Spotted: Did Specialized Just Soft-Launch a New Epic?


Feb 26, 2024
by Matt Beer  

In a recent Instagram post from Specialized Factory Racing, it shows their team rider, Sina Frei, on what appears to be a new Epic Evo. The bike in question looks to have a complete cross-country race setup and is even using non-Blackbox Rockshox Flight Attendant suspension, which could mean the SID Flight Attendant is on its way to production.

In the Instagram post it also shows Sina’s teammate, Victor Koretzky, riding the current Epic World Cup, which doesn’t feature the Flight Attendant SID suspension. Given the size of the Flight Attendant SID shock, a new frame design may have been necessary for XC-race scenarios.

The current Epic Evo uses a flex stay with a rocker link-driven shock whereas the Epic World Cup frame is a single pivot suspension design with an in-line shock.

photo
Just last spring, Specialized dropped the Epic World Cup with its inline shock.
Cross-country Field Test 2020
Specialized released the Epic Evo back in 2021.

photo

The most noticeable change is the larger head tube/down tube junction and cross-section of the downtube, likely to create room for SWAT storage. There’s also a very low stack height and a top cap that is recessed into the top tube, possibly allowing for internal headset routing.

When asked for more information, Specialized referred us to their Project Black statement:

bigquotesSpecialized relies on feedback from professional athletes in both developing and testing advanced pre-production products in real-world applications. With this top-level feedback, some of these design elements and products eventually show up in future retail product offerings. We call this Project Black. Specialized


Author Info:
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Member since Mar 16, 2001
363 articles

123 Comments
  • 141 11
 I would really appreciate in frame storage on xc bikes. I think most tend to use xc bikes for long rides and having a place to put a tube, tools, and CO2 would be good for those types of rides. That way I have more room for tasty snacks in my pack
  • 45 92
flag dirtnapped (Feb 26, 2024 at 15:52) (Below Threshold)
 Sounds more Downcountry than XC. Too much weight added to an XC bike, totally acceptable on DC though!
  • 9 0
 This swat box linked below might be as close as you get… and it’s not a bad solution. In frame storage adds weight, and the folks competing on these frames don’t want any extra weight. But I agree… as a mostly non-racer with an Epic Evo, I would use this feature if I had it.

www.jensonusa.com/Specialized-MTB-XC-Swat-Box-1-2?loc=usa&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiAivGuBhBEEiwAWiFmYc4TW8ALbWzaEf1Oh_qHnrINaz7vWg0J-QZQ59GO022t5eDwwDEoNxoC4ZgQAvD_BwE
  • 8 0
 on the Specialized Epic Facebook group a photo was leaked of the new Epic Evo and confirms it does have internal frame storage beneath the water bottle mount like the Specialized Enduro
  • 4 1
 @devinkalt: That’s sick. This might persuade me to go for an epic evo frame next
  • 2 0
 @basic-ti-hardtail: I’ll have to look into that. I got the specialized cage but I just never got around to adding the multitool to it. This might be a better option though. Thanks for the tip
  • 6 0
 In frame storage adds weight to bikes generally. As they have the reinforce the huge gap they made in the frame.
  • 26 4
 There's really no reason in frame storage shouldn't be on every single bike. It's a no nonsense feature that can be a deciding factor in a purchase for hardcore riders and novices alike. If you really zoom out of the bike industry narratives and think of real features, not "it's X stiffer, or X grams lighter" then you'll see what I mean.
I know I sound like a nerd but after 2 years with my Stumpy Evo (alloy, boo on you YT for locking frame storage behind carbon) I will not buy another trail bike without it. A whole liter of extra water goes in there for long hot days with the dog, and packless riding without the dog. Weight down low not on my back or hip.
  • 3 6
 @succulentsausage: exactly, and it probably helps that it’s unsprung weight so it shouldn’t affect the ride quality much. And I think even in races it’s nice to have for an emergency repair.
  • 2 2
 Surly it's better to have any weight at a lower centre of gravity though. If you are carrying tools anyway the extra weight is on your body. Personally I'd rather use a syncros IS bottle cage with the multi tool and pump and an enduro strap for a tube because they can be removed if required.
  • 10 0
 @TyBronder: it is sprung weight.
  • 5 5
 @succulentsausage: I don't think narrow-tubed steel bikes should bother with in-frame storage. But I don't care about in-frame storage in any bike in any context. I just don't see the point in the added complexity as someone who always riding with a pack anyway.
  • 2 0
 ... proper human battery storage!
  • 15 0
 @succulentsausage: it does inevitably add weight and complexity. Tubes are strong because of their shape. Cut a flipping great hole in them and they become a U-section, which is much less strong. So, lots of extra material needed to make up for that. In theory you'd just need to strengthen that section, but I've no idea if the layup is then thicker for the entire down tube to avoid complexity and risk. Certainly going to be tough to vary the thickness that much in an aluminium tube. Probably also limits design flexibility about where to put the lower shock mount from a packaging and strength point of view. That Ibis custom external frame bag was a good solution back in the day...
  • 3 0
 @krhaack: oops, had the backwards. Thanks for the correction. Then the fact that it sprung weight is good.
  • 6 1
 @succulentsausage: serious XC riders have already figured out how to carry the lowest amount of weight without inframe storage which will add weight
  • 5 0
 @mtb-ca-tc: I ride almost exclusively xc races but still want this in frame storage. Its better than having a strap on tube and tools that have the chance to move around if not bolted down. I understand the weight savings but for the general consumer, such people like you and me, the weight saving isn't enough to make us win or lose a race.
  • 8 2
 I think it would be great for XC riding focused bikes, but not XC RACING focused bikes.

