Excited but apprehensive is how I would describe what I felt when I collected my new Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 2007.Â My old stumpy comp, is now about 5 years old and has been my winter bike for the last 2 years. I ride my 2004 FSR full suspension the rest of the year andÂ I was finding the switch from full suspension, disk to hardtail, V brakes more difficult each time, but I still wasnâ€™t sure whether Iâ€™d made the right choice of another hardtail.
My intial reaction was â€œlooks great but not too flashâ€?.Â A nice black satin finish with the new silver decals to the top tube, a very lean looking machine.Â Specced with Fox F90 RL forks, Avid Juicy 5 disks, and Sram X-9 shifters, I give it the usual lift to see what it weighs – â€œOh my god itâ€™s so light, what will it be like downhill?â€? – I was to find out soon enough.
The day of the ride was a beautiful November morning, a slight frost overnight ensured that the trails would be firm and dry.Â After doing all the adjustments and measuring up, Steve (husband) and I set off to one of our favourite haunts for its first outing.Â This secret location has a great mix of woodland trails, rocky descents, a variety of climbing and off camber sections to give a good all round test.Â Now just so you know, Steve was riding the new 2007 Specialized Epic.
Jumping onto my new steed, I was amazed to find how comfortable and familiar it felt.Â My initial apprehension melted away as we hit the first trail.Â Slightly downhill with a few twists and turns through the trees, over some knarly roots and ruts, it felt extremely agile but at the same time solid and in complete control.Â Onto the first grassy climb with a fairly steep gradient the light frame comes into its own.Â All the energy from each pedal turn seems to thrust you forward with apparent ease.Â We continued along the woodland trails and it struck me that I was pretty much keeping pace with the Epic, with only my lack of skill stopping me from being right on its tail.
Into a stony section the Fox forks are superb, allowing the bike to push hard into the turns and no need to worry about all those lumps and bumps.Â Now we hit a tricky section, coming down a steep descent and making the transition to the steep climb the other side combined with a slight step on the â€œupâ€?.Â Now under normal circumstances I would rely on my FSR to get me through using speed and advantage of full suspension to carry me over.Â Well stumpy handled it beautifully, coming onto the â€œupâ€? a slight shift in weight and she floated right over the transition whilst still moving upward and onward â€“ brilliant!Â This ride was getting better by the minute.
The new sram shifters are catching me out a little.Â With the â€œthumbâ€? â€œthumbâ€? changers and thick winter gloves,Â Iâ€™m tending to knock it down a gear by accident.Â The solution, would be to move these further inwards to keep them away from my hand position when Iâ€™m on the handle bar grips.Â Itâ€™s something I can live with because the upside is the accuracy and sharpness of the gear changes.
Now to my favourite descent.Â A nice straight top section down through woodland with a hard right then left across some tree roots, straightening up again to the forest road below.Â The Epic was behind me, would he catch me â€“ not normally on my FSR.Â Off I go changing down through the gears and picking up more and more speed.Â Iâ€™m flying now as I give her a slight lift over the small double bumps and she floats over and lands so effortlessly.Â I mess up the right hand turn but still able to keep the power on and get round and down to the bottom.Â That was great fun and Steve admitted that he only caught me as we got into the turn.
As we continue the ride, I canâ€™t find fault with this bike.Â Although Iâ€™m starting to tire a little, she still carries me along up the climbs and along the trails.Â After 2 Â½ hours itâ€™s finally over and Iâ€™m now the happy proud owner of a 2007 Stumpjumper Comp.