Since picking it up last July, our long-term test rider Piers has put close to 2,000km on the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B in the mountains around Salzburg. The bike has been challenged with a mixture of steep and rocky trails and flowing single track, with the occasional park day thrown in. Was the Stumpjumper the right choice for his regular 1000m climbs and was it under gunned for the gnarly descents that always followed?

Update May 2016: We’ve also had the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B in our trail bike group test

Piers’ Langzeit-Testbike der letzten Saison: das Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B, das im Laden 5.999 € kostet und ohne Pedale etwa 12,5 kg wiegt.
Piers longterm test bike of the last season: the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert 650b which comes for a price of € 5.999 and weights around 12.5 kg without pedals.

Don’t miss the introduction of the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B at the beginning of our long-term test.

Piers Background

“After Designing and Directing the Color, Trim and Graphics for KTM motorcycles for the past 7 years and more recently for Husqvarna, I set off on my own as a freelancer early in 2015. I was fortunate in a number of ways, firstly in that I immediately found work from BMW, Benelli, Haibike and others and secondly, because for the first time in many years the days felt like mine again! This meant that over the past year as long as I planned my working time well, I could pretty much head out and ride my bike when I wanted. Result! It took a while to arrive at the Stumpjumper for my long-Term test bike. Other proposals with 160mm of travel and slacker geometry would have been perfect for charging down, but the heavier builds would have made for slower and more painful climbing. Most of the climbs here are done on winding switchbacks on road / gravel tracks and are a long slog but are not very technical. When you are riding in such steep lung-busting mountains as we have here, the fun really begins when you drop your seatpost and head back down, but you still need a bike that is a good climber.”


The Spec of the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 650B

The 650b Expert version of the Stumpjumper has a reasonable spec, everything works well, although for the €5,999.00 asking price the mix of XT and X1 components certainly doesn’t offer the best value on the market. The home brand items on the bike are all excellent however. The new version of the Specialized Command post is the best dropper post I have ever used. From the nice and wide ergonomically formed smooth action thumb lever to the micro-adjust height possibilities, it performed flawlessly during our test. The Roval Traverse rims stayed true despite the battering we gave them. The predictability of the Butcher and Purgatory tires, although not being as grippy as some super tacky offerings, gave me confidence in a wide range of conditions. They also have the added advantage of being hard wearing and I am still on the original set. The 750 mm bars are ok when you think of this as a trail bike, but because the handling is so confidence inspiring I often found myself wishing for a wider 780mm bar. I swapped to a 50mm stem for uplift days and found it added more feel and stability to the front, but for longer rides it felt too cramped and the stock 60mm stem was a better choice.

Der 60-mm-Vorbau ist 10 mm länger als das, was Piers sonst fährt, passt aber gut zum Bike.
A 60mm stem is 10mm longer than I normally run but it worked for me on this bike.
Der Sattel ist sehr bequem.
The seat is really comfortable.
Die Reifen sind gut, Piers fuhr sie tubeless und hatte nur einmal Probleme mit Burping, die allerdings mit einem Schuss Tubeless-Milch gelöst werden konnten.
Solid tires, I ran them tubeless and only had an issue one day with burping but a small top-up of milk solved it.
Der Remote-Hebel hat eine angenehme Haptik.
Smooth shifting was guaranteed by a SRAM X01 drivetrain.
Die Griffe erinnerten Piers positiv an die Griffe, die er an seiner Cross-Maschine fährt.
Excellent ergonomics on the dropper post lever.
Die RockShox PIKE mit 150 mm ist eine hervorragende Gabel und leistete beim Test gute Arbeit.
The grips remind me of the Renthal ones I run on my Motocross bike, I like them.

The Setup of the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 650B

The Medium size has a nice roomy 414mm of reach and 599mm of stack and fits my 175cm height perfectly, putting me in a well balanced position on the bike. The custom FOX FLOAT Factory rear shock takes care of the 150 mm rear travel and features AUTOSAG for easy setup. Just inflate the shock, sit on it in all your gear and press the release valve and VOILA, perfect sag. The head-tube angle is a reasonably slack 67° which really positions the bike between a XC bike and an enduro bike and speaks volumes about why this bike is so versatile. Specialized have been refining their trail geometry for years, and are known for their super short chainstays; this pedigree and years of R&D is really noticeable in how well the bike seems to handle almost everything you throw it at.

