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Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy review: we ride and rate the latest edition

The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy has one of the smartest metal frames we’ve seen, but is that quality reflected in the specs?

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Specialized’s Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy is a brilliantly engineered, totally sorted aggro trail all-rounder with an immaculate rider-to-ground connection and the bonus of tuneable handling perfection and high volume internal storage at a relatively affordable price

Pros

  • +

    Excellent easily tuneable geometry

  • +

    Great aggro tire choice

  • +

    Short seat tube for size switching

  • +

    Solid climb mode

  • +

    Stiff power transfer

Cons

  • -

    SWAT and geometry switching add cost

  • -

    Slow free hub pick up

  • -

    Chunky weight

The Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy is the latest evolution in a line of bikes that started with the original Stumpjumper Evo, a limited-size run, rad geometry experiment that became the progressive best trail bike benchmark. The brand moved the game on with the multi-adjustable Stumpjumper Evo Carbon in 2020 but now it's come full circle with a new alloy frame that still packs in the same features as its plastic pal. 

The result is a beautifully engineered example of how fast ‘rail riding' is evolving and this entry-point Stumpjumper Comp version is a brilliant aggro all-rounder that’s still relatively affordable.

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

Despite being alloy, the frame still follows the same curving asymmetric strut format as the carbon model (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Design and geometry

The smarts start with the Stumpjumper Evo alloy frame straight away. The upper headset socket in the head tube gets flat sides to make sure the optional + or -1-degree angle-set insert fits exactly in line. That adds a whole extra level of accuracy to the build process in itself but the downtube showcases another few engineering features that shouldn’t be underestimated. While Specialized’s SWAT hatch that turns the whole tube into internal storage space has been a regular sight on the carbon bikes for a while, keeping a metal tube strong and stiff enough after cutting a hole in it needs a different league of stress analysis modelling and testing to nail. 

While it’s not as big as the carbon bike, unlike some copycat brands it’s still a usefully big hole into a usefully big space, too. That means it’s no trouble sliding an inner tube, chunky pump, a mini tool, a stowaway jacket or even three jumbo sausage rolls in there. The hatch over the top is secure and rattle-free and the supplied bottle cage also has a small hex key set clipped onto the back. 

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

Somewhere to store your sausage rolls (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

You get a threaded bottom bracket with ISCG chain guide mounts, neat cable entry points and the rear brake and gear line are routed through the curving asymmetric strut that reinforces the center of the mainframe. The custom 'RX Tune' Fox Float X piggyback shock sits alongside the strut connected to the four-bar rear end via a forged and machined yoke that pivots on short linkages bridging between the mainframe and the stays. 

The rectangular stays go all the way to the handled Boost rear axle joining the tapered, asymmetric chainstays with offset inserts at the pivots to let you steepen or slacken head angle by 0.5 degrees. 

You get a chunky rubber chain slap guard to keep everything quiet and there’s plenty of mud room around the chunky 2.3in rear tire and the whole build feels top class. You get six sizes and two color choices, too.

The Evo Alloy comes with a neutral headset cup in to give a 64.5-degree head angle but switching the other cup in means you can change to 63.5 or 65.5 degrees, and then potentially take it back to 63 degrees or 65 degrees via the rear chip. Start bottom bracket height is 340mm (35mm drop). 

Reach on the S4 we tested is a middling 475mm, but as the seat tubes are super short (425mm on this size) it’s easy to go up a size or even two to get more reach (the S5 is 498mm; the S6 is a far-flung 528mm). S1-4 sizes run a 441mm chainstay while S5 and 6 get a longer 451mm for a better proportional balance. Cranks are size balanced from 165-175mm, dropper seatpost extension varies from 100-190mm, and the smaller bikes get wider saddles. The 50mm stem and 800mm bar is the same across all sizes though, so they might require some swapping or sawing to personal taste. 

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

The Fox Float X shock suits the Evo Comp really well (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Components and build 

Specialized has clearly invested a lot in the frame but you still get a very competent kit list on the Comp. It leads with a 160mm travel Fox 36 Rhythm and Specialized’s own top-spec T9 compound Butcher tire in a reinforced but not over-heavy Grid Trail format. 200mm rotors amplify the power of the Code R brakes and SRAM NX 12-speed does the shifting job fine. The 30T steel chainring adds durability and the smaller ratio helps when the 16kg weight needs crawling up something steep. The T7 compound Eliminator tire on the back rolls pretty well, though, and you get tubeless valves ready to convert the 30mm internal rims. The hookless rims have survived multiple rock and log dings without damage so far too, although they certainly aren’t light and the hub is slow and clunky to engage.

The X-Fusion Manic seatpost is well proven in reliability terms, though, and Specialized’s saddles and single collar grips gave our testers no issues.

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

The rear wheel is fitted with Specialized’s own Eliminator tire  (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Performance

'Zero issues' pretty much sums up my riding experience on the Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy, but it also undersells it significantly.

The fact the FSR suspension kinematic is sorted after nearly 30 years of evolution shouldn’t be a surprise, but the Fox Float X shock suits it really well. It’s maybe a little keen to rush through the mid-stroke at times in its stock setup but the progression is easy to tune if you’re really slamming it on the regular. Otherwise, it’s consistently smooth and predictable and low anti-squat values means the rear wheel rolls through staccato sections with minimal pedal judder and masses of traction. Overall smoothness really underlines the planted and calm character of the bike even when you’re drifting sideways or rolling into what looks like geological Armageddon.

