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1998 Stumpjumper - Love It or List It?

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1998 Stumpjumper - Love It or List It?

Old 06-09-20, 03:52 PM
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HighAltitude
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1998 Stumpjumper - Love It or List It?

I have a 1998 Specalized Stumpjumper M2. One of the orange ones with XT/XTR and an Answer Manitou fork. I bought it new.

It's been my MTB all this time. The first few years I rode it a lot. Took it to Moab a few times even, and rode it around Denver plenty. Then kids and less riding. From 2003 to now, the bike probably has 200 new miles on it at most. Garage queen. It actually still has the original tires and brake pads.

I'm spending a little more time on it now and considering my options. The Stumpy was a very nice bike in its day. Even by current standards it is very light and feels like a good climber. I'm not positive but don't think any of the components are anywhere near failure. But, it's behind in some areas - current bikes in its range would have disc brakes, for example, and I think fork tech has come a long way in 20 years.

I'll be riding trails and the occasional singletrack. I'm 49 - in good physical shape but no longer a highly skilled rider.

To my decision:
  1. Keep the Stumpy. Maybe spend a few bucks updating the soft materials. If I ride enough to maintain interest, reevaluate, but it would mostly be a good $1300 bike if it were new today.
  2. I don't know what I'm missing. This bike is old technology, and $1300-$1700 spent on a new hardtail today would give me a far better bike.
  3. If I want a hardtail, the Stumpy is as good as any, but what I really should be doing is preparing my mind to spend $3500 on a full suspension bike.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-09-20, 03:59 PM
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If it was me, I'd love it because I'm a sucker for old mtb's and Specialized. That being said, it's a seller's market right now so you may get some good money from a sale.
Decisions, decisions.
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Old 06-10-20, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 2cam16 View Post
If it was me, I'd love it because I'm a sucker for old mtb's and Specialized. That being said, it's a seller's market right now so you may get some good money from a sale.
Decisions, decisions.
I admit that part of my dilemma is because a guy passed me on a trail a while back. He recognized the bike, apparently he'd had one back in the day. He gushed about what a classic it was. He meant a compliment but I came away from the encounter feeling old.
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Old 06-10-20, 10:45 AM
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I say love it and keep it if there is any nostalgia or attachment to it. I have a 2000 Stumpy Comp that is in dis-repair because someone stole my drivetrain and it has been stagnating in my garage for the last 12-13 years. I'll probably never build it back up, as I decided it makes a lot more sense to purchase a new 29er than to rebuild it. I loved my Stumpy...
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Old 06-10-20, 06:00 PM
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Just because it's a hardtail, it's not equivalent to a modern hardtail. Geo has come a long way in the last 20 years. It took me some time, but I've come around to the new school geo--it's so much more confident going down, and workable on the flat twisties and while climbing.

A new hardtail will very likely weigh several more pounds, but a sturdy fork, hydraulic discs, big tires, and a wide range cassette are all worthy upgrades.
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Old 06-11-20, 07:13 AM
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Keep it! Of course, this is coming from someone with an older mtn.bike (also with a Manitou fork and many mods!) If it doesn't have v-brakes, put some on, and sure you know, but put on some new brake pads. Those old ones are probably dried, hard, and ineffective by now. It is a seller's market now, but likely not to bring enough to make it worth parting with.
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Old 06-11-20, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Keep it! Of course, this is coming from someone with an older mtn.bike (also with a Manitou fork and many mods!) If it doesn't have v-brakes, put some on, and sure you know, but put on some new brake pads. Those old ones are probably dried, hard, and ineffective by now. It is a seller's market now, but likely not to bring enough to make it worth parting with.
It does have V-brakes (Shimano XT specifically) but the pads absolutely need replacing. That's a $30 fix.
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Old 06-11-20, 09:30 AM
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new saddle, grips, tires, brake pads. maybe have the fork rebuilt. then ride the snot out of it

she's a keeper. of course you could go down the gigantic wormhole of 20years of tech and geo changes, but if you have good thoughts about the bike and enjoy riding it, then keep riding it
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Old 06-11-20, 02:51 PM
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Cool bike. If there's any doubt, I would keep it and start test riding new bikes. Kind of difficult at the moment, but test rides should resume sometime soon. See if your local shops are open to rent/demo new bikes.
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Old 06-12-20, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
new saddle, grips, tires, brake pads. maybe have the fork rebuilt. then ride the snot out of it

she's a keeper. of course you could go down the gigantic wormhole of 20years of tech and geo changes, but if you have good thoughts about the bike and enjoy riding it, then keep riding it
It's done. I'm keeping it and just ordered a bunch of stuff to freshen it up.

Also, I live in Castle Pines too.
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Old 06-12-20, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HighAltitude View Post
It's done. I'm keeping it and just ordered a bunch of stuff to freshen it up.

Also, I live in Castle Pines too.
sweet! Enjoy, maybe I'll see you out there!
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Old 06-14-20, 03:24 PM
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Another fellow Front Range'r here!

My main squeeze is a '96 Homegrown hardtail. Right now the bike is set up as a 1x8. Instead of having something like a 30T or 32T ring up front and a 12-52 in the back, I'm doing a 22T up front (aka granny gear) and a standard 12-34 cassette in the back. Its sort of like a micro version of the rage right now, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on new parts. I just thought I would test the theory. Turns out, I love it. Zero chain drop issues, better chain retention with the smaller gear and lower link count, and the granny gear location turned out to have the perfect chainline. Reduced weight, etc. I'm not going to be winning any speed contests, but I love the simplicity. Bike is light. Still rocking V-brakes.

Some of the greatest gains of the new geometry are still available to us on older bikes - shorter stems, wide bars (that combo will make the best bang-for-the-buck difference), a dropper post, bigger tires, modern front disk. A longer travel fork will slacken things up a bit. The only thing that would be hard to capture is the lower BB, which would increase in height if one put on a slightly longer fork. But I've also heard of people on newer bikes complain more about pedal strike, so maybe a higher BB can have it's good points.

What we really needs is a old geo + new geo overlay, and then a modified old geo (longer fork, better cockpit, etc) + new geo overlay and see how close they can get.

Right now I'm building up a '99 FSR XC Pro, and I'm going with short stem, wider bars, longer fork, and 1x7 (yes, 7 speed lol) and it will be its own blend of new and old. 11 and 12 speed drivetrains don't interest me. In fact, I've had the most fun with my 1x5 PX-10 road bike, moreso than I have ever had with any other road bike, including using STIs. For me, simpler is better, and there is a lot of the old tech that still works great, yet I do see some great advances with the new tech. A blend of the new and old, less $$$, and a unique bike. Best of both worlds.
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Old 06-15-20, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO View Post
Another fellow Front Range'r here!

My main squeeze is a '96 Homegrown hardtail. Right now the bike is set up as a 1x8. Instead of having something like a 30T or 32T ring up front and a 12-52 in the back, I'm doing a 22T up front (aka granny gear) and a standard 12-34 cassette in the back. Its sort of like a micro version of the rage right now, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on new parts. I just thought I would test the theory. Turns out, I love it. Zero chain drop issues, better chain retention with the smaller gear and lower link count, and the granny gear location turned out to have the perfect chainline. Reduced weight, etc. I'm not going to be winning any speed contests, but I love the simplicity. Bike is light. Still rocking V-brakes.

Some of the greatest gains of the new geometry are still available to us on older bikes - shorter stems, wide bars (that combo will make the best bang-for-the-buck difference), a dropper post, bigger tires, modern front disk. A longer travel fork will slacken things up a bit. The only thing that would be hard to capture is the lower BB, which would increase in height if one put on a slightly longer fork. But I've also heard of people on newer bikes complain more about pedal strike, so maybe a higher BB can have it's good points.

What we really needs is a old geo + new geo overlay, and then a modified old geo (longer fork, better cockpit, etc) + new geo overlay and see how close they can get.

Right now I'm building up a '99 FSR XC Pro, and I'm going with short stem, wider bars, longer fork, and 1x7 (yes, 7 speed lol) and it will be its own blend of new and old. 11 and 12 speed drivetrains don't interest me. In fact, I've had the most fun with my 1x5 PX-10 road bike, moreso than I have ever had with any other road bike, including using STIs. For me, simpler is better, and there is a lot of the old tech that still works great, yet I do see some great advances with the new tech. A blend of the new and old, less $$$, and a unique bike. Best of both worlds.
I was in Moab two weekends ago and demo rode an Orbea Occam (Nice). I noticed in the shop that every bike I saw had the single gear on the front, and every bike I've looked at since does also. That trend makes sense; it always seemed to me the front derailleur was an unneeded wear part.
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Old 06-16-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by HighAltitude View Post
I was in Moab two weekends ago and demo rode an Orbea Occam (Nice). I noticed in the shop that every bike I saw had the single gear on the front, and every bike I've looked at since does also. That trend makes sense; it always seemed to me the front derailleur was an unneeded wear part.

It is also indicative of different riding styles and the way the sport has progressed. I think triples were a carryover from road biking, as were the super long stems, flatter bars, and aggressive positioning. The riding evolved, and so did the bikes. I'm not going to pretend that my bike can hang with 4-6" full squish bikes and do the same kind of riding, but there is an element of challenge with the hardtail and smaller amount of travel that I enjoy. And isn't that one of the reasons we get out there anyway?

Front derailleurs for sure make a bike more flexible, but they can be very hard to dial in. The trade off of simplicity and lighter weight was worth the sacrifice for a lot of folks. It certainly is for me.

In any case, the single granny gear was a revelation to me - a blue collar version of the new bikes, and I'm enjoying it, mainly for the reliability (and the cheapness). I am building up a '99 FSR, and going with a similar setup, using a 26T granny gear up front as a single chainring.
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Old 06-16-20, 05:07 PM
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IMO, bikes from this period aren't very special, because they are all pretty much the same; but they are pretty good. The Stumpjumper is higher in the lineup (with Rockhopper, Hardrock and Hotrock below, S-Works above) and should have no questionable parts. The fork is very likely still serviceable. The V brakes are a good improvement on cantilevers, and the threadless headset is great too. Hardtails have only recently diverged into trail and cross country categories; before that they were all cross country. This bike is a lot better for going fast on the level or uphill, on not especially challenging terrain. A "new geometry" trail bike is a lot better to ride where it's difficult, but will be slower where it's easy. It would make a great commuter.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by HighAltitude View Post
I admit that part of my dilemma is because a guy passed me on a trail a while back. He recognized the bike, apparently he'd had one back in the day. He gushed about what a classic it was. He meant a compliment but I came away from the encounter feeling old.
But how old was he? Maybe your just stumpy?
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Old 06-22-20, 11:24 AM
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Well, I found out this weekend that an old Stumpjumper frame can't handle 2.2 width tires. I was hoping to get a cool look with some larger rubber. And, it does look cool. Except the back tire won't spin freely because it contacts the frame.

Learning experience - I have a pair of nice Continental Trail King 26x2.2 tires to sell now. Back to 26x2.0 this week.

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Old 06-22-20, 11:43 AM
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I don't think you need any more as a casual rider. But if you are riding more challenging trails and like to go fast, the new components make it more stable.
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Old 06-24-20, 10:32 AM
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It's been a week.. have you made any decisions?

This has been a fun trip down memory lane. I had an XT Stumpjumper, steel, I think mine was a 1993. I loved that bike. Someone mentioned a Homegrown, I had a 1995, and rode it for nearly a decade, way after the 29er revolution took hold.

As nostalgic as I am, I say take advantage the sellers market, and sell it. I'm 50 now, and I ride a lot.. ~100 miles per week on the road, and around 50 offroad. I couldn't imagine riding on a 26" wheeled bike offroad nowdays, and I think you should aim high. To get back into mountain biking, you need a proper mountain bike. Preferably a full suspension, but a modern hardtail would get the job done.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 06-24-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Wooderson View Post
It's been a week.. have you made any decisions?

This has been a fun trip down memory lane. I had an XT Stumpjumper, steel, I think mine was a 1993. I loved that bike. Someone mentioned a Homegrown, I had a 1995, and rode it for nearly a decade, way after the 29er revolution took hold.

As nostalgic as I am, I say take advantage the sellers market, and sell it. I'm 50 now, and I ride a lot.. ~100 miles per week on the road, and around 50 offroad. I couldn't imagine riding on a 26" wheeled bike offroad nowdays, and I think you should aim high. To get back into mountain biking, you need a proper mountain bike. Preferably a full suspension, but a modern hardtail would get the job done.

Good luck, and have fun!
I've decided to keep it a bit and see how much more riding I do. In going through the process to replace the tires and brake pads, I figured out the 26x1.9 tires are not easy to find anymore and there aren't many options when you can find them. I also figured out the hard way that 26x2.2 tires do not clear my bike frame, so now I have a pair of those to sell on the cheap. So - I definitely see reasons to trade up, but want to make sure I'll get use out of the investment. I think the most probable outcome is that I buy another one next spring.

Now, the analysis will move to my road bike, which is a Litespeed Classic from about 1999. That one I'm confident I'm keeping; it's an exquisite bike and has appeal like an old Porsche. To me, anyway.

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Old 06-25-20, 11:06 AM
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I'm in the same boat with my 90s era Mongoose Hilltopper hardtail. I am so accustomed to the fit and ride that I am afraid to upgrade. That and I am trying to not spend money for now.
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