The next bike off the lot that I grabbed for a quick trip up the ski lift was a bigger brother to the Camber Comp, the 2013 Stumpjumper S Works FSR 29″er. With 130mm of travel and a 69* head tube angle, the FSR keeps the decently tucked in chain stays and overall size of the Camber, but gets deeper into a point-and shoot demeanor on the trail. An XL FSR feels like a pretty big bike, long and low, but loves to be tossed around a bit as the Command Post allows for seat height shrinkage and the handling is still not too far into heavy trail/AM to keep it from being good in an XC sense. When we built up Project Long Legs, a dip of the toe into a longer travel 29″er full suspension, I was pleased by how fun the bike was, even if it was overkill for most trails I ride. That much travel allows for a lot of ‘grace’ on any trail.
However, when the Camber came along, I found it did 90% of what the FSR did and was a few pounds lighter, so Project Long Legs sat in the corner (but is scheduled to be pressed back in service for some new parts testing soon). But what if you took a Stumpy FSR and dropped the weight a bit? Say, five pounds over what our project bike hits the scales at? How would that change the game? Well, in some ways a lot and in other ways, a little.
The S Works level bikes from Specialized are always top of the heap performance bikes…the best parts, highest level of engineering in the frames, etc. They are a tricked out factory bike, great for racing, but also as a pure trail bike. The 2013 S Works Stumpjumper FSR is quite a package and although I do not have all the 2013 specs in front of me, the standout parts are very sweet. Beginning at the front end, a Fox Talus fork at 130mm of travel (on ‘high’) and a Fox Mini Brain rear shock with Autosag both get Kashima coating. Roval Control Trail SL carbon wheels with 142+x12 rear axle and an 0S28 front axle, and S Works carbon crank with an XX spider, XTR shifters and rear Shadow Plus der, XTR brakes, a new 2.3 Purgatory front tire and 2.1 Ground Control rear tire round out a pretty sweet FACT 11M carbon main frame with carbon rear end, PF30BB, ISCG ’05 tabs, internal cable routing for the Blacklite Command Post and so on.
So all that done, what is it like to ride? Can an over $9K trail bike be ‘worth it‘? Well, you need to decide the value of it according to your own priorities but the performance is a complete success. The carbon wheels and overall light parts build, the dropper post, the stiff frame and Brain tuned to be smoother than you would expect for something that pedals so well…all that travel and less weight adds up to a bike that I was enjoying more than the Camber on the same trail. Yeah, I did not need the extra 20mm of travel and the slacker head tube angle, but it was not getting in the way either, and you could preload the suspension, launch off of everything in sight, and just horse around with glee. The new Purgatory front tire was better on these trails then the Ground Control on the Camber. In fact, since they say that the new 2.3 Purg is more efficient and faster rolling than the old version, I would run them front and rear on the FSR and skip the Ground Control tire all together. It is a more toss able tire in my opinion, allowing more aggressive postures and lines in loose, dry, and rocky trails.
This was a FUN bike to ride and pegged my smile-o-meter for the day.