So after 4 years hard abuse in typical UK conditions, my Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert is pretty tired. The frame is scratched & gouged, the suspension pivot bearings have never been replaced, the rear brain shock has never been serviced. It has needed some TLC for a while. I thought I would breathe some life into once again.
First comes the frame respray. I found a few local bike painting companies and got a number of quotes for the paint job I wanted originally. Some were just too expensive to consider, and I just didn’t warm to the people I was dealing with. Then I met with one of the local bike painters and had a good talk about what I wanted. He had a lot of experience spraying carbon frames (mostly road) and was very approachable about what was possible and what I wanted. So my mind was made up, I knew who I was going to ask to spray the frame.
Next I needed a design. This has changed a few times, and with a blank canvas and the taunt by the sprayer – “The only limit is your imagination”, my mind was racing. I saved a copy of the Specialized technical manual for the bike and used the frame diagram as an outline. I then picked up a basic drawing app and had a play. I wanted a factory look rather than anything too crazy. Here is one of the first ideas I had.
It soon became apparent that the frame was going to be the newest looking part of the bike. When stripping the bike, it was surprising to see how worn out the XTR chainset was. The front mech had a thick groove worn through it by the chain, the rear mech pivots had a lot of play. A new chainset was required. It makes no sense replacing a 9 speed chainset, so to replicate the XT 10 Speed system I have on the Anthem, I have bought an XT rear mech and shifter in the CRC shimano sale. I have also bought another race face narrow wide 1×10 chainring, and a blackspire direct mount chain device for the frame. I had planned to get the FSR Brain rear shock serviced, but the service costs are so expensive in Australia, I decided to pick up a replacement shock on ebay. I was very lucky to find a Fox CTD Evo shock from a later model Stumpjumper that fits the frame (& specialized yoke design). This will look much cleaner on the bike.
Next up was preparation of the frame. It had to be filled, sanded smooth, taken apart, and all bearings removed. I bought an RRP bearing press for this job, and started to prep the frame whilst waiting on the postage.
The frame had many gouges and deep scratches that I filled with car bodywork spot filler. These needed sanding smooth (using wet and dry paper). The original paintwork had a lifted edge to it, which also needed some effort with the wet and dry paper to get smooth for a new coat of paint. The rear end being aluminium, needed some elbow grease to sand smooth, remove any rough edges, and tidy up for paint.
I had major difficulty with one of the pivot bolts, that was stuck and would not budge. My LBS failed to get it free, and after some careful work with my favourite rubber mallet (AKA “The Convincer”) it came free.
With the bearing press, the bearing removal process was quite straightforward. This is with the exception of the main chainstay FSR bearings which were an utter bitch to remove. The design uses two bearings back to back with a small lip in between them. This means that you cannot use a press to remove them and need a special tool. My LBS did not have the tool, and I was told to hammer out with a screw driver. That did not work. At the lowest point I considered getting the dremel out, but luckily a brainwave saved from cutting them out.
I read on a forum that some people had used expansion bolts to remove this bearing. I couldn’t get to the hardware shop, but remembered I had some 10mm threaded bar left over from something I worked on recently. I decided to get the dremel out and fashion a DIY bearing removal tool. It had to be able to get through the 10mm aperture, and then expand and enable to be hammered out. I spent 20 minutes making the tool and it worked first time. I was so relieved.
Now all I had to do was drop the frame off for paint and decide on the paint scheme. Due to the money spent already, and the appreciation for this bike, I have decided on a much more subtle design. One colour, with the old retro 90’s style Stumpjumper decals. I bought these off the Graphics Direct site (www.graphicsdirect.org) using the 1991 Stumpjumper Decals plus a later FSR decal.
After a number of weeks at the painter’s I got the frame was back last week. It looks incredible. I started to rebuild it very carefully. I was gutted to incur a number of tiny chips when installing the new bearing set. After speaking to the painter he advised me to leave it a week to cure a little longer and harden up. I took this advise and patiently waited.
Now time for the 1 x 10 kit (11-36t 10 speed cassette from the Anthem, together with a 34t Raceface Narrow & Wide chainring, and 10 speed XT rear shadow plus mech). This cleans up the look of the bike and reduces weight without the front mech, cable and shifter etc.
Now my stumpjumper was reborn. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes, it was finished and ready for its first outing – for a photo session.
Now there is just the frame protection to apply, and I am considering whether to put the dropper post back on (as it is now on another bike). It looks so good now, I am almost frightened to ride it !
Let me know what you think…………….