Specialized Epic Comp 29er 29er Full Suspension
|MSRP : $3300.00|
Product DescriptionThe M5 aluminum Epic Comp 29 has 100mm of travel and 29-inch wheels to smooth any cross-country terrain.
- 29" M5 alloy Competitive XC frame with 100mm of supple FSR suspension features 29er-specific geometry with short chainstays, low BB, and roomy top tube for confident all-day riding and racing
- Specialized and Fox blend their brains to develop the FlowControl Mini Brain shock with Brain Fade inertia valve, air spring, and adjustable rebound for World Cup - and local trail - domination
- RockShox Reba RLT 29er fork with 100mm travel, rebound/compression adjust, and Floodgate control allows this 29er to soak up rocks like no other
- Specialized Hi Lo disc hub with 142+ spacing and sealed cartridge bearings has a higher flange on the disc side, which stiffens the wheel in this high-stress area
- S-Works The Captain 29 x 2.0" front and S-Works Renegade 29 x 2.0" rear 2Bliss Ready dual compound tires work together to deliver exceptional speed and traction, while minimizing rotating weight
- SRAM's venerable X9 long cage rear derailleur is super tough and light, yet delivers pinpoint shifts in the worst conditions
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|Reviews 1 - 15 (45 Reviews Total)||| Next 15|
Date Reviewed: December 19, 2015
Strengths: Brain on the rear Fox shock, stability of the 29er wheels, turning ability, decent component mix
Weaknesses: RS front fork, paint job, stock tires
I am coming from a 2008 Cannondale carbon Scalpel that was a 26" bike. That bike listed at $4000 when new and I bought at season end for $3000. My 2015 Epic in a large size listed at $3100 and I bought at season end (in August) for just over $2300. It is a much better handling, turning, ride over anything bike that has made me a faster rider overnight. That Scalpel was a great bike, but now I ride better, faster and arguably safer than the 26" bike. All this for $700 less (granted it is aluminum!!!). Anyways, wanted to do this after getting about 50hrs of ride time on it.
My 30 ride tuneup consisted of tightening the rear hub, truing a slight wobble in the rear rim, tightening the headset and slight adjustments on the derailleurs. Gearing is spot on for the 36/22 crankset and the suspension is great in the rear, ok in the front (compared to the excellent Lefty Carbon fork with Fox RLC internals).
The weaknesses I mention are as follows:
Reba RL is an ok fork. My pressures for the sag were below the recommended pressures listed on the fork so check before you go out and find that it is rock hard. After some time and break in, the fork is very good with the rebound and compression adjustments, but is not what I would call plush. A good fork, not great.
The paint job on the new bike was great looking (black with red highlights). I do see that it has scratched and scuffed easily after some good use over the last few months. Par for the course on a mountain bike, but not the same quality as the old Cannondale. Just on observation on my part.
The stock tires are great for racing, but for XC riding the Fast Tracks just don't have enough grip, especially when it gets slick. Fortunately, I sliced my rear tire (2.0) on a rocky trail to the point that I replaced it. I moved the front tire (2.2) to the rear and got a more aggressive tire for the front. I am more confident now with turning and avoiding washouts, but the rear stock tire will be replaced next year. Consider yourself warned on the stock tires!!!
All in all, a great bike, one I would buy again or recommend to a friend.
Date Reviewed: August 23, 2015
Strengths: Rear suspension and stiff frame. Perfect FS bike for Shimano haters. Good climber for such a tall, long travel bike. The Fox rear damper/spring that's unique to this bike (2013 model) works well but there's no apparent upgrade path. Fantastic on the downhills - the faster you go the more stable it gets, but that can suck you in to a nasty mistake (yes, I've face planted over the front).
Weaknesses: The Avid Elixr brakes are powerful but often quite noisy, and the low speed modulation is spectacularly awful. They'll stop on a dime but not on a quarter. The tires really don't like hardpack with a thin layer of crushed gravel, which is unfortunately common around here in the Sacramento area.They do work well in loose terrain though but the rear tire is way to big for the frame, there's virtually no mud clearance at all. The Fox Tala fork is light and fairly plush but isn't very stiff, it's about as firm as a fully cooked noodle. #3 on my upgrade list, after the brakes and tires.
