2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride

Jul 1, 2017
by AJ Barlas  



For Specialized, the Epic is an important bike that shares a deep history with the brand. Since its inception fifteen years ago, the bike has been ridden to 96 major victories around the world, including World Cup wins, World Championship, marathon cross-country, and national level race victories. More recently, the Epic was piloted by Annika Langvad to victory at the XCO World Cup opener for 2017 in Nova Mestro, Czech Republic.

For 2018 Specialized has given the Epic its most drastic facelift to date. In a similar, albeit slightly more cautious vein of the longer, slacker, lower mantra of many new trail bike releases, Specialized have reworked the geometry of their XC race bike in order to make it more stable on today’s burlier XC World Cup tracks. They haven’t stopped there, however, and the company has completely reworked their Brain suspension technology in an effort to make it more effective for the terrain that has become the norm on modern XC race tracks.

Specialized Epic Details
• Intended use: XC
• Rear wheel travel: 100mm
• Fork travel: 100mm
• Wheel size: 29''
• 69.5º head angle
• 12x148mm rear axle
• Sizes: S / M / L / XL
• Women’s specific models
• ~1,900g frame (claimed for a medium w/ shock)
• Brain suspension
• Available as a frame option.
• MSRP: $2,800–$10,100 USD (complete) w/ eight model options.
www.specialized.com


2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The 2018 S-Works Epic XX1 Eagle (chameleon/red/black)
2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The 2018 Specialized Epic Pro (blue/mint/black)

The Epic is available in eight builds, each with two color options, starting with the Epic Comp (Alloy) and going up to the S-Works XTR Di2. In addition to this, there are three women's specific model options of the bike. It can also be purchased as a frame/shock/fork with two options available; the S-Works and the S-Works Limited edition (which comes in a wild digital camo paint job). Full bike builds range in price from $2,800–$10,100 USD.



2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The rear of the 2018 Specialized Epic. Note the absence of the chainstay/seatstay pivot.


Updating the Epic

For the Epic's update, keeping in mind that the Epic is an XC race bike, Specialized approached the revision with three goals—make it lighter, smarter, and faster. Specialized felt that if they could improve the Epic in each of these areas they would continue the bike's legacy and make it a more capable race-winning machine.

The 2018 Epic frame lost a considerable amount of weight, with the S-Works frame shedding a claimed ~345g while the Comp/Expert frame lost a claimed ~525g. This is from the frame alone and, with the S-Works frame, for example, Specialized claim that it’s the equivalent of losing the chainstays completely, while on the Comp/Expert model it equates to losing the entire Brain shock setup—shock, hardware, all of it.

In order to drop that weight Specialized actually removed the chainstay/seatstay pivot, moving to a flex-stay setup rather than the typical FSR layout seen on Specialized bikes. This alone allowed the team to shave a claimed 240 grams from the chainstays, a weight saving of approximately 39% over the previous model.



Something
Geometry

Geometry Changes

During the development process, Specialized worked extensively with racing legends Ned Overend and Christoph Sauser, who would ride the updated frames with zero information on what had changed in an effort to steer clear of any preconceived notions. Nevertheless, despite having many positive things to say, pure XC guys like Ned and Christoph questioned the move to longer and slacker geometry more than the rest of the team developing the bikes. Specialized note that it was a tough bit of the design to work on for the entire team, with everyone knowing that they needed more stability from the bike, but also aware of the potential to lose the sharp handling required for technical climbing.


bigquotes[the new geo] was tough because we know how fast XC bikes need to feel, and were aware of how most improvements made for downhill stability result in detriments in sharp handling we want on technical climbs, or when picking our way through a technical section when we don’t have the suspension needed to bomb straight through it.Brian Gordon, Specialized Product Manager – Performance Mountain Category



Despite the concerns, Specialized surged forward, confident that they could make it work. They knew that older XC bikes, with their steep head angles and short wheelbases, weren’t adequate for today’s rougher courses and the need to adjust these attributes in order to produce a more capable XC race machine were obvious. All of the geometry changes were done in order to make the Epic a faster bike, and in making it faster they believed that they had to make it more stable at speed in rough terrain.

