Available via Specialized stockists, the book costs £19.99 but Stumpjumper owners who can prove ownership can get the book for half-price.
All the profits from the book will be donated to the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and the US Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
Written by Mark Riedy, formerly an editor at Bicycling Magazine in the US, ‘Stumpjumper: 25 years of Mountain Biking’ is jammed with shots of Californian clunker riders and early Stumpjumper ads. But it doesn’t presume that mountain biking was a Marin County invention. Instead, Riedy goes to great lengths to show how off-road bicycling has a long history.
But Mike Sinyard commercialised what had hitherto been a cobbled together, custom machine.
Sinyard started his business in 1974 importing ‘specialised’ bicycle parts into the US from Europe. Many of these road and touring bike parts such as Mafac brakes, Huret Duopar rear mechs and Columbus frame tubing – were the parts lusted over by Californian clunker builders in the late 1970s.
So, Sinyard had the parts, and he commissioned Tim Neenan of Lighthouse Bikes of Santa Cruz to design a cro-mo frame that could be mass produced. This was 1981 and the Stumpjumper was born. It had BMX and motorbike components as well as touring bike parts and anything that wasn’t already available was fabricated in Japan for Specialized.
In the book, there’s a section of quotes from industry figures, ‘1st time I saw a Stumpjumper.’
Richard Cunningham, founder of Mantis Cycles and editor at Mountain Bike Action, said:
"The Stumpjumper was heavy, bouncy and didn’t corner at all well, but seeing one for the first time slapped me in the face and yelled: ‘This mountain bike thing is the real stuff…get on it.’ I built my first mountain bike shortly afterwards."
MTB pioneer and racer Gary Fisher, creator of the eponymous, Trek-owned bike brand said:
"One day I drove to buy some parts from Mike and he says ‘Hey, I want to show you something.’ So he takes me in the back of his shop and I was like ‘Holy Shit!’ He had the first Stumpjumper and it was almost identical to what we were doing for $1320, but it was only $750. That was like November 1981. I went to Japan right after that because I saw that you could get containers of nice bikes for a good price."
‘Stumpjumper: 25 years of Mountain Biking’ is vanity publishing, but done well.
The dark days at Specialized are covered as well as all the good days. Pro rider and world champion Felip Meirhaeghe was once Specialized’s blue eyed boy but when he was busted for EPO he was swiftly expelled from the Specialized team. The drug bust gets airtime in the book, albeit mainly to promote the Epic’s suspension ‘brain’.
"Specialized has invested much more time, money and resources in this book than any publisher ever could. The result is the most colourful and vibrant mountain bike book ever. The stories we’ve dug up and the photos we’ve found are just astounding."