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Pro bike: Todd Wells' Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er

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Todd Wells (Specialized) used this Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er to secure his second consecutive US national cross-country title.

Todd Wells (Specialized) used this Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er to secure his second consecutive US national cross-country title. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even star riders couldn’t do their job successfully without a reliable machine - Todd Wells (Specialized) put his money on personal mechanic Myron Billy for this build.

Even star riders couldn’t do their job successfully without a reliable machine - Todd Wells (Specialized) put his money on personal mechanic Myron Billy for this build. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) runs a 140mm-diameter rear rotor to trim weight.

Todd Wells (Specialized) runs a 140mm-diameter rear rotor to trim weight. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells' (Specialized) S-Works Stumpjumper 29er uses a standard SRAM XX rear derailleur and cassette.

Todd Wells' (Specialized) S-Works Stumpjumper 29er uses a standard SRAM XX rear derailleur and cassette. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized adopts the 'big chain stays, small seat stays' approach for its S-Works Stumpjumper 29er flagship.

Specialized adopts the 'big chain stays, small seat stays' approach for its S-Works Stumpjumper 29er flagship. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized introduced carbon mountain bike rims to the public last year.

Specialized introduced carbon mountain bike rims to the public last year. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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An extra zip-tie is used on the seat stay to keep the rear brake line tucked in a little tighter.

An extra zip-tie is used on the seat stay to keep the rear brake line tucked in a little tighter. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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More carbon fiber is found in the seatpost and saddle rails.

More carbon fiber is found in the seatpost and saddle rails. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The kinked seat tube allowed Specialized frame designers to pull the rear wheel in a little tighter.

The kinked seat tube allowed Specialized frame designers to pull the rear wheel in a little tighter. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Carbon Ti seatpost collars are custom etched for each team rider.

The Carbon Ti seatpost collars are custom etched for each team rider. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even the Carbon Ti skewers are etched with the riders' names.

Even the Carbon Ti skewers are etched with the riders' names. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist says Todd Wells' rear skewer was left in Europe so he borrowed Burry Stander's instead.

Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist says Todd Wells' rear skewer was left in Europe so he borrowed Burry Stander's instead. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Electrical tape seals up the unused seat tube water bottle mounts from water.

Electrical tape seals up the unused seat tube water bottle mounts from water. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) used the fast rolling S-Works Renegade 1.95in tires to win his US national cross country title.

Todd Wells (Specialized) used the fast rolling S-Works Renegade 1.95in tires to win his US national cross country title. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist trims half the center knobs off of a rear Fast Trak LK tire for better grip on the short track's gravelly corners.

Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist trims half the center knobs off of a rear Fast Trak LK tire for better grip on the short track's gravelly corners. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized keeps the top tube and down tube very wide to provide extra front triangle stiffness.

Specialized keeps the top tube and down tube very wide to provide extra front triangle stiffness. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Crank Brothers' latest Egg Beater 11 pedals have optional interchangeable spacers that attach on either side of the wings to help stabilize the shoe. Todd Wells (Specialized) apparently doesn't need much extra for his Specialized S-Works shoes.

Crank Brothers' latest Egg Beater 11 pedals have optional interchangeable spacers that attach on either side of the wings to help stabilize the shoe. Todd Wells (Specialized) apparently doesn't need much extra for his Specialized S-Works shoes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist tells us Todd Wells has earned the nickname, "Pantani", over in Europe.

Specialized team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist tells us Todd Wells has earned the nickname, "Pantani", over in Europe. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Needless to say, getting your name printed underneath the clearcoat is not a standard factory option for general consumers.

Needless to say, getting your name printed underneath the clearcoat is not a standard factory option for general consumers. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) ran a single Specialized S-Works Carbon Rib Cage during the cross-country event.

Todd Wells (Specialized) ran a single Specialized S-Works Carbon Rib Cage during the cross-country event. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Oversized bearings are pressed directly into the bottom bracket shell on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er.

Oversized bearings are pressed directly into the bottom bracket shell on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) foregoes the adjustable pad contact of the standard Avid XX brakes for the lighter weight of the Avid XX World Cup version.

Todd Wells (Specialized) foregoes the adjustable pad contact of the standard Avid XX brakes for the lighter weight of the Avid XX World Cup version. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Simple guides keep the rear brake and derailleur housings in place on the underside of the top tube.

Simple guides keep the rear brake and derailleur housings in place on the underside of the top tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Given the huge amount of climbing on this year's US cross-country national championship course, Todd Wells (Specialized) opted for SRAM's standard 39/26T chainrings.

Given the huge amount of climbing on this year's US cross-country national championship course, Todd Wells (Specialized) opted for SRAM's standard 39/26T chainrings. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized's own oversized carbon cranks are lighter than standard high-end options and noticeably rigid, too.

