If you’ve spent any time here you know I’m not a fan of Specialized. I know this puts me in the minorty, but I don’t care. I don’t think their bikes are particularly…… special – Specialized, Giant, Trek, whatever. Plus their actions as a corporate entity don’t serve the industry or the community – just their brand and their bottom line.
Yes I know it’s a business and businesses have to behave in a certain way in order to stay businesses, but other companies don’t do the things that Specialized does, and look at them – they still exist.
Anyway, I digress. Stay on target!
The Specialized Stumpjumper debuted in 1981 and was hugely important to the fledgling sport of mountain biking as it was the first production mountain bike. Prior to the Stumpjumper, you needed to custom order a frame from Tim Ritchey or Joe Breeze, try to round up the right touring and motorcycle parts, and then put it together. But now, you could walk into a shop, and ride out minutes later on a fully functioning mountain bike.
And it obviously worked very well, because it stuck around as part of Specialized’s mountain bike lineup (as a steel hardtail) for 15 years. Some people would say that it worked so well because Specialized’s founder Mike Sinyard shipped a Ritchey frame to Taiwan and had a factory copy it. True or not, the Stumpjumper getting in on the ground floor of the explosion in popularity of mountain biking surely helped Specialized become the giant it is today.
I am already so damn tired of typing the word Specialized. I hate the word even!
Check out this ’89 Stumpjumper – it’s gorgeous! It’s just classic vintage MTB. Back then they had some cool graphics and great colours. This ’88 looks cool too. I don’t know what it is exactly but I love chainstay brake bikes like that ’88. I like the lack of cables on the top tube and seatstays, it just looks clean.
As we move into the 90’s, the Stumpjumper looked more business-like – no more cool graphics and fades. Just one colour and the now iconic Stumpjumper script. There’s a little bit of top tube slope creeping into the geometry though. Is that the Canadian influence? Hard, if not impossible, to say – but I’m going to say it.
By the mid to late 90’s, the Stumpjumper has become an aluminium hardtail, using Specialized’s extra fancy metal matrix composite with ceramic oxide particles. I remember this being a big deal at the time, but it didn’t stick around long, so it must not have been all that great. It did generate another iconic bike from Specialized though – the World Championship winning M2 Stumpjumper ridden by the legendary Ned Overend.
And this is where my interest in the Stumpjumper, and Specialized in general (apart from the MAX backbone FSR that is) ends. 1995 was the last year that Specialized made a steel Stumpjumper, which gave it a pretty decent run of 15 years. Now it’s a 150mm travel 27.5″ trail bike, a carbon 29er, a “short travel” trail bike (130mm is short travel now!!), and probably a toaster, vape pen, perpetual motion machine, and a really nice pocket knife.
I hope you enjoyed this quick review of the old Stumpjujmpers, because I promise you that I will never again write about the pecialized Stumpjumper again!
I cannot stand to type out the words Specialzied and Sumpjujmper anymore.