Bike Check: Chris Mandell's SID Man Edition Specialized Epic EVO

Sep 7, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  

Chris Mandell isn't your typical XC rider. He's not really your typical mountain biker, either, with a fast, sometimes chaotic riding style that takes elements of street BMX and brings them out onto the trail, no matter what bike he's on. Mandell works for RockShox as a member of the product team, a role that has him constantly swapping bikes and parts in order to test products that will hit the market a year or two in the future.

His Specialized Epic EVO was built up as a way to showcase the latest XC-oriented components from SRAM / RockShox, including the new SID fork and SIDluxe shock. The paint job was inspired by SID Man, a goofy cartoon character who's been showing up in the promo videos for those new suspension bits.

There aren't too many XC bikes out there with a 60mm Truvativ Descendant stem and 795mm handlebar, or Zipp's 3Zero Moto wheels for that matter, but Mandell wanted a setup that didn't feel too much different from his other, longer travel bikes. Those ones usually have paint jobs that involve randomly applied blasts of black grill spray paint - the fancy blue on this bike is a departure from his typical style.
Chris Mandell
Rider Name: Chris Mandell
Height: 6’4" / 193 cm
Weight: 185 lb / 84 kg
Instagram: @chrismandell

Tony Baumann of Made Rad By Tony did the painting - his other eye-catching paintjobs include Bryn Atkinson's snakeskin Norco, and Jason Momoa's aquaman Specialized.

Specialized Epic EVO

Specialized Epic EVO

Frame: Specialized Epic EVO, size XL
Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate / 99 psi – 0 Tokens, 5 clicks of rebound from closed
Shock: RockShox SIDLuxe / 220 psi for 30% sag, 1 volume spacer
Wheels: Zipp 3Zero Moto
Tires: Maxxis Dissector (f), 24 psi / Rekon (r), 27 psi
Handlebar width: 795mm
Stem length: 60mm, 25mm of spacers underneath
Drivetrain: SRAM AXS
Brakes: SRAM G2 Ultimate
Dropper post: 170mm SRAM AXS Reverb
Weight: 26.2 lb / 11.9 kg - with pedals and 2 empty bottles

Specialized Epic EVO
Zipp's 3Zero Moto wheels aren't the featherweight hoops you might expect to find on an XC bike, but this bike regularly gets pushed past its intended use.
Specialized Epic EVO
A Maxxis Rekon is paired with a Dissector up front for a fast rolling combo with just enough grip for more technical terrain.

Specialized Epic EVO
The 120mm SID is inflated to 99 psi, 5 pounds more than RockShox's Trailhead app recommends.

Specialized Epic EVO
The hydration station is ready, with room for two water bottles inside the front triangle.

Specialized Epic EVO
Burgtec Bartender Pro grips..
Specialized Epic EVO
...and SRAM G2 brakes.

Specialized Epic EVO
That pint-sized SIDLuxe shock takes care of the bike's 110mm of travel. It's inflated to 220 psi, with one volume spacer installed.

Specialized Epic EVO
Look ma, no wires. A SRAM AXS rear derailleur with a rainbow colored 10-52 tooth Eagle cassette...
Specialized Epic EVO
...and a 34-tooth chainring.

Specialized Epic EVO
Made Rad.