Specialized note that a lot of brands slacken the head angle and put larger tires on their bikes in order to achieve a more stable ride, but the big ’S’ went a number of steps further, with the most unique and possibly the largest talking point being the move to a shorter offset on the fork. In addition to this, they lengthened the reach (roughly 10mm per size) and shortened the stem 10mm on all models.

When the development team lengthened the bike and left the offset at the stock 51mm (for a 29” fork), they found the front end to become ‘floppy’, so they began working on how different offsets would affect the handling. Finally, they arrived at a 42mm offset (the same as a lot of 27.5” forks), bringing the front hub closer to the rider, which they found to stabilize the front of the bike but not enough to deaden the steering—something they claim left it responsive at the hands for technical climbing and similar situations.


bigquotesMost of us were against the short offset theory at first, but were pleasantly surprised when we rode it. Our hope now is that it won't scare people off since it is so different than what others are doing.Brian Gordon, Specialized Product Manager – Performance Mountain Category


2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The updated Brain now sits at the rear axle on the 2018 Epic.


Redesigning the Brain

The last part to consider, and another key part of the Epic line is the Brain shock, a technology developed by Specialized to give XC racers a solid platform that still tracks when the wheels are rolling over obstacles (and without a need for a lever to activate the platform). It’s a system that Specialized say is all about efficiency and momentum and they went to work on redesigning it from the ground up for the 2018 Epic.

Specialized suspension engineer, Mike McAndrews, said that chassis control is a major component with the Epic’s handling and the Brain is key in controlling the inputs from the rider. In updating the Brain technology, Mike says they spent a lot of time working on fluid technology, and how this fluid moves from the shock down to the Brain, now situated at the rear axle. Situating the Brain just behind the rear axle also improved the shock's timing, making it more sensitive to trail feedback. The relationship between the two is critical, and Mike sees this as one of the biggest improvements in all of the years that he’s been working on this system.


2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The fork also features the Brain technology.


A couple of additional and pretty sleek details in the reworked Brain design are that the shock clevis is now part of the system, with fluid flowing through it and into the rest of the line. The team also removed the IFP and replaced it with a bladder system, a move that Mike says improves the shock action, making it smoother and more predictable.

In basic terms, the Brain works by preventing input from the rider from pushing through into the shock's travel, staving off fluid movement until an input from the ground, at the wheels, is felt. At this point, the valve opens up allowing fluid to flow through. Beyond the ‘platform’ the compression in the Brain shocks is quite flat, which the team at Specialized find to be quite important for light XC bikes.

This is also where the difference between the unisex models and the women's specific models comes into play (beyond the usual women's specific saddle and grips, for example), with the damper on the latter being of a lighter tune, allowing for what Specialized feel is a better ride quality for female XC racers.


2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The updated Brain includes the shock clevis, which has oil flow through it, into this line...
2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
And down the underside of the seatstay to the rear axle.


Four Questions with Mike McAndrews
Engineer of the Brain Technology and the Director of Suspension at Specialized

Tell us more about how chassis control was worked on — what role did the inertia valve play?

The inertia valve (or Brain) is a fluid control valve on the compression circuit that can only move to its open position from inputs coming from the wheels... and not from normal inputs coming from the chassis. With this system, we can make the shock and fork have a firmer compression damping value for the chassis inputs, basically making the shock firm to better stabilize the chassis movement from events like hard pedaling and weight transfer from steep climbs. With the Brain, this added level of stability improves pedal efficiency without compromising bump performance of the system overall.

While this drove pedal efficiency, how did it work with the other tech to drive the overall ride quality?

The inertia valve is great for differentiating the inputs and allowing us to have two different compression damping values, firm for chassis input and softer for bump; but it is not the valve used to control the ride dynamics of the shock while in the active mode. For this, we use our proprietary Spike Valve design. This is a multi-circuit compression valve design that allows for good low and mid-speed damping control but goes regressive at the high shaft speeds ensuring the shock does not over-produce damping. Keeping the compression damping in check at high speeds improves square edge bump absorption, straight-line stability, and overall traction. For this new design, we spent more time on the ride dynamic circuits than the Brain so as to ensure the momentum carrying attributes of the bike were greatly improved.

