Specialized S-Works Epic 29er 29er Full Suspension

4.55/5 (20 Reviews)
MSRP : $9900.00


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Product Description

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


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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by barry1me

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2013

Strengths:    Fast, Efficient, and Fun....what more can you say. This bike rocks, a lightweight rocket

Weaknesses:    I wish it was half the cost

Bottom Line:   
no complaints here, everything about this bike is top notch. Very fast, accelerates incredibly

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rich Lee

Date Reviewed: August 18, 2013

Strengths:    Light, Fast and predictable. Feels like it is wired directly to your synapses. 1x11 drivetrain is THE ticket for racing, no dropped chains, no missed shifts, no need to decide which chainring to use.

Weaknesses:    Lower gears may be missed on long steep climbs at high altitudes. Large frame may be too small if you have long legs. Very expensive (Fortunately, the company/team I race for bought mine)

Bottom Line:   
At 57, I am an "old dog", having ridden mountain bikes since my first Ritchey in 1982. I finally started racing last summer on borrowed S-Works 29er's, both HT and Epic. Unless you are racing short-track, gravel roads or races under 1hr, the Epic is 1st choice. The price you pay in weight and (in theory) flexibility is small compared to the benefits of better traction and less fatigue of the Epic. I won my 2nd race last year on a 2012 XTR epic (by over 11min) and was immediately upgraded from Cat-3 to Cat-1. After getting my own 2013 1x11 model this year, it has helped me win 2/4 Cat-1 races, the exceptions were Sea Otter Classic and National Marathon Championships. I don't have much time to train, 5-8hrs a week and this bike makes every second count. It felt no slower than the S-Works HT I raced this year on easy hardpack and climbed better on bumpy ascents. Descents are obviously faster and fatigue was a lot less over 2 hrs of racing.

The 1x11 drivetrain is superb. Having been stuck behind riders who "Schlecked" their chains and/or dropping them on climbs, the benefits are obvious. The lack of super low gears may be missed, and cost me time at Sun Valley Marathon Nationals. However, had I chosen the (supplied) 32t chainring, I might have made the podium. As it was, nearly everyone was walking their bike up the steepest section on the last lap.

I am 5'10" tall with long legs and was surprised to find that I only had 1.5 cm to spare before topping out on the seatpost. With a short back, the XL frame would have been too long. As is, I had to swap the 109mm stem for a 90cm version. For most riding & racing, I run narrower 620 bars (vs the supplied 680's). The Magura MT8 brakes are super light, but require more effort than the new XTR's. The bike comes with 2.0 (520gm) S-Works Fast Track tires, which are excellent all-round. For hard-pack courses, I run with either 1.95 Renegades (470gm) or scary-light & fast Schwalbe Furious Freds (360gm). For steep, technical & rough rides, I run the S-Works Ground Control 2.3s (650gm) and swap over to the 32t ring and wider OEM bar. All my tires are running tubeless with Stans sealant. After my last race, I pulled a dozen thorns out of each tire with no loss of pressure. One advantage of a FS race bike is that you can run lighter tires with less fear of flats. The bike has been flawless with no quirks, annoyances or mechanical issues.

The only problem is since I got the bike, my (tall & leggy) wife has ridden it and insists on riding it any time we are out together on the local trails of the Santa Cruz Mts. in northern CA, which leaves me riding one of our 26er's or a cross bike. She also raced it last week and and wants to continue to do so. She won her first race (Cat-3 45+ women) by almost 6 min and was 2nd overall to a 21 y-o. She plans to race again, which is OK for now since my start is after her class finishes. However, she will likely be moved up to Cat-2, at which point we will need another Epic. The new 2014 World Cup is the obvious choice, if only I could afford it.

Bottom line, If you want just one bike for everything for fast recreational riding, racing at any level (with a good chance it will take you to the next level), marathons or even "Epic" rides like "The Whole Enchilada" in Moab (with 2.3 tires and a higher/wider bar/stem combo), you can't do better than the S-Works Epic 29er.....if you can afford it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy_MtnBykr a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: June 24, 2013

Strengths:    THE BRAIN!!! I have owned many of the best bikes made. All have some sort of gimmick to minimize pedal bob, For me, the VPP bikes have a spongy feel while cranking. The rocker link bikes are heavy and they have pedal bob. The EPIC is rock solid. The Brain eliminates pedal bob. Each pedal stroke feels solid.

Weaknesses:    You must spend a couple hours dialing in the Brain. It is not hard, but you will need to dial it in to your weight and riding style. For me, this took about 3 hours. If you do not spend time to dial in the brain, the shock can feel clunky.

Bottom Line:   
I ordered my bike as a frame only - 2013 with a sid brain shock. I built it will full XTR and Industry Nine Wheels. This is the fastest and best bike I have ever owned. I am shaving major time off of every Strava segment that I ride. This is a truly amazing machine. I know it cost a lot of money, but I think it is worth it. I can now hammer fire roads like I am on a rigid bike. I can carve the technical single track at faster speeds. The maneuverability is phenomenal!!!! Purchase this bike if you want to go faster....

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Dupont & Bent Creek

Duration Product Used:   4 Months

Purchased At:   3 Cross Tri - Anders

Similar Products Used:   I have owned many of the Trek Fuel Products, Ellsworth Evolve & Truth, Intense Tracer & Spider, and a Stumpy Evo R.

Bike Setup:   Full XTR with Industry Nine Torch Wheels

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bruce

Date Reviewed: January 27, 2013

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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Scott

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.

Bottom Line:   
Best that money can buy!! "Be happy"

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Purchased At:   Spoke Wheaton


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jvanlog

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2012

Strengths