Sunday, January 1, 2012

Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er for Cape Epic 2012

Team Singapore Racing's bikes are now complete with Specialized 29ers, mine being the fourth bike in the line-up. And what better way to start 2012 than to have the inaugural ride on my new weapon – the S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon 29er! This hard tail features SRAM XX components plus a custom 90 mm travel RockShox SID Brain fork.

The bike is a weight-weenies wet dream because of the crazy exotic materiel, you name it and it's got it. Carbon galore - rims, crank set, hubs, seat post, shift levers, dropouts and everywhere else just to drop a gram or two. But wait, there's more - titanium bolts, quick release, saddle rails, and PF30 BB with ceramic bearings. Actual weight on a calibrated Park Tool scale is 8.6 kg without pedals!

Our support crew at Attitude Bikes tuned the bike and lovingly prepped the frame with protective stickers and converted to tubeless with Stan's.

Morten kindly accompanied me to Pulau Ubin despite completing 6 laps yesterday. Perhaps it was the wonderfully dry but tacky trail or the placebo effect, but whatever it was the bike is fast. 5 laps later, the one word to describe the bike is "precise", in the way it tracks and it's response to my inputs. So much so that one has to concentrate on proper handling and body positioning or the bike will punish you with a skid or fall, which happened to me a couple of times.

The 2 x 10 XX transmission is also precise, a little clunky compared to my XTRs but click-click-click and it just shifts like a machine gun.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the SID Brain fork, but it seem to work just fine. I found myself moving a lot more with my arms and legs and with some body English thrown in, the rear was surprisingly smooth even though it's a hard tail. I suppose it has to do with the 29er geometry and design of the stays and seat post which feels vertically compliant but without the horizontal flex. I also ran the tyres reasonably soft.

I love my Stumpy!


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