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  1. #1
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    Decision time: Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 or Santa Cruz Superlight 29?

    I've got a chance to get a really good deal on a bike this week as a part of our team's sponsorship with a bike shop. Most of my racing is on the road and cyclocross, but I really enjoy getting out on my mtb. I've been riding a hard tail 26" bike for years, and I'm finally thinking of stepping up to a 29" bike. I'm also thinking of going full suspension. I had a chance to ride both the Santa Cruz Superlight 29er and the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29er today. I like them both, but could tell a difference between the two. Still, I'm trying to sort out a final decision.

    I would love to hear any input other people have about either one of these bikes.

    Most of my riding is more toward cross-country, but living in Oregon I do get the chance to ride stuff like the McKenzie River Trail if I want.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. #2
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    I like the simplicity of the SC-29 over the Specialized. I've ridden the Specialized and it rides nicely but not especially exciting for me. I have had issues with my wife's Specialized brain system. If you try both and its a draw then I would go with the Santacruz.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Frank. If you are still unsure after riding them both I would go with the Superlight due to simplicity. I have not ridden the Specialized, but I do know they are known for many proprietary parts and I hate dealing with stuff like that.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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    I upgraded to a 29er a few months back and was stuck between the two brands you are looking at. At the time I was between the stumpy comp and the tallboy. after riding both there was no obvious differences in handling between the two. What did stick out was the components offered on the stumpy vs. the tallboy at the comp price point. The stumpy had better components all the way around. Although there are some proprietary items on the stumpy, I would go specialized for overall value. Oh, and to really help you make your decision, i ended up with a Specialized Camber 29er : )
    For the style of riding I do, this bike out performed them both.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitafrank View Post
    I like the simplicity of the SC-29 over the Specialized. I've ridden the Specialized and it rides nicely but not especially exciting for me. I have had issues with my wife's Specialized brain system. If you try both and its a draw then I would go with the Santacruz.
    Well the issues you have experienced regarding brain should'nt be any problem on the comp version, cos there is none

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
    I like them both, but could tell a difference between the two..
    I'm curious- what difference could you tell? If you're coming off a 26" hardtail and most of your riding is cross-country, then you may want to even consider a 29" hardtail bike instead of going fs. Granted, rear travel would be nice on rougher terrain but the 29" wheels/tires alone will make a subtle difference and smooth the ride out marginally. Get the Stumpy if you don't mind the extra weight of the 130mm travel rear shock and the suspension bob you're going to get climbing when you're riding xc most of the time. It's a fantastic bike. Don't know anything about the Santa Cruz. However, I will suggest that perhaps the Epic Comp with the rear Brain that effectively makes the bike (almost) like a hardtail should be on your list to demo as well if you're convinced that you want full suspension.

  7. #7
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    You could also look at the Camber, if you're looking at Specy bikes. A little less travel than the SJ, a little less "Brain" than the Epic. A nice sweetspot in the middle. But, if you're coming from a HT 26", I agree with the above posts that suggest trying out a 29er HT. You get some 2.3" rubber on there and you'd be surprised at how much smoother the ride is....
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  8. #8
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    As another poster mentioned, the components are going to be better on similarly priced Specialized, but simplicity and maintenance is better with the Superlight 29. I've always like the Specialized FS bikes I've demo'd, but seriously dislike their proprietary components. Santa Cruz always goes with standard parts but tuned to their specs, so replacements and upgrades are easy to find.

    Which Superlight kit did you demo?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
    Most of my riding is more toward cross-country, but living in Oregon I do get the chance to ride stuff like the McKenzie River Trail if I want.
    If this is the case, I am trying to figure out why you are going full suspension.

