The darkness returns….

It’s that time of year again. The darkness has just arrived.

Fortunately it’s that time of year too, and so today at Beics Brenin the darkness came in the form of a new bike – 2013 Stumpjumper Comp Carbon HT in super slinky Testbike colours.

The darkness returns.

The darkness returns.

The last time I rode a bike this stealthy was in 1991. Oddly, that too was a Stumpjumper. Technologically, that bike from 21 years ago couldn’t be more different from this new version. Back then the Stumpy (Team) was a chromoly, fully-rigid, small-wheeled (26″!) all out race bike, decked with the finest Suntour XC Pro jewellery that money could buy, including lightweight canti-brakes, delicate thumbshifters, and grease-port bottom bracket (Back then Suntour were the bollocks). It was the most beautiful colour – black from a distance but deep, deep purple up close, laquered with zesty orange graphics. All in all, it was one sweet-lookin’, fast ridin’ bike. (It was stolen. I never got over it)

Old-skool steel loveliness - the 1991 Stumpjumper Team

Old-skool steel loveliness - the 1991 Stumpjumper Team

The new Stumpy is built from carbon fibre, it’s a 29er, it has front suspension, disc brakes, and press-fit everything. It has some beautiful attention to detailĀ  – the brake hose clamp on the fork and the boltless cable guides I particularly like, as well as the bolt-through axle at the front where it’s needed. Of course there’s no Suntour on there – it’s all Shimano XT (solid), SRAM X-Whatever (a necessary evil for 2×10), and Magura (hydraulic brakes – at least some things don’t change over time).

Neat little touches and dependable kit.

Neat little touches and dependable kit.

Despite the technological differences though, I think the two bikes are almost identical in a spiritual way. They’re both flat-out race bikes using the best available technology, with everything aimed at forward momentum; there’s not an extraneous item on either of them. Oh, and of course, in their own eras they’re the stealthiest looking things on the trail! I wonder of course whether there’ll be any of these original carbon Stumpys running in 21 years.

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2 Responses to The darkness returns….

  1. Nigel says:

    Nice. Very Nice. Can I’ve a go?

  2. wheelist says:

    After swapping out the wheels (for my standard Hope/Mavic hoops) I finally got to take the bike for a spin around the Marin trail yesterday. I’d forgotten that I’d forgotten how to ride a hardtail, but after a few k’s it all began to come back. I was out with my lovely lady so took it fairly easy except for one section: Endor. Conclusion: this bike is properly quick! Looking forward to getting it onto some more familiar trails so I can see just how.

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