbing or descending performance of the Stumpjumper. The Jeffsy is a capable bike, but the super progressive suspension design beats you up over rough terrain. Climbing, the Jeffsy sags deep into its travel and creates a pretty slack effective head tube angle. Make no mistake, this can still be a viable option for riders on a budget, it will get you out and shredding trail. That said, all testers agree, the Stumpjumper is a better all-around bike despite having less impressive components.

The 2019 Stumpjumper.
The 2019 Stumpjumper.

Frame Design


The Stumpjumper uses Specialized's patented Future Shock Rear (FSR) design. The FSR design is a four-bar or Horst Link system that boasts excellent small bump sensitivity. In addition, this design functions well under braking loads. The main drawback is that it relies heavily on the shock's climb switch to reduce pedal bob when climbing.

In the low-setting, our large Stumpjumper Carbon Comp 29 has a measured 66.3-degree head tube angle, 74.4-degree seat tube angle, and 341mm bottom bracket height.

In the high-setting, we measured a 66.7-degree head tube angle, 74.8-degree head tube angle, and 345mm bottom bracket height

The effective top tube measures 626mm and the reach is 448mm. The chainstays measure 431mm and the wheelbase comes out to 1204mm.

Our test bike hit the scales and came in at 30 lbs 1 oz set up tubeless without pedals, bottle cage, and the SWAT roll. It may sound like a gimmick, but the SWAT frame storage system is extremely useful.

Design Highlights

  • 29-inch wheels only
  • 140mm of FSR suspension
  • Designed around 150mm fork
  • Clearance for 2.6-inch tires
  • Flip chip geometry adjustment
  • Aluminum and carbon fiber build kits ranging from $3000-$9500
  • Women's specific models available
  • SWAT frame storage system
  • Available in sizes S-XXL

Testing the limits of the 2.6-inch Specialized Butcher  and getting drifty.
Testing the limits of the 2.6-inch Specialized Butcher, and getting drifty.

Downhill Performance


The Stumpjumper is an intuitive and reliable descender. This bike doesn't require an ultra-skilled pilot or crazy speeds to be fun. The tried-and-true FSR suspension offers a smooth and composed ride over small to midsize chop. Bigger impacts are a bit more uncomfortable. Handling is impressive and this bike has a fairly high fun-factor. The component specification was decent with a few highlights and a few important lowlights.

The Stumpjumper's 140mm of FSR travel is impressive motoring over small to midsize chop. Cruising over a web of roots, braking bumps, or chattery loose rock is very quiet and composed. This calm feeling is only reinforced by meaty 2.6-inch tires. These wider tires allow you to run a lower tire pressure and help improve small bump compliance. Testers ran approximately 22-25 PSI in the front and 24-27 in the rear. The result was a tremendous balance of trail-feel, traction, and damping. Riders who tend to ride especially rough trails should think about riding slightly higher air pressures to prevent rim damage.

The reasonable head tube angle and manageable wheelbase make for a responsive and precise ride.
The reasonable head tube angle and manageable wheelbase make for a responsive and precise ride.

The Stumpjumper navigated burlier lines well enough. It can ride anything, just be prepared for a rougher ride on bigger lines. This bike lacks the deep stroke composure of bikes like the Santa Cruz Hightower or the Ibis Ripmo. The average mountain bike enthusiast on the average mountain bike trail should not be concerned about getting this bike in over its head. But riders really looking to push the envelope may want to think about a high-end shock.

We rode this bike in both the high and low geometry modes. Not surprisingly, the bike felt slightly more confident on steeper terrain and higher speeds when set to the low mode. Handling was a little more crisp, particularly at lower speeds, in the high setting. The flip-chip adjusts the geometry approximately .5-degrees and lifts/drops the bottom bracket approximately 4mm. This is a fairly easy process and only requires a multi-tool or Allen set.

The Stumpjumper handles well through small to midsize chop.
The Stumpjumper handles well through small to midsize chop.

In either both settings, the somewhat conservative design helps this bike retain excellent handling skills. There are many 140mm bikes with much slacker geometry and burlier feels. The Stumpjumper takes a more precise approach. It responds to minimal amounts of rider input and can change lines in a hurry. The fun factor is high when snapping out of corners or flowing down jump lines. The Stumpjumper might not be able to match the supremely lively and sporty feel of the Pivot Switchblade or Ibis Ripley but it's amiable and easy-going attitude makes up for it. A newer rider can have just as much fun on this bike as someone who has been riding for a decade.

The components were a mixed bag on our Carbon Comp test bike. The cockpit feel was striking. Drop the reliable 150mm X-Fusion post and your peering over the 780mm bars staring at a meaty, 2.6-inch, Specialized Butcher tire. The front end is very confident. The Specialized Butcher front tire was rock-solid. It was aggressive and responded well to energetic and forceful cornering. We are not ready to equate the Butcher to a Maxxis Minon DHF, but it's not far off. The 2.6-inch Purgatory rear tire was decisively fine and provided nice braking bite. The Fox 34 Performance with the GRIP damper leaves something to be desired. This fork lacks the stiffness and stability of some of the higher-end options we are used to such as the RockShox Pike or Fox 36. This fork can also be difficult to set up for heavier riders. Shimano SLX brakes work well enough but have a cheap lever feel. In addition, we prefer more powerful options, but the SLX do the job.
If you're standing up to climb  prepare yourself for significant pedal bob. Even with the shock in the middle position.
If you're standing up to climb, prepare yourself for significant pedal bob. Even with the shock in the middle position.

Climbing Performance


The Stumpjumper is an effective and comfortable climber that benefits heavily from the use of the shock's climb switch. Standing climbing is highly discouraged. Climbing traction is first-rate thanks to reliable 2.6-inch tires and active suspension. Riders are placed in a very efficient and comfortable position that allows for excellent power transfer into the cranks. Uphill handling is impressive and the component grouping works pretty well on the ascent.

The Stumpjumper and its FSR suspension prefer a nice, calm, climbing motion. When you are cranking uphill, this bike prefers you to sit down and relax. We recommend putting on your best chamois, taking a seat, flipping the shock into the middle position and enjoy the scenery. This helps balance energy efficiency with great rear wheel traction. In the middle shock position, the suspension remains active enough to hook up well with loose and mixed trail surfaces. You can put the shock in the firm position to maximize pedaling power, but you may sacrifice traction on uneven surfaces If you decide to stand up and hammer, there is an unpleasant amount of pedal bob. Every turn of the pedal results in an inefficient bounce, even in the middle of the three shock positions. This is not a good feeling.

Active suspension often leads to great climbing traction.
Active suspension often leads to great climbing traction.

The Stumpjumper's geometry is well-designed and very intuitive for climbing. Riders are placed on top of the bottom bracket. While the 74.4/74.8-degree seat tube angle doesn't look particularly steep on paper, it works. Your hips are placed right above the cranks to maximize power transfer. The 341/344mm bottom bracket height is reasonable. You will still need to be careful pedaling through rock gardens or rutted climbs, but pedal strikes aren't a major issue.

Uphill handling is smooth and is not demanding. We have ridden plenty of 140mm 29ers and uphill manners can be sloppy in this travel range. The Stumpy behaves itself relatively well. On the steepest climbs and uphill corners, you will still need to aware of the potential of a wandering front end. We liked 2.6-inch Specialized tires on the descent, they were also spectacular on the climb. The Purgatory rear tire held up well and isn't prone to spinning out. The wide rubber navigates technical maneuvers admirably. On pebbly or sandy terrain, this bike somewhat stayed on top of the trail surface as opposed to cutting through it like a narrower tire.

The Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain is a nice, if not underwhelming, specification. We are growing more and more accustomed to SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrains, but Shimano's 46-tooth climbing gear offers a pretty close ratio. Regardless, if you are climbing for multiple hours, who wouldn't want a lighter gear? As previously mentioned, the combination of the 2.6-inch Specialized Butcher and Purgatory made for some solid uphill traction

Photo Tour


The Fox 34 with the GRIP Damper is weak. We prefer a RockShox Pike.
The Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain features a 46-tooth climbing ring. Its not quite Eagle  but its close.
The X-Fusion dropper post is another entry into the realm of quality and affordable seatposts.
The 150mm X-Fusion dropper post was flawless.
The 2.6-inch Specialized Butcher tire was almost as good as a Maxxis Minion DHF  at a more attractive price.
The Specialized Purgatory rear tire was solid and offered nice braking bite.

Value


With a reasonable price tag, well-rounded trail manners and solid components, it is easy to call the Stumpjumper an above average value. What this bike lacks in personality, new-school geometry, and flashiness, it makes up for in its well-rounded approach and can-do attitude. You could spend significantly more money to ride a well-equipped bike from some of the boutique brands, but the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon gets the job done at a respectable $4200.

The all-new Stumpy can do it all  and it does it all pretty well.
The all-new Stumpy can do it all, and it does it all pretty well.

Conclusion


The Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon Comp 29 is a mid-travel trail bike that checks all of the boxes. With stellar climbing, righteous descending, trusty components, and a reasonable price tag, this bike has no fatal flaw. This 140mm 29er is a great option for a huge number of riders who may not demand the very highest level of performance.

Pat Donahue, Joshua Hutchens, Paul Tindal, Annie Clark

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 28, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...