    Either way the answer is the same.
    Both are great bikes and you can't go wrong with either companies quality.
    That being said get the one that feels best.
    If you can't decide from there and components are equal then get the one that has the best value.
    If they are still the same, then get the one you likes the looks of the best.
    If still the same, you are on your own.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    As another poster mentioned, the components are going to be better on similarly priced Specialized, but simplicity and maintenance is better with the Superlight 29. I've always like the Specialized FS bikes I've demo'd, but seriously dislike their proprietary components. Santa Cruz always goes with standard parts but tuned to their specs, so replacements and upgrades are easy to find.

    Which Superlight kit did you demo?
    Where did you come up with that ?

    Specialized puts a premium on their bikes, you'll find better specs on other brands bikes at the same pricepoint.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Where did you come up with that ?

    Specialized puts a premium on their bikes, you'll find better specs on other brands bikes at the same pricepoint.
    We're not talking about other brands, we're talking about Specialized vs. Santa Cruz. Both brands I'm fairly familiar with since I just went through this whole process a few months ago prior to buying my Blur LT. And it makes sense that dollar for dollar, Specialized typically beats Santa Cruz out if you just look at part spec. They're a bigger company that deals in a lot higher volume.
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  12. #12
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    Overall, the SC felt a little stiffer to me, like it had a little less suspension overall. The SJ FSR felt really plush. I've got to admit that I've started to think about the hard tail 29er as an option. I have ridden everything on my 26" hard tail from boring single track to McKenzie River Trail. I have not felt all that limited by the bike. However, at times I've felt like I could have made my ride a little easier with a different tool. My one concern with the full-suspension is that I would be adding a fair amount of weight to the bike, but I might not push the limits of the full-suspension very often.

    I didn't notice a lot of suspension bob on my test rides, but they weren't really on trail conditions. It is a bit of a concern since I really enjoy climbing on a mtb.

    Thanks for the input. Any thoughts on specific hard tail 29ers?

  13. #13
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    If you don't need the rear suspension much, I'd go for a hardtail 29er. For the same cost of a FS 29er, you can get a fantastic HT 29er.
    "Got everything you need?"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post

    Which Superlight kit did you demo?
    I rode the Superlight with the rxc29 kit and Fox fork.

  15. #15
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    I would go for the Specialized. Specialized is a large corporation and has more mid range components, but the way it seems you would be riding the components on the Spec are better for the price.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    If you don't need the rear suspension much, I'd go for a hardtail 29er. For the same cost of a FS 29er, you can get a fantastic HT 29er.
    Any specific suggestions for a hard tail 29er? What about the Highball aluminum? Stumpjumper comp?

    I really appreciate all of the input.

  17. #17
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    Both bikes are nice but the Stumpjumper is going to give you a more versatile bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    We're not talking about other brands, we're talking about Specialized vs. Santa Cruz. Both brands I'm fairly familiar with since I just went through this whole process a few months ago prior to buying my Blur LT. And it makes sense that dollar for dollar, Specialized typically beats Santa Cruz out if you just look at part spec. They're a bigger company that deals in a lot higher volume.
    We'll have to agree to disagree.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
    Overall, the SC felt a little stiffer to me, like it had a little less suspension overall. The SJ FSR felt really plush. I've got to admit that I've started to think about the hard tail 29er as an option. I have ridden everything on my 26" hard tail from boring single track to McKenzie River Trail. I have not felt all that limited by the bike. However, at times I've felt like I could have made my ride a little easier with a different tool. My one concern with the full-suspension is that I would be adding a fair amount of weight to the bike, but I might not push the limits of the full-suspension very often.

    I didn't notice a lot of suspension bob on my test rides, but they weren't really on trail conditions. It is a bit of a concern since I really enjoy climbing on a mtb.

    Thanks for the input. Any thoughts on specific hard tail 29ers?
    You do realized you are comparing a 130mm travel bike to 100mm travel bike right? Do you have to get one of those two for the discount? I would suggest you try a Tallboy AL RXC29 with 120mm front or Tallboy LT R kit as a closer comparison. I found for me, the VPP pedaled better in full open than the Stumpjumper did in propedal.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith View Post
    Any specific suggestions for a hard tail 29er?
    Since you're able to score a good deal on either of these brands, I would look hard at the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 and the Santa Cruz Highball Carbon. You could go with aluminum in either bike and save some cash or put the cash towards a nice wheel set. Either way, it's a win-win.

