I've owned my Epic Marathon since 2011. I got the frame, fork, headset, wheels, and stem as a group off ebay. I swapped over my SRAM Gruppo, CrankBrothers pedals and dropper, and Easton Carbon Cockpit and off I went. This combo served me very well for almost 2 years. I've ridden most of what the SF Bay Area and Bend, Oregon have to offer and have been extremely happy with my purchase.
Within the last year, I've changed my group to SRAM XX1 and (finally) dumped SRAM's horrible brakes for some (slightly heavier) but far superior Shimano XT Trails. And, this bike continues to amaze me. I am deeply enamored with it's super efficient transfer of power, stiffish ride, and predictable and sharp handling.
Add Maxxis amazing Ardent tire (2.25 front and rear) and this bike is simply astonishingly quick. It accelerates so quickly and has absolutely no pedal induced bob - a sign that the Brain is doing it's job. For XC, All-Mountain, and Epic duties the Marathon Epic is simply a flawless vessel.
In the last year and a half, I have demo'd Santa Cruz's Tallboy (loved this, super plush!), Ibis (Mojo -- meh!) and (Ripley - lovely!) and several other carbon, and high end aluminum bikes aimed at the All-Mountain to Enduro category, and for my riding each of these (equally spendy in today's dollars) bikes are great, but not so much better than my old Epic that I've even considered the need to "upgrade my platform." They are great bikes, but not so much greater for my riding style (BMX - roots, but preferring long climbs and descents that are technical and flowing) that I've felt compelled to dump the Epic for them.
In short, I am particularly amazed that a bike that has seen at least 3 generation of evolution since the model I own can still perform at a high enough level to keep me smiling and happy for this many years.
This bike simply excels as a platform for long days in the saddle that don't include G-Outs and extended washboard descents - for the latter, the suspension is too firm. The tallboy and ripley are much better platforms for a more "cush" ride experience on that terrain. But, if you want an efficient platform for climbing, carving smooth lines, and smart and technical descents (yup, with switchbacks), this is a great bike - especially now when so many of them can be found in either Aluminum or Carbon form on eBay or Craigslist.
Similar Products Used: Salsa Mamasita
Niner Jet 9
Santa Cruz TallBoy
Bike Setup: Stan's Crest 29
Industry Nine Disc
Shimano XT Trail
SRAM XX1 30t 11-42t
Crank Brothers Eggbeater & Joplin Post
Easton Monkey Lite Bars Haven Stem
WTB Ti saddle
Maxxis Ardent 2.25 Gumwall
Date Reviewed: September 26, 2010
Handles like a 26er
Comfort and performance
Going to be a great endurance racer!
Weaknesses: None so far!
Got the bike frame and fork new on ebay. Built up evrything else. Went with Avid BB7 Mech Discs due to reviews on Elixirs. Have used BB7's for years and feel they are simple and rock solid...few extra grams...no big deal. Went with 29er Vuelta's, light, solid, good value. Rode 46 miles this weekend and everything was great. I have been riding the Epic since 2003 and liked it anyway. Bought and built a Performance Bike Shop Access 29er and RST 29er Fork to see what I thought of the 29er move (This is a great frame and Fork by the way. Awesome value) I am 6' 1" 195 and the 9er thing is the real deal. I am hooked. Rode a few other FS 9ers and came back home to Specialized Epic 9er. The Brain thing is awesome and simple! If I had the dough, I would go with a new carbon but the domestic thing keeps me in reason! Great Bike...Great Ride...Great Decision.
a Cross Country Rider
from evergreen co
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2010
Strengths: 29er, brain shock, carbon crown on frt shock, xx 2x10,stiff light roval wheels, climbs well out of the saddle,
Weaknesses: avid brakes seam to grab and pulse, they suck
A few rides in and I'm stoked! Would I have paid $6000 no, but new or used for about under $4500 I thnik its worth every penny.