2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride

What role did the fluid flow have, and how did you work on it, in order to achieve these characteristics?

Damping hysteresis is a term we use to define how a shock performs at the turnaround point in the stroke between compression and rebound, generally at the higher shaft speeds. A lower damping hysteresis means better damping control at the turnaround which translates to better control of the contact patch…meaning better traction for all conditions. Fluid flow through a given damper design can have a big impact on damping hysteresis so, for the new design, every part that influences fluid flow was designed specifically to maintain a laminar flow pattern of the fluid while preventing as much turbulent flow as possible. So, fluid port size, shape, angle and finish are critical as well as the overall layout of the valve circuits in achieving this goal. (The damper body/clevis/hose interface are a good example.)

What benefits were you seeking in replacing the IFP with a bladder?

Most internal floating piston designs have a problem with piston flutter as the shock moves. This flutter can result in a ‘stick/slip’ condition that affects shock performance all the way to the wheel. The bladder is a system that separates the nitrogen charge from the shock fluid using a thick rubber membrane (the bladder). As the shock moves in and out, the bladder simply compresses and expands without having to overcome the stiction of the IFP system. This makes for smooth and predictable shock action which again has its biggest effect on improving traction in all conditions.





We hit the trails of Mountain Creek in New Jersey and had the chance to experience some true East Coast rock gardens aboard the Epic. We had a fairly straightforward climb from the base of the mountain to the upper portion, but with the park closed, we enjoyed climbing some of the single black diamond trails as well while riding the bike in order to really check out the technical climbing abilities of the new Epic.

Although there was only time to ride the bike once, it was enough to get an initial impression of what the geometry updates and Brain shock were capable of, and it’s pretty impressive. The Brain has five positions, allowing the rider to control how much input is required before the Inertia Valve opens up and allows the suspension to smooth out the trail. Initially, I climbed the rather smooth trail with it in the mid setting but quickly moved it to its firmest position, based on the immediate terrain.

In the firmest setting the bike rides very much like a hardtail, and in saying that I mean how it felt under me (not the cliché ‘climbs like a mountain goat' reaction to a bike). It’s solid, and rough-ish until it hits something firmly enough in the ground to open up. When it does open up, there is a knocking felt through the bike. This knock was noticeable on the previous Brain and is still there today, and to be honest, given that I knew what the terrain was like that we were headed to and that I wasn’t a fan of the knock, I promptly found myself testing it in each of the lower settings.

2018 Specialized Epic - First Ride
The setting for the Brain's ride characteristics and the amount of force needed to open the compression is controlled by this lever.

In one ride, it was difficult to really differentiate between each of the four positions that the Brain can be set to, but I did find that how pronounced the knock was gave a fair indication. In the end, for the rocky terrain that we chose to ride the Epic on, I found the “Soft” setting to work best, and the knock was virtually non-existent with this setting. Charging into a trail called Twist the bike opened up and was ready to rally, and once I was comfortable with it, really surprised me with its capabilities.

Were the key goals with the bike noticeable? I’d say yes. The most appealing and confidence inspiring trait was the stability that this short-legged race weapon had in the Jersey rocks. The short 100mm travel front and rear was easily noticed, with the bike often finding full travel and wanting to bounce around, but instead handling really surprisingly well on such terrain, while not having any issues with tight, technical climbing situations. The stability was also very easily noticed while cornering, but it was still lively enough to flick around, which was no doubt helped largely by the light weight as well.

In the short time aboard the Epic, I realized that modern XC bikes are heading in a similar direction as the trail and all-mountain portion of the market, which I think is great to see. While this is not a trail bike, the Epic still adopts the longer reach, steeper seat-angle, shorter stem approach, just at a different level, and one that is perhaps more appropriate for XC racing. Add to that the changed fork offset and updates to the Brain suspension technology and we’ve got a cross-country race bike that is pushing into the future of what a bike of this nature should be.