What do I think of it? I love it, despite it's faults. The generic bottom bracket failed after just a couple of rides, though I don't have any issues with the hubs (yet). The 2x10 drivetrain is a perfect setup for me, though the cassette doesn't shift very fast. I might try the new Shimano 10 gear cassette. Enough about hardware. It's all good but there's room for improvement.
This is a VERY fun trail bike! It climbs well but really shines on the downhills and flats. Rock garden in your way? Just keep hammering and let the bike do it's thing. Those big wheels roll over pretty much anything without slowing you down very much, so keep your eyes well down the trail and go. The bike seems to reward your trust - within reason you can pretty much ignore many terrain features that would literally stop a 26" hardtail, just stay on the "power" and let it flow beneath you. Truly amazing.
I see they've made some nice improvements and dropped the price for the 2015/2016 models, so if you're looking for something tried and true that's also new, seriously consider this bike!
Duration Product Used: 2.5 years
Price Paid: $3200.00
Purchased At: The Santa Monica Spe
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Element (mid-1990's version with many upgrades)
Bike Setup: Swapped out the absurdly wide handlebar for a lighter, less wide, and stronger Easton. Next weekend I'm swapping over to Avid metallic pads and DOT 5.1 (synthetic) brake fluid, hoping I'll get better modulation and no fade. Switched to ODI.Troy Lee grips. Future plans include a stiffer fork and better tires.
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2015
Strengths: I agree with all the positive reviews on this bike. This was likely the first purchase I have ever made that far exceeded my expectations. I had a nice FS bike before this and I loved it, but as soon as I got on the EPIC I set personal best times at every trail I ride...it was amazing. I love it. Everything works as advertised.
Weaknesses: I hate to even list a weakness...but I did swap out the handlebars for narrower ones before my first ride. If you ride on tight trails the really wide bars would be a problem (at least for me).
Duration Product Used: 3 months
Price Paid: $3100.00
Purchased At: CycleTherapy
Similar Products Used: Trek EX7, Motobecane Fantom Pro DS,
Date Reviewed: June 29, 2014
Strengths: This climbs like a billygoat and handles the trail chatter without issue. The components work without issue and moving from the small front ring to the big ring is quick and accurate. Brakes are flawless.
Date Reviewed: May 17, 2014
Strengths: Climbs like a mountain goat. Rocket ship on the flats.
Weaknesses: Going from a 2006 Epic, I'm not used to the wider handlebars. I may have to have them cut down a little for narrow spots, if I can't adjust my technique.
Purchased At: Bicylcle Alley, Worc
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2014
Strengths: gosh! this bike is awesome!!! very fast and stiff, ilove this bike.
Weaknesses: compare my last full susp bike, i found this bike no weakness
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2013
Strengths: Epic comp 29er
Rider Age 41- weight 75kg - height 5ft 9 - bike size Medium.
Ok , having rode Specialized Hardtail 26ers since 1990 I was reluctant to splash out £2600 for a heavier full sus bike. My riding style is XC and with the exception of a few alpine events most of my trails are bridleways around the Dales and Pennines.
I eventually decided on the epic over the stumpy carbon and weighing in at just under 28lb it's a full 4lb heavier than my last bike. I upgraded the brakes to Hope X2 with the tech levers and married them up with 160 floating rotors.
There are so many positives about this bike. The brain works instantaneously in fact you would hardly notice the shock working at all. It's such a smooth ride. Gearing is great although the 2-10 will take a little getting used to. The rock shox Reba RL are awesome,very responsive. The bike corners great and on road is very fast. However it's not until you take her off road that you truly appreciate just how good this bike is. Fast, nimble, comfy, agile I could go on. The 29ers ride over much of the little lumps n bumps that my Hardtail would throw me about on. Love it
Weaknesses: none yet, I've only done 350 on it so far ( in 2 weeks ) although I didn't give the brakes chance to impress. I upgraded to Hope Tech 2 X2s immediately. Will probably get Hoops on stan rims in the near future
Date Reviewed: March 11, 2013
Strengths: Blazingly fast on flats, 2x10, climbing machine, black/grey paint scheme is badass, descends like an AM bike, fork is perfect, I could go on forever...
