With a FACT carbon frame, 100mm of travel, and custom SRAM gearing the Epic Comp Carbon is a fast and efficient cross-country trail bike.
FACT IS 9m carbon FSR frame with M5 alloy rear triangle with dedicated 29er geometry, sealed cartridge bearing pivots and 142mm dropouts delivers strength, rigidity, and suppleness to create an uncompromising 100mm-travel Competitive XC bike
S-Works Fast Trak 2.0" front and Renegade Control 1.95" rear 2Bliss ready, dual-compound tires deliver exceptional speed and traction, while minimizing rotating weight
Specialized and Fox put their heads together to develop the FlowControl Mini Brain shock with Brain Fade inertia valve, air spring, and adjustable rebound for the ultimate in racing and trail riding performance; new 2012 tune
RockShox Reba RL 29 fork with 100mm travel, lockout and rebound adjust, allows this 29er to charge technical terrain
Custom SRAM S-1250 10-speed XC double crankset 29er-specific gearing, large PF30 bearings, and alloy arms for smooth, efficient power transfer
SRAM X9 long cage, 10-speed rear derailleur is super-tough and light, yet delivers pinpoint shifts
Strengths: Fast and comfortable. Reasonably light. Confidence inspiring on rocky downhills. Great forks. A joy to ride. Glad I bought it
Weaknesses: Lack of mud clearance between back wheel and swinging arm. Over geared unless you are an Xc god gear change with x7 levers and X9 mech is not as good as my 2 yr old xt gear on my Orange 5.
I bought a late season 2012 EPic carbon comp, it is a great bike. I converted to tubeless simply by fitting tubeless qvalves and stans fluid. It's a great Xc and trail bike. Elixir brakes have worked well. I have changed the saddle and bar, a personal preference. The original equipment was ok. The REBA RL fork is great. My one gripe is poor clearance between the rear wheel and the swinging arm. I have max is beaver2.0 mud tyres. This combo is great in snow, but gets clogged up when riding through clay mud. There are no smaller section mud tyres Available. I am keeping my fiingers crossed that some tyre producer makes them before next winter
Similar Products Used: Orange5 great mud clearance, but the Epic wins in most other departments.
Bike Setup: Fitted 34/20 in place of the std 38/24 gearing. I am now confident to tackle any climb. The std 24 bottom gear is much too high with 29 inch wheels. The 20 tooth chain ring meant some minor filing work on the crank arms. There is a utuBe clip tha is worth a watch for the technique.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2012
Strengths: FAST!!!! Reasonably light (will get much better with a wheelset upgrade down the road)
Sram 2x10 drivetrain (loving the 2x10)
Weaknesses: Rear hub.... Crunchy and cracking after about 1000km and now the bike feels like I'm riding through wet sand. That being said I'm really not that upset about it. I knew there was issues with the rear hub going in and the pure awesomness that is this bike completely makes it worth the minor inconvenience of leaving it at my LBS over night for a warranty covered rebuild of the wheel. Besides... perhaps I can justify a slight upgrade to American Classics down the road! :)
On the first ride my riding buddies were shocked. They all said it seemed like I was a different person, flying on the decents, climbing like I was possessed etc. Love, love, love this bike!!
Strengths: Excellent frame and suspension system
Fast, smooth and agile on midwesterm single track
Setup flexiblity allows for solid performance in all but the most aggressive all mountain riding out west
Weaknesses: Wheelset is not up to the challenges endured by this level of bike
I purchased the Epic knowing most of my miles would be Midwestern single track racing and training. We do a couple of trips to Oregon each year with lots of all mountain riding, so I wanted some flexibility in setup. The Epic has proven a perfect choice.
Performance – I have been at this a number of decades. The switch to the 29 format was a perfect fit for my riding style. Both the 26 and 29 formats are fun, but the 29 format is a step up in smoothness and stability while still maintaining excellent agility. This is signature strength of the Epic.
