Wheel Size Experiments
I did try putting standard 27.5 tires on the bike, and it was rideable, and actually really fun to corner on–it felt like a slalom bike. But it was extremely easy to hit pedals on the ground, and I wouldn’t recommend this setup. Cornering and pedaling on flat ground was a no-go. So for anyone wondering if they can just run normal 27.5 wheels on this bike, I’d strongly discourage you.
However, I would love to try 29” wheels on this bike. I could see myself having two sets of wheels, and spending most of my time on the wagon wheels unless I wanted to ride something steep or loose, and then swapping for the Plus wheels.
Should you buy the FSR Comp Carbon, or the next model up or down in the line?
The more expensive 6Fatties are basically just lighter. The less expensive aluminum version should be great, but it doesn’t have the SWAT chamber. Given all that, The FSR Comp Carbon is a nice sweet spot in the line.
Answers to My Initial Questions
Are Plus-tired bikes a novelty, or are they practical for all-around use?
Plus-tired bikes can definitely be practical for all-around use. They are a bit slower on flats and climbs, but the difference isn’t too significant.
Are they capable enough to supplant a bike like my Santa Cruz Nomad?
The Stumpjumper could not supplant my Nomad. In tough situations the shock bottom out and the tire flex were just too much.
Do I need one?
I couldn’t see it replacing my Yelli Screamy hardtail or my Nomad unless I were doing a lot of slow-speed, technical climbing where the extra traction would be helpful. But the Stumpjumper has been a really fun addition to my quiver. If I were in the market for a new mid-travel trail bike (130-150 mm), I would seriously consider the Stumpjumper. It is fun (in part because it is different), and on slower, more technical trails, it does have a traction and control advantage over a bike with similar travel but skinnier tires.
The Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 6Fattie offers a very different ride quality from most bikes. It is incredibly smooth over brake bumps and other moderately rough terrain. I would recommend the Stumpjumper to advanced riders looking for something different, or intermediate riders seeking a confidence boost at the expense of a bit of added rolling resistance. It offers a lot of traction, and it’s surprisingly playful. It also has a number of little flaws, but the sum total still results in a fun bike.