This morning Paul Cripps, owner of Amazonas Explorer and mad keen mountain biker went out for his usual dawn mountain bike ride, uphill to above Cusco on-road followed by a usually insane downhill.
Paul normally rides a carbon fibre Norco Range C7 worth about $5000 but it was in for a service so he tried out one of the 16 brand new Specialized Stumpjumpers we bought for our clients.
This is what he had to say:
“As soon as I picked up the bike, I was impressed by its geometry, its components and its generally high-quality feel. The Matt black “Stealth look” is cool as – it feels like you are riding a prototype, not a bike with over 30 years of history – the Stumpjumper was one of Specialized first ever creations and in her (I always think of bikes as feminine, not too sure why) brand new 2019 look, she is bang up to date and exactly what you’d expect of a bike with this pedigree.
The upgraded SRAM Level TL brakes were simple to swap over for a UK rider, the Rockshock Fusion 130mm rear suspension virtually locks out with a simple click (as does the 130mm Rockshock RECON Front suspension if you want) and I was ready to roll.
So, off I went with Samuel, Javier and Neo the dog in toe. Uphill to Cristo Blanco we set a new record, I’m not going to say how long it took us, even the dog looked impressed (and my dog is as fit as the proverbial butcher´s dog, trust me) but let´s just say this bike goes uphill beautifully and effortlessly (well fairly effortlessly -we are 3km above sea level, where I was born).
We got to Zona X, our usual turn around point but I hadn’t even broken into a sweat and so on up we went. The Shimano SLX gears changing smoothly with a 1 x 11 gearing, meaning the steeper it got, I just clicked up another gear and carried on. Super easy with only one set of gears to worry about, wonderfully simple. Up just before Puca Pucara at around 3800m, we carried over a stile and I was impressed how light and stiff the bike was.
And then the downhill. I clicked open the full suspension and wasn´t expecting much – I usually ride a full on Enduro monster with 160mm suspension but boy was I surprised how good this Stump jumper was, what with just 130mm of suspension, both front and rear, it really punches way above its weight going downhill. It had recently rained and over the slippery exposed rock or even through thick Andean mud, the 2.3-inch Specialized Butcher (front) and Purgatory (rear) tyres on the new 27.5 wheels really kept their traction amazingly.
The upgraded Wellgo DH pedals gripped to my feet like a grippy thing should and I was flying but “oh so in control”. The brakes are sweet and never once gave me a surprise, the silky smooth ride really just makes you want to push yourself, you feel so comfortable and stable. This was truly an amazing fun ride. I made it home in record time, with a huge smile on my face.
Later, Miky our in house mechanic explained how the wider front forks geometry makes it so stable, the relaxed headset angle makes it good on both uphills and downhills and the rigid rear triangle with Specialized “patent pending” rear suspension set up just makes it all work so well. Someone has seriously done their homework here and come up with an absolute corker of a mountain bike.
With all the upgrades plus importing them into Peru, they worked out at a cool $2000 per bike so it was a big investment, all 16 of them (including XS women´s sizes to XL men´s to accommodate just about every size of client we have). We also have upgraded all our kids’ bikes and we still have our fleet of Specialized Cambers (which are still great cross country bikes) and even a few good old Kona Stinky 6s for DH nutters. Brand new Bern helmets and new full finger gloves for everyone complements our kit nicely.
If it is your first time on a bike at altitude cruising along a dirt road in the Sacred Valley, you’ll feel super confident on these wonderfully stable bikes and appreciate the grippy tyres, easy to use gears and wonderfully reassuring brakes and love the plush full suspension ride.
If you are a mountain bike guru, looking to push your limits on some of the world’s best singletrack, you’ll be over the moon.s.
I just spent a month in Chile and in Bogota renting what I´d call various BROs (Bike Related Objects) which almost always were disappointing. Amazonas Explorer’s fleet of hire bikes put other hire fleets to shame and I am very proud of that.
I do not usually wax lyrical about bikes other than my own but I might just have spent the morning on the Specialized website, just having a look at the carbon versions of the Stumpjumper, just in case I felt the need to upgrade one day soon (My son Oliver is just 2 cms shorter than me so its only a matter of time, he’ll be eyeing up my Norco).
Tomorrow I´m thinking of trying out one of the new Haibike E-bikes that just arrived – we now have a fleet of 8 Electric bikes. I can’t wait.”