Weaknesses: X-9 rear derailuer isn't exactly impressive, mine ghost shifts, but that could be an adjustment thing. Tires are not so great for where I ride.
Duration Product Used: 200 miles
Price Paid: $2900.00
Purchased At: Goride
Similar Products Used: Trance, fsrxc, stumpjumper, blur.
Bike Setup: stock
Date Reviewed: February 20, 2013
Strengths: Fantastically efficient, very fast. In or out of the saddle its geometry feels spot on to gain every last drop of energy. Love it. rear cassette was stupidly noisy to the point where my mates were complaining. But it is dead easy to split and repack with some decent grease. Much nicer now' but still not as good as a top end shimano.
Weaknesses: Bb and rear cassette need greasing or the bb will fail quickly and the cassette will lose you friends being so noisy that before I fixed it I would choose to pedal everywhere.
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2013
Strengths: The Ride! I love the way this bike climbs and descends; what else is there. The 29er wheels took a little getting used to but this bike tracks down hill and climbs sooo much better than my '03 Epic its like night and day. I bought mine 10 months old so definitely 5 big chilis for value! Haven't had any hub issues yet.
Weaknesses: Brakes are noisy and they tend to fade. I had XTR's on my old Epic and they were much better brakes than these 7's. Looking into some Maguras to replace the stock brakes.
Duration Product Used: 4 months
Similar Products Used: Rockhopper, Stumpjumper, '04 Epic
Bike Setup: All stock with tubeless tires.
Date Reviewed: December 16, 2012
Strengths: Climbing, agility, smooth ride, ability to ride through / over what I had to thread through on 2005 Epic
Weaknesses: Still to be determined, making some tweaks to firm the ride up, front fork maybe weak point
I have had bike for about a month, have at least a dozen rides on it. VERY happy with it, just the jump from 26 to 29 was huge, 1st ride on the new 2012 Epic 29 Comp I had a 1/2 dozen personal records on Strava segments on one of the my normal rides, note that was 1st ride before I got used to the 2x10 gearing.
The new Epic climbs like a mountain goat, I just point it up the hill, don't have to be overly concerned with the line, I just ride over whatever, going up hill (STEEP) I can just torque it, go slower, with more control, that is WAY kewl.
On downhills, the combination of the Brain, and the Reba make for a super smooth ride.
I am SUPER pleased with the 2x10 gearing, I find I can spend 75% of my time in the big gear on the front.
If anything the ride is a little too plush, I just added 20lbs to both the front and rear shock, and two more clicks towards firm on the brain, everything was set "out of the box" in middle of the road. Will report back on that.
Paid $2,500 for this bike, I believe (and that's what's important) that I got a good deal.
Would highly recommend this bike
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2012
Strengths: Aluminium frame is light
Moderate level gear does the job
SAME BRAIN SUSPENSION AS THE TOP RANGE BIKE
Handles really well.
Weaknesses: Needs a better seat.
Avid Elixer brakes are noisy - and I can get my old Deore V grips dialed in better. Will be the first upgrade.
Firstly, this is my first serious mountain bike. I bought this bike 6 months ago, and have since been initiated into a bunch of technical single track riding - still mastering the skills. Secondly, I live in Darwin, Australia so there are no mountains. After agonising over suspension travel, I took the advice of my mate who is going from a Scott Genius to the Spark - less can be more. I haven't regretted it so far.
The rear suspension is amazing. The best aspect of this bike for a "budget" is that the base model has the same rear suspension as the top model. IMO, rear suspension is the heart of the dually, and every other manufacturer gives you a second rate rear spring on their entry level bike. If you want to upgrade drive train, brakes, front forks later you can - the frame is the same (add a few grams) and the rear shock is the same.
Brain has a variable "platform" which when it is exceeded engages the full suspension mode. After playing with this for a few weeks, I realised you can change how long it stays engaged! Eg you can have it set quite hard for hammering across open flat ground, and then say you hit a rocky patch,it will engage (full range of suspension) and stay engaged longer while there is still input before it goes hard again. I use this set up quite a bit, perfect for heading across flat XC tracks with random harsh rock gardens around the corner.