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114 Comments

  • + 59
 I know they've been around a while and are probably fine, but pivotless rear ends that are designed to flex still scare me a bit...
  • - 1
 Specialized's horst link patent have expired, so this is the first bike using a different system. The next bike to get a new suspension is the stumpjumper which should be ready next year.
  • + 18
 @enrico650: The FSR patent is more like 25 different patents, all dealing with different aspects of how and where pivots are placed, only one of which involves the Horst link. They started expiring around 10 years ago, although with every model, someone on the internet brings up the "recent" expiration.

There's a lot more that goes into a bike than one pivot or patent, and it's worth looking at the bike as a whole, to see what they're trying to do.
  • + 1
 @aaronfpeet: An specialized employee told me that most of the fsr/horst link patents have expired. One of the few left is the concentric pivot for the upper yoke and they don't want to use it because ads weight to the Frame.
  • + 2
 If it can Hadley twist at mcbp then I wouldn't be afraid of it .
  • + 2
 @enrico650: concentric pivot for the upper yoke? Could you please elaborate on what you mean?

The horst link patent, that expired (well, i guess it did...), caused an influx of host-link bikes that previously used different systems, for example from Transition, lately Scott with the Genius, many brands started selling bikes in the US, which were previously EU only, etc. That's why it's talked about. But i fully, 100 % agree, that it's the package that matters, not the position of one pivot. It does give quite a lot of freedom to the designers though, with a single pivot you're much more cornered as to where to put the main pivot to get the pedalling characteristic.
  • + 2
 @Primoz: They call it the Fu Manchu linkage, since the yolk drops down around the seat tube like the mustache. I believe the actual patent is on the upper portion of the the rocker link, the joins both he shock yolk and seatstays.
  • + 1
 @Primoz: Yes, it was standard on Specialized SX/SX Trail from 2009 thru 2012.
It changed the leverage ratio by moving the angle of the pivot as the suspension moved. Great idea but the bearings ,pivot axle and rocker arms added weight a size medium frame was 9lbs.
  • + 0
 @Primoz @enrico650 I might be wrong about this, but I believe that patent is actually on the rocker on the newer Camber models. You can see that both yolk, seatstays, and rocker link, all rotate on the same bearings, hence the concentric part.
  • + 0
 @aaronfpeet: Nope, after 2012 it was no more.
  • + 1
 @slimboyjim: My most recent XC/trail bike is a 2017 Scott Spark that has flex-stays. I was nervous, but after 3500km of singletrack I am no longer worried. Out of curiosity (while servicing the shock) I moved the rear triangle through its travel and there really isn't much force needed in the middle two-thirds of the travel). I measured the distance between the top and lower stays at the pivots beginning and end of the stroke - the change was only a few millimetres so they stays aren't flexing that much. Converted. Note the Spark's stays are connected by the dropouts but the Epic's are welded stays.
  • + 7
 Why would it bother you??? Carbon fibre is an ideal material for flexible applications. Aircraft wings flex, fishing rods etc I would sooner get rid of a mechanical fastening like a pivot than worry needlessly about flexing carbon lol
  • + 2
 I rode my 2005 yeti 575 for years, put unknown thousands of miles on it, now my brother is riding it. 11 years later, flex-stays are still kicking ass. I'd be even less worried about them in this bike, full carbon rear and means no glue holding the pivot into the tubing, that eliminates the only weak link
  • + 1
 @Zziplex: because lower end bikes (and in the case of Scott, anything but i think the top two or three models) have flex stays made from aluminium.
  • + 1
 @Zziplex: Good point. Like I said I know it's fine really. It's just scary that such an expensive purchase *could* become fatigued and more prone to failure. I tend to keep my bikes a long time...
  • + 2
 @slimboyjim: Cannondale has always designed flex in their Scalpel full suspension design. The chainstays already had to flex, later they even removed another pair of bearings. Cannondale has also always been very clear that buying a more expensive bike doesn't mean you get something more durable. You're getting something more on the competitive edge of lightweight and fragile. You accept it is going to fail due to fatigue sooner or later. If you want it to last for longer, get a different frame (for instance a Cannondale Rush). It doesn't only go for full suspension designs either. They say the same about their road bicycles. If you just want to go out for a ride and do so for a long time, get the cheaper frame. Of course in our shop we'd say, get a steel or titanium frame Smile .