Evo seems like a great RIDING focused bike and should get the storage. But the non Evo should stay light.

I only use my XC bike for racing and with limited exceptions I don't carry anything on that bike except water. If I flat or break, I'll DNF (which is extremely rare for me).
  • 4 0
 @TyBronder: you can carry everything way more efficiently than you can with in frame storage… not just weight but also speed of access. You can make it so light and compact it all fits in a jersey pocket. In the frame you are adding leverage weight, it bangs around… and you fill it up inefficiently just like our garages LoL
  • 7 3
 Have you seen the Canyon Lux Trail? It has in-frame storage and is an extremely capable XC bike.
  • 4 0
 @mtb-ca-tc: Looks aside*, a even small frame bag is so much better than messing with a muddy door into your frame.


* some frame bags can look quite nice
  • 2 4
 @Ogalosh: Hardly adds weight. Almost every carbon frame requires a big hole to remove bladders. Specialized was just the first to add utility to the existing bladder removal hole. Most of the time these are covered up by bash guards and whatnot under the BB/downtube.
  • 2 0
 It's nice but at least most XC frames carry 2 bottles so there are other options for storage
  • 2 0
 @TyBronder: @TyBronder:
I have learned to put that in back pocket, Spare tube from Tubolito (45grams), tools from Wolf plus mount lever , that all packed into tiny sachets and it all weights around 150grams and fits in one pocket. If I ad plugs tool its another 25grams. Don't need to get frameset heavier by around 200grams. 1,7liter water at frame. Plus I ad some foot like banana into my second pocket. Important is to have stretched pockets, that I don't need to carry anything even for 4hours rides. I guess people will downvoted me but I everyone should try before making judgement. It took me several years of experimenting with different hip backs as well before I learned this.
  • 1 0
 @northboy: exactly, anyone serious about XC/endurance and weight has figured this out already. The lightest options carrier are way less expensive than the lightest option on the bike. Who wants to add weight to an Uber expensive frame with Uber expensive components
  • 1 0
 @TyBronder: it's the definition of sprung weight. If anything the human is semi sprung thanks to our appendages.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-ca-tc: yes, the jersey is a great option for some. However, out of the five jersey companies that I’ve tried, non fit tight enough for my pockets to hold anything whether that’s a tube or a gel. I’m built a lot stockier than most bikers so to not cut if circulation to my upper body, I have to use a larger jersey but then that means that around my mid section they’re a bit too lose. My upper body is built kinda like a Dorito instead of a stick like a lot of pro xc riders.
  • 4 0
 @northboy: I used to do that but I swore it off after I clipped a tree and landed on my back and got some persistent sciatic nerve sheath damage from the CO2 and multitool in my jersey pocket. From here on out only soft or flat and smooth items like a phone go in my jersey pockets.
  • 126 9
 Wake me up when the new big travel Enduro bikes are released….so that I may ride them on trails that are tamer than XC courses. Thx.
  • 21 0
 florida mtb?
  • 67 1
 @Ignaciosc22: Why is it that people in Florida buy so many big travel bikes? Like my guy, you live in Miami, are you sure this Yeti Sb160 with a coil shock is for you? Oh you travel to Georgia to ride once a year, carry on then
  • 37 0
