SJ S-Works

The Bike:2008 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper
Size: Medium
Miles to Date: approx 600

The Rider:Bike’n Fool
Height: 5′8″
Weight: 150

Update: 1/14/12:
Ugh… I can’t believe that the rear shock just crapped out again after only 15 rides and barely 150 miles! Are you kidding me? The shock is dead, long live the shock. I really need to start bitching to Specialized as this is getting annoying. I think I need an alternative to the rear shock and maybe even the forks. if I don’t come up with a solution, this bike, may need to go. Well I guess it’s off to the shop, again!

Update 5/16/11:
Well it’s hard to believe how fast the time is flying by. I have had the Stumpy for over three years now. I am fortunate enough to have three bikes in the stable and this means the miles are spread out but I can say that after all this time, the Stumpy is still a great bike and a blast to ride. It’s insanely light and can carve up the trail like a freshly sharpened knife through a Thanksgiving Turkey.

However, it is not all sun & fun. The 2008 S-Works Stumpjumper came equipped with Specialized’s own proprietary suspension. I am on my second warrantee replacement for front and rear shocks. Specialized has been outstanding with no issues in swapping the parts however, there is the issue of the shop costs, about $100 per incident.

I have generally lost confidence in the longevity of their suspension. When it works, it works beautifully. Dialed in right, I can hit some of the roughest ground at smokin speeds with an unparalled level of confidence and without beating the crap out of myself.

Using a Gamin device, I track my riding stats. They are all cataloged nicely shoingw no more than 10 rides (@ an average of 2.5 hours a ride or 14 miles) on the fork before the Brain stopped working properly. Ugh!

So let’s see if I did the math correctly:

  • –  10 rides x 2.5 hrs a ride = 25 hours of riding
  • – 25 hours of riding *7 mph ave = 175 miles
  • –  $100 shop cost / 175 miles = .57 cents a mile to operate

And that’s without tires, cables etc…Yikes, that cost more than my car to operate per mile!

I believe that Specialized will cover the parts for 5 years, about another two years for me on the Stumpy.  Even with the warrantee, the costs are pretty high. And without the warrantee, the Shop tells me it would cost about 150-200 (parts & labor) for each.

I love this bike but it may be time to sell before the warrantee runs out?

Update 2/9/09:
I must admit that I love this bike.  It is a blast to ride. So far I have logged over 300 miles. The S-Works weight is really amazing and ads to how well it handles. Tight twist trails with lots of obstacles are the normal riding conditions for me. I seem to have the suspension dialed in great (see below for settings). Smooth and comfortable under almost any condition. I may need to run a little more air in the front fork as the travel indicator (zip tie) has been pined a few times under hard riding. I only noticed this since I have been wearing full winter riding gear. Wheelies are no problem, actually just keeping the front end down can be hard as I can get air off of almost any thing.  The breaks work flawlessly and are enhanced by the grip of the Captain Tires.  I have really noticed the grip during snow & ice rides and I am very pleased. This bike really makes riding easier. So as I plan a trip to Moab Utah in March, I only wish I was talking the S-Works. The good news is the company we are touring with has Stumpjumpers! Man I can’t wait.    

Ok, so I like specialized bikes. If you have read my blog you know the Stumpjumer is one of my favorites. A few months back I set out consolidate my Rocky Mountain Slayer 50 and Specialized Sutmpjumper Expert for a 2008 Carbon Stumpjumper.  Check my blog entry on my eBay for purchase details.

Side Shot

You Look Marvelous My Darling….

The 2008 S-Works is very impressive as it weights in around 23lb. Seriously light for a bike with this amount of travel. And it feels light, I mean really light. My Marathon Epic weighs in about the same but for some reason feels heavier. The main frame tube is massive compared with previous models.  The frame is carbon black with red accents.

Weight Winnie


This generation of S-Works not only has the famous Specialized Brain Rear Shock but offers up a new propritary Specialized Future Shock. The Specialized Future Shock S120, offers 120mm travel, carbon 1 1/8 to 1.5″ steerer, Trail Tune inertia valve, adjustable Brain Fade and rebound, piggyback one sided air spring and damper. FutureShock S120 forks offer the best bump-force management and steering precision at the lightest weight in their respective categories. Utilizing Specialized’s proprietary L-VAS (Large Volume Air Spring) design, the S120 provides a more consistent feel through the mid-stroke, resistance to premature bottoming, and improved sensitivity to smaller impacts.


