The starting gun goes off at the Sea Otter Classic Cross Country race. You came in with a game plan of hanging in the pack for a while to conserve energy before launching your attack, but adrenaline got the better of you and you are already leading the pack with a few other racers as you head down the track towards turn four of the Laguna Seca Raceway. It’s early but the pack is already starting to form a line as you leave the paved race track and head off into the dirt. There isn’t much for shade on the course and after a while you can see the heat from the sun is affecting your competitors, but you trained and were ready for this. As you start the sandy climb, you decide that now is the time to launch. The two riders ahead are in a line on the right side of the trail. You swing hard to the left as you step on the gas and punch it to the top. The others reacted too late to your break away or they are starting to fade from the pace of the race so far, but that doesn’t matter. Your launch got you out ahead and your lead is growing as the others struggle to keep up. You know the finish is close. Every muscle in your body is burning, your mouth is dry, and your lungs may very well explode, but you drop your head and push through the pain determined to win.
The Epic is the most efficient full suspension bike in the world. The frame, constructed from FACT IS 9m carbon fiber, is one of the lightest and stiffest full suspension frames in existence. It’s designed with a PF30 bottom bracket. When the PF30 BB came out, we all were saying, “Great, another BB type to worry about.” But the PF30 quickly and convincingly showed everyone that it should be the only standard. The larger interface offers larger bearings that aide in smoother turning of the cranks, longer life of the bearings, and better power transfer to the rear wheel to help you sprint ahead or get to the top of that steep climb. The XC geometry puts you in an aggressive body position so that you are able to pedal efficiently and powerfully while maintaining control of the bike in the technical bits of trail, but it is also a very comfortable place to be for short and long rides. With a slightly longer chainstay (9mm longer) and slightly slacker head tube angle (0.5 degrees) compared to the Epic WC, the Epic Comp Carbon is slightly more stable in trickier trail situations making it a great fit for everyday riding and racing. The Epic platform is set up with 100mm front and rear travel to handle anything the trail may put in front of you.
Specialized has truly spared no expense to keep this bike in a class of its own. The legendary, patented Specialized FSR suspension system has been around for a long time and has been a staple of Specialized. What FSR (Future Shock Rear) gives you is a vertical axle path that isolates the suspension from any influences from your pedals or to your pedals. What that means to you is that you have fully active suspension 100% of the time allowing the bike to work with you, not against you. By separating pedal influence from your suspension, you don’t get any pedal bob or suspension lock out. That is the pitfall of some other suspension designs. When you start to pedal, on those designs, you can either induce suspension compression (pedal bob) which means less of your pedal power is getting to the rear wheel driving you forward, or in other designs the opposite can happen and the suspension gets stiffer while you are pedaling. When that happens, you get less traction in the rough stuff. With FSR, that doesn’t happen. Your rear wheel is free to respond to the terrain you are riding 100% of the time, giving you traction and better power output.
Specialized refined FSR even further thanks to the custom-designed FOX/Specialized Mini-Brain shock with AUTOSAG. AUTOSAG is an ingenious system that makes dialing in your suspension setting easier than ever. Just pump up the shock to 20-30psi above your weight, sit on the bike, let out the extra pressure from the blow-off valve, and you’re air pressure for the rear shock is set. If you are not familiar with the Brain Fade shock system, it is an inertia valve that automatically turns the suspension "on" and "off" instantaneously to always provide the perfect ride. The inertia valve is mounted inside a near-vertical cylinder near the rear axle. The inertia valve controls the shock's ability to compress; the resulting system responds to terrain input (bumps and dips), but not to rider input (pedaling). Forces from the ground activate the inertia valve inside the Brain, which opens and allows the shock to absorb bumps. By using the blue dial on top of the Brain cylinder, you can control the breakaway threshold of the inertia valve in your Brain from stiff and efficient to super plush and active and anywhere in between, giving you the ability to tune your suspension to your riding style and the terrain you are riding.
Up front, Specialized spec’d a RockShox Reba RL 29 that features a Solo Air spring to tune the suspension to your weight, and rebound and lockout adjustments to tune the suspension to the terrain you are riding. To help keep the front end stiff, the Reba RL 29 features a 15mm thru-axle and an alloy, tapered steer tube. And the front and rear suspension set ups together and you get a pedaling platform that puts you way ahead of the competition.
