No bike model sticks around for (checks Wikipedia) 39 years without being pretty damn magical — and evolving plenty along the way. Which brings us to the 2021 Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, which carries a nameplate dating back to 1981 but looks and performs significantly differently than that original, suspension-less beauty. The latest releases in the legendary line, which just launched today, are loaded with impressive features that have us itching to hop on a tester. Meantime, here are just a few factors that leave us feeling stoked.
1. Sneaky Storage
Pull and twist the bottle cage to reveal a bit of design wizardry — a handy downtube storage compartment that's 15 percent bigger than before. You've got room for 22 ounces of water in a specially designed bladder that comes with the bike. Feel free to stash other stuff there too, like extra tubes, tools, layers or what we like to call the original CBD.
2. Smart Suspension
Like the Enduro, the EVO boasts an axle path specifically oriented toward making the suspension smoother and the ride more efficient. The axle moves rearward in the first third of travel, vertically in the middle and then forward as it bottoms out. That allows the wheel to swing back with the bump force as the shock begins to compress, helping to carry speed. As you get deeper into the suspension, the forward axle path disconnects chain forces from pedaling forces, allowing the shock to respond independently to the trail. All of which makes a lot more sense when you're actually riding the bike and sucking up bumps like a Dyson.
3. Style-Specific Sizing
It seems obvious in retrospect, but picking a frame size shouldn't be all about your inseam. After all, someone who likes to pick and poke down a trail will want something smaller and more nimble, while those with more of a freight train approach will be better served on a bigger ride. So instead of, say, medium, the EVO comes in six sizes, S1 through S6. (Don't worry, these do still correlate to traditional sizes, but they also introduce a new way of thinking about sizing that could be the way of the future.)
3.5. Selective Spin
We threw a .5 on here to be a little cheeky, but also because that figure plays right into this particular element of the bike. See, the EVO is "mixed wheel adaptable." So if you've never truly decided whether 29-inch wheels or 27.5s work best for you, now's the time to say screw it and run both! Thanks to a unique aftermarket shock link, this bike totally permits rolling with a 29er in front and a 27.5er in back, creating a next-level combo of traction and responsiveness.
The latest EVOs are available now at a number of trim levels, starting at $4,100.