Test riding the 2015 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO 29 February 09 2015
So far, I've had a couple of demo rides on the Stumpjumper EVO 29 and I've been mightily impressed each time. As with the Camber Comp I have previously ridden, there are noticeable differences from my usual steed apparent immediately. The cockpit feels smaller/tighter - mainly due to the stem/handlebar combination. However, the smaller feel in no way detracted from the comfort, and this is especially true when riding rather than just sitting on the bike.
On the grand loop at Makara Peak, my riding buddy, Wato, and I took turns at riding the Stumpy - it was great to be able to see the bike being ridden as well as experiencing it from astride the bike. While not being the nippiest bike on tracks like Koru or Sally Alley, where the track is a bit tighter, the Stumpy still climbs with aplomb & surety - it was eye-opening watching someone negotiate uphill switchbacks for the first time on a 29" wheel - it's amazing how much you have already adapted your riding style to compensate for the bigger turning circle. I didn't feel the need to sit right to the front of the saddle to ensure there was no front wheel lift as there is a nice balanced feel when climbing - this, in turn, made pedalling a breeze with steady rotations of the cranks being the order of the day.
An overwhelming feeling of suppleness on both the climbs & the descents was the general consensus. On one particular section of Aratihi (predominantly used as an uphill track), Wato remarked the the Stumpy made the undulating climb in the middle of the track feel like it was flat, which must surely rank as extremely positive feedback! On the descents the Stumpy always felt like it had more to give - probably in part due to my inability to push the bike to it's limit - this bike would really suit a more aggressive rider that really wants to test the boundaries of any downhill sections.
Impressed? An overwhelming "YES". The right bike for you? The only way to know is to get on it & ride - disappointment will definitely not be an emotion you'll in my humble opinion.