Components – I can see the product manager’s dilemma. To keep a reasonable spec difference with the expert, they needed to spec down the comp. Most everything works very well stock, but I would have liked to see a step up on virtually all of the drive train and braking components. My first upgrade will be the crank. It’s heavy and you can feel flex on the steeps. The balance of the drive train and brake components do meet expectaions and will stay put until worn out or broken.
Issues – I have the 2011 version and I note the wheel set has changed with the 2012. The stock wheels do not belong on a bike intended for racing or challenging riding. The front wheel “noodled” out on the first ride and could not be trued. My LBS worked with Specialized and replaced it with a Stan’s Arch. My rear wheel bearings went out the second week. Specialized had no replacement bearings – they must have had to replace a bunch. My LBS then worked with Specialized and replaced the rear wheel with a Stan’s Arch/x9. Bottom line, I have an excellent wheel set, but only with a lot of help.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2012
Strengths: Excellent pedaling efficiency. Overall frame stiffness. Ease of set-up. Good geometry for intended use but adequate for light to medium trail use.
Weaknesses: Build kit subpar for a $4k bike. Squeaks, pings & creaks!
I'm 40yo 5'10.5" 165lber who favors trails on the smoother side. Love to get off the saddle & crank.
The good: Go with the carbon frame if you're considering a Specialized bike. The aluminum I tried was considerably heavier & not as responsive. This bike loves to pedal! Everything you've heard about the Brain is true...pedals like a hardtail. Once you set it you can forget it. I feel the 29er perfectly compliments the Epic w/ brain. The brain is really only useful to take a bit of the "clunk" off impacts...doesn't do much to "smooth out the trail" This is a bike designed to maintain your speed along an off road course...and baby does it ever. The tires are great, offer terrific traction for such low rolling resistance. Handlebars, stem & grips are pretty solid.
The bad: The SRAM brakes are good for scrap metal. Been adjusted twice now by LBS & still squeak and drag. They also feel very under powered. The rear shifter - derailleur worked just alright at first (I don't shift much - prefer to just hammer along in a few gears) but they are already acting squirrelly. After the first 20 miles of riding I started to hear a horrible high pitched cracking noise coming from the seat tube just about every time the rear shock activated. LBS said it was the seat post...nothing to do. It's still there and very disconcerting. The seat feels like a torture device. The Rock Shox Reba feel like they have less than 80mm travel vs the advertised 100mm. These shocks are far far far & away inferior to the Lefty on my 2002 Cannondale Scalpel. The BB height certainly adds to stability but lends itself to a fair amount of pedal strike on uneven ground. This means you can't just "plow through" ruff stuff without timing your efforts. The rear end of the bike seems a lot heavier than the front. (I know that's usually the case...but it feels accentuated with this model.)
Overall: The Epic Comp Carbon is great in terms of geometry, pedaling efficiency, stiffness & overall stability. (Riding the local trails on my old Cannondale Scalpel 26er now feels terrifying to me. In all fairness, I haven't serviced the bike in a while & the rear feels downright loose.) This bike truly accomplished its intended purpose of helping you maintain pace up, down or sideways on the mountain. If you're someone who likes smooth flowing trails with little drama...this bike is a great option. BUUUUT! The components spec is awful for a $4000 bike. I wouldn't expect so many creaking noises on a $300 Kmart bike. For all the reputation Specialized has this is unacceptable. You'll find yourself wanting to spend bookoo bucks to swap out a lot of parts on this bike. This bike is no where near "race ready" for you racers out there.
Also: As of this posting I'm putting my Epic up for sale. (Any takers?) Why...you ask? Not the parts spec and annoying noises...which I would either address or live with. And not the fact that I don't like the bike. But it's the 29er wheel. The 29er offers more traction and is far more stable than the 26er wheel. But that also means it's far less fun. Even though I like smooth flowing trails I do like the occasional jump or drop off...NOT GOOD w/ suck a big hoop. Also, the bike just isn't as maneuverable. My old Scalpel w/ Magura Marta brakes (which I've never serviced in 10 years!)...even though is a twitchy little bugger in comparison...can out turn and CERTAINLY out stop the Epic by huge margin. I've been a tennis player all my life so here's my analogy. Old time small head size racquets w thin profile are far more challenging to play with vs the larger sized more powerful types. But when you are playing well and get that shot in your power zone, it's far more rewarding. I'll get another 29er when I get too old and fearful of taking chances.
