In praise of…..stumpjumpers

Early stumpjumper

I was flicking through a book that I was given as a gift; ‘50 bikes that changed the world’, published by the Design Museum, when I strayed across the Specialized Stumpjumper (original 1981 model pictured above). Instantly I found myself reminiscing. Never owned one myself. But back in the day, boy did I want one. Stumpjumpers were lithe. Adrenalin fuelled. Exotic. It was arguably the bike that got me interested in mountain biking purely through the power of the image (such was the efficiency of those Specialized marketing people).  Photographs of lean limbed lunatics pelting through singletrack set my mind racing.  This was a sport that appealed on every level. I drooled. I’d have loved one, but the budget at the time only extended to a Raleigh Lizard and my first attempts at mountain biking were heavy, plodding affairs. Not matter, it didn’t put me off and 20+ years later, the thought of bouncing down a rocky track on a steel bike still gets me excited. Arguably you could put this all down to good design and canny advertising (don’t tell that to Mrs N. She’ll be sending them e-mail reprimands).

So thankyou Stumpjumper, for the inspiration that you gave me, through the ride I’ve never ridden.

Then and Now. 1981 Stumpjumper (top) and the 29er production model. 

Carbon 29er

2 replies »

  1. I’m sure the newer one is so much more efficient, but tell me you wouldn’t want to ride the original? Ah the joys of non-indexed gears, and anti-grip chrome steel rims. Brilliant.

  2. I’d have the original in a jiffy. Not as a replacement for anything of course, more of a ‘as well as’ :) I still miss my old thumb-shifters, remembering them through rose tinted glasses.

    I think I adore my rigid 29er so much because it has a little of that Stumpy ethos built into its DNA.

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