Specialized's own oversized carbon cranks are lighter than standard high-end options and noticeably rigid, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Reba S29 fork is the result of a joint collaboration between Specialized and RockShox, using a Reba lower chassis and Specialized carbon fiber crown and steerer - all filled with standard RockShox Dual Air guts on one side and Specialized's own Brain inertia valve damper on the other.

The Reba S29 fork is the result of a joint collaboration between Specialized and RockShox, using a Reba lower chassis and Specialized carbon fiber crown and steerer - all filled with standard RockShox Dual Air guts on one side and Specialized's own Brain inertia valve damper on the other. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A top-mounted threshold adjuster makes for easy changes in fork activity for various courses.

A top-mounted threshold adjuster makes for easy changes in fork activity for various courses. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized uses a standard band clamp for the SRAM XX front derailleur on its top-end S-Works Stumpjumper 29er.

Specialized uses a standard band clamp for the SRAM XX front derailleur on its top-end S-Works Stumpjumper 29er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized doesn't use a thru-axle on the front of its S-Works Stumpjumper 29er but the hugely oversized hub end caps seem to do a good job of keeping flex at bay.

Specialized doesn't use a thru-axle on the front of its S-Works Stumpjumper 29er but the hugely oversized hub end caps seem to do a good job of keeping flex at bay. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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See those little rings straddling the clamp on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Syntace cockpit setup? That bar is normally intended for Syntace's adjustable VRO setup. Either way, the 25.4mm clamp diameter is lighter than the current 31.8mm standard and at Sun Valley, light apparently made right.

See those little rings straddling the clamp on Todd Wells' (Specialized) Syntace cockpit setup? That bar is normally intended for Syntace's adjustable VRO setup. Either way, the 25.4mm clamp diameter is lighter than the current 31.8mm standard and at Sun Valley, light apparently made right. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Specialized includes a tapered head tube on the S-Works Stumpjumper 29er.

Specialized includes a tapered head tube on the S-Works Stumpjumper 29er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Specialized team runs minimal Carbon Ti skewers on its cross-country bikes but also hugely oversized hub end caps.

The Specialized team runs minimal Carbon Ti skewers on its cross-country bikes but also hugely oversized hub end caps. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) easily could have shed more weight by going with 26in wheels but after switching to 29ers for racing back in 2009, he says it'd be hard to go back.

Todd Wells (Specialized) easily could have shed more weight by going with 26in wheels but after switching to 29ers for racing back in 2009, he says it'd be hard to go back. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Todd Wells (Specialized) made good on his status as the favorite for the 2011 US mountain bike cross-country national championship, winning the title for the second year in a row ahead of Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) and Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant). The Sun Valley, Idaho course featured a healthy amount of singletrack on the way down but a brutal fire road on the way up that Wells says demanded the lightest possible equipment.

"For yesterday, this course was a lot of climbing – more sustained climbing than we have at any races nowadays so I just picked the lightest setup, which was the Stumpjumper 29er hardtail and some low rolling-resistance tires," he told Cyclingnews the following morning. "Really, I just picked everything based on that climb."

Wells' S-Works Stumpjumper 29er is the same 21in model Specialized offers to consumers – it even uses the exact same paint scheme – and based on our own ride evaluations, it's indeed a rocket for climbing with its super-light weight and outstanding pedaling efficiency. Wells' tire of choice was the fast-rolling but reasonably grippy and relatively high-volume Specialized S-Works Renegade 1.95, set up tubeless with just 24.5psi up front and 26psi out back to keep from flatting on the course's two manmade rock gardens.

Todd Wells used fast-rolling S-Works Renegade 1.95in tires on carbon Roval Control SL wheels to win his latest US national cross-country title

The rest of Wells' setup was well in keeping with that lightweight theme as well, including the custom Specialized/RockShox Reba S29 fork with its crown/steerer and inertia valve auto-lockout feature, SRAM XX transmission with Specialized's own FACT OS integrated carbon fiber crankset, Avid XX brakes with 160/140mm front/rear rotors, Specialized Roval Control SL 29 wheels with carbon fiber rims, a Specialized carbon fiber seatpost and carbon-railed Phenom Pro saddle, and a feathery Syntace carbon fiber low-rise bar and forged aluminum stem – in the smaller 25.4mm bar clamp diameter to save a few extra grams.

Even the ESI Racer's Edge silicone foam rubber grips are among the lightest available and Crank Brothers Egg Beater 11 pedals are the obvious choice for shedding mass with their minimal design and mostly titanium construction. The only non-standard bits were wheel skewers and a seatpost collar from Carbon Ti – both custom etched and anodized for the team.

Total weight as pictured is an outstanding 8.64kg (19.05lb) as pictured.

Needless to say, getting your name printed underneath the clearcoat isn't a standard factory option

Gearheads will undoubtedly point out, though, that Wells could have quickly and easily saved even more weight.

