Spesh Stumpy FSR Expert vs Kona Dawg Dee-Lux

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Spesh Stumpy FSR Expert vs Kona Dawg Dee-Lux

Post by MartinF » Sun Apr 23, 2006 16:01

I had each of these bikes yesterday at Afan for demo. Nominally 1 hr each for a spin round a (shortened) Penhydd with Nigel along for company.

I took the Dawg first, this being the lower spec & heavier of the 2 bikes. This had Marzocchi Fond Race 120mm forks & Fox Float R shock, Hayes discs, RaceFace cranks, Truvativ seatpost, handlebar & stem, Shimano gears & shifters (mix of LX & XT), Nokian MBT 2.3" tyres. So a mixed bag of bits.

Initial thoughts - very soft. Possibly set up a little too soft for me. The forks have no travel or compression adjustment, just rebound speed. That said, they felt very nice.

Didn't really notice any difference on the climbs, but then I'm comparing it to my own (heavier) hardtail. The bike really came into it's own on the downhill singletrack. It just seemed to absorb everything the trail could throw at it. I probably took some steep, loose, rubbly, stepped sections faster than I would previously have dreamed of doing, without any hesitation at all. Such was the feeling of confidence. The steering too, just felt really positive and capable of being thrown about like I've never done before.

The only negatives were a slightly over-stretched-out cockpit (for me) leading to slight backache; but this was an 18" frame bike and - as such - possibly one or two inches too big. The other problem was the lack of travel adjustment on the forks. I guess I'm used to screwing my own forks down to 80mm travel for the climbs, so helping to keep the front end down.

Unfortunately, the 1hr became 2 hrs as we had clearly failed to do the shortened course they had in mind (well - they hadn't marked the shortcuts at all!), meaning that I was pushing myself harder than ever to get back in time to pick up the Stumpy. In the end, I guess that all helped get a better feel for the bike's capabilities!

Got back, picked up the Stumpjumper, swapped the pedals over and - armed now with the knowledge of the shortcut to take - we were back off again!!

The Stumpy's spec was... Fox Talas RL 90-130mm forks; Fox Float Triad shock; Avid Juicy 7 brakes; Shimano Hollowtech II cranks & chainset; XTR/XT gears, Mavic XM317 rims & Specialized Adrenaline 2" tyres.

This bike felt more "active". IE: Less "soft" compared to the Dawg. I don't know, really. I'd expected the Stumpy to be streets ahead of the Dawg, but - in my opinion - it wasn't. Maybe it wasn't quite set up as well for me as the Dawg had been, maybe I hadn't got the forks/shock properly dialled-in. Maybe I was knackered from the previous sprint round Penhydd?

That said, it was still a lot better than my hardtail and excellent on the downhill, though perhaps didn't soak up the trail quite as well as the Dawg. Again, that could be down to setup. My only firm complaint, was that I occasionally smacked the pedals on the ground, indicating a lower bottom bracket height - but nothing like as bad as the Stumpjumper FSR XC I tried at Cwmcarm a few weeks ago.

There's another identical demo day at Afan on June 22. I think I'll try to get the same bikes again, but in reverse order.
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