Hope this helps you out. Thanks for reading my long post. Happy riding!
I've had a lot of bikes over the years and this is the best so far. Not as comfortable as my last fsr 29 but much better suited to my riding style. I do think the price is a little steep for the components involved. With that said I've had no real issues other than a less than perfect rear shifting. I even took the bike to angel fire park on my last NM trip and the bike held up to all the rocks and jumps even though that type of terrain takes the bike way out of its element. Wheels are still true and the carbon frame has withstood many hard rock strikes to the downtube. If you come from a hardtail background and prefer to get out of the saddle and pound this bike may be for you. I prefer quick handling and climbing over super comfy and sit and spin.
Strengths: the ride is good, FSR with brain is probably the best full suspension setup offered by the big manufacturers, but...........
Weaknesses: seriously let down by the quality of the finishing kit and finish of the frame, paint began to come off after first ride from some mild heel rub on the stays,
black anodising on the seat post also wore off after the first few rides, making the bike look ugly,
x7/x9 and solid cranks on a £3000 plus race bike? please this is X0 or XTR territory, the frame is good but not that good,
stock wheels weighed in at 2.2kg, this is a race bike, how am I supposed to race 2.2kg wheels against 26er whippets on 1.2kg wheels,
BB30, now on my third in 3 month, all replaced by bike shop who had no help from Specialized, just told to contact SRAM to fix, good of bike shop to do this, but days/weeks off the bike for me waiting for appointments and parts,
now front hub had failed, only used for less than 500 miles, as used as spared set, really poor,
i bought in to Specialized brand in 2008 with SJ FSR, then 2010 Epic alloy 26er, saved up a lot for this bike and it's made me nearly give up mtbing,
Strengths: Fast on trails and climbs amazing!! Feels like a hardtail until you hit bumps then the rear shock opens and voila, full suspension! Component group is good.
Weaknesses: Swapped out the DT Swiss 450's for stronger Roval's right off the bat (I'm 220 lbs.) The Phenom sadlle KILLED me, I ended up switching it to a WTV Rocket V. You need to be careful when buying as the Epic frams tend to run a little small in my opinion and if you are on the tall side for a particular frame size you should go to the next larger size. I bought a large and should have gotten a XL.
Great bike! Carbon, 29er, 2X10 and full suspension with Specialized quality for under $5,000? It's a great gateway bike to get into the carbon 29er full suspension game, oh, and did I mention how freakin' fast it is? I highly recommend and you don't need to change much from stock to personalize.
Strengths: Accelerates and climbs like a hardtail, in a good way, you don't know the suspension is even working. Very stiff, goes where you point it. Brakes, shifting, all excellent.
Weaknesses: The rear hub/freehub sounds like something out of the flintstones it is creaking and rattling so much (after two months of riding...none in the wet). It is still functional...so far....but it sounds like it is going to give up the ghost any second. Rear shifter is floppy loose but it is tightened all the way down...gotta keep an eye on that.
The gearing isn't quite low enough for me...I need to get a new spider & chainrings to lower the gearing.
Right out of the shop this is an excellent bike, it is incredible how well it works frankly. I've raced it a couple of times and the bike is flawless. I wish it was lighter but I realize I need to spend more $ for that. The saddle didn't work for me but that is not to be unexpected and easy to fix...my Fizik Aliante Gamma solved that problem. Seats should probably be treated like the throwaway pedals that come w/bikes anyway.
Weaknesses: The Phenom saddle takes some getting used to. Some days it hurts like hell and others it feels fine. I may still revert to my trusty WTB.