The Epic Comp Carbon comes equipped with a Shimano XT and SLX 2x10 drivetrain with a custom SRAM front derailleur that has a proven track record. Accompanying the Shimano drivetrain is SRAM’s S-1250 mountain cranks. For wheels, it is spec’d with the Roval 29 142+ on Specialized Hi Lo disc hubs wrapped with a Specialized tubeless ready S-Works Fast Trak tire up front and Fast Trak Control in the rear. These light weight wheels feature 22mm wide rims, and buttery smooth sealed cartridge bearings. The result is a cross country wheelset light enough to race on and strong enough to ride hard every day on. And while riding hard, you will not have to worry about getting the bike stopped either. Equipped with Formula C1 brakes (rotor sizes vary with frame size) you have all the power you need to get the bike stopped. But that isn’t everything in a brake. Control over that power, known as modulation, is also important. You don’t want the wheels to lock. You want to control how fast you are slowing down, and Formula brakes are some of the best in both categories. For precise steering, the Epic WC is equipped with a Specialized XC stem with 6 degree rise that can be flipped if you want a lower handlebar height and a Specialized XC Aluminum handlebar that is 700mm wide with an 8 degree backsweep to give you a comfortable hand position for all day excursions.
How does it Climb?
To put it simply, this is the best climbing bike out there. Some people will try to tell you that a hardtail will climb better, but this bike rides like a fully ridged bike when the conditions call for it. Some people say that a full suspension bike is better for climbing in the rough stuff, which is true. This rides like a full suspension bike when the conditions call for it. The Epic adapts to the terrain you are on to give you the best pedaling platform of any bike on the market. It is light and stiff. The suspension takes the guess work out of the suspension settings as it does it all for you and the 29 inch wheels roll smoothly over everything so you can keep your momentum up while on the way up. You cannot beat this bike up a hill.
How does it Descend?
While the Epic is thought of as a climbing bike, it still is a cross country bike and is very capable when it comes to heading down. The brain technology in the suspension does the same things for you on the way down as it does on the way up. The bike adapts to the terrain you are on to give you the best Cross County experience possible. It is fast and nimble on the descent, but keep in mind that it is not a Trail or All Mountain bike. It is a Cross Country race machine so you don’t necessarily want to attack the descent like you would on the climb. But don’t let anyone tell you the Epic doesn’t descend well. It definitely does.
The Specialized Epic is every cross country rider’s dream. The level of performance that you get out of this cross country rig is unparalleled. There is nothing that climbs like it. There is nothing that adapts to the terrain like it, aside from the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR trail bike that has a similar Brain set up. The Epic is simply in a class of its own when looking at full suspension Cross Country bikes. Yes, there are bikes out there that will descend better, but those are the longer travel Trail and All-Mountain bikes that cannot compete with the Epic on the climbs. And if you were looking for a bike to slay the downhills on, you would probably be looking at a different category of bike anyway. This is a Cross Country race machine and it will make you faster, be it on race day or setting a new Strava PR or KOM.
|Frame||FACT 9m Carbon, M5 aluminum rear triangle, 100mm travel|
|Fork||RockShox Reba RL 29, 100mm-travel|
|Rear Shock||Fox/Specialized Remote Mini-Brain, 100mm-travel w/Brain Fade and AutoSag|
|Hubs||Specialized Hi Lo disc|
|Spokes||DT Swiss stainless-steel|
|Tires||Specialized tubeless ready, 29 x 2.0; Front: S-Works Fast Trak Control; Rear: Fast Trak Control|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT Shadow Plus|
|Rear Cogs||SRAM PG-1030, 10-speed: 11-36|
|Handlebars||Specialized XC flat|
|Tape/Grips||Specialized Sip Grip|
|Brake Levers||Magura MTS|
|Brakes||Magura MTS, 160mm rotors|
|Saddle||Body Geometry Phenom Comp|
* Subject to change without notice.
|Option||Barcode||Manufacturer's Part Number||Store SKU|
|Gloss White/Red/Black/Cyan / Small||00719676126784||90315-5602||14842|