 @eae903: Same reason they loved Hummers, love Raptors. Gaper culture is strong there
  • 11 2
 @wyorider: Gaper, have not heard that term in a while. Late 90s snowboarders in Colorado would appreciate that.
  • 6 3
 @eae903: Hey, georgias got some real riding. Jarrods Place is one of my favorite parks, its got perfect dirt and a crazy build crew.
  • 5 0
 LoL, you win, 160/150 bikes on trails tamer than XC…. Typical… SEND IT LoL
  • 12 0
 Soooo, 90% of all mountain bikers?
  • 6 0
 Trails tamer than XC courses?? The only acceptable bike for those is a dual crown ebike. Especially if there is under 400 feet of climbing
  • 7 0
 @matyk: don’t forget the full face helmet and body armor with the big travel e-bike on “trails tamer than XC”
  • 3 0
 @mtb-ca-tc: Got that stormtrooper look going on
  • 5 0
 @joebiden: No disrespect to Georgia, I've heard good things about the riding there!
  • 3 0
 @joebiden: GA has some great riding. And there are 3-4 trails in the state that need more than a 130mm FS. Most GA trails aside from the dedicated freeride parks are old backcountry trails that have been ridden since rim brakes and 26" wheels.
  • 4 0
 @c1olin: I thought gaper culture was something very different
  • 1 0
 @c1olin: confirmed
  • 1 0
 @c1olin: April Fools day still known as Gaper Day in mountain towns. Lots of drunken silliness ensues.
  • 48 10
 Cable-tourism just ruined the Epic Evo. Not a Secialized fan at all, but epic evo was a solid bike for the masses. Now internal cables and added cost for repair and servicing...
  • 7 4
 This. Let's make everything more complicated and expensive and all derailleur and dropper cables work worse. On the plus side, ALL of the current Epic Evos are now on sale at specialized.com. So there's that.
  • 7 0
 @drapeau: but there's nothing in stock, unfortunately.

That said, the market should be flooded with lightly ridden Epic EVOs... I just scored a hell of a deal on one last week.
  • 2 0
 @drapeau: they have been for a year + making room for these, heard they were supposed to drop last year but too much inventory...
  • 3 1
 Epic EVO owner here. The headset cable entrance is likely the same faff as the current model. The current cable separator falls out first ride and all cables need foam housing and the fork removed to run cables. Great bike, cable routing kinda shit. Headset routing will be the exact same faff as long as the top bearing is slightly half decent.
  • 1 0
 @jankslayer: Of course, the main issue is having to bleed the rear brake when replacing the upper headset bearing.

Is the cable separator grommet so bad? I've read about that somewhere
  • 2 0
 @jankslayer: So it wasn't just mine that fell out. I ended up putting Gorilla tape around the cables where they go into the frame.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: It's this issue, right? youtu.be/VtMiLICO2HM?t=16

My Epic HT doesn't have that, just the hole molded into the frame at the same location. I wonder if they have come up with a better design on the new Epic (if rumors are true and the non S-Works models will NOT have through-headset routing)
  • 4 2
 @iadorjan23: With Flight Attendant you are not separating any cables/ hoses as there is one rear brake hose to run. That said there should be a law banning the internal routing of the rear brake hose and also one banning the looping of said brake hose under the bottom bracket shell of the bike. #itsnotthathardtodostuffproperly
  • 1 0
 The stage for wireless brakes is set.
  • 1 0
 @iadorjan23: Mine kept working its way out on the first few rides. Now it stays put with no issues.