I've had this bike now for about 3 months after upgrading from a 2 year old Giant Trance X3. The Trance was a great bike for All mountain style riding but way too slow as a XC racer/enduro bike. I felt that no matter how hard I trained I just couldn't get any more out of the Trance. After 3 months on this bike I'm a total convert to 29ers. The speed and acceleration are amazing and this thing climbs like nothing else I've ridden. To make it even better, the roll downhill is exceptional. I can roll at a speed where my riding mate has to peddle to keep up. You have to keep your wits about you though because the bike can get a bit touchy on rough downhills.
Favorite Trail: Silverton Time trial/Heritage trail
Purchased At: TJ's Cycles, Adelaid
Similar Products Used: I rode a Giant Anthem X29 prior to deciding on the Epic. Both bikes were great but I decided on the Epic because I liked the set up.
Bike Setup: The front Specialized Fast Trak 2.0 was a crap tyre IMO. On the dusty tracks I ride the front kept washing out. I fitted a Schwalbe Noby Nic 2.25 snakeskin tubeless to the front and was amazed at the difference it made. The Specialized Renegade is a great back tyre with plenty of speed and grip. I'll fit a Schwalbe Racing Ralph when the Renegade dies. I also have a Race Face Carbon seat post which is great.
a Cross Country Rider
from Reno NV
Date Reviewed: March 28, 2012
Weaknesses: none so far
Wow! how can this thing climb faster than my HT 26? I have been riding on and off from the 80s till now in many states and lots of bikes and this is a good one! If you like to go fast buy one of these !! I ride a med and mines is 25.7 ready to ride.
Similar Products Used: epic and stumpjumper HT and FSR in 26in,cannondale HT 26,several fishers in 26in orbea 29in and stumpjumper carbon 29in.HT and some others.
Bike Setup: 2012 comp carbon with rovel control wheels,fox taralogic fork XX cranks,
a Cross Country Rider
from Las vegas, NV, USA
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2012
Strengths: Light, stiff, smooth,
this review is for the 2012 - This Bike is super light, mine came in at 27lbs stock, after I swapped out everything now weights 24lbs with pedals, and I could easily drop a few more if I went with carbon wheels. I think its a little over priced for the parts it comes stock with (joy tech specialized hubs, X7 shifters, cranks, front d, and cassette. - 1 chilli for the value.. The brain is super amazing once its dialed, the absolute best and cheapest upgrade to make on this bike would be tubeless conversion . One thing to note Specialized along with every bike company needs to drop Avid brakes on there stock bikes, as they squeal, and the pistons always stick.
Similar Products Used: Niner Air9, Niner EMD9, Niner RIP9
Bike Setup: Swapped out the x7/x9 drive-train for FULL XO, swapped out the saddle, seatpost for a Thomson masterpiece and rocketv slt, set up tubeless, swapped out the thin tires for swabale, and swapped out the wheels for stan arches
a Cross Country Rider
from West Hills Ca
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2011
Strengths: Fast,stable, loves to climb like a hardtail
Weaknesses: Squeaky brakes while riding, the seat, could be a tad ligter for a Carbon Bike
Love the bike. Took some time to dial it in just right. I can climb over things I use to go around. My climbs are not any easier just faster! The big wheels will give confidence flying downhill.
Bike Setup: Easton Havoc carbon handlebars, WTB Laser seat, Control Rear tire Specialibed Control, Stans no Tubes, switched to 36x32 chain ring because I missed my granny gear.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, Colorado, USA
Date Reviewed: October 9, 2011
Strengths: Fun and fast
So I had a ten year old Stumpjumper and decided to upgrade. Rode a bunch of bunch of new bikes and pretty much loved the 29er Epic as soon as I tried it. The only real decision was the aluminium vs carbon frame, but the LBS cut me a great deal on the carbon so that was an easy decision.
