Video: Do Matt Hunter and Kyle Norbraten Care About Wheel Size?

Watch How the Boys Spend Their Time at the Specialized Stumpjumper 650b Launch

Video by Rupert Walker
Photos by Anthony Smith
Words by Brice Minnigh

Specialized Bicycles introduced its much-anticipated new Stumpjumper 650b model and spring apparel line this weekend, and we used it as an excuse to shred some of Santa Cruz’s prime loam. We have photos of the new bike and apparel below, but first check out this revealing video:

Matt Hunter is an ideal model for Specialized's new apparel line, and this is how he launches a new product.

Matt Hunter is an ideal model for Specialized’s new apparel line, and this is how he launches a new product.

Regardless of what wheel size they're running, Matt Hunter and Kyle Norbraten are going to be fast.

Regardless of what wheel size they’re running, Matt Hunter and Kyle Norbraten are going to be fast.

The new Stumpjumper 27.5 will replace the time-honored 26-inch-wheeled version of the Stumpy—one of the most important mountain bikes of all time. Though Specialized has in the past been very outspoken in its view that 650b is not the wheel-size panacea that the bike industry has made it out to be, the company has conceded to the commercial reality that 27.5-inch wheels are in heavy demand and debuted the ‘tweener’ size with its Stumpjumper model.

The company is sticking by its position that the 29-inch-wheeled Stumpjumper is the ultimate trail bike, but members of Specialized’s development team believe the 650b Stumpy is also an incredibly fun bike.

Behold the new Specialized Stumpjumper 27.5. This bike will replace the venerated 26-inch-wheeled version of the Stumpy.

Behold the new Specialized Stumpjumper 27.5. This bike will replace the venerated 26-inch-wheeled version of the Stumpy.

We put the new Stumpjumper 27.5 through its paces on some seriously fun dirt, barely dried after several days of rain.

We put the new Stumpjumper 27.5 through its paces on some seriously fun dirt, barely dried after several days of rain.

Norbs chased Hunter down one step-down after another.

Norbs chased Hunter down one step-down after another.

There couldn't possibly be a sicker runway for a spring apparel launch....

There couldn’t possibly be a sicker runway for a spring apparel launch….

Word has it that Specialized is developing some new trail shoes. We wonder if we spotted some muddy prototypes....

Word has it that Specialized is developing some new trail shoes. We wonder if we spotted some muddy prototypes….

We rode in Specialized’s new apparel, and found the shorts, jerseys, gloves and socks to have an extremely comfortable fit and feel. But the item that stood out the most for me and Anthony was the new Atlas Pro bib short, which features deep, expansive pockets at the waist, providing ample room for items like tubes, tools, food and a water bottle.

This minimalist approach epitomizes Specialized’s new ‘SWAT’ (Storage, Water, Air, Tools) concept for apparel and bike details, incorporating items such as a miniature multi-tool attached to the base of a water-bottle cage and a chain breaker that threads into the steerer tube underneath the topcap. All of these innovations were fueled by Specialized employees who were looking for ways to eliminate the need for a backpack.

For guys like me and Anthony, who are always trying to avoid wearing a backpack on rides, these bib shorts are a real godsend, freeing us from the fetters of a cumbersome pack while allowing us to take everything one needs on most rides. We’ll write more about the apparel and its development in a future post, but for now, suffice it to say we’re stoked to see these new bib shorts.

We rode in some of Specialized's new shorts, jerseys, gloves and socks, and the feel and fit are as dialed as the function.

We rode in some of Specialized’s new shorts, jerseys, gloves and socks, and the feel and fit are as dialed as the function.

We've seldom seen Hunter without a smile on his face. Even during our arduous expedition to Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor last year, he stayed upbeat through the toughest times.

We’ve seldom seen Hunter without a smile on his face. Even during our arduous expedition to Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor last year, he stayed upbeat through the toughest times.

And go figure: Norbs is always stoked, too...especially when he's out shredding with his homies.

And go figure: Norbs is always stoked, too…especially when he’s out shredding with his homies.

This tire is a 27.5-inch Butcher, but Specialized is also coming out with some other new tires this year.

This tire is a 27.5-inch Butcher, but Specialized is also coming out with some other new tires this year.

Norbs and Hunter never mind pushing back up the hill again when there is a high-speed descent to follow....

Norbs and Hunter never mind pushing back up the hill again when there is a high-speed descent to follow….

If you're not having fun, then you're doing it wrong...but you would never have to tell this to Hunter and Norbs.

If you’re not having fun, then you’re doing it wrong…but you would never have to tell this to Hunter and Norbs.

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