120mm is the new 100mm when it comes to XC. And we think that is awesome. Plenty of riders have been beefing up the front of their cross-country bikes with longer travel forks to crate a fast-riding, confident descending mountain bike that flies up and down trails. In the past two years we have seen Rocky Mountain, Felt, Yeti, Cannondale and plenty of other brands bring bikes with more beef up the front and business-like back ends to shop floors. Of course Specialized are able to do it with a model with a Brain and able to carry two water bottles within the main triangle.

The Epic EVO models bring a little bit of rowdiness to what might be the most successful cross-country platform in the world.

There is a Brain - it is still an Epic.

The Epic EVO bikes come with 120mm travel forks which kicks the steering angle back to 68.5 degrees, and slackens the seat angle to 73.8 degrees as well. With 42mm fork offset the wheelbase length will be kept in check, so you’ll get the stability of the slacker head angle going down along with the bonus of the 120mm fork with more travel and greater stiffness. But that shorter offset to a lot of what is on the market helps to keep some agility when accelerating your bike back up through switchbacks, stopping the front wheel from wandering around on climbs and in corners. Pair that with the efficient Brain suspension – and you can expect the Epic EVO to almost be as fun going up as down.

The EVO line isn’t just a bigger fork. While the whole chassis and shock stays the same as a regular Epic the stock tyres are 2.3”, dropper posts come stock, rims run 25mm internal widths, and bars run 720-750mm wide. It’s basically the upgrades many of us would want to make, but all done for you at less cost and zero hassle. We’ve even heard this is exactly how Specialized staff riders have been riding their Epics for a while.

We think if you’re not lining up for a National Series XCO round then these are just the ticket for a marathon race, multi-day event, cutting laps of your local trails and getting out for big days on the bike beneath the warm Australian sun.

Right now Specialized Australia have the M5 aluminium framed Epic Comp EVO at $4000 with a SRAM NX Eagle group set and RockShox Reba, and the carbon Epic Expert EVO with SRAM GX Eagle and a Fox 34 SC fork - running at $7250.

So what if you already have a current model Epic? Well you could look at a fork upgrade and dropper and be partway there - there are no changes to the frame, rear shock or suspension tune. It's just the dropper, wheels, tyres, fork and bar/stem. But you might have already made some changes to tyres, bar and stem anyway if you wanted a little more fun and a little less serious face on your Epic.

Don't miss our test of the Specialized Epic Expert.

If you own an Epic and are thinking about an upgrade, or just wondering whether you need an Epic or an Epic EVO, just consider whether you're after the lightest bike with nothing to hold you back from a podium - or are you after the fastest bike on the trails, with nothing to hold you back on the race to the carpark?

If it's the latter - you'll probably like Epic EVO.

Stock should be available as you read this, so go see your Specialized dealer for any questions. And maybe ask them when the S-Works model comes out!