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.
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
Original portrait image: Roo Fowler