Die Carbon-Optik sieht gut aus und die interne Kabelführung ist gut gelöst.
Great looking carbon finish on the frame with a nice internal cable routing.
Das SWAT-System bietet Platz für die wichtigsten Dinge wie einen Schlauch, eine Pumpe etc., und erlaubt dem Fahrer, den Rucksack zu Hause zu lassen – einfach klasse!
The SWAT system offers space for the most important things like a tube, pump etc. and gives the rider the freedom to ride without a backpack – just awesome!

Climbing characteristics of the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 650B

The bike is exceptionally good at climbing, especially on fire-roads where it just flies up thanks to it’s lightweight and stiff carbon frame. During these long climbs I was happy to have picked the Stumpjumper over the enduro.

When the trails gets steeper, due to the short chainstays I often find myself having to stand up over the bars to keep the front wheel down. Unlike the 3 position RCT3 model, the cheaper RockShox Pike RC doesn’t offer a simple compression lockout system, so you have to deal with a horrible amount of bouncing when standing up over the front and pedalling up climbs. At this price point, speccing the RCT3 fork would have been more generous. The saddle is one of the most comfortable I have ever used and I never experienced any discomfort on a ride, which must be a first! The tires despite having quite aggressive tread patterns roll surprisingly well on the road and hook up great off-road too. The 67° head-tube angle keeps you in a reasonably forward position and the stiff and lightweight carbon frame makes the bike wonderfully responsive. I beat many of my old climbing Strava KOM’s on it which were previously earned on a 100mm XC bike.

Steile Sektionen sind schon mal drin, wenn man hauptsächlich so unterwegs ist, sollte man zum Enduro greifen.
You can ride steep stuff ok, but if this is your main terrain then the Enduro would be a better option.

Downhill performance of the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 650B

When the trails are fast and flowy it’s hard to imagine a better bike exists, it just feels like it is on rails! This is where the bike really excels and is in it’s element. The geometry and custom RX tuned rear suspension feels so dialled that the bike is just a joy to ride. Progression in the shock is linear to start with giving a smooth ride over small bumps and then progressively stiffening lower down. On fast singletrack, the 150mm suspension and short 420mm chainstays offer the perfect balance between comfort and playfulness. Even when the going gets steeper, the Stumpjumper is quite happy, only really finding its limits when charging through rock gardens as the 150mm travel get used up quickly. In these high speed rock filled situations, whilst being shaken like a wet dog, I often found myself wishing for more travel and a slacker front end, but considering the Stumpjumper is designed as a trail bike and not a full on gravity beast it still handled it a lot better than some other trail focused options on the market!

Das Stumpy liebt flowige Trails!
The stumpy sucks up Smooth flowy trails like a baby sucks milk.

Longterm Durabillity

Besides a couple of small issues the bike has stood up well to the abuse I have put it through during the test. The shifter cable became frayed where it entered the chainstay and needed replacing, the XT brakes needed bleeding and some bolts came loose, at which point the SWAT multi tool under the downtube came in handy to tighten them out on the trail.



I really love the bike. Everything from the SWAT system which helps you set off and ride without a pack, to the gorgeous FACT IS carbon construction, to the confidence inspiring geometry and how incredibly responsive and playful the bike is. The price is expensive, but the quality is high. If you are looking for one lightweight but tough do-it-all trail bike for ripping your local trails, I can recommend the Stumpy. If you are looking to beat your KOM’s on the downhills, do more than the occasional uplift day and don’t mind slightly slower climbs, then the slacker geometry and longer travel of the Enduro might be a better option for you.

Would I buy this bike?

If I was in the market for an aggressive trail bike with superb handling, top notch quality and component spec, which was versatile enough for all day rides as well as the occasional park day the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B would be my pick. It looks gorgeous too. I totally fell in love with the bike in the time that I had it.

If you want to follow Piers’s work check out his Website. For more information about the bike click on the Specialized Website.

We’ve also had the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 650B in our trail bike group test

Words: Piers Spencer Photos: Christoph Bayer

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