At under 22 pounds (10 Kg) this is the lightest full suspension 29er in the world. No-holds-barred design, engineering, materials, construction, and specifications combine to make the Epic the only dual-suspension bike to win the World Championships.
FACT IS 11m 29er frame with oversized BB, tapered head tube, and sealed cartridge bearing pivots is incredibly light and stiff, with 100mm of travel - a true race-worthy, full-suspension 29er
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
Custom Specialized/RockShox Reba S29 Brain fork features a carbon tapered steerer/crown with rebound and Brain Fade adjustments to dial in the perfect platform for competitive XC bliss
New Roval Control SL 29 XC wheelset with carbon rims, OS28 end caps, 142+ spacing, Ti QR, and DT Swiss spokes and internals is insanely stiff, light and durable for greater control and quickness
Specialized FACT OSBB carbon crankset with ceramic bearings is paired with a SRAM XX spider and 38/24t rings to create market-leading stiffness-to-weight for the ultimate power transfer
Custom Avid XX World Cup R magnesium body brakes feature tool-less reach adjust, alloy-backed pads, and carbon levers with titanium hardware for ultra light and modulated braking power
Strengths: I bought my S-Works Epic from a local racer and loved it from the first pedal crank. It brings a whole new world of riding and challenges as you will be riding faster than you are used to and you'll have to learn new skills to handle the speed and stability. I've dropped minutes off of my regular sections and have entered local XC races as well as cyclocross races and moved up in both catetories. Plan on extra time when you ride as you'll be out doing longer rides.....you don't get as tired or fatiged and the miles just keeping stacking up. Since it has everything, no need to add anything....all the components work perfectly and perform exactly as they should (I have the SRAM XX group). Very durable finish on paint and wheels....this is now my all around bike and it handles everything Western Colorado can throw at it. I don't want to have to buy a new bike every two years and by dropping some big coin for the best, I'm good for a long time. The bike is addictive!!
Weaknesses: No weaknesses to speak off......you will spend a little more time keeping it clean as something this nice deserves to be detailed and spec'd out after each ride. Might spend more time talking about this bike to other riders as it does attract attention.......as it should. Also, some of your slower riding buddies will be even further behind, as it sets the bar very high.
Overall a super bike. I read about this model in a bike mag, but never dreamed I would have this ride. Sometimes things have a way of working out, and although it is very expensive, it is well worth the extra funding to have the perfect bike.
Date Reviewed: November 4, 2012
Strengths: I have had my S-Works Epic 29er for a year. Absolute great ride and the geometry for cross country riding and single track really works for me.
Weaknesses: Sram World Cup parts need to be replaced, but done without any problems.
Best that money can buy!! "Be happy"
The Spokes Beast
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2012
Strengths: I bought the frame on release and loaded it with the new Shimano XTR and Easton Haven Carbon wheels. This bike screams-the harder I push it, the more it want to work for me. As 6'3" tall and 260 pounds, it takes all the power I put into it with the right amount of stiffness and transmission to the drive train. Even at my height with a big frame, I feel stable and confident over a variety of terrains and speeds. On rougher, uneven surfaces (including on a diagonal across the trail), I can sometimes let the bike "find" its own way across while maintaining speed because to the larger wheels and stability. The brain works great, even at my weight.
Weaknesses: Occaisonal squeaking at the rear pivot point-usually with sudden increases in power and uneven surfaces. I think it just my weight applied torque.
Unlike a moped-this bike is fun to ride and am happy to have my friends see me too! It works as billed even though my build is different than what originally offered.
Strengths: Low weight, solid geometry, XTR brakes are incredible, BRAIN works
Weaknesses: Stock seatpost and saddle a bit heavy for a bike otherwise superlight
I have built up a few bikes, and the the last being an S-Works Stumpjumper HT, and I have always felt that there were things that have not worked well together, but this Epic 29er is incredible. You get the feeling that everything just falls into place and works together in awesome harmony.
The geometry of the bike is perfectly balanced, and even though it is very light, you never get the front wheel lifting during steep climbs, and the rear wheel just stays put on fast descents under braking. The back wheel almost never skids, just perfect control. Even with the big wheels, the bike is very flickable, and you can have a lot of fun on it. The wheels are a major plus. i rode ZTR race before, but these Roval's just keep spinning, keeping speed all the way. The standard tyre options look a bit racy, but I have been very pleasantly suprised at the amount of control they offer, while rolling super fast.