Across the Pond Beaver 2020

Original portrait image: Roo Fowler


  • 33 2
 Love seeing how a taller rider sets up his ride. Sweet bike!
  • 8 1
 I found it interesting he's getting away with no spacers in the fork and just a bit more pressure. At 185 he's no clydesdale, but he's no Mike k either. As an aggressive rider I'd expected spacers would be needed to prevent bottoming out (especially on 120mm).
  • 53 1
 @eh-steve: it’s like RockShox got the spring volume right or something.
  • 9 12
 @eh-steve: I'm 6'4, 215-220...I crack frames regularly and break stuff(meaning I like to throw my bike around and jump lots of stuff). I like a poppy feeling in my suspension so I can get those quick lifts and pop ups and with the Marz Z1 I've been riding the past year I removed all spacers and the fork came alive for me, and even on other forks with spacers I've always gone well below what is the "norm". All comes down to preference of course, but I like to feel my suspension and spacers seem to take away the action. Oh...and I never bottom out...even on 6' drop offs
  • 2 0
 @eh-steve: I have noticed this theme on newer RS forks(2020+) in a few other reviews and tests. Lose the tokens and add some psi instead.
  • 2 0
 @freeinpg: this is a recipe to be higher up in the travel zone. Could mean lower bump sensitivity in the parking lot. But coming from an air spring no a 32mm stantion Suntour fork, the trail performance is superb (to me) while hte small bump sensitivity on the fire road is quite shitty. It's up to service either, so maybe after?
  • 8 0
 @freeinpg: It's not just rockshox. Most people who fill the shock with spacers end up running lower pressure than recommended and have LSC wide open. Doing that means you're using the air spring to do the dampers job and results in suspension that's harsh as can be.

Less tokens with a bit more pressure and more compression damping is the way to go. My experience is with current Fox products but long story short if you're not within 2 clicks and 3 psi of the recommended settings (with the exception of pro riders) then you've probably got too many spacers in your fork.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: Just been through this and completely agree! Recently took out the last spacer in my 36 and it feels so much better!
  • 3 0
 Been riding two of the new SID (35mm) 120mms lately and both have had great progression without adding volume reducers. Ridden at about 20-25% sag I have yet to bottom them out harshly even though I've been dropping and overshooting some jumps to flatish landings. And they ride higher in the stroke too than previous gen RS air springs. I'm 75kg/165lbs for reference.
  • 2 4
 @GlassGuy: just came here to level the downvote on your comment
  • 4 5
 @TDMAN: Getting downvoted on one's personal preferences and opinions is rather a little insight into the state of humanity I'd say
  • 3 1
 @GlassGuy: Is that not what the up- and downvotes are for? Upvote what you agree with, and downvote what you don’t.
  • 1 1
 @MaplePanda: gee thanks
  • 22 0
 I'm not claiming to be immune, but it's funny how we run a fashion show in the woods.
  • 15 0
 For a second i thought, that saddle had an integrated butt plug.. now i'm wondering if such a thing exists and i'm afraid to look it up because my experience with the interwebs tells me that of course it does and probably even more models than without.
  • 5 0
 And your aliexpress recommended will get flooded with buttplug seats
  • 1 0
 That saddle thing has “SID” written on it:
Surprise Insertion Doodad?
Saddle Integrated Doll?
Stops Intermittent Diarrhea?
Sit If (you) Dare?
Scratch Inside Device?
  • 11 0
 -"hi I would like a bike custom painted please"

"what woukd you like? I can do anything you can dream of, we have previously done realistic snake skin, an underwater marvel, and dope playing card inspired themes"

-"I want it blue"

"just blue?"

-"not just blue, I'd also like u to dip the end of the chainstay in black and put this picture my 3 year old drew as the headbadge"
  • 7 0
 The color scheme is meant to look like SID Man. His shoes are black.
  • 6 1
 @mikekazimer: Yeah I figured that. But you know what else would be cool? Sid man, riding a Liger. Through a galactic electro storm. Being chased by a Manticore.
  • 3 0
 @Snugs, true. I'd love to see that.
  • 11 2
 This is how I'd build an epic evo too, but then I'd just wish I had more travel.
  • 8 1
 Hmm, I like it, it's like Richard Petty blue. But those awkward black rear dropouts, what up there? Shoulda' kept it solid blue. JMO...
  • 6 0
 idk man I quite like it, quite contrasting, but I can imagine why others don't like it.
  • 4 0
 Well this is awkward
  • 6 1
 XC weight in my hands, enduro acceleration in my legs. Brilliant!