Set hard, this bike is fast out of the corners, with a direct forwards power surge with each pedal push, can easily get out of the saddle and mash, even with brain soft. I don't have a car, and having a real working rear lockout makes the "portage" part of my ride (usually about 15-20kms each way) much much more tolerable. Also, these 29" wheels roll so fast that really in terms of energy on the flat tarmac, it is a comfortable bike to ride fully locked out. Agree with other comments here that you need to run the pressures a bit higher than in the book so the brain doesn't bottom out, but with a high pressure and brain set to full hard, it is like a hard tail. Except when you jump off a curb, and it activates to full suspension. So nice.
But that's not why you buy this bike.
Off road it is way more capable than I imagined in the rough rocky stuff. Uphill on technical ascents it is really good. The 29" wheels make getting over uphill rock gardens and roots that much easier, just bobble over them if you pick the line right.
This bike is really stable at speed. It feels great on the fast open smooth downhill trails, and tracks nicely through flowing sections. Its weird, unlike a 26", the 29" wheels seem to float through fast slippery gravel sections, it doesn't really "rail" so to speak like smaller wheels do, which once you get used to it actually feels quite in control when both ends are sliding around. Geometry wise it has a slightly slacker front angle, making it a bit more forgiving pointing down, and it never has that really twitchy "over the handle bars" feel to it. Never the less, you can throw it from side to side quickly, and it feels a lot lighter than the number suggest. It is also pretty good on the switch backs once you get used to the size of the wheels.
The drive train - well its not XTR. It does the job quickly, and if you treat it with respect it picks the gears every time. Only one chain drop with the 2x10 gear, a quick adjustment to the front derailer and it's never happened again.
Wheels - same. Entry level, but they are more than adequate for my needs.
Cons - the brakes squeal. Lots. I hear it's an issue with the Avid Elixirs. Haven't manned up enough to hit them with sandpaper yet, but I suspect it wont be long...
Also, some of the Specialised branded gear that comes on the bike is of medium quality - but then it is the base model. I'm thinking mostly the bar and the seats, both could use an upgrade. The seat clicks and feels like it moves ever so perceptibly, which is annoying without actually changing the function of the bike.
Overall, I'm really happy with this bike. I rode quite a few others, this felt the most capable. The ride/handling was the nicest of the bikes I looked at. Overall, the ride and the fact that the rear suspension is the same as the more expensive bikes tipped my choice in favour of the Epic, even if the "groupset" was lower than some of the competitors in the price range. It has done everything I ask of it, and I can't stop smiling when I ride = money well spent.
Looking forward to upgrades in the next few years as I upgrade my skills, to bring the most out of this bike.
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2012
Strengths: Frame geometry, weight
Weaknesses: components, shock setup
Coming from a 26" hard tail, I figured it was time for a fully suspended 29er. After comparing and testing a bunch of bikes in the SJ FSR class (SJ, Trek, Yeti, Salsa, Rocky Mountain) I came across the Epic, of which my LBS had two 2012 demo bikes and one brand new 2013. Being that I don't live in the mountains and never have to conquer 10ft drops, I came to the conclusion that 100mm travel might be just the right amount - more comfortable than rigid, yet not too plush to eat up my valuable pedal energy going uphill. I was very skeptical about the "brain". I am also not big a fan of the Avid/Rockshox/SRAM family of components but figured I could always upgrade to Shimano hardware and a Fox front end if need be. What convinced me was the great frame geometry (I ride a large frame), cornering capabilities and the light-weight feel that this bike had compared to all other $3-4k bikes I saw - I doubt there's more than a pound or two advantage at 27lbs out the box, but to me the Epic just felt a lot lighter than the SJ or the boat anchor of a Yeti. I also assumed that the Magura brakes on the 2013 would be an upgrade to the Avid brakes of previous years' models. Last but not least it is a advertising / selling point that the Epic is the only fully suspended mtb to win an XC title.
Now I've had the bike for about five weeks, rode about 450mls including two regional cat 3 races and a 100 mile endurance race.
The good news:
This bike is very, very fast. It corners pretty much like a 26", yet it takes off like a rocket and maintains great speed up and down the hills. Seriously, clipped in it accelerates like it's on nitro compared to my old ride. It feels light (of course not S-works-light) but barely ever loses traction.