If you only want one bike that you can do everything with, you can't go wrong with the Epic
Date Reviewed: May 22, 2012
Strengths: First thing -- I've never written a review about anything in my life, and I'll be 44 this year. I come from a triathlon background, having competed for years in road tris (ironman, etc) and then morphed to xterra offroad triathlon -- have qualified and competed at highest level (world championships in Maui, regional qualifiers in TX, etc.). I've raced a Turner Nitrous 26, then a Moots YBB 29r, then a Pivot 429. Then, I bit the bullet and bought to SWorks Epic 29r (Roval carbon wheels, full Sram XX). While the rear brain clunks a bit and the BB doesn't have the clearance of my Pivot 429, this rig is unbelievable. It accelerates like a road bike up the trail. I live in Austin Tx and our local trails are super rocky, Tx hill country. The SWorks eats it up on the climbs and accelerates in the descents without losing control in a way that I never felt on the Pivot (a great bike in its own right). Braking on hairy descents is much better than the Pivot, I suppose bc the bike weighs less (22 lbs v. 27 lbs); or maybe it's the geometry -- I really don't care, but it's indescribable. Cornering on tight switchbacks is better, power transfer to the rear end is amazing. I train with a bunch of cat 1-2 knuckleheads and generally bring up the rear on long training days, especially when hammering, This bike has made me faster. No doubt. Much faster. And I've never had a passion for riding created in the way this bike does it for me. Go get one (yes, it's stupid expensive -- I sold 2 road bikes to pull it off and bought gently used).
Strengths: A XC specific rig that is designed for speed. When the brain is dialed and you're throwing down, it gives you a rigid platform for standing up on those punchy climbs. The new front fork now gives you the ability to open up the brain manually for longer descents. Fully plush along with the benefits of the 29er wheels.
Weaknesses: I think a 15 m front through axle would have been nice and little lighter seat post (nit picking)
I've been an Epic 26 fan for a few years. Now the 29er version gives an added benefit of the big wheels. It's a rigid platform that really shows it's colors when you're riding it hard. Some comments I've heard about the brain that they'd rather have the ability to turn on the suspension for the descents or lock it out for long climbs have been addressed with the new fork. This is a bad ass rig that you get what you pay for.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: March 13, 2012
Strengths: Very light, very stiff, most efficient full suspension bike I have ever ridden. Climbs really well. Handles great. True XC race bike.
Weaknesses: Brain suspension feels firm and clunky when activates sometimes. Could not justify price of a new one so I bought used...
I love it... Its not a plush feeling bike but that is the trade off... more of your energy goes into the forward movement of the bike... I weight over 200 lbs and can stand up and hammer on this bike with no felt pedal bob... I love it. Best mountain bike I have ever ridden. This bike is for someone who likes cross country riding and has to do some climbing as part of the normal ride.
Similar Products Used: santa cruz superlight, giant anthem 29ers
a All Mountain Rider
from Nevada City, California
Date Reviewed: February 13, 2012
Strengths: Very stiff frame, Roval wheelset extraordinary. Bike, like Secretariat, loves to ride.
Weaknesses: Initial quality was poor. XX rear der not for everyday use. XX brakes judder. Burns brake pads and chains quickly.
Not as happy on rocky trails in Tahoe
First the demographic I believe that Specialized targets for this bike: an Older guy who thinks he knows how to ride and who has a little extra in the bank or a well supported Pro. My first bike was the fat tire Schwinn I used for my paper route >50 years ago. My second was a Stumpjumper in 1983. There have been many great bikes since then but by far, by far the best all around ride has been the S-Works Epic Carbon 29. If you’ve seen the movie Secretariat, you’ll understand when I say that this bike loves to ride. It climbs eagerly, descends with aplomb, and happily tackles winding single track, racing from one corner to the next,. It’s not quite as at home on the rockier trails of the Tahoe area where my Epiphany shines but it’s an otherwise superb trail bike.
Like your Ferrari, it demands regular attention, and if you aren’t inclined to the regular maintenance yourself or don’t have your own Wrench on your personal staff, you’ll likely spend some money at the LBS.
1. The XX brakes 160 mm brakes judder, front worse than rear and they eat brake pads. I switched to a 185 mm XO front rotor and the juddering diminished. The big rotor is less hungry for pads. The stopping power is ample and easily modulated. I like the feel of the Avids better than the XTRs on the Epiphany.
2. The rear wheel was delivered so out of true that the LBS Wrench had to replace it. I’ve had no subsequent concerns. Shifting was awful until we realized that the XX full carbon rear derailleur was warped. Following the switch to an XO rear der, it has been perfect through every situation. Given the proximity of these two problems, I wonder about heat exposure during transit or assembly.
3. Assembly may have been relegated to a rookie. The chain had not been shortened at all (after a couple links were removed, it stopped sagging and the aforementioned shifting problem improved slightly). Initial claim was that the slack chain protected other delicate components from user cross-chaining; with a proper length chain, cross chaining is not a problem. The head set was loose at delivery I took that opportunity to re-torque every bolt to specification and given carbon fiber’s ostensible sensitivity to over torquing, I’m glad I did.
4. 2 bliss Captains with Stan’s no tubes replaced the virtually useless - in the summer adobe ball bearings we find in Northern California - stupid light racer boy OE tires.
5. While the front and rear brains are virtually perfect once set up and run in, you do have to settle for just a click or two of complete platform. I can’t tell if there’s much variation in the 10 or so clicks of the open suspension.
If you were to look at a bike as JD Powers looks at cars, I’d have to agree with one of the other reviewers that “initial quality” could be improved.
And now for some more accolades.
I was surprised that there wasn’t a 15 mm through axle on the front, and yet, I don’t miss it because the steering is rigid and predictable. While I’m no longer strong enough to adequately attest to flex as another reviewer mentioned, I can say that with both suspenders “locked” it feels just like a friend’s hard tail 29r and I spend more comfortable time pedaling out of the saddle on deserving ugly climbs.
As a person whose power has diminished over the years and thus unwilling to push heavier 29rs up hill, I had decided to stick with my Epiphany. The carbon Rovals changed everything. Their contribution to the brilliance of this bike can’t be overstated. They are easier to spin uphill than any wheelset I’ve tried. Don’t ride any carbon wheel unless you have the $$$ because you’re not likely to tolerate anything less once you’ve sampled them.
Bike Setup: 180 mm front disc, XO rear der, Twist shifter front der
from Santa Clarita, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2012
Strengths: Beautifully handling stiff carbon frame, Roaval carbon wheels, dialed geometry, rear suspension/rain, and very FAST! Climbs well, kills the descents, and eats up the flowind single track! Fastest bike I've ever ridden!
Weaknesses: Front fork, and, imo, front tire. Like the last post, this fork is a downgrade from my stock fork on my 2010 S Works Epic 26er. The SID fork that came on my 2012 is almost like it does not have a brain...just a regular compression adjustment. On my 2010 S-Works Epic the brain worked AWESOME! I do a lot of climbing and racing and am, so far, not very impressed with the SID. I'm hoping that after some more time, and rides I can dial it in a little better. As far as the tires, when the fr tire wears out, I will get something with a little more bite.
Mine, btw, is the 2012 model with the SRAM group. I would not pay the MSRP of $10,500 for this bike, or even close to that. But, with my team deal, it was WELL worth the price. The 2012 model does a great job with small bumps as well as the bigger hits. I do love this bike and will race the heck out of it. Like I said, this bike is sooooo fast! But I am giving it 4 chilis on value based on the normal price and 4 chilis overall based on the SID fork. If this bike had a fork with a brain that worked as well as my 2010 S-Works Epic fork did I would give it 6 chilis for the overall rating!!!
Bike Setup: Stock set up except for replacing saddle and grips
a Cross Country Rider
from Minneapolis, MN, USA
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2011
Strengths: Tough bike, incredibly fast bike, the fastest bike I've ever ridden. The back end, the brain on the back end is amazing, makes the bike so fricking fast and awesome!
Weaknesses: The front end. The Brain front fork does not work nearly as well as the back brain. I miss my Lefty, and if I didn't spend so much money on this bike I would put a Lefty on it and have the ultimate bike.
I love the bike, its the fastest bike I've ever ridden thru the woods. Love the 2012 XTR which is flawless, the Roval wheels are awesome, the back end brain is awesome, my only complaint is the front brain shock which does not cover you on the small bumps, only when you really hit something big then the shock does engage and work well. This will be a great bike for out West on long smooth trails, and then hitting some gnarly sections. The bike is big and tough, but still light at 23 lbs. When I get back to my house after a ride, I don't want to get off the bike, its that fun to ride. I'm contemplating a Lefty with lockout on the front end tho.....
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Scalpel, Hardtail Stumpjumper 26"
Bike Setup: Stock, carbon Roval wheels, XTR
from Austin, Texas
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2011
Strengths: Lightweight, tubeless 29er carbon wheelset, XTR is awesome. Not sure any bicycle is worth the ridiculous price tag, but it sure puts a smile on my face and definitely makes me a better rider.
If you can afford the stupid price it's an impressive ride. It won't make you win but it sure makes an average rider better.
Value is 3 chilis due to extreme price. The bike feels perfect on the first technical ride 5 chilis for sure.
Bike Setup: Factory XTR setup with tubeless conversion.
Clene van Wyk
a Cross Country Rider
from South Africa
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2011
Strengths: Lightweight, stiff and responsive. Feels compact despite being a 29er. Well thought out.
Weaknesses: Could become expensive and difficult to maintain when not located near a Specialized Dealer. A bit on the expensive side.
Despite riding a high end 26er dual suspension for the past 3 years, this bike is an absolute revelation. It just wants to go. The brain suspension works well and no lockouts required. It rolls smoothly over obstacles, but you have to plan a bit further ahead to get it through the corners. This is a must for any Epic racer. Weighs 10.1 kg with pedals, cage and slime.
Strengths: Lightweight, stiff front end, great geometry, FSR, great looks, did I say lightweight..
Weaknesses: rear end is not as stiff as expected, brain takes a few hundred miles to dial in, front inertia brain makes clicking noise in normal operation. Freakin expensive
This bike takes some dating. After the first few rides I have to admit I did not like this ride. I had creaks, the brains were not dialed in at all, and the geometry was more aggressive than I was used to. Took 350 miles to get comfortable with the brain and psi. I'm used to running with tubeless and 22-24 psi on my hard tails. Nothing under 30 on this ride.
Got the creaks out of the shock bolt and XX small ring (not Spec fault). The last issue I have is the inertial in the front fork clicking. It's normal and easy to find threads about it. I can get over it because I don't hear it unless I'm trying too. I think Spec should get a fix and offer free to all customers. I bought the stock Renegade SW tires and ridded myself of them quickly for some with more traction (Captain up front and heavy Exiwolf in the back).
After dating for a few months and certainly with some bad ones, I'm officially in love with this ride. I have had many high end bikes and this one has the best handling qualities for speed of any of my experience. The brain, once dialed, is superior in that it acts like a hardtail unless I need some sus, really amazing.
Stock bike comes in 22ish lbs and I've got mine at 24 with my wheelset but think it's better that way. The stock Rovals look amazing but I've got this built for $5800 saving 4k. Specialized really hit a home run with this ride. Just make sure you date it for a while before you make a final opinion.
Five flamers for value only because of the price I paid.
Strengths: Lightweight full-suspension, race colors and handles well. Brain technology good on hardpack.
Weaknesses: Poor shifting on the rear cassette and will not shift into 11-tooth. Most likely due to poor deraill. hanger design. Renegade tires limited to hardpack terrain. High Price and clunky brain suspension on rocks.
For the S-Works high price, it is not worth it for the poor performance. Save your money and buy another brand or the Expert Epic model if you have to have it. Does not shift and the Brain shocks are clunky.
Similar Products Used: Epic Expert, Niner, Santa Cruz Bikes
Bike Setup: S-Works with XX drivetrain, Roval Wheels/stock
from pine,CO. USA
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2011
Strengths: It looks sweet
Weaknesses: I got the bike and right away the crank arm hits the chain stay when going up a steep hill.took it in and the shop re-torked the pivot points and assured me that would fix it.road the bike and nothing changed.took it back in and the shop took the whole crank and BB apart and said this might work.(mean while I am not riding or racing this bike that cost 9000.00 dollars) still the crank arm hits the chain stay.I am told that it is ok for this to happen that the chain stay can take it and its OK if it gets a scratch or mark from this.So I have 30 hours on this bike and two races and the BB bearing seizes up.I think it is from the flex in the frame,BB,and swing arm area in this bike,that puts a side tork on the BB and causes the bearing to fail.
Also I do not care for the reba front fork,there is 15 clicks of adjustment on it but really to make it work you ride it all the way adjusyed out,may be one click in,and still its not that good.I had to Demo a bike for a race in Winter Park because mine is in the shop(they did pay for my demo) but was really impressed with the front fork of a lot cheaper bike.Specialized is working on this so I am told making a new swing arm for this bike,and I have talked to a lot of people who have the same bike that do not have this problem,but I have also seen some demos the if you look at the swing arm on the drive side you will notice a scatch where the crank arm hits the chain stay.Also note Iam not a power guy I wiegh 158 and am more of a spinner than a pedal masher.Iam going to sell this bike as soon as I get it back look for it on criags list.
For me Iam so bumed out with the S-works I expected so much more from a bike that cost twice as much as any other bke even with the pro deal.do not like the front fork,the bike is not as stiff as they claim I feel alot of flex when climbing and decending in the techy sections,and rock gardens.I really expected so much more and am bumed out that it did not work out for me and this bike.Also I have not been able to talk to Specialized about this my self,the shop does not seem to want me to contact them,they (the shop)said they would take care of it. its been 3.5 months,and they charge me for a BB bearing that I am sure will going out again here real soon.