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  1. #1
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    In depth comparison: 06 Stumpy vs. 07 Stumpy Expert Test Bike

    My 06 Stumpy is in the shop. Truvativ had a manufacturing defect on the BB cup bearing that caused it to seize to the crank shaft. LBS contacted Truvativ and they are sending a new crankset. While my bike is out of commission, I was given a Large SJ Expert with a Brain to ride. The weather was just too perfect and I needed to take full advantage of it.

    I typically ride a XL with a shortened stem and seat moved up, but all they had was a L, more on this later.

    Shimano is dead
    Shimano has had little competition in the derailleur market for years until SRAM came along. Let me be the first to say that SRAM not only is better, it is driving a backhoe to dump dirt on Shimano's grave. The X0 derailleur and X9 shifters on the Expert was amazing. I have always thought there there could be minor improvements in the XT rear derailleur on my Stumpy but I never imagined just how good it could be. Click the shifter, new gear. Seems simple until you add lever throw, 1:1 ratio, solid defined shifts, and smoothness unmatched. The X9/X0 combination excelled in every way. My XT now feels sloppy and unrefined. The shifts seem slow and hesitant. When I spot the first sign of problems, I am dumping the XT/Deore shifters and flipping to SRAM.

    What about Bob?
    You never know how bad the Triad is until you ride a real shock with real Propedal. Today when I felt Propedal working on the Brain when traveling DOWNHILL, I knew I had to get rid of the Triad ASAP. The Spec Brain was absolutely impressive. Each pedal stroke was so smooth and I was much less tired and the end of the climb. Even on the smallest log crossings, the efficiency of the Brain became evident. The Brain rode like the Triad in Open mode but without the clown-car bob I am so used to. This was not just a bike anymore, it became a weapon for blasting up and down hills with ultimate speed. But, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Reaching the Brain control involved getting off the bike. I adjusted it three times to match upcoming terrain and each time I felt like I had to disconnect myself from the riding experience to make the change. Slow speed performance was easily much better than the Triad, but high speed over rough stuff was actually worse. The Brain tried to follow the terrain a little too much while the Triad can't keep up and skips along. BTW, I will have a Fox RP23 on order shortly and I think it will actually eclipse the Spec Brain in performance and yet it will have the compact Triad profile without the need to dismount for adjustments.

    It's a bird, it's a plane....
    No, it just me and the damn Avid Juicy's announcing my arrival to everyone. My first upgrade to my Stumpy was Hayes HFX-9 brakes. Today, I had Juicy's with 200mm front and 185mm in the rear (my Hayes are 160mm front and back). I don't see what the hype is with these brakes and if I had these on my bike, I would have taken them off and sold them immediately. I felt like I had no control. Modulation was very sporadic, one time I would get smooth deceleration while other times I thought I was going to fly over the bars and hit a tree. The Juicy's feel lighter in pull and lever action but that's about the only nice thing I can say. Combined with the poor control was squealing. Attempting to modulate the brakes caused more squealing. Hard braking made the sound go away but also gave you a sense of urgency in finding a soft spot of land in preparation for your high speed endo.

    For the small stuff, I will just label this list as items of interest:
    XT crankset - Super stiff, noticably stiffer than the Truvativ's but the q-factor (width of the pedals from centerline) was an issue. I prefer the narrorwer Truvativ's but if you can deal with a wide crankset, the XT's can't be beat.
    Specialized seat - The seat on my 06 was given away. It felt like a brick wrapped in black vinyl. The seat on the Expert is vastly improved and quite comfortable. I noticed some soreness at the end of the ride but nothing to complain about. I typically ride with a WTB Rocket V (ummm... heaven )
    Fox Talas - Yeah it's nice and it might be a little stiffer than my Float RL fork, but it was not that big of a deal and I wouldn't consider it a major upgrade. I liked the 140mm setting and left it there. I saw very little value in changing to another height for climbing.
    Spec Resolution tire in the rear - Wow this felt dangerous. I sensed loss of traction several times from the rear tires when hitting turns at speed. My 06 has a Cinder in the rear with much more grip and on these same turns it bites into the trail. BTW, the Spec Resolution in the front is awesome.
    Stumpy paint - I am really sorry for the guys that bought 07's. The paint is bad, real bad. The test bike had several large chips on it already and the surface was covered in fine scratches. I am sure it looked beautiful brand new but a year from now it will look like it had gone to hell and back.

    With the Large test bike I just could not get comfortable enough for any jumps, no matter how small they were. I could climb and descend, blast through flat sections, but there was no way I could get airborne. I prefer a higher front end and the Talas at 140mm on the Large did not seem as tall as my Float RL 130mm on my XL. Other factors at play are my 90mm stem, 45mm wider handlebar, and thick ODI Lock-On grips on my XL 06.

    For those of you still not convinced that the Triad is junk, go rent a Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Test Bike. After less than a mile on ANY trail, it will truly open your eyes on what you have been missing.

    Test Bike (yes, it is purple)










  2. #2
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    Very good review, I think it will help people in question a lot. I have found that yes, you do need to adjust the brain according to conditions. But unless you have a speedball/gravity dropper for a seatpost, you are getting off to raise/lower it for those conditions, too. At least for me it happens. I rarely ride it full firm, unless like today I was mashing out of the saddle with the fork locked out on a gravel/fireroad. And soft all the way is too soft. 4 full rotations away from firm is just right. Hopefully that might help, too.