The trade-off is a slightly rounded “nose” on the kick of each pedal stroke so it rewards spinning rather than stomping, but throwing the side lever gives a really solid feel if you want to “Stair Master” steep climbs. High torque moments also highlight how structurally stiff the asymmetric rear end feels, and while there’s significant mass to shift and the freehub can sometimes leave an irritatingly long pause before it clunks into engagement, the actual pedal feel is more positive than a lot of carbon bikes – some Specializeds included.

The simple Grip damper in the Rhythm fork is more obviously cheaper than a Factory or Performance Elite 36, with an occasional chop and less mid-stroke support. The slow rebound T9 compound of the front tire really helps flatter them in terms of grip and chatter though and turning them tubeless and dropping to teen pressures gets you impressively close to gold anodized standard on most trail sections. The slacker head angle settings seem to help too, although that might just be a component of the unshakeably swaggering confidence of the Evo when running a 63.5-degree or 63-degree head angle. It’s worth noting I didn’t drag around long in the lowest BB setting as I was crank-tapping a lot on rutted and rocky trails. The easy sag into the stroke means even the “taller” settings feel pretty slammed dynamically anyway.

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

The Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy comes with a SRAM NX chainset (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

While the 425mm chainstay, 327mm BB height, mullet back-wheeled Specialized Status is the obvious bike to track down if you want maximum skid steer hooliganism, the Evo still steps out wide when it needs to. Once you know it’ll do that rather than tucking the front or high siding you, that unlocks another level of how fast you can throw it into corners and how hard you can load the front tire and let the rear roar. If you develop a taste for steezy speedway you can get an aftermarket shock link to set up the Evo mullet too.

Otherwise, while there are occasional moments where the Butcher rubber glitches and lets go (cold and/or slippery roots are its occasional Kryptonite) for 99 percent of the time the Evo is an amazingly assured and secure bike well beyond where most trail bikes are comfortable. The double 29er stability definitely underlines that and it also helps with the smooth rollover sustain that is the baseline of this bike’s character.

Basic but powerful Code R brakes provide a panic parachute when your nerves think you need it (the bike will likely prove otherwise) and the NX gears clunk about their business whenever required. I definitely didn’t downshift as much as I was expecting, considering the weight of the bike, though, and the mass is only really evident if you have to heave it out of a dead stop. 

There’s enough momentum to force it through most situations, so the only time I got caught out was when I T-boned a corner after coming through the last one too fast and missing the high and wide line. There are obviously situations where a 1,250mm wheelbase doesn’t fit, or a 50mm stem can’t snap a 63-degree head angle around fast enough. 

If silly slack turns out not to be your thing, though, the fact that you can pop the stem off, switch or flip the head tube cup and reinstall in around a minute makes it super easy to dial in your preferred setup. There are very few bikes at any price that can match that adjustability at any price, so having that as well as the “never forget your essentials” convenience of the SWAT compartment is awesome in a relatively affordable bike.

Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

For 99 percent of the time the Evo is an amazingly assured and secure bike well beyond where most trail bikes are comfortable (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

It’s worth mentioning that Specialized has completely opened up the way you can buy your bike too. Not only can you go into a shop as normal, but you can click and collect from the shop, get the shop to deliver it to your home and set it up (£75 surcharge in the UK) or just order it online and have it turn up at your door. 

That makes comparison with direct-sell brands much more relevant and Canyon’s similarly equipped (Deore not NX) Spectral AL5 is $1,100 / £1,000 cheaper, while the Spectral CF7 is essentially the same price once shipped (CF7 retails for $300 more than the Stumpjumper in the US) but has a carbon frame and weighs 1.5kg less. You can’t fit sausage rolls inside either of them, though, and if you’re concerned about the weight then the 1.5kg lighter carbon-framed Stumpjumper Evo Comp might be worth the extra $1,100 / £800. Alternatively, if you want the reassurance of a metal frame but top class suspension the Evo Elite Alloy gets Fox Factory fork and shock among other upgrades for $5,800 / £4,750. 

Verdict

While price/value comparisons are always a key part of any buying decision – and therefore review – I have to say that the Evo Comp Alloy did a brilliant job of making itself a bike that puts that question right into the background. Not only did it ride like a much more expensive bike and deliver features to match but it consistently made me – and anyone else who rode it – think, “To be honest I don’t care if you could get something very similar for less, I just want this one.” 

It rewards that connection with 100 percent commitment to doing the best it can in every situation too, even the ones where the numbers say it should rubbish. And as an affordable, versatile, massively capable, DIY geometry perfecting, reassuringly metal all-rounder, it’s a truly outstanding bike. 

Test conditions

  • Temperature: -1 – 9 degrees C (33.8-48.2 F)
  • Surface: Old skool DH, modern bike park, Covid steeze trails, moorland XC

Tech Specs: Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy

  • Price: $4,000 / £3,450
  • Model: Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Comp Alloy
  • Discipline: Trail/enduro
  • Head angle: 63- to 65.5 degrees
  • Frame material: M5 alloy
  • Size: S4
  • Weight: 16.1kg without pedals
  • Wheel size: 29 x 2.3in 
  • Suspension: Fox 36 Rhythm 160mm travel, 44mm offset / Fox Float X Evol Performance 150mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM NX Eagle 11-50T 12-speed gearing, shifter
  • Cranks: SRAM NX chainset, 3t
  • Brakes: SRAM CODE R brakes with 200mm rotors
  • Cockpit: Specialized 35 x 800mm bar and 35 x 50mm stem
  • Wheelset: Specialized 30mm alloy wheels
  • Tires: Specialized Butcher Trail Grid T9 front and Specialized Eliminator Trail Grid T7 29 x 2.3in rear tires
  • Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic 175mm dropper post
  • Saddle: Specialized Bridge Comp saddle

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg