Last weekend I got the chance to test the new 06 FSR Stumpjumper. This is the third incarnation of the current FSR, and it has ‘brain fade’ (WTF?). Anyways, first thing is that there’s no knob on the shock to twiddle when you’re riding. In 04 we had a three position triad shock, with lockout, pro-pedal, or fully active to choose from. In 05 Spesh spoiled us with the Septune seven position shock, then, having hooked us on knob twiddlin’ on the fly they take it away! Having set the right pressure for my weight, I set the brain to a middlin’ setting, and left it at that.
The forks 130mm travel, I wound them all the way up, then back a bit, and headed out for a spin. Within no time at all I’d worked up a good sweat, and was thinkin it was a warm day. Carla, riding her trusty old Stumpy HT informed me that I was making it look like hard work, and that I had the look of one of them fat overbiked dudes that we sometimes see, just needed a half-goatee, some knee guards, and daft baggies to complete the look. Wha? I thought I’d show her when we got to some downhill swoopy off-road type stuff, and I did, but not that much. We did our usual rolling side by side test on the way home, and the FSR was seriously slow innit.
Next day I removed the ‘Adrenaline’ tyres, and replaced them with some fave fast tyres. I fitted a ‘rockster’ on the front, and a ‘roll-x’, on the rear. What a difference! The bike came to life, and whooshing like a really whooshy thing I whooshed all around Hopton Woods. Fast on the flat? check. Climbs well? check. Descends well? check. The bike was a treat to ride uphill, downhill, technical, easy, comfy standing and sitting. I couldn’t decide if the front end felt a little light, giving a tendancy to oversteer, but it never did, and I forgot about it anyway, even going fast over frozen technical rooty ‘i think I’m gonna bin it type stuff’.
The XT brakes were great, I’ve always liked them. The SRAM shifters gave light precise shifting, although it did take a while to get used to the push-push lever action, and I did make a couple of shifts by mistake when I caught my thumb on the forward shifter. I normally like to move my shifters a long way in on the bars. Don’t know why I didn’t do that.
As I rode back into the car park, with two and a half hours riding done, I remembered the rear shock thingy, hadn’t thought about it all ride, hadn’t messed with it, adusted it, nothing. I think that’s just how a shock should be.
So is it better than last year’s FSR? Well, no, not radically, but the fact that the rear shock and brain were so good I forgot about them says that it is. It meant that I didn’t have to think ahead, didn’t have to firm the shock up for this climb, or soften it for this rooty section, and so on, I just rode the bike, and had fun.