Reviewers’ Rides, Part 1

[Editor’s Note: When our reviewers aren’t out testing various frames and forks and whatnot, what do their own personal builds look like? The Bike Check series asks some of our riders to detail their setups, and explain why they’ve chosen these particular frames and components. First up, BLISTER’s Senior Bike Editor, Marshal Olson.]


Marshal Olson: 6’2’, 205 lbs.

Ride Style: Trail bike. Equal emphasis at pedaling efficiency to mask my lack of speed uphill with a smooth and reactive feel while descending to mask my lack of skill while descending.


Frame: 2011 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon w/ 140mm Rear Travel

Size Large, 18.5”
Seat tube, 24.2”
Effective top tube
13.4” bottom bracket height
67-degree head tube angle
Fox Float rear shock

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon, Blister Gear Review
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon with 140mm Rear Travel.

I like a stiff frame that will not flex under heavy pedaling load, that is planted and stable, with an active suspension platform that will not hang up on squared edges while descending. The Stumpjumper FSR Carbon fit the bill.


2011 Specialized E160 fork, Blister Gear Review

Fork: 2011 Specialized E160 fork
160mm travel
20mm Front hub axle
35mm sanctions
Carbon crown and Steer tube

This fork is very light at 3.95 lbs. (compared to 4.7 for the Lyrik, the lightest equivalent travel fork on the market currently), and is very stiff because of its carbon crown. The fork has a nice smooth stroke that is controlled. I would love for the fork to have a bit more mid-stroke support for very aggressive riding in rough terrain, but as a general-purpose trail riding, it works very well. I got an awesome deal on this fork on eBay.



Wheels: ENVE Carbon AM 26” rims laced to Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs with DT Swiss spokesENVE 26AM Rims, Blister Gear Review

I typically try to run the least expensive parts that do not sacrifice performance on my bikes, with minor exceptions. The ENVE wheels break this model. They are about the most expensive wheels out on the market at the moment. The difference here is that the ENVE wheels simply ride and hold up better than anything else I have ridden. After testing them, I could not let them go. They are just too good.



Tires: Kenda BBG 2.35 front, 2.1 UST rear w/ DTC rubber compound

I really appreciate the BBG’s ability to roll pretty fast, grip well while pedaling in loose-over-hard-pack conditions, offer powerful braking bite, and have a very predictable and engaged feel while cornering. I live in Utah, and basically only ride in dry conditions. If I was traveling to wetter climates, I would switch to a 2.5 Maxxis Minion DHF EXO tire setup.


Leave a Comment