But really, how much rotation would the chainstay pivot allow for? It isn't much really. A hardtail probably flexes the same amount.
  • + 2
 @vinay: A hardtail never flexes the same amount. And the amount of pivot rotation, though small in most cases, does increase with travel, that's why the Genius from Scott uses a pivot, while the Spark doesn't, at least it doesn't need to.
  • + 1
 @enrico650: I don't think aaronfpeet is saying that the 09-12 SX/SX Trail rocker link is still in use. He is saying that the patent that he thinks you are referring to is for a different rocker design than you think it is. Regardless, unless you have a very different definition of concentric than I, I don't see how you can call the rocker link pivots on the 09-12 SX "concentric". There are clearly 3 distinct pivots on that rocker. It is the new bikes that use a concentric pivot arrangement where the seatstays and shock yoke share a pivot.

Putting terminology and patent discussions aside for a moment, I agree with you that the 09-12 SX design did bring unique leverage ratio tuning ability vs. the current design, but also weighed more. It just didn't do it through the use of a truly concentric pivot.
  • + 41
 So now the yoke is an integrated part of the shock- brilliant idea. God I hope shops don't try to sell these things to average the joe who doesn't buy a bike every few years. As we know, Specialized will move on to some other proprietary part and owners will be screwed when they need a new shock.
  • + 6
 Glad someone else said it. I was thinking to myself: man does that rear shock look awful to service...
  • + 16
 Specialized is going to weld every single component together for their 2019 models.
  • + 23
 Specialized are the Apple of bikes
  • + 10
 That's why I sold my Enduro. Not many options besides a custom rebuild. Sorry Spesh, I won't be back.
  • + 10
 @schwaaa31: There's a couple decent options in DVO/RS/FOX/Ohlins, no?

That or get a bikeyoke and voilà every shock is now useable.
  • + 5
 It's just Specialized being Specialized...............locking the end user into a buying shock parts through their dealer network. at overinflated prices.......no thanks.
  • + 1
 now its even easier to transmit side loading to the shock body from the frame!
  • + 9
 On any other bike I'd agree with you but in this case the Epic is all about the Brain controlled Shock system, who's gonna buy into that bike and then swap that out? You'd just buy a Scott Scale or whatever instead Smile
  • + 6
 @kipvr: At my LBS, there was a 10 year old Epic that had to be retired because the shock was worn to the point of being unsafe to ride. No replacement shocks were available, so the owner had no other option than to buy a new bike. With a non-propriatary shock, this wouldn't have been the case. That is the big issue.
  • + 0
 @kipvr: so when a shock wears out you trash the bike?

Damm you got some coin.
  • + 7
 @zonoskar: it was 10 years old and never maintained. Lol. Bet customer is stoked with a new bike, and all the goodness that comes with it.

No one is going to buy an epic and not run the brain shock, and if you looked at the exploded view this shock is way easier to service than the previous model. Can be done in house, air can is removed from the top.
  • + 0
 @bonfire: you guys are dense, it's not about running a different shock, it's about availability in 4 or 5 years.
  • + 6
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: having worked on sold specialized product for many moons they are by far one of the best brands I have dealt with in terms of spare availability. Usually bend over backwards to help the customer.

Sometimes the stuff is expensive, but comes with the territory of buying such a specific machine.

It's a thoroughbred race bike. The point is to be the absolute pinnacle of what they can produce. To make the bike perform it's absolute best. Not what a buy n sell hunter needs in 5 years.
  • + 2
 spe·cial·ized ˈspeSHəˌlīzd/ adjective
adjective: specialized; adjective: specialised

requiring or involving detailed and specific knowledge or training.
concentrating on a small area of a subject.
designed for a particular purpose.
  • + 5
 @zonoskar: BS. I had a 2003 Epic shock replaced by Specialized in 2015. That's 12 years and they said "no problem just drop it off at your Specialized LBS".

