Words: Ben Morrison  |  Photos: Nick Waygood

2018 sees a major overhaul of one Cross Country’s winningest bikes! Gone is the FSR pivot once the back bone of Specialized’s suspension platform and is now replaced by flex stays (helping save 525g on the Expert level, just off the frame). We also see a brand new smoother, fast and more interesting looking brain shock now made by RockShox.

All of this and more translates it one the fastest bikes around and you can see right away why the Epic has taken so many trips to the top of the podium. We are seeing less and less Specialized athletes running for their hardtail and spending hours in the saddle on their epic instead.

It’s easy to see why you when presented with a 100mm travel XC race bike that climbs like no tomorrow and descends like a champion (all be it a little skittish and awkward with your seat up your sky rocket).

The point is that bikes like the Epic are starting to blur the lines about what XC riding is and what you can do on an XC bike. Using the Rider-First Engineered technology (To give each frame size unique carbon layups and tube profiles). Mixed with real world testing on World Cups XC tracks that would push some trail bikes to their limits, has given the 2018 Epic a new much more aggressive ride.

It is something that XC bikes have been missing for years, longer top tubes shorter rear ends, less frame flex from the rear wheel and shorter stems help the Epic snap out of every turn with all of the speed you came into it with. Oh and did we say it was fast? Even with the brain set to full soft the Epic picks up ever little bit of effort you put though the pedals helping you up climbs or into the first bit of single track before everyone else.

The new Epic truly is just that, we'll have a full review in Issue #164, out on 23rd October.