Bummed to see the move to thru the bearing headset routing, but as mentioned here… it might not be a whole lot worse. It will be interesting to see if the rumored longer travel Epic model gets this too.
The one other thing I was wishing for was longer dropper insertion - it’s hard to tell whether that has been improved.
  • 1 0
 @iadorjan23: Yes, that's the issue.
  • 32 6
 Full review tomorrow
  • 19 0
 I'm a simple man. I see potentially headset cable routing, I moan.

No but seriously, isn't it quite clearly visible on the last picture? Unless the cable is just squashed by the numberplate, I think we'll see cables running through the headset
  • 3 0
 epic worldcup has headset cable routing, so probably this will have as well. and having it on xc race bike seems ok (i'm not into this category), but it'll be sad if epic evo will have too.
  • 11 0
 I think its the same bike and they realized how good it was.
  • 7 0
 Looks like internal storage and Flight Attendant for XC. Probably a bit slacker, longer reach and semi internal routing. I'm sure the big S will claim 'lighter' than the previous model but I bet the weight increases for a complete build. Even the Epic WC frame weighs more than the current Epic Evo frame
  • 9 0
 Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
  • 2 0
 Except a bit fatter
  • 5 1
 Due to the way the paint is reflecting the light, this bike will now be known as the S-Warks or Swarks. Nothing they can say will change this.
  • 1 0
 S-wapv5
  • 7 2
 Will be released once the warehouse of unsold bikes are sold as whatever year that ends up being is my guess.
  • 2 0
 The "looks like a session" theme has made it's way to XC now? . EPIC WC does not use a single pivot design with an inline shock. There's a link hidden in the toptube. Looks like a Trek but it isn't. @mattbeer you should know better!
  • 2 0
 This is the new Epic and not Epic Evo most likely. Rumors have been flying around for a while. The headset routing has to be better than the previous Epic Evo headtube routing where the grommet wouldn't stay in place for more than 10' of riding. I do expect this to be an absolutely insane bike. Update geo and similar pedaling characteristics to the current EE.
  • 1 0
 Definitely the Epic. Epic evo will be Epic 130 according to some other forums.
  • 1 0
 They have already released new Epic last year, haven't they?
  • 1 0
 @blast-off: I would rather say that the new Epic and Epic Evo will share frames and both will add 10mm suspension vs previous generations.
  • 2 0
 Could be. Experience center here in Bentonville just posted something new dropping on 16 March. They’re even having folks RSVP for it which is common for the area (Tarmac SL8 and SRAM transmission releases come to mind).
  • 7 2
 As cool as this is, and its super cool l think l still wants the BC40.
  • 4 1
 As you should.
  • 2 1
 I mean they are US made frames so there is that. You see them a lot around here.
  • 2 0
 if I had the choice, it'd go with the BC40, especially since the Allied comes without the cable tourism
  • 4 0
 I thought the BC40 was the bike for me too, then I rode one. The suspension was disappointing. If I’m going to have a handlebar lockout, I’d like the suspension be fairly active in the open setting. It was not. Best case scenario is getting the shock retuned with very little compression damping. Seems sort of silly to have to do that with a brand new bike.
  • 4 0
 I really hope we'll see an alloy version at some point. Maybe for the Epic Evo? Epic Evo Alloy would be cool.
  • 1 0
 Some trivia from my local area, that may not apply to all areas.

The term "gaper" is rooted in 2 different sources as well as a third generally unspoken but not in this case description. With added detail for modern situations.

A gaper is someone who stares in awe at the surrounding mountains and beauty (likely while standing in the landing zone of a natural jump type feature) hence Gapeing in awe.

