Specialized is not a company to rest on its past successes, nor are they one to jump into the fray prematurely. Every product must be well engineered and capable by the time it reaches the rider’s hands and feet. As a longtime 26″ wheel rider, I will be the first to admit I am biased towards the newest Stumpjumper offerings with 650b (aka 27.5″) wheels. Does another wheel complicate the choices of bikes? It absolutely does, but for a better experience on the rider’s part. Whether you prefer 26″, 29″ or like the idea of something in between, the Stumpjumper family has options for all riders.
Erik’s is stocking both the Stumpjumper Comp Evo and Stumpjumper Expert Carbon Evo, but the first run will probably go fast in stores (and even faster on the trail). The Stumpjumper FSR is still available in 29 and 26″ models as a full-suspension bike.
So Why 650b?
Traditionally I have had a bias towards smaller wheels – part of that is having ridden and raced mountain bikes from the early days when there were no “choices” in wheels. To this day, I feel very comfortable in nearly any situation with a 26-inch wheel. I will admit to times when the 29ers win for speed, which is why they are an excellent option for racing, and their stability makes them an excellent choice for newer riders. However, 650b occupies a sweet spot in between these, retaining the playfulness and tweakability of a 26 inch wheel while incorporating benefits of the 29″ platform such as speed, traction and obstacle clearance. All of this makes a 650b bike such as the Stumpjumper FSR a great option for riders who like the playfulness of smaller wheel sizes, but still want speed and roll-over capabilities.
All the 650b models in the Stumpjumper lineup are re-worked from the time-tested Stumpjumper FSR frame and suspension design. Equipped with AUTOSAG, getting the perfect ride setup has never been easier, and the Climb, Trail, and Descend settings (CTD) tailor the suspension to the trail when you’re on a ride.
All models are 150mm of travel, and the frame/fork are fitted with thru-axles for true handling and lateral stiffness.
Like any trail bike worth its salt, you will find the lineup complete with Command Post dropper seatposts and tubeless ready tire and rims.
Drivetrains are SRAM and brakes are Shimano – a cross-brand combination that dedicated trail riders love.
Which Wheel Size is right for me?
Because everyone’s riding style and desires are different, Erik’s recommends thinking about how you would like to ride your new bike, and to make sure and try them out before settling. 29 is understandably king for most riders, but 650b deserves a look for those in the market for a new mountain bike. Erik’s has multiple 650b options including the Lapierre Zesty in addition to all of our 26 and 29-inch models.
Footnote – What’s in a name? The industry hasn’t unanimously decided on whether to call this new wheel size 650b or 27.5″; there are arguments to be made on either side, but it all comes down to a name. At Erik’s we have decided to refer to the size how each manufacturer does. In the case of the Lapierre Zesty this means 27.5 is the common name, and in the case of Specialized 650b is used. Whatever you call it, both are the same size wheel.