It has been alluded to but at least on this Epic the proprietary shock should not be a problem for anyone as there is nothing out there that is an "upgrade" to it. It already comes with the best shock you can get for the application.
  • + 2
 This burned my on my first full suspension bike, a Stumpjumper FSR. Proprietary brain shock that was absolutely terrible, and couldn't get a new one without spending another $100 on a new yolk. So happy to be rid of that bike, though it was great when it was new...
  • + 1
 There are a few, yeah. But why do I need to spend $100 on a bike yoke to make it compatible with any other shock? I just don't see the benefit of mounting the shock like that. It's not stronger that I could feel. The bolt did loosen up on me, and when it did, it was a pain in the ass to get at to tighten. It just seems like Specialized being...well, Specialized. I liked the way bike ride, but for me there are many other options. @browntown40:
  • + 2
 @schwaaa31: Specialized frames burn out rear shocks way faster than a traditionally mounted shock, since they are bolted to the yoke, and the yoke transmits side-loading to the shock body. My enduro, along with 3 friends, all have been through blown shocks. Companies like Ibis just rotate the end of a traditional shock 90 degrees, so the junction of the yoke and sock allows it to move side to side, preventing frame flex from being transmitted to the shock. Specialized team riders even did this last year so they could more easily run their sponsors rear shocks! This company makes them aftermarket:

www.bikeyoke.de/en/bikeyokes
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: Oh yeah, for sure. I've seen those and I get why someone had to make a fix for them. My question is, why? Why do they continue to make the rear shocks mount like that? Why? Because Specialized. No thanks. I won't buy another one.
  • - 1
 @schwaaa31: it's a wear issue. If your shock is wearing the coating out, service it at the correct interval. Get some bath oil in there.

What a ridiculous reason. Same customer won't buy a shimano brake because you can't service the master cylinder.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: Yes, that was 2 years ago. So now apparently the shock supply for the older design has ran out. The same will happen with the current design now that the new design has been announced. No problem if you bought the bike way back in 2009 when it was introduced. But I wouldn't want to buy one now, unless it was at a really deep discount.
  • + 0
 @zonoskar: So you expect a manufacturer to keep producing a part for a bike that has been out of production for almost 10 years? I was blown away that Spec could replace that shock two years ago. Even auto manufacturers wouldn't do that.
  • + 12
 Looks like Transition are not throwing that 'grenade' into the industry as hoped - the big S are already there with altered fork offsets and sizing. People need to avoid purchase anxiety here as much as possible though, last years model is not unridable because the 2018 has some small changes, enjoy what you have and when it's time to change enjoy the extra choice.
  • + 13
 Did Specialized and Transition have a special meeting before their 2018 bikes were designed?
  • + 3
 I'm sure a lot of companies have had these meetings, seasons ago during development with suspension companies. They may hold many secrets but getting more on board validates transition/specialised's theory
  • + 1
 They finally listened to the Fisher factory riders who swapped their first generation G2 forks for "normal" offset forks eight years ago. Toe overlap on small frames was the "problem" it addressed and the marketing somehow pushed it as a improvement. Memes die a hard death in the bike universe.
  • + 12
 Huh, big S going the same way as Transition. Guess my 51mm forks are all outdated now. Anyone want to buy one?
  • + 8
 Seriously, they did the exact thing. Shortened offset, lengthened reach, and slackened the head angle!
  • + 9
 It's almost like being the longest and slackest bike out there might make it a less interesting ride for normal trails...!?! Who would have thought?
  • + 2
 @slimboyjim: been saying the same for ages, bored of telling my mates how boring riding normal trails on their bikes are!
  • + 3
 @cunning-linguist: I just went to Madeira with my mate for a couple of days - he was on a Nomad and me on an Hd3. Anything that wasn't high speed or tech he wasn't that impressed, whilst I loved pretty much everything. I will admit to finding a couple of sections I walked though, although they wouldn't have been out of place on a hard downhill track! It reinforced to me why I didn't go longer travel and slacker geo. On that note bikes like this really appeal to me at the moment and I like the fact that PB isn't just downhill bikes...
  • + 4
 Again, like wheel size, fork offset is a throwback using numbers that were 'just because' - we are now seeing those ideas challenged and some things will get mixed up in the process. Chris Porter tried different offsets a while ago and used adjustable offset crowns from Works Comp on a 40 - they also did a test on mbr I believe finding slight less than 'standard' offset preferable. This kind of thing I find very interesting especially after I hated my marzocchi fork some time ago due to it's large offset with the bike being transformed by a lower offer fork.
  • + 3
 Pretty much everyone is going to go this way. Rockshox (and I believe fox) just started offering both standard and short offset forks throughout the premium lineups (Pike/Lyrik) this year. With the rise of longer reaches and super short stems the short offset forks are a natural way to slow down the steering and provide stability. The effect on trail with the 9mm shorter offset forks is equivalent to about a degree and a half of slacker head angle without the negative effects of longer wheelbase and more wheel flop. There is a thought in moto circle that your offset should be the same as your stem length. Mountain bikes have had offset slightly shorter than stems for a while but now with 32-40mm stems offsets are actually longer than the stems.
  • + 4
 Gary Fisher had bikes specced with 42 or 44 mm fork off set quite some time ago. Makes sense if it works within the overall design of the bike.
  • + 9
 "The short 100mm travel front and rear was easily noticed, with the bike often finding full travel and wanting to bounce around, but instead handling really surprisingly well on such terrain, while not having any issues with tight, technical climbing situations." What the hell does this sentence even mean?
  • + 1
 Pretty clear to me.
  • + 6
 Specializese: It bottoms out on blue runs, because the rider cannot be trusted with a compression knob!
  • + 1
 And that's how you turn a negative into a positive...
  • + 12
 Scroll scroll then you saw Ratboy shredding the new epic but still what a way to ditch horst link.
  • + 12
 Oh my God, they killed FSR!
  • + 10
 in about 2 years 26"is back in the game....with a marketing coments
"we find that in this setup it more agile than curent bikes"

