MTB test: The Specialized FSR Expert Carbon

Training on the trails:

After dismissing my full-suss friends for years, I finally turned to the ‘dark-side’ for a day – test-riding the Specialiazed Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon at Cwmcarn, South Wales. Having ridden the same trails recently on a traditional lightweight hardtail (think 1990s, very high seat-post, short travel, v-brakes and narrow  tyres at 40 PSI) this promised to be an altogether different experience on two wheels…..and it was.


Firstly, the revelation of having a dropper post!! The stumpy is equipped with Spesh’s very own Command post IRCC, and with your centre of gravity significantly shifted, technical descents  that were previously nudging you over the front of the bike were made easy.

As a light-weight rider brought up on hardtails (and road bikes) I was keen to see how a £4k bike with 150mm of travel and a rear shock would perform on the technical climbs of Cwmcarn. The answer is better. The FSR carbon is light, and comes shod with the super-grippy Slaughter rear tyre – 2.3 inches of rubber that didn’t slip once over the course of 2 hours riding. Coupling this with the Specialized Butcher tyre on the front, meant climbing and descending were simply a case of pointing in the right direction and putting the power down.


The Specialiazed Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon is the ideal trail centre bike where there are both technical downs and ups. With superb traction it does everything well, whilst remaining lightweight and agile. The FSR is a stunning looking bike that will turn heads in the car park, but more importantly, it’s backed up with really solid kit that will give you a balanced, confident ride out on the trail.

Takeaway points:

  • for rides with technical climbs, reduce your tyre pressures. The risk of pinch flats is out-weighed by the comfort and extra grip you’ll enjoy
  • if you’re riding regularly down steep descents, invest in a dropper post. They’re not cheap: The Command post comes in at £250 but it’s an investment that will transform your time in the bike park.
  • tyre technology has moved on. Having wider, trail-specific tyres will simply change your entire ride experience, giving you traction on both the ups and downs.
  • check out the Specialized range at