A gaper is a person who gas a "gap" betwixt their goggles and hat (or these days helmet)creating an interesting sun burn/tan above the racoon eyes

Lastly a gaper is a person who uses or owns(!) skis...with rental adjustable bindings. Creating an opportunity to slide that binding a "gap" back for those who are disrespectful and rude to any staff who serves them, resulting in general hilarity at the top of the gondola as the boot just barely fits, but releases on the first and every subsequent turn. Adjusting One ski only is standard.

In a mountain biking specific context, a gaper could be described as someone in full body armour, drinking energy drinks, and riding mild terrain on a downhill class 5 rated bike. (With a coil, dragging brakes and burnt tires cause it is a rental)

In a road bike context, anyone in a leotard riding to a coffee shop on a 10k dollar bike. After damanding transport to a distance ride by hotel shuttle. ( and a pick up)

In a restaraunt context, a gaper is a plaid shirt wearing long bearded person serving 14 dolla beers and 30buck burgers/fries extra/ in a garage styled location with visible brewing equipment. Frequent iphone checking and giveaway infow to all clowns seated for best stashes and hidden trails...that have been heard about but never tested in person.
  • 5 0
 R.I.P. BRAIN!!!
  • 3 1
 It doesn't feel Epic without a BRAIN
  • 2 0
 quite literally 0iq
  • 4 0
 Brain was the worst thing about the Epic. I hated it on mine and had it turned down as low as I could. Turned off on my GF's HT.
  • 3 0
 The brain feels so bad. I personally like my suspension to feel like it's working rather than broken.
  • 4 1
 So my 2021 Epic Evo has aged well. A leading DC bike when released and now basically the technical XC bike.
  • 2 0
 Some of the Specialized team were racing it with the addition of a custom lockout for the suspension... Seemed like a brilliant build+setup
  • 2 0
 @HankHank: yup. I know Blevins rode it a lot, including at Downieville.
  • 3 0
 Seems to be designed specifically to make it irresistible to dangerholm
  • 1 0
 The differences are so subtle that you obviously knew that it was coming ( it was a pretty badly kept secret) to make that call based off those images.
  • 2 2
 Why do we think the bike is a new EPIC EVO, did everyone forget Specialized still have a 100mm EPIC not just the EPIC WC. Or is there inside info online, and did @mattbeer just inadvertently break the news embargo? LOL
  • 2 1
 This. Classic PB. Though, 'inadvertently' might be generous.
  • 1 0
 Looks like shorter seat tube too
  • 2 0
 Meet the new boss Same as the old boss
  • 2 0
 Can Specialized hurry up and hard launch a new Enduro please?
  • 3 0
 hard launch ... soft launch ... this is too much for me
  • 2 1
 Official release on March 14th. It's exactly what you'd expect it to be. No major changes.
  • 3 2
 single-pivot suspension, 3p remote lockout... no FSR, no BRAIN, Sco... Specialized Innovation!
  • 1 0
 I imagine when Specialized launches this new project, the Internet is going to lose it's collective tire tread pattern.
  • 2 1
 Has Specialized ever soft launched anything? Doesn’t seem like part of their brand ethos.
  • 5 0
 The Status a few years ago was almost a virally soft launch.
  • 1 0
 and the epic world cup just last year in the sram video.
  • 2 0
 This isn't a "soft lanch". These were supposed to be "spy shots" but all spies are back on cold-war duty so now they had to do it themselves.
  • 2 0
 hello Spesh, do you mind releasing Enduro with a UDH?
  • 1 0
 These stores make me want to hang onto my old bike. Better for the environment too.
  • 2 0
 Oh good - the cable(s) goes through the headset.
  • 1 1
 Pretty easy to find pics, spec and geo of the new bike in fan pages on Facebook
  • 1 0
 Wait, but it's not covered?
  • 1 0
 Requesting wireless brakes!
  • 1 0
 RIP the lightest XCO full suspension frame-set at the market.
  • 1 1
 XC bikes - the steak *au poivre* of mtn bikes. Daddy like
  • 1 1
 Does a bear shit in the woods?
  • 1 2
 Looks like a Spire
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