  3. #3
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    Cool review you have there. I came from a Dakar XLT with a Fox Float R rear shock and Manitou Minute 1 SPV/Evolve to my FSR Elite. As for the Triad, the bike just rides so much better than my Jamis that I will have to plead ignorance to the Triad's issues. The only problem I have been having is that it will not hold 240psi (my weight), but it has been getting better. I will give it until this weekend and if it isn't right then we'll do something about it.

    As for the brakes, I have issues with them but for different reasons. I like having a positive stop, and I have very fine modulation. I usually have very little travel with levers close to the bars on every bike I've had. My fav cable levers were some old XTR levers with integrated shifters that I still have. When I used them with Avid BB7s I loved them. Then, I scored a set of XT Dual Control hydro levers with calipers at a bike swap and put them on. I loved the lever feel and modulation, but the pads sucked. The BB7s would stop sooner, but the hydro system felt great. I dialed in the lever distance and all was well. With this setup, I dialed in the distance, but I still have too much travel before the pads start moving. The stopping power is better than my BB7s (much better) but the levers come too close to the bars. I will have to research what I can do about that.

  4. #4
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    Regarding the paint - If you get an Expert it will be anodised.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futon River Crossing
    Regarding the paint - If you get an Expert it will be anodised.
    That might be true of the standard Expert's (that Flo Red doesn't look anodized) but the Expert Test Bike was clearly paint.

  6. #6
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    The test bikes are not meant to be sold IIRC, for some reason they tend have a unique colour, maybe so they can be identified as test bikes.

    My Expert is anodised - I would recommend them over the painted version. Sorry I hadn't seen any painted Experts, so assumed they were all anodised!

  7. #7
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    Having had the 2004 Stump FSR Comp w/triad and a new 2007 Stump expert w/brain I would agree with the brain getting nod. I felt once my triad got broken in it was great, but not as good as the brain. However it took a ride or two to get my brain were I wanted it be as well. Brake wise I agree, not impressed much with the juicy's so far. I had XT hydros on my 04 and they did what I wanted them to do. No guessing.

    Overall a good review.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Futon River Crossing
    The test bikes are not meant to be sold IIRC, for some reason they tend have a unique colour, maybe so they can be identified as test bikes.

    My Expert is anodised - I would recommend them over the painted version. Sorry I hadn't seen any painted Experts, so assumed they were all anodised!
    Test bikes can be sold. The sticker is easily removed but they can only be sold after a certain date.

  9. #9
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    Nice review. Do you really dislike the Triad that much??

    JK

    The Deore shitters were the first thing to go on my Stumpy. The old 750 series XT's were a night and day difference over those. They rear derailleur is not at fault, just the shifters.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHSAD
    Having had the 2004 Stump FSR Comp w/triad and a new 2007 Stump expert w/brain I would agree with the brain getting nod. I felt once my triad got broken in it was great, but not as good as the brain. However it took a ride or two to get my brain were I wanted it be as well. Brake wise I agree, not impressed much with the juicy's so far. I had XT hydros on my 04 and they did what I wanted them to do. No guessing.

    Overall a good review.
    The Triad's Propedal should be labeled as half open. I can definitively say that the Triad has nothing even remotely similar to the pedal efficiency of the Brain. I could actually feel the Propedal actively engaged uphill, downhill, over log crossings, spinning on flat land, and sprinting.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I actually don't mind the '07 Deore shifters. However, I would have liked to see XT level shifters considering the build state of the bike.

    It was recommended that I get the anodized Expert when I got mine, but I couldn't afford the next jump in dollar amount for that and the brain. I am just going to use protective material over the heavy hit zones and call it a day.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    Yeah, I actually don't mind the '07 Deore shifters. However, I would have liked to see XT level shifters considering the build state of the bike.

    It was recommended that I get the anodized Expert when I got mine, but I couldn't afford the next jump in dollar amount for that and the brain. I am just going to use protective material over the heavy hit zones and call it a day.
    I noticed a large chip on the pierce-point on the seat tube. Not exactly what I would classify as a heavy hit zone.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopartodd
    Nice review. Do you really dislike the Triad that much??

    JK

    The Deore shitters were the first thing to go on my Stumpy. The old 750 series XT's were a night and day difference over those. They rear derailleur is not at fault, just the shifters.
    Thanks Todd. I am going to look for a bike at Bicycle Chain with XT shifters and try them out. I only have one shifter on my Stumpy now anyways

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumbee1
    I noticed a large chip on the pierce-point on the seat tube. Not exactly what I would classify as a heavy hit zone.
    The pierce point? Is that the little hole at the back of the seat tube? Where I ride it's pretty frequent to have stuff flip up and pelt the back of the bike. I know the paint job is crappy (like my friend's Bianchi frames, which are utter crap) but I plan on covering that zone even when I get the fender.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Student Driver
    The pierce point? Is that the little hole at the back of the seat tube? Where I ride it's pretty frequent to have stuff flip up and pelt the back of the bike. I know the paint job is crappy (like my friend's Bianchi frames, which are utter crap) but I plan on covering that zone even when I get the fender.
    This was actually on the front of the pierce-point and could have only come from the front tire.

  16. #16
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    Weird. So is that beneath the seat collar, or is it at one side of the seat tube? I couldn't see anything in the pic but if it looks like a possible strike zone I would like to cover it on my bike.

  17. #17
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    In the picture above of the Float R shock, the chip is right on the other side. It was an irregular circle about 1/8" in diameter.

  18. #18
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    I upgraded from deore to xt shifters and it resolved all rear derailleur issues I had with shimano. I don't know that it's fair to judge derailleur performance with deore shifters.

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