"with this combo, 26" works the best"

????
  • + 3
 24" or bust.
  • + 7
 Were we are... 1st of july, and your old 2017 model bike, bought long ago in april, is already outdated!!
  • + 7
 Spesh always did and always will make fast good looking weapons to slay the trails.
  • + 7
 I see you photographed it in the kind of house one needs to live in to be able to afford the bike.
  • + 2
 "keeping in mind that the Epic is an XC race bike..."

Not to worry, That Guy is always out there who wants to throw a Fox 40 on this thing then head to the forums to complain about how Specialized won't accommodate his desire to make an XC race bike "more plush."

"What up braaaah, can you run a Saint group on this?!!! That sucks, no mounts for a chainguide, braaaah! Braaah, I need to put 2.5s on there, and they should spec it with 820 Renthals, braaaah!"
  • + 3
 I love all the outdated comments.ride what works for you and your trails.

I snatched up one of the last Original Geo Ripley's because this long/slack trend doesn't work for me - tried a few.
  • + 2
 i dont understand why S is still betting on the brain. levers work better and are more reliable. i suspect only electronic suspensions will ever do what the brain aims to achieve, in a way that isn't bothering the rider in any circunstance.
  • + 2
 the bike looks very intresting and light, very intelligent put the brain in the back, not sure with crashes. but that high chainstay near the chain is strange looks like the chain will slap the chainstay all the time making a hole in the protection very soon, if there is a protection there
  • + 5
 New offsets, new hub spacings, 650b replaced by 29ers, new geometry, longer reach etc etc. I can't keep up with it all.
  • + 9
 Why would you?
  • + 1
 Im no geometry guru so I'm wondering if these changes would change what size i would need. I currently have a large 2017 S-Works with a 110mm -10deg stem. Just wondering if a med with a 110mm -10 would end up being similar since the TT is longer on them now. Im 5' 10" so I'm right in the middle of last years fit specs Med/large
  • + 1
 New Brain looks rather tidy. I wonder if they'd ever consider applying it to something like the Stumpjumper? One thing did stand out with the new Epic: still using a small seat tube meaning "common" dropper for the XC folks who want to get rowdy.
  • + 0
 Hate hate hate that brand and also the stupid brain tech. I started with an s works epic in 2008 which was replaced with a 2009 frame when the brain blew, then twice the 2009 brain blew leaking oil all over my legs. It was crazy and I wasted a month dealing with it before I went out bought a Scalpel team ( the 26" version). And have never looked back.

