Review: 2016 STUMPJUMPER FSR COMP 650B

tl;dr: I’ve had an absolute blast on this bike. It allowed me to explore outside my typical comfort zones with confidence. 650B wheels are just as capable in technical terrain and did seem more responsive in tight areas. I could live happily ever after with this bike.

These are some quick thoughts based on riding. If you're looking for specs, check out the Specialized web site.

How did we meet?

I typically ride an Epic, the 2012 Comp 29er, and love it. A snapped chainstay and a LBS unable to find parts but rich in generosity created a unique opportunity. I’ve had this 2016 Stumpjumper FSR Comp 650B for the better part of 2 weeks and ~60 miles. We’ve been spending some quality time together.

STUMPJUMPER FSR COMP 650B

There are some good articles specific to the Epic vs Stumpjumper conversation but most of the information you’ll find online is terrible.

I love my Epic, but if anyone asked which one they should get, it’s the Stumpjumper (or maybe that’s what the Camber is for — a middle ground). The Stumpjumpers are more forgiving, more comfortable, and easier to ride in technical terrain. Epics climb better, prefer most of their drops under 3 feet, and prioritize efficiency wherever possible. Obviously they’re both awesome bikes, if you’re really debating, find a demo day and ride everything they’ve got! Both platforms can confidently shred the most technical singletrack our beautiful planet has to offer.

Things to consider

This Stumpjumper should be on your list if you’re looking for:

  • a beast of a bike that can handle the most aggressive single track you can find
  • comfort is a top priority
  • stability is on your mind
  • Enduro anyone?
  • you plan to drop off stuff — maybe lots of stuff … or you plan on learning
  • you’ll do some climbing but you’re not racing anyone to the top of the hill (and definitely not the top of a mountain)
This Stumpjumper would be super happy here.

This Stumpjumper maybe shouldn’t be on your list if you:

  • Ride 10 miles on the road to hit your local single track
  • Race XC or XC marathon events or plan on learning
  • Outside of a few feet here and there your wheels are on the ground
  • You’re more interested in a high average speed than finding creative lines
  • Miles, miles, miles

You certainly can lay down some miles on this bike. I wasn’t running my computer but I’m fairly certain my times at ~9 to 20 miles would be somewhat close to what I’d put in on my Epic. A few minutes lost here and there are huge in a race but if you’re just playing in the woods, who cares? Explore! Over the 20 mile mark, this bike starts to feel big — because it is.

Final thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect when my LBS set me loose with this rig. I learned to love riding all over again. This bike screams, “drop off that, ride that line, you can do it” all day long. It wants you to push your game to new places. The bike is super comfortable-amazingly stable. I really liked the rear suspension and didn’t miss the Epic’s Brain very often — very technical climbs being the one exception. The handlebars are crazy wide, I got used to them but would have probably grabbed the pipe cutters and trimmed a bit if the rig was mine. I was pretty ‘blah — yeah right, whatever’ on the whole 27.5 / 650b thing but I’ll definitely consider them on my next bike and will look for opportunities to demo the same rigs running 650b and 29 to get the best comparisons — whatever feels best to you, is best for you.

If I had the money, I’d have an Epic for racing and big mile days and a rig like this for days that were more about play.

It’s going to be bittersweet when I give it back. This is a very fun bike.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Joe Tierney’s story.