Speed: I easily clipped an average of 1.5 - 2 min off every 30 min loop/ride in different terrains compared to my 26" hard tail. Almost more importantly, it takes a lot less effort to do so.
The not-so-good news:
The auto-sag function works for rail trail riding at best. Both front and rear shocks bottom out like there's no tomorrow if you stick to the suggested settings. I finally have it figured out for my riding - at 180lbs weight, I'm running 145lbs in the fork (opposed to the suggested 125) and a tick over 210lbs pressure in the rear shock (while auto-sag puts me somewhere around 165-170).
The "brain" is a nice idea and it seems to do the job, but it requires a lot of experimenting to get the setting right. For me it now works best all-tight or one click back. But the sound and the feel of it actuating still makes me think I'm running a flat or my frame is broken at times. The actuation does get a bit smoother over time.
The Magura brakes are no improvement over the Avid's (would have expected better from a BMW motorcycle supplier) - they are just as noisy and often take more than a half revolution to build up grip. Shimano as "low-end" as SLX series would do a much better job.
The SRAM drive train is ok but not great, does not feel overly smooth or exact and can be noisy at times. The gearing - although quite standard - often puts my comfort zone right in between gears 1/10 and 2/2, so I may be better off converting my 24/38 dual rings to a single 32 in the front (or see if I can change the 24 ring to a 30 or 32 as I'd like to keep the tall gears for rail trail and fast, smooth downhill).
The Reba fork.... well, there's Fox and then there's the rest. Wish they'd offer an aftermarket float 100 model in black (frame is silver, so a white fork would look stupid).
Yesterday I dropped the bike at my LBS for a tune up, and a check-over, mostly because I am now after 450mls experiencing three different noises in my drive train. A clicking noise developed over the past week and is definitely coming from the crank. The other two - drastically louder and developed over the last 30mls - come from the broken rear axle (!) and a lot of play in the upper left FSR pivot bolt / bushing.
The paint job is soft and thin, I can see the bare aluminum where my rubber-sole of my 5-10 shoe rubs against the chain stay on the right side. The formerly black brake levers are pretty much silver now after 5 weeks. This is a quality like a $0.99/bottle home depot spray paint.
Bottom line, for the money, it's a great and very fast trail & moderate terrain XC bike. The frame geometry and weight work awesome for me. The components are certainly not top of the line, but I knowingly went for a well-suited frame with upgrade possibilities (opposed to a mediocre frame with great hardware).
Granted I'm not much of a gentle fire trail rider, the bike is taking a good amount of abuse.
Would I buy it again? On a $3-4k budget for fast single track & moderate XC riding: Yes.
Do I wish they offered an SLX or XT-equipped version with a Fox fork for $500-700 more? Definitely.
Duration Product Used: 5 weeks / 450mls
Price Paid: $2900.00
Purchased At: Brand's / Wantagh NY
Similar Products Used: Tested most comparable models of major manufacturers.
Bike Setup: Stock except upgraded rear tire, tubeless setup, Crank Brothers Eggbeaters and Kronolog seat post (best thing since sliced bread if installed correctly).
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2012
Strengths: Light and agile through the trails. The BRAIN is a huge selling point--it works! VERY fast bike.
Weaknesses: My breaks can be noisy at times. But then again, who cares? If you do, go work out at the gym.
Bike Setup: Time ATAC XS + Specialized MTB Comp = Love. 100psi front, 150psi rear. Using transparent tire-patching kit ($2.00) as cable-rub guards. Works and looks great.
Date Reviewed: June 26, 2012
Strengths: the BRAIN! pro-pedal can't cut it, hardtails are, HARD.
Weaknesses: The hubs I guess, but who cares, it's just an excuse I can use to tell the wife so that I can upgrade.
For those of you worried about coming from a 26in bike...don't. Its a non issue, and I mean that whole heartedly. Where I ride we have a LOT of tight, steep switchbacks through trees and I was worried that the 29er Epic would roll better but I would have to trade off the tight stuff. Not so, it's not even an issue. I have rode the 26 epic for 5 years, and the 29er version does everything it does and so much more.
If you are looking for a full suspension 29er, like to climb and ride cross country, you really should check out the Epic 29er, it really is fun to ride.
Price Paid: $3000.00
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