Surprised he didn't have an AXS dropper stem (oops, those aren't out yet).
  • 4 0
 I love seeing huge bikes where the frame looks tiny because there's so much seatpost extension due to how tall the rider is...
  • 4 0
 26 lbs with pedals, cages, and empty bottles is impressive for an XL, especially with those 3Zero Moto wheels, which are not at all light.
  • 2 0
 Meh...this looks like how most mountain bikers setup their mountain bikes when they want to ride as much shit as possible/only own one mountain bike.
  • 3 0
 What damper tune in the SIDLuxe was chosen?
  • 3 0
 The world simply needs more Chris Mandell.
  • 3 0
 Too bad spec doesn't make an XXL that bike looks too small for him.
  • 1 0
 That 34 tooth chainring looks mighty close to the chain stay in that photo...
  • 3 3
 As much as I hate the thought of adding batteries to my bike, I have to admit it that AXS junk sure does make any build insta-clean.
  • 2 0
 So good. That's exactly how I'd build one if I had the budget. Bravo.
  • 3 0
 I like the Sid figurine.
  • 2 0
 XC/DC/FR Bike then?! Seems legit.
  • 2 0
 Perfect weight for a marathon bike!
  • 2 0
 What size rotors @pinkbike ???
  • 2 0
 Just two cables. Wow. SID Man is living the dream.
  • 2 0
 I want a SID man!
  • 1 0
 must be the most saddle to bar drop I've seen on just about any bike
  • 1 0
 That’s nothing! Here’s Barry Wicks bike and if you look at other tall people’s bikes, you’ll see even higher.

For anyone over 6’3”, it gets pretty crazy unless you rock a ton of spacers, a high rise stem and bar or ride a custom bike.
  • 1 1
 Dope ride. Makes me happy to have short legs though, I'm not much shorter but I don't need to run so much post.
  • 5 6
 I'm having a hard time figuring out how this bike is 26+ lbs with pedals when the Pinkbike Field Test showed it around 22 without pedals...?
  • 29 0
 Those 3Zero Moto wheels weigh 1970 grams, vs the 1240 gram wheelset on the bike Levy tested - that's 1.6 pounds right there. Add in the pedals, water bottles, plus the fact that this is an XL frame, and that difference seems correct.
  • 16 0
 Because it’s not even close to the same build. Different wheels, tires, pedals, bar, stem, etc.
  • 4 0
 I THINK, Different frame. Test was s works that use the 12 whatever carbon, non s works is the 11
  • 3 0
 Its also not an S-Works frame... and its an XL. Those 3Zero wheels are ridiculously heavy (very close to AL). The AXS dropper is super heavy as well.

Plus it probably has 2 coats of paint (probably just lightly scuffed the original paint to apply the new paint).
  • 3 0
 @metsrangers35: I think the difference in layups is only like 100-150 g though. Just the sum off that and all the different beefy components over the field test. The tires alone have to be close to a pound.
  • 1 0
 What kind of pedals are those? Thanks!
  • 1 0
 I don't know what model, but the brand is HT components.
  • 2 0
 I want that.
  • 2 1
 Dude looks like a monster!
  • 1 0
 When will we a 210+mm AXS dropper?
  • 2 3
 Are those 26" wheels? 193cm is not that much tall person but that sky-high saddle makes whole bike look like 10 years ago. Weird geo.
  • 2 0
 super dialed!
  • 1 1
 The size of this bike is insane. I thought it had 26" wheels at first glance.
  • 1 0
 So rad! I wish so badly that frame would fit 2.6 rubber. Sweet rig.
  • 1 0
 @reks who are you and why do you think your opinion is interesting?
  • 1 0
 All that.. and only a 34t?
  • 2 2
 XC bike with a 60mm it
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 Stock on the XL Evo is 50mm.
  • 1 0
 rear tire width?
  • 2 0
  • 1 1
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