The rear shock is Specialized AFR Shock w/ remote Trail Tune inertia valve, adj rebound and Brain Fade, 7.25×1.75″. The Trail Tuned FlowControl Brain’s inertia valve is oil-flow operated, which enables immediate, trail-tuned transitions between firm and active suspension settings on the Stumpjumper AFR Shock. And thanks to BrainFade, smooth terrain characteristics are customizable, allowing riders to tune smooth terrain plushness to suit their preferences. Both were very easy to set up and get dialed in.

Brains & Braun

For the forks I am running the following settings:

  • SAG: to SAG meter tolerance  about 27mm
  • Air Pressure: 70 psi
  • Rebound about two clicks out from full slow
  • Compression (Brain) is set to 3 clicks from full firm

The rear shock settings are as follows:

  • SAG: to SAG meter tolerance about 10mm
  • Air Pressure: 150 psi
  • Rebound about two clicks out from full slow
  • Compression (Brain) is set to 3 clicks from full firm

Although I have only one ride on these settings, it was on a very rough section of Trail of Tears. I was very please with the bikes response.

Frame it

Your brakin by heart…

The S-Works came equipped with Magura Marta SL, carbon lever, hydraulic disc, 185 and 203mm SL rotor on the front and Magura Marta SL, carbon lever, hydraulic disc, 160 and 185mm SL rotor on the rear.  I love these brakes.  Strong and powerful, they slow the bike very well in all conditions. No major fade issues with on slight groaning when heated. I experience no mentionable effect on the suspension during hard braking.

Magura Marta SL

Get a grip…

Getting the suspension set up to my liking was not to hard. Definitely easier that the Epic. This made the handling even better. With minimal dive and a knife like ability to weave through tight trails it handles superb. It climbs hills with no issues all though after coming right off the Epic it does feel top heavy. When riding the S-Works it seems efficient and that the power is getting to the ground. Ride the Epic right after and you see that you do loose some. That may be mitigated with full lock out on the but I have tested that. The fork is relatively easy to lock out but the rear shock requires stopping. It did make the a couple of pretty tough hills at TOT with reasonable efficiency. The Roval rims are very light and almost look delicate. The new Specialized Captain tires worked well for the trail conditions providing great traction and bite.

Roval Rims & Captain Tires

The command center…

The cock pit is spacious and comfortable. It is more relaxed that the Epic but tighter that Slayer with feels really high. The bars are Specialized OS XC low rise carbon bar, 640mm wide, 6 degree up, 8 degree backsweep. I like the seat position a little tighter to the bars and run most of the bikes that way. It seems to help me generate more power on hill climbs.

Cockpit Setup

Geared up…

The drive trail is top rate featuring Shimano M-970 XTR cranks and SRAM X-0, carbon/aluminum 9-speed trigger shifters (one of my favorite). The front derailleur is Shimano M970 XTR, DMD top swing and the back is SRAM X-0, 9-speed, mid cage featuring a carbon arm.

XTR Cracks

Shift is good, a smooth solid mechanical feel. I need to do minor tinkering as one gear is a little slow in shift transition. The drive train works well under duress, engaging positively and quickly when asked. The trigger shifters work well to provide quick access to gears, allowing multiple gear jumps to be executed easily.

XTR Triggers

XTR Triggers



  1. […] SJ S-Works […]

  2. I just built up an ’08 as well. I absolutely love the bike. I’m planning to do my first race on it next weekend. Just did a 4-day epic in Fruita with 7 other buddies.

    Comment / Question: I run my fork with about 75 psi and 1.5 turns on the rebound and it feels very smooth. I have run the brain platform at full nearly all the time. The platform starts to kick in (on my fork) at about 1.2″ of normal stroke instead of the beginning of the stroke like most platforms work. I’m not sure if this is right. Is this consistent with your experience? I’m wondering if its not working properly.

    • Hi John- My experience is consistent with yours. Overall the forlk works well but I have noticed the same performance hicup. Playing around with the settings helps a little but running it full may be the best way. You must be close in weight to me as I am generally running 70psi (more in the winter because of all the extra gear). In general, I get a great ride out of the suspension but sometimes I will change the settings based on season and terrain. I just have to remember to always write down the settings and how they felt. What are you running for tire pressure front and rear?