"For a course like this where it's just smooth and fast, I thought about running our really skinny 1.8in Renegades because they're super light but I rode through the rock garden just one time and cut the side of the tire. I had run through it a couple of times, too, and it was only a second or two slower but I wanted to try and stay on the bike so I went a bigger volume tire."

Wells of course also could have dropped lots of weight with 26in wheels but after making the switch about two years ago, Wells says he almost certainly isn't going back.

"I don't know – they're different styles of riding," he told us. "Riding a two-six is still a lot of fun. I have a dirt jump bike that's a two-six and I have a bigger bike that's also a two-six. They're easier to whip around and they feel snappier and more responsive than a two-niner but for racing, it's hard to go back and forth between the two bikes so I doubt [I'll ever switch]."

Specialized don't use a through-axle on the front of their S-Works Stumpjumper 29er but the hugely oversized hub end caps seem to do a good job of keeping flex at bay

Wells says his overall setup doesn't change much from course to save for tire models, tire pressures, and suspension settings, preferring to keep things consistent for familiarity and predictability.

"Today I'm also going to run a bigger volume tire – either the Renegade or Fast Trak," Wells said the morning of the short track event. "It's fast and there's a lot of high speed but there's also a lot of loose corners. But lower tire pressure today for sure because we don't go through the rock garden and that was the one section I was worried about flatting on yesterday. I ran 26[psi] in the back and 24.5 in the front – I'll probably 22 or 23 in the front and 24 in the back.

"Sometimes we change the shock pressures a little bit," he continued. "If it's a rough course we'll run a little lower pressure so the shock works more and I'll open the Brain more. On a slow, rough course – like Mont Sainte-Anne where there's a lot of uphill or flat technical sections and you're not going very fast – I'll have the Brain left open more so the shock is less likely to close."

Specialized keep the top tube and down tube very wide to provide extra front triangle stiffness

We did catch team mechanic Sandy Gilchrist clipping half of the center knobs off of a Specialized S-Works Fast Trak tire the night before the short track, though. According to Gilchrist, Wells wanted to keep those as an alternative tire for the course's gravelly corners and the slightly more open pattern provided a touch more grip.

Wells unfortunately wasn't able to score the double repeat, finishing just behind Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski who put in a late surge on the last lap to earn his fourth national short track title.

Even so, you'd think that a rider with Wells' pedigree who just earned yet another stars-and-stripes championship would get a matching custom bike afterward to celebrate, right? Not so fast. Wells says he wasn't expecting anything and in his trademark understated style, he didn't seem a bit upset about it.

"[Specialized] have so many great athletes on their team that if it's not a world championship, it's like [shrugs his shoulders and laughs]," he said humbly. "It's good and bad – to be surrounded by such great athletes, it's pretty cool."

Even star riders couldn’t do their job successfully without a reliable machine – Todd Wells (Specialized) put his money on personal mechanic Myron Billy for this build

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Specialized S-Work Stumpjumper 29er, 21in
Fork: Specialized/RockShox Reba S29, 90mm travel, 110/100psi positive/negative pressure
Headset: FSA Orbit integrated 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in, Campagnolo standard
Stem: Syntace F99, 105mm x -6°
Handlebars: Syntace VRO Vector Lowrider Carbon, 670mm
Tape/grips: ESI Racer's Edge
Front brake: Avid XX World Cup BlackBox, 160mm rotor
Rear brake: Avid XX World Cup BlackBox, 140mm rotor
Brake levers: Avid XX World Cup BlackBox
Front derailleur: SRAM XX
Rear derailleur: SRAM XX
Shift levers: SRAM XX
Cassette: SRAM XG-1099, 11-36T
Chain: SRAM PC-1091
Crankset: Specialized S-Works FACT OS, 175mm, with Truvativ XX 39/26T chainrings
Bottom bracket: Specialized S-Works OS integrated
Pedals: Crank Brothers Egg Beater 11
Wheelset: Specialized Roval Control SL 29
Front tire: Specialized S-Works Renegade, 29x1.95in, tubeless conversion, 24.5psi
Rear tire: Specialized S-Works Renegade, 29x1.95in, tubeless conversion, 26psi
Saddle: Specialized Phenom Pro
Seat post: Specialized S-Works Carbon
Bottle cages: Specialized S-Works Carbon Rib Cage (1)
Computer: n/a
Other accessories: Custom etched Carbon Ti skewers, custom etched Carbon Ti seatpost collar

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.63m (6' 2")
Rider's weight: 76.2kg (168lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 792mm
Saddle setback: 88mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 535mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 484mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 635mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 68mm
Head tube length: 130mm
Top tube length: 640mm (horizontal)
Total bicycle weight: 8.64kg (19.05lb)

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