On Test: Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon 29 SS- by Grannygear
I have been on a high end steel single speed in the Spot Rocker SS (and many other very respectable steel frames like the OS Blackbuck) and I have been a full season on the Specialized Carve Pro SS, a very nice example of hydroformed aluminum with a shot at building compliance into the frame’s design. I also just got off a very fine example of Ti as a singlespeed frame material in the Spot Rocker SS Ti. But I have danced around carbon fiber as a material for a hard tail frame, having some brief rides here and there and some time on a Breezer carbon bike with gears, but I never have been on a carbon fiber single speed. Now you may say that there is no real single speed specific design or special singlespeed geometry that any decent hard tail frame does not already have and you may be right. But the demands of single speeding are a bit unique. You stand. A lot. And when doing that, you often pedal hard. Even harder. So there is a need for a stiff bottom bracket area. I think a shortish (17.5″ or under) chain stay length is best for keeping that rear tire hooked up and driving when you are out of the saddle and leaning forward. Then the main triangle, perhaps the top tube most of all, needs to be tough too as there is so much leverage imparted into the frame from typically very wide handlebars. Better-than-good tire clearance is welcome as many single speed riders run a fattish tire for comfort and performance at lower pressures.
So, when I rode the S Works Stumpjumper at the 2013 Specialized Global Press Launch this past year in Utah, I was taken by how smooth riding the bike was. Of course it was light and had chi-chi carbon wheels, etc, but a good deal of that experience had to be from that FACT IS 11m frame that all those nice parts were bolted to. Then, in the display area of the Expo Tents, I saw a single speed frame done in carbon with a Stumpjumper decal on it. Not a new 2013 model, but carried over from 2012, the understated graphics and single speed specific features called to me. It is a half step below the S Works level frames, being FACT IS 8M rather than 11m construction, but there is no S Works version of a stand alone single speed frame set.
So soon we will be building up a 2013 Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon 29 SS. Stay tuned as I jump into a high end composite frame built up with some very good components and hit the hills. We also will be talking to one of the engineers at Specialized about the tech in the FACT IS 8m carbon frame and how composites are developing and being refined for bike frames.
See ya soon.
Note: Specialized sent over the Stumpjumper Carbon 29 SS for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed, nor paid for this review. We will strive to give or honest thoughts and opinions throughout