      I will say that I just had the bike in for rear shock service (“Stuck-down”), I rode my Epic for the last two weeks and could really feel the difference especially in the forks. The stock Fox F100RLC works great but has no brain technology. I just picked the S-Works up from the shop yesterday, so I have to re-check my rear shock settings. While I am at it, I may play around more with the forks and let you know what I come up with.

  3. I took the bike into the shop and the local Specialized rep is taking a look at it tomorrow. My dealer thinks there is a problem with the fork and agrees the platform should start at the top of the stroke rather than 1/3 way down. I’ll let you know what I learn.

    My current setup is working well. I weigh between 160-165 typically 162 now. Running 30 psi in 2.1 Kenda Nevegal DTCs with Stans. 75 psi in fork with 1.5 rotations of rebound and full platform. I ran 150 psi in the rear shock today with full platform and 1.5 rotations of rebound. All in all, it performs well. I think I will try slightly higher pressures may maybe 80 and 160 next time to get a feel for it. My race this coming Sat is fast and non technical so a bit more firmness won’t hurt anyway. I’ll let you you know how it rides.

    I’m curious what I’ll learn tomorrow about the fork. It may be that yours is not working properly either.

    • Definitely let me know what the shop says. My local shop is not very good. They’re not that knowledgeable especial on more advanced subjects. My recent rear shock issue is pretty common but they had never heard of it, couldn’t fix it and took two weeks get a factory to swap it out. Ug…

      Anyway, I have been running 28 psi in the front and 30 psi rear during the winter. Just moved to 37 front and 40 rear and sit seems pretty good. I am running the stock Captain tires.

      As I mentioned, I believe that I need al little more pressure in the forlks, 75 psi will be my next test. 90% of the time I will not pin the travel indicator (zip tie) but under fast riding on rocky trails I will pin it. I read an article that said you should try to use all your travel but think I need to tweek it a little more. My weight is pretty consistent at 163 and the trails I ride are pretty rough (lots of rocks and roots). Rear is set currently at 150 psi and mid setting on platform and rebound. I have not test ridden the bike since the new rear shock was put on.

      Hope you do well in your race, please stay in touch.

    • John, who is your LBS for Specialized in Colorado that you like?

  4. The shop and the local Specialized rep checked it out today and they’re having it replaced. I haven’t talk to them yet to know the specifics but it definitely wasn’t performing as designed. The fork performed extremely well except for that one issue. If I was such a fiddler, I probably wouldn’t have bothered asking. You should ask our LBS as well for a replacement. Specialized is extremely good on their warranty stuff. They have a 5-year unconditional guarantee on their suspension products. Once I learn the details, I’ll update you.

  5. hello all..
    if been thinking about getting some Roval Rims to save some weight iv got hope pro 3 on at the moment.can you tel me what you think about them are they quick and what they like when braking hard do then bend i also do some 2 /3 foot jumps not very much will they cope.

    • Hi Simon;
      I have at least 350 miles on the bike and have had no isses with the Roval rims. They still turn true and have not yet needed adjustment. My riding areas have lots of rocks, roots and large boulders as well as lots of small fallen trees. While I am not a crazy rider I do not shy from most obstacles. However, I do not really do a lot of large drops. The wheels are really light but have not posed any issues for my riding style including hard breaking. They look delicate but seem to hold up fine for me. Hope this helps…

  6. just watched your films and thats a bit like i ride so i think they will be fine hopefully…so you still like your bike not too sure about mine yet iv got the stumpy pro carbon not the s work.i did have the 2007 s works epic befor the paint started to come off so i swapped it for the stumpy carbon frame and forks mine not as light as yours 24lbs with pedals

  7. im in the uk.i can get a new set over here for £359.cheers going to set my shock and forks up same as yours and try that. only things is im 170lbs but to get the sag with the sag o meter i need to put 195 psi in iv just had the 50 hours sevice but befor the sevice i only had to put 170 psi dont no y this is but the forks are the other way befor sevice i had 72 psi to get 26mm of sag now it needs 64 psi for 26mm

  8. […] SJ S-Works […]

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