Specialized S-Works Epic 29er hardtail defies gravity

Lightest frame in Big Red S portfolio nets sub-20-pound race bike

29er News
Specialized S-Works Epic 29er Hardtail

For a cool $8000, you can crush your local XC series — and Strava — with this ultra-light race machine.

Snap poll: What’s the lightest bike frame in the Specialized line-up? Has to be one of their road or cyclocross rigs, right? Not anymore. Meet the new Specialized S-Works Epic hardtail, with a claimed frame weight of 845 grams size medium including paint and necessary hardware.

Specialized S-Works Epic 29er Hardtail

The sub-900-gram frame uses Specialized’s top-end FACT 12M carbon. Also note partial external cable routing, which helps keep weight down — and is a lot easier to work on.

But this was not just a grams-shaving project, says Specialized. To hit the ideal balance between stiffness, weight, and strength, they used their top end FACT 12m carbon that’s usually reserved for the road side of the line, and used only straight tubes, which are lighter and stronger, but did necessitate the use of a fork bumper on the underside of the downtube.

Specialized S-Works Epic 29er Hardtail

Tubing and lay-up is all size specific, meaning just enough material used.

Sizes run S, M, L, XL, and all tubing and lay-up is frame size specific, which basically means they use just enough material to get the job done for that particular frame size. It all adds up to a ridiculously light finished product. The pictured build with SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain, RockShox SID World Cup 29 fork, and Roval carbon wheels comes in at around 18 pounds.

Specialized S-Works Epic 29er Hardtail

Tires are Specialized Fast Trak with Gripton compound. The rear is 29×2.1, while the front gets some extra rubber at 29×2.3.

Of course, all that light weight will cost you. The SRAM Eagle build runs $8000, while a Shimano Di2 XTR spec’d model will set you back a cool $9500.

Specialized S-Works Epic 29er Hardtail

Back in the day Ned Overend won the first mountain bike world championship on another epic bike.

But make no mistake, this is a race day bike through and through. The RockShox SID World Cup fork has just 90/100mm of travel and features BRAIN technology, which Specialized claims can distinguish between bumpy terrain and rider input. However, in an effort to keep up with the ever changing (and often rowdier) XC courses of today, Specialized has made some geo tweaks including a roomier front center, longer top tube, shortened head tube, and slacker front end (69.8-degree headtube angle). The S-Works Epic hardtail is also dropper post compatible and features boost hub spacing front and rear.

For more info head over to www.specialized.com.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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