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I test rode a range of 29ers and 650b bikes before settling on the Stumpjumper. It was easily the most balanced of the 29ers I tested and for the trails I ride in Wellington its been bliss. These are a mixture of technical climbs and descents which can push rider and bike hard. The FSR corners as well as any of the 650bs I tested, but with the added plus of the sheer momentum the 29s provide. In short, It doesn't have any right to go around bends as well as it does. I've probably gained about a 20% increase in performance(and fun), primarily due to confidence to ride up, down and over obstacles that I struggled with before. As a package it's great value, I've added an after-market dropper but will otherwise I can see myself onky looking to upgrade as parts wear out. Given the mix of components, that could take some time.
Originally posted on Specialized - BV's website