Have you ever owned a specialized mountain bike? They’re an important brand in the early history of mountain biking and are still a popular brand today. The early history of mountain bikes actually started in California in the mid-70s. However, the first units were customized units for personal or small-scale production.
However, by the 1980s the beginning of mass-produced mountain bikes took place. Specialized launched its first Stumpjumper in 1981. It’s important to note that it wasn’t exactly a mountain bike in terms of today’s definition. That’s because there weren’t MTB components on the market yet. The goal of Specialized was to sell mountain bikes and also develop game-changing innovations that would improve the mountain bike market.
It’s important to note that in 1981 components were made for road bicycles. The goal was to develop bikes that helped people ride bikes to their destinations faster but always on smooth surfaces like paved bike trails. As a result, Specialized had to deal with big hurdles in order to launch the Stumpjumper. The first unit included a chainset/brakes from a manufacturer that specialized in French road bikes. The MTB’s brake levers were from a motorbike and the stem/pedal was from BMX bikes.
During their history Specialized has made several innovations to develop their Stumpjumper bikes. For example, they designed/produced the first mountain tire in the world. This is one of the many innovations the company has designed over the years. This included things like knobby tread patterns that were wide-spaced. They also added side lugs. These are all used for today’s quality MTB tires.
Today there’s a wide range of high-performance tires from Specialized that are reliable. So, there are several options for mountain bikers ho are looking for a set of quality tires. In fact, today’s tires are about 2x as wide as the first Stumpjumper tires and last much longer. However, it all started with the first components Specialized designed for mountain bikes, which included tires.
However, in 1994 there were some major changes related to the future of mountain biking. That’s when the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR hit the market. The link of 4 bars creates the foundation for today’s FSR Stumpjumper. In fact, its’ been developed to its industry-leading form.
Another major development from Specialized was the “Brain” suspension tech. How does it work? The brain picks up the difference between rider input/trail terrains. So, the brains’ inertia valve reduces the rear shock. This provided the feeling of the person riding a hardrail in the case a trail was flat, and a fast/full suspension bike in the case the trail was steep/technical.
Another major change to Stumpjumpers has been the wheel size. The wheel size has undergone big changes since 1981. Meanwhile, the materials/manufacturing methods weren’t available 3.5 decades ago.
It’s unknown what new MTB innovations Specialized will produce in the future. However, since 1981 the company has been a game-changer in mass-produced mountain bikes. There’s no doubt that will continue in the future as the company continues to improve its bikes in terms of materials, manufacturing, etc.