The ride quality compared to my old 26 hardtail is almost incomparable. The brain allows tuning the rear suspension to suit your ride style and is easy to tweak during a ride for long climbs or technical descents. The bike climbs like a hard tail and descends like full suss. Like all 29ers it suffers a little in super tight technical stuff, but the upside of the bigger wheels outweighs this I feel.
I race Xterra triathlons and the Epic helped me knock time off all my bike splits compared to last year. Plus the full suss leaves me a little fresher for the run compared to getting beat up on my old hardtail.
I really can't recommend this bike highly enough. It is a chunk of change I know, but if you are looking for a fast "do anything" bike this is it.
At this moment in time, at 100mm travel 29 er, Specialized has created a "perfection". It climbs better than any other full suspension 29er that I've owned or tried above. I love the Brain. It handles incredibly well for a 29er. I have no fear of switchbacks. In fact, with added traction, I relish it.
Going downhill, you can ride it like a trail bike. I think 70.5 head tube angle is just perfect for this crosscountry/trail 29er. The carbon frame is wonderful. If I want to do jumps or tackle some knar, I reach for my 6" 26er or 650B. Everything else this bike is it.
Similar Products Used: Ellsworth evolve, pivot 429, Rocky Alt 29(good bike but not as good a climber), Turner sultan, Rocky hammer 29, Orbea Alma 29,Redline 29
Bike Setup: Stock except XX shifters & cassette, Reverbe post
a Cross Country Rider
from Charlottesville, VA (USA baby!)
Date Reviewed: July 8, 2011
Strengths: This bikes rails! It is my first 29'er and I was really debating between a going back to a hard-tail or staying FS. I heard a lot of opinion that if you step up to a 29'er in this area of VA, going FS is not worth it. I have to say BS to that noise! I did a lot of test riding, research and debating before getting this ride and haven't looked back. It feels so sure-footed as that 29'er tire has a nice sized contact patch and just hooks-up. It took a bit of getting used to the new head-tube angle and those bigger wheels just roll and roll. Handling and acceleration, once you get it all set up and dialed in will NOT dissapoint. Brakes and shifting are all good. I see no reason to upgrade a darn thing unless it breaks. Also I was a bit skeptical about the 2x10. I had an older Cannondale that came with that setup (2x9) and it simply did not work well. Specialized got this right. The combo of 29" wheels and gear ratio works well together!
Weaknesses: - Nervous about all I have heard about the rear hub; however, it works fine for me - no problems.
- Would be nice to have brain in front fork as well
- I have had some chain suck when dropping from big to little chainring under load.
- It ain't cheap, but you definately get you $'s worth
Quick staring at mine and get your own! I love this bike and so will you. I do not race anymore, but have done my share of XC as well as 12 and 24 hour races. I wish I have this bike then. Great for everyday and race day - no kidding.
My old 26" FS (which is no slouch by the way) has been hanging in the garage. I just don't see ever going back - poor thing.
I'm down to deciding between these two rims...got any feedback??? I have only ridden on these stock rimes.
Bike is a 2012 Epic CompCarbon EvoR
I mostly train, but occasionally race and love to compete. Thanks for your input, mtbr gang will surely lead me in right direction!:madman:Read More »
I'm looking to change my saddle. Can anyone confirm whether the Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow 145 is directly compatible with the stock '11 Epic Comp Carbon 29er seatpost? I read that some saddle rails cause grief?
podocoRead More »
I think the anthem is the best value when the epic is at regular price but when the epic is about the same as the anthem X1, which one is best value?
Note: I did test drive both on the road (not on the trail) and I would be happy with either...
That may change on the trail though...Read More »
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[email]Eurobike02@yahoo.com[/email]Read More »
I decided I wanted to get a 29er hardtail as my every day XC/trail bike for mostly non- to moderate technical riding (and maybe an occasional race). The reality is, however, that the hardtail leaves me feeling beaten up. So, I demo'd an Epic Comp 29er (aluminum). I was very impressed with how it c ... Read More »