What We Didn’t Like
The 27.2mm seatpost is step backwards in our opinion. It makes it incompatible with the dropper seatposts in the market or already in one’s garage. One can argue that this kind of bike does not need a dropper post since it is a pure racing bike. But we will say that this bike and every bike (even hardtails) are better off with a dropper post. Dropper posts not only relate to the technical terrain but also with the evolving descending style of the rider. Once a rider uses a dropper post on some bikes, the cornering style and descending/pumping style evolves to better techniques, making it difficult to adjust to a fixed height post. 27.2mm means there is no Specialized Command Post compatible with this bike. But we are fairly certain that Specialized will release a 27.2mm dropper post by the time this bike is released in the winter.
We’re still not crazy about the Brain adjustment knob located near the rear skewer. It just makes it too inconvenient to use during a ride. We were hoping that one of the new remote dials would make its way to the Brain shock. Alas, it is not to be.
Specialized Epic Chain Stay
We were hoping for shorter stays on this bike. We see it in the World Cup Edition which is shorter by 10mm which is a fun and agile bike. But the World Cup Edition bike has 10mm less travel and a higher BB. So the shorter stay really should be in the standard Epic as well.
Bottom line is the Epic is faster, cleaner and lighter than before. If you race, then this is your steed. If you want more fun and flexibility, perhaps a 23 lb Camber is for you. But if you want to go fast, then the Epic is right up your alley. The $10k Epic versions are cool but the smart money is always on the lower cost versions then uprade the whees to carbon Rovals.
From the Manufacturer
New Carbon Frame
What: The completely redesigned, all-new FACT IS 11M carbon frame features a concentric shock linkage for optimal pivot FSR location and suspension movement, two water bottle mounts with SWAT compatibility, internal cable routing, tapered head tube, PF 30 bottom bracket, and 142mm rear hub spacing. The World Cup Epic features 95mm of rear wheel travel, while the standard Epic retains 100mm of suspension.
Why: It’s all about the fastest ride. The new frame is lighter, has clean lines, better suspension action, and can carry everything you want right on the frame. The new frame also has increased drivetrain stiffness.
How: Our engineers and frame designers spent countless hours refining this frame to squeeze every bit of performance from the ride, cut every non-essential gram, and reworked the tube shapes and locations to make room for the ground breaking SWAT technology.
Mini Brain Rear Shock, with New XC Tune
What: Externally tunable, trail-sensing rear shock with AUTOSAG, pioneered by Specialized and manufactured by Fox. All-new shock tune with new internals makes this the best Epic shock ever.
Why: AUTOSAG assures perfect shock setup every time, while the new Brain tune offers the best efficiency and control over smooth and rough terrain.
How: When a rider encounters bump forces, the Mini Brain’s inertia valve disengages, allowing oil to flow and the shock to immediately transition from firm (efficient) to fully active (compliant) suspension settings. The external Brain Fade dial allows riders to fine tune their suspension.
New S-Works Cranks
What: New S-Works Crankset is sleeker and lighter than before thanks to a new integrated spider design.
Why: We set out to shave every possible gram and create an aesthetic that ties into the design language of our frames.
How: We created an all-new design with integrated carbon spider. The result is an insanely lightweight crank that partners with both single and double ring setups.
What: Fully integrated emergency repair kit, featuring storage, water bottle holder, air canister and multi-tool. Stage 3 Kit standard on Expert Epics and up.
Why: Gives riders the ability to solve any minor mechanical problem on the trail, and eliminates the need to wear a pack.
How: The S.W.A.T. items are strategically integrated into the frame at the water bottle and organized by location and weight for easy access.
Competitive XC Geometry: Epic vs. Epic World Cup
What: Two uniquely tuned and designed bikes for competitive XC racing and endurance XC racing.
Why: Riders’ needs vary based on terrain. Epic riders demand a race bike that can tackle a variety of course conditions. They are looking for a wide gear range, water carrying capability, and repair item storage.
Epic WC riders demand explosive power and tight geometry necessary to dominate the World Cup race circuit. Weight and stiffness are top-priority for this rider.
How: Epic models are built around a double chainring chassis and 100mm travel. Epic Expert models and above come equipped with SWAT kits and features an XC race tune rear shock.
For riders looking for the most competition- focused XC race bike, WC models are built with a dedicated single-ring chassis featuring short 439mm chainstays, aggressive geometry, and 95mm of travel. WC models are SWAT ready and feature a WC race tune rear shock.
New Roval Carbon Wheelsets
What: All-new, lighter-weight Roval Control SL 29 wheelsets (S-Works) with Zero Bead Hook technology, and Roval Control Carbon 29 wheelset (Marathon and Expert).
Why: Zero Bead Hook technology creates a lightweight and impact resistant wheel. The lightweight wheels improve climbing performance and acceleration out of corners.
How: We designed this lightweight carbon wheelset with a carbon rim that is stronger and stiffer than alloy, so the wheels remain in-true longer, and absorb impact better.
Zero Bead Hook simplifies the rim manufacturing process, resulting in a lighter-weight rim that with edges more resistant to sharp rocks and rough terrain.