The support from the Cannondale rep in Ontario and the technology is second to none.
  • + 2
 Not a fan of Specialized for several reasons including their proprietary tech but that said this is a STUNNING bike. I'm not a XC or Trail rider but this thing is a BEAUT.
  • + 2
 "Specialized approached the revision with three goals—make it lighter, smarter, and faster " a good bike is a smart bike ? ...
  • + 1
 We've added the new Epic to our geometry comparison database. Compare vs last years or your own bike. Useful?

geometrygeeks.bike/bike/specialized-epic-2018
  • + 1
 The Brain is a cool idea but is it really needed? Imagine if a seal broke or how does a shop feel about doing a rebuild. It wouldn't be very fun that's for sure
  • + 3
 That's why I bought a horse instead of a Porsche 911 GT3. Less maintenance, and my local mechanic doesn't know how to work on Porsches.

I love people who buy high-end bikes then are disappointed that they have to, you know, service it. Have you seen the inside of a modern shock? It's not a hammer.
  • + 2
 anyone know if the new shock mounting and placement still allows for th integrated multi tool in the frame?
  • + 1
 The multi tool,is now on the bottom of the bottle cage & the chain tool is on the Headset topcap
  • + 1
 Can anyone please explain to me the brain technology with simple words? I can't understand a thing lol. Thanks
  • + 7
 The suspension is locked out until a bump unlocks it for a few moments. Yes, the bike's handling changes randomly.
  • + 2
 It's a system that gets better every year. If you wait long enough, they'll get it right.
  • - 1
 @scottzg: But, why is the brain on the rear axle : when the rear wheels "feels" the impact, the bump has already passed the rider, so it's too late to unlock the suspension.
  • + 0
 @Whipperman: you're riding on the wheels... The real issue is that the wheel has already hit the bump by the time the suspension activates.
  • + 1
 Piss off turkey nuts you don't even know where Alberta is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 So they've moved the brain into their ass?
  • + 0
 looks like specialized sold out for shit sram again, not gonna spec good stuff on there? just gonna keep making your customers pay an arm and leg for mediocre?
  • + 1
 Reminds me of the Yeti ASR, or even the older ASR-5 with the rear carbon one piece swingarm.
  • + 1
 This bike and the new anthem look awesome. If only I had more money and more room for bikes!
  • + 2
 2 days, 2 new bikes with decreased offset. Interesting.
  • + 1
 White has also released a 29er with a Pike which has a 42mm offset. So most of the brand will move to this.
So fun to see that Giant missed the train (again) when they went back to 29er on the new Anthem : it has the "old" 51mm offset!!!
  • + 2
 I see you had an Epic First Ride Smile
  • - 1
 Racking your brain for a good pun, I see.
  • - 1
 @NoDHinKentucky: Flexing his wordplay muscles a bit.
  • + 3
 love the colours of Spec
  • + 1
 hum, love the brain but can't understand why I'm getting stupider
  • + 0
 My God, this bike is non boost....what in the holy hell is going on here????
  • + 0
 Shortened offset with longer lower slacker. Sounds like transition isn't the only one with speed balanced geometry.
  • + 1
 And Yeti ASR.
  • + 0
 42 mm offset fork is interesting...
  • + 0
 No dropper post?
  • - 2
 I didn't know they had mountains in New Jersey.
  • + 4
 Hills and a whole lot less rain than the West, except this year starting to feel like that guy with the rain cloud over his head.
  • - 1
 Get out of Alberta brother. You're boring me.
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