  21. #21
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    Decision time: Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 or Santa Cruz Superlight 29?

    Ok, so much to respond to here. To your first question, you need to decide what you want. As has need stated, do you want a 130mm travel bike or a 100mm travel bike?
    Sounds like you're more of an Xc bike so even though I LOVE the stumpy, I'd suggest you look at the camber or the epic.
    Stepping away from specialized, I would check out the close outs on the niner jet 9 rdo. You could easily build one for less than 3k. Maybe even 2500.

    If you're looking at hard tails, I enjoyed the time I spent on my kona king kahuna. Partly because it was cheap and more so because it was fun. If doing it again with a higher budget, I would get a highball carbon or a stumpy carbon. The niner rdos are on sale too. Another great option.

    Lastly, I am wondering what all these "proprietary" specialized parts are...
    I can't think of one on the comp. they have the brain on the expert... But even then, I think that's the only thing. Their rear wheels or the 142+ don't make a difference because 142 wheels work just the same. Maybe I'm missing something?

    Either way, good luck in your search.

  22. #22
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    Had an issue with my '12 Trek Superfly (carbon/light build), so pulled out my '10 Stumpjumper (aluminum/stock/heavy by comparison) ....had not ridden the Stumpjumper in 1.5 years, so took me a couple of rides to get past the heavy-feeling steering, but you know what ? Now that I have been riding the Stumpjumper, I have come to realize it's (still) a great bike. Sure it's probably 7lbs heavier, but once up to speed it's fast and on most of my local trails it's really fun (and competitive) to ride. While I prefer the more athletic and racy rigid-feeling suspension of the Superfly, the Stumpjumper with more suspension and softer ride is sweet as well. Rear is 135 QR and it feels stiff.......which of the (2) you are considering is better, I really have no input, but thought I would share my experience with the Stumpjumper.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iqbal624 View Post
    Ok, so much to respond to here. To your first question, you need to decide what you want. As has need stated, do you want a 130mm travel bike or a 100mm travel bike?
    Sounds like you're more of an Xc bike so even though I LOVE the stumpy, I'd suggest you look at the camber or the epic.
    Stepping away from specialized, I would check out the close outs on the niner jet 9 rdo. You could easily build one for less than 3k. Maybe even 2500.

    If you're looking at hard tails, I enjoyed the time I spent on my kona king kahuna. Partly because it was cheap and more so because it was fun. If doing it again with a higher budget, I would get a highball carbon or a stumpy carbon. The niner rdos are on sale too. Another great option.

    Lastly, I am wondering what all these "proprietary" specialized parts are...
    I can't think of one on the comp. they have the brain on the expert... But even then, I think that's the only thing. Their rear wheels or the 142+ don't make a difference because 142 wheels work just the same. Maybe I'm missing something?

    Either way, good luck in your search.
    Try replacing that rear shock with that neat little yoke on the back
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  24. #24
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    Specialized.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Try replacing that rear shock with that neat little yoke on the back
    I really do not understand why people (usually those who hate Specialized for whatever reason) are so obsessed with the shock mount they use. I know you all say "Try replacing the shock", but my question is how often do you change out the shock on your bike?

    I've been riding for 6 or 7 years, and the only time I've wanted to swap a shock was because it was broken and was replaced under warranty, in which case you get the appropriate shock put back on. I have dozens of mountain biking friends, and this is the case with all of them too, I don't know anyone who has replaced a shock just because they wanted a different one, they've all been warranty replacements.

    If you don't like the way your shock performs, there are various places that will tune it to how you like it. I just see this as a complete non-issue that certain people cite as a (bad) reason to not buy a Specialized, If there is a genuine reason please explain it to me.

    I apologize for going off topic.
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