Bike is fast. You can stand and pedal with no bob. That being said if you like a plush ride get a tall boy. This bike is not a plush ride.
Getting used to it on the tech sections does not take much time. I'm clearing tough stuff with less effort, and the smaller bumps you just cruse over.
You need to be a strong rider to push the xx 2x10 in the front range of colorado. Lots of steep trails. If you have the legs... it will make you faster for sure.
Avid brakes need tweaking. Im not sure if its the pads or what. They grab and pulse, really anoying going down a tight switchback.
I was going to wait for the new carbon epic but after seeing the way the bike is set up I went for the 2010 model. Very happy I did not wait. Components on this are sweet. Frame does not flex at all. Very similar bike to my Titus I had before but way better due to being a 29er, brain, 2x10 xx and good wheels. Very happy!
Similar Products Used: niner jet 9, fisher s fly, niner air 9, stumpjumper, spot, tested not owned, probly should have tested the lenz but you cant ride them all.
rode a 26in titus racer x for 5 years with the same rear link as the epic
Bike Setup: xx
fox brain rear
reba rockshok w/ carbon crown
avid cr mag brakes
syntace p6 post
syntace wide bars
2 ti egg beaters
a Cross Country Rider
from Tucson, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2009
Strengths: -light (25 lbs without pedals, large size) for full suspension 29er
-full suspension, brain valve tech, wheels
- XX (2x10). Works seamlessly and is very quite (less chain rattle)
Weaknesses: -too expensive for aluminum bike, expect this is a result of early adoption, will see price fall as mass production ramps up.
- there seems to be a bit of hesitation and prominent pop when the Brain valve is activated. Don't notice on rocky trail, but only on isolated bumps.
I bought this bike because I was ready to give 29" a serious trial, but I wasn't ready to give up Blurlicious full suspension. At 6'1" the 29" wheels make sense to me. I feel more confident in heavy chop and less prone to endos on drop offs and runups on ~5" or higher rocks. I was already getting cockier and more aggressive by 1/2 way into my first ride, but I did discover that I can still go over the falls yesterday (3rd ride) by hitting a rock in the right way (ouch! may have been induced by a undetected low pressure front tire).
The ride is very smooth and more upright/comfortable than my Blur. The Reba is as smooth and solid as my old Fox100, and the Brain seems to be working well (maybe a bit stiffer than the Blur's VP, but does lock out confidently on both sitting or standing climbs).
Responding to 29er criticism: I did not find that this bike is any harder to turn than a 26". I also feel like climbing hasn't been slowed or that it's harder to get going, but I don't have the objective data to prove it.
I'm loving this bike (but not the price) and preliminary evidence suggests that the 29er crowd might be on to something.
Strengths: Light (for a 29er), fast, efficent, and just plain fun to ride. I have never been on a more confidence inducing bike.
Weaknesses: No carbon.
This bike just rocks! Will most certianly buy one. XX was very interesting, but worked well. The suspension is great and adds a dimension to the 29er that is just a blast. Lighter than I expected, 25lbs w/o pedals for a large model. I rode tight technical and rocks and this bike just ate it up. Really cool. Still too expensive for a aluminium bike. Need to work on that, Specialized.
Building a epic marathon 29, member on the site helped with wheel set selection (thanks) now looking for some help with cranks. Looking at shimano XT (770), the specialized web site indicates the need for outboard bearing. Looking at several wed sites they refer to the XT bottom bracket on the M770 ... Read More »
Recently purchased a Epic Marathon(29er XL) frame and fork. I am looking for a wheel set but I am not sure of the axel configuration. I have been to the Specialized web site and if the answer is there I cannot find it. It does mention the front uses 28 mm end caps. PLEASE HELP !:Read More »
I am thinking about getting a remote lockout for my Epic. It has the Reba 29er fork that comes stock, which I believe is made for specifically Specialized.
I would need the Xloc, right?
Do I need to change anything inside the fork? Or just buy the handle and hose kit?
Thanks for any help.Read More »