Specialized Epic WC 2014 long term review
Having ridden Epics for the last few years, I’ve gotten to know them quite well. The snap crackle pop of the earlier brain suspension, sometimes a delay in activating, and generally a harsh ride. But that’s what a XC race bike is supposed to feel like right? A stiff platform to maximize your pedal force. As with previous iterations, the latest 2014 Epic WC keeps getting better as the platform is evolved. This brain rear shock with auto sag has really dialed in the plushness, while not giving up the stiff XC platform. Throw in some SWAT technology and this bike is ready to race.
We recently took this bike to Moab, Utah on a week-long road trip. Moab not known for being XC friendly, I decided to see how far I could push the Epic in rough and demanding terrain. The Epic passed with flying colors as both bike and rider survived unscathed. Would it have been better on a more squishy bike? Maybe a Camber or the winner of our recent Enduro Compare-O, the 155mm travel Specialized Enduro. But the Epic did surprisingly well in the tough all mountain terrain. Throw on a dropper post and this bike would handle most anything you throw at it. Too bad it’s a 27.2 seat post. Not to worry as a Specialized dropper post is coming soon in that size.
We rode the mid-level Epic Expert WC with retail approximately $5700. XO 1×11 on the drive train, Magura brakes, and al bar/stem and post rounded out the spec. The bike is easily upgradable to carbon to lighten everything up. They didn’t skimp on the wheels, carbon Roval control. Finally a 15mm through axle was present in front to really tighten up the front end. This one weighed in right around 24 lbs. That’s including the tube, CO2, and hidden multi tool.
The WC version has shorter chain stays for quicker more agile handling. A more aggressive geometry is also featured with a steeper head angle. Clean internal cable routing is also new unlike the previous Epic, where the cables were external and running under the bottom bracket. The suspension is more dialed with the auto sag function and improved brain adjustability. They reduced the number of adjustment clicks to the rear which may sound like a downgrade, but now each click makes a difference. Previous models you’d have to move it multiple clicks to feel any difference in ride, now 1 or 2 clicks makes a big difference.
SWAT (storage water air tools) is featured on this bike and I love the ability to carry water bottles on the bike. Even the top one can handle a big water bottle (medium size frame), a tube, CO2, and hidden multi tool up in the top tube. I guess the Specialized engineers who were watching the Leadville 100 saw everyone taping gels, tubes on their top tube, and a second water bottle in the jersey pocket, so they came up with a solution. For those that don’t like to ride with a hydration pack, this works. Couple it with the Specialized SWAT bib and the rider can carry another big bottle and a ton of food on the bib itself.
With this combination, we were able to go on 4-6 hour rides without the need for a hydration pack, and with the Specialized Epic World Cup Edition, we were able to cover a lot of ground in 6 hours.
Check out our forum thread http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/2014-expert-epic-wc-891013.html