The Specialized Epic marquee has long been atop podiums and Strava KOM lists - and their latest update is set to ensure that continues.
The Specialized Epic has some serious pedigree. Olympic and World titles, countless World Cup wins, untold success in the world's harsgest terrain lab and it's name sake - the Cape Epic - and more personal bests the world over than can be counted. The Specialized Epic has no doubt helped riders from weekend warriors to the fastest athletes in the world achieve their goals, and push themselves to the limits.
The platform has seen ongoing refinement, as it moved to 29" wheel sizing, modified the geometry allowed riders to run two water bottles inside the main triangle, along with their spares.
But the time has come for a change, and Specialized's engineers have managed to tune their geometry and fit to create one supreme XC-machine - for men and women. No more Era, no more moving to the 'men's' bike, but instead a fit that works for all (height dependant) when married with a Body Geometry fit from your Specialized store.
So what's new on the Specialized Epic?
Well the whole frame, and Brain, for starters. The frame is lighter, and completely redesigned. You can see the chainstays are hugely slimmed down, and missing the Horst Link out back. It is no longer the FSR, as the bike becomes a single pivot design. Weight savings are claimed at up to 525g on frame alone. Which is huge.
The new Brain 2.0 is barely recognisable compared to the last units, and it sits lower and closer to the drop out. It does sit right behind the disc caliper so it looks unlikely to get in the way for wheel removal and fitting. It's said the new position helps for small bump compliance and oil flow that is involved with the Brain unsetting and resetting - but only trail time will tell.
The frame itself has gained geometry changes like just about any other XC sled on the market. It's longer, slacker, and has a custom fork offset to get the handling just so. We heard it's 68.5 degrees for the head angle and a super short 42mm fork rake. Specialized claim it climbs better, and descends more confidently. Less thinking, more racing.
Beyond that, it's hard to tell from the information we have received. No doubt the hub spacing is Boost width, and the seat post looks fatter. Whether it's 30.9mm or 31.6mm it will likely be dropper compatible. The frame also looks 1x specific, and given SRAM have moved Eagle to the GX level that's not surprising at all.
But we are intrigued as to what the angles and geometry are, whether the new custom offset is 51mm, or something between 45 and 51mm. In short, we're keen to throw a leg over one.
What are my options with the Specialized Epic?
We are going to have a selection of four models and a frame and fork module in Australia, starting at the Epic Comp at $3800, right up to the S-Works model for $12000. Want to build your dream Epic? Maybe you should start with the S-Works frame and fork at $6500.
We're keen to see them and get a better idea of the changes and how they transfer to the trail and between the tape. If you're after more hard facts, ask Specialized for now.