Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2013 Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29

A funny thing is happening in the 29er world lately. The 29-inch wheel grew out of a desire to roll faster in the woods, to maintain momentum, and to smooth out bumpy terrain. For close to a decade 29ers were a completely hardtail phenomenon, their inherently-longer wheelbase and heavier wheels limiting their application.

Full suspension 29ers were decidedly tank-like, plowing over rough terrain, but sluggish in tight terrain and anything headed uphill. In our corner of the world the 2010 Specialized Epic FSR29er changed all that. Suddenly, there was a 100mm travel full suspension 29er that did everything the best lightweight 26ers did, but with the added benefit of rolling over the rocky, rooty trails of the Granite State on bigger wheels. On a medium frame the wheelbase was only 13mm longer than the 26” wheel version. Stronger, lighter 29er wheel options like Stans, Industry 9, Roval and ENVE took away the weight penalty on extended climbs or in tight, technical terrain where constant acceleration is the name of the game.

We sold dozens of these bikes each year since Specialized made them readily available in 2011. It became our number one selling full suspension bike and revitalized our local mountain bike scene (once one rider got on one everyone else they rode with started thinking seriously about 29ers).

But this is a review of the 2013Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29er, not an Epic. The Stumpjumper, with an additional inch of travel and more relaxed geometry, had been our best-selling full suspension bike for close to a decade in its 26” version until the Epic 29 came along. Now, over 90% of the full suspension bikes we sell are 29ers. Some of that is most likely because they just ride faster in the rough, rooty, rocky terrain with very few extended (1000 vertical-feet-plus climbs) we have here, but I think most of it is that full suspension 29ers have just evolved and improved.

Last year Specialized tweaked the Stumpjumper FSR 29er geometry, and after sending people out on both our Epic and Stumpy Test Bikes we ended up selling more Stumpy 29ers than Epic 29ers!

The 2013 Stumpy FSR Elite 29 is a fantastic bike! It’s got 140mm of travel front and rear with a Fox Talas CTD fork and a Fox/Specialized Brain rear shock. It's M5 aluminum frame with 142mm dropouts is light, stiff, and doesn't cost a fortune when you wrap it around a tree at 20 mph! It’s got a carbon SRAM S2200 crankset, SLX/XTR drivetrain, Avid Elixir 5 SL brakes and a 3-position Command Post with internal frame routing and handlebar remote.

On the trail the Stumpy is well-balanced: it is a jack-of-all-trades It climbs the steep, technical power climbs around these parts as the equal of any cross country bike, yet delivers on the downhills like a completely different species. The brain on the rear shock can be set up in a range of ways to accommodate a fast, smooth rolling ride, a nasty, technical, rocky ride, or anything in between. The CTD feature on the Fox Talas fork does likewise on the front end: it’s like having 2 or 3 bikes in one.

We have 2013 Stumpjumper FSR 29 test bikes in multiple sizes at the shop. $75/day gets you out riding one on your local trail, and if that's the spark that makes you decide you want one for yourself the $75 will go towards whichever one you want to buy! 

As bike companies put more resources into 29 inch bike platforms they are finding ways to accentuate the benefits of bigger wheels over a wider variety of terrain and are minimizing any of the big wheel's traditional shortcomings. Longer travel models are incorporating the bigger wheels, and rumors are flying of 29" Specialized Enduros being seen at gravity events. 29ers have come a long way, and their future is decidedly bright!

You won't know until you ride one...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fast and Easy Winter Bike Maintenance

Here it is January 7, 2012 and we're in a massive snow drought. I use the word massive because it adds drama to our lack of ability to enjoy 'winter activities' that I would love to be doing right now...skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, you get my point, but with all this amazing weather, what are we cyclists to do? Ride! If that's what you said, then you got the answer right. 

I wanted to write up a quick post about 15 minute bike maintenance and how to wash off the salt and road grunge that can build up on your bike this time of year. It's really quite simple and though I may have been a little fussy and exceeded the 15 minute time limit, you can really get it done in that amount of time.

Here's what you need-

1. A bucket of hot water, no soap.
2. An old crusty water bottle.
3. Chain lube
4. Three rags- one goes in the bucket of hot water, one greasy rag used to wipe off chain lube, the other used to wipe the bike clean and dry.
5. If you go over the 15 min time limit, you'll also want to have some de-greaser and frame polish.
6. One dirty bike.

 Basic tools for the job.

One dirty bike.

It's really easy to start, you don't need a repair stand as pictured above, leaning the bike against some object that still allows the pedals to rotate backwards works great. I put the chain in the large chain ring, small cog so it spins easily during the process. So fill your crusty water bottle and spray away!

I suggest spraying the whole frame, wheels, tires, drive train and anything else that may have got salt or other grime on while you were enjoying your sweet winter bike ride. I feel the hot water is great to really clean off the gunk and salt, especially if your bike is cold, maybe it's just psychological, but what ever works for you. After you've sprayed most of the salt off, I take the rag from the bucket and give a good wipe down of the whole bike, wheels, spokes, frame, chain and derailleurs and other frame parts. Soak the rag in the bucket as needed and scrub all the salt that wasn't removed from just spraying water over your bike.

When you're done this, use your nice dry rag (I like to pamper my ride with a nice soft, cut up, old towel) and give the bike a good wipe down, wiping dry all the same parts you just washed off.

Giving a nice wipe down and special attention to detail.

The last thing I do is grab the greasy rag from my cleaning kit and wipe the chain down real good to soak up some of the water. Then I apply chain lube to the chain. Again, I'm pretty fussy so I put a drop of lube at each roller pin and bushing. You really don't need an excess amount of lube all over the chain and link plates, just enough to keep the moving bits lubed and happy.

Now that your bike is clean, dry, and chain well lubed, you'll be ready to ride on the next time, no rusted chain or ruined components from the salt and winter road grime.
 That is one brilliantly clean bike!

What I did in my extra fifteen or twenty minutes. 
Lubed all the spoke nipples at the rim with chain lube, cleaned and wiped down both wheels and hubs, used de-greaser to clean my derailleur pulleys taking off all the built up crud, pulled both wheels off the bike to give a little frame and fork inspection and polish. As well as, just a general close eye over every part of the bike, so I'm confident it's absolutely clean and ready to roll.
Bike repair isn't rocket science by any means, but if you're not into cleaning your bike, bring it down to our shop and we'll give it all the love it deserves.

Thanks for reading,