Smashing the Middle Ground on the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29

I’ve ridden my share of 29’rs and up until recently, I was sold that the Tallboy and Tallboy LTC had the market cornered as far as geometry is concerned. Now, let me say that I’m an enthusiastic reviewer and that can be a double edged sword at times. I’d also note that I don’t particularly like doing reviews, not because they’re not fun, but I couldn’t really care for technical adverbage.

That said, I can tell naunces in geometry and component groups quite well and when something’s good, it’s good. Also, believe me, when it’s bad, it’s bad.

Luckily for me – yay new review bike – I’ve been in absolute love with the new S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 – which has been replaced by the standard FSR 29 – and who wouldn’t be? This is a 29’r fans dream bike. Once you strip away the plush, crispness of XX1, the tunability and stability of the Rock Shox PIKE and the Fox Float rear shock, you’re left with one crucial element: geometry…

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

EDIT: it should be noted that this model is discontinued, which threw me for a bit of a curve ball. I assumed it was the current S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29 model, which it is not.

Granted this is an initial review, but after two or three rides on some of the Austin area’s more technical trails, I noticed something: PEDAL STRIKE. Admittingly, I don’t like changing much on the rear shock, unless I’m climbing for a while. I’ll usually leave it on trail or descend around here but I still could tell something was up with the bottom bracket height, or down rather…

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

In the world of geometry, a few millimeters can make a huge difference. With a higher BB, you’re going to experience a zippier, more flickable ride and a lower BB will be more stable, easier to control at high speeds, like during descending, which so far, this beast rips! But if you’re too high, the bike will literally ride itself and too low, then, well, you’ve got pedal strike issues.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

I’m a capable enough rider to check my pedaling on climbs, or watch my pedal positioning in rock gardens, but I still have to be mindful. My experience with BB height is 342.6mm on the Tallboy LTC – the bike I’ve had the most experience on. The S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29r is 335mm… Enough to matter? Some would say no, but I think yes. Enough to completely ruin my ride? Hell no.

Enough to sway me from wanting to ride this bike? Hell no.

So, something positive? It climbs so well. So incredibly well that after the first ride, I was completely beside myself. I took it everywhere, places I normally only like to climb on a hardtail or a rigid. This bike let me position my body where I wanted to and didn’t make it difficult to get over the front. Amazing… Especially for a 140mm travel bike. Usually longer travel 29’rs climb like a two legged pig.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29-11

On a 29’r with 140mm of front travel, you’re in that niche spot just above XC machines and below a full-on 6″ travel 27.5 bike. It’s a middle ground that I have a decent amount of experience with. In fact, all the 29’rs I’ve ridden are either 120mm travel, or between 140mm and 150mm, but have spent the most time on the longer-end of the travel spectrum. The S-Works Stumpjumper EVO is Spec’d with a 140mm PIKE – my fork of choice these days.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Not many reviews start out with critiques, so let’s move on to what I like. First off, the build spec as noted. Everything is choice, although I’d rather see the Guide brakes on this machine over the Avids. The internally-routed Command Post dropper took a while to dial in, but it’s good to go now.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Oh my god those S-Works cranks!

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29-16

The SWAT top cap chain tool is pretty rad, as well as the SWAT Zee Cage II multi-tool. Two details I’ll commend Specialized’s designers on. Luckily, I haven’t had to use either. SWAT stands for “storage, water, air, tool”.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

The graphic consistency is a nice touch as well with all the stripes. From the through-axles, to the dropper lever, bars and wheels.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Oh yeah! The wheels! They’re surprisingly stiff and shredable. In fact, they feel a lot like the SRAM Roam 60 wheels – and knowing SRAM / Zipp / Rock Shox love for Specialized, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Like I said, I’ve only ridden this bike a handful of times, but it’s already moved its way to the top of my 29’r favorites but I need to ride it elsewhere and really put it to the test before I can sign off on it. There’s a precious middle ground that the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29r has found the perfect line in, aside from a small, geometric nuance.

If you ever have the chance to ride one of these rockets, do it, or if you have and would like to add a note in the comments, feel free to do so.

S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

Here are the deets:

• Intended ride / purpose: trail and all-mountain riding
• Carbon front, aluminum rear swing arm.
• 68* HTA
• 140mm front travel with a PIKE
• 135mm Fox Float CTD rear travel.
• 455mm stays
• Weight: 26 pounds on the dot with Time ATAC Ti pedals
• MSRP as shown is $9,500 / Comp 29 is $3,500

See more information on the FSR model at Specialized. The EVO model is discontinued…

  • IR

    That bike looks fast as hell standing still (and great covered in mud / dust)

  • Jaap

    this is something else! NICE!

  • mason

    S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29. 140 front 135 rear

  • Sretsok

    What’s that little knob under the seat for?

    • John Watson

      Adjustment in pressure. High pressure = fast return.

      • Sretsok

        Ahhhh okay. Thanks!

  • mason

    bb height 335

    • John Watson

      yeah, I got helllla confused here. The EVO has been discontinued by Specialized, which was weird for them to send me a bike to review that’s been discontinued. I got the specs with the EVO and the standard FSR mixed up – I assumed the FSR / EVO were similar in geometry. Since the Specialized website doesn’t have specs for the EVO, I had to dig them up… Thanks for pointing that out, you must have caught it right before I edited the post.

      • mason

        i’d check w/ specialized about discontinued EVO

        • brennan

          The S-Works SJ FSR EVO has been discontinued for 2015, but is still offered at the Expert Carbon level in a 29 and 650 wheel size.

          • John Watson

            What he said. This was too confusing today – too many “safety meetings” on my morning ride…

      • Sean Estes

        Hey John, we just discontinued the S-Works level EVO, but expert and comp EVO are still in the line and hugely popular. We only offered the S-Works for one year…it is sort of a cult bike in that sense. Riders lusted after it but the price may have been a little out of reach for many. One can still upgrade an expert EVO to S-Works spec, and many do. Glad you dig it!

        • Crohnsy

          Strange that the 650b Evo is available in S-works in Canada

          • Sean Estes

            ^ we offer lots of models globally, some of our markets choose to bring in certain models that other markets may not choose, due to various reasons. Sounds like Canada kept the S-Works Stumpjumper EVO for 2015 but USA did not bring more in this year and chose to focus on the Expert EVO model instead :)

  • boomforeal

    reviewing a sj 29 evo and not even mentioning how it descends suggests you may have missed the point of this bike

    • John Watson

      We don’t have real descents here in town. Max length is like 1:20 or so – like this:

      “Reviewing” a bike before you really get to use it on varied terrain is missing the point, which is why it’s more of an initial review. Like I do for all review bikes – the Tallboy, the Cielo, etc.

      I was planning on doing a follow-up review once I’ve taken it to Cali with me. You’re just on a roll these days…

      • Eli

        I think thats where you’ll appreciate that lower BB.

      • Scheezler

        The bars look kinda low for descending too. What size frame? You and I are about the same height I think, I’m guessing it’s an XL. (I recently got a SJ Comp and am thinking about swapping in risers.)

        • John Watson

          They’re fine. Like I said, we don’t have big descents here, so I like the bike being a bit lower in the front for all the technical climbing we have.

          • Scheezler

            is it an XL? it’s relevant in terms of the listed weight.

          • John Watson


        • Alex Niknejad

          With a 140mm travel XL 29er, you’ll want the bars as low as possible to maintain control while descending

    • S. Welcker Taylor

      it must get tiring to always be so angry

  • LawPatrickus

    the bidon matches quite nicely

  • Ray Cashman

    the matchmaker and integrated dropper switch / grip clamp cleans things up nicely

  • Salim Riley

    Wow. I can see that a lot of people put a lot of thought into the looks of this thing. It’s freakin’ handsome with some dirt on it!

    –Two details I’ll comment Specialized’s designers on.–


    • John Watson

      thanks for point that out! *embarrassed*

  • schu2000

    so by now around half a year has passed since this initial review, I’d be more than curious about how you got by with the bike?! ;)

  • Mike

    i know some time has passed here, but can I ask how you routed the dropper post cable? did you drill out one of the cable guide/holders on the bottom of the down tube? I’ve been fishing cables through the internal guide on the right side of the top tube, and it’s been a major PITA. I have a cable though to the seat tube so now just need to see if I can pull a housing through next…

    • John Watson

      This bike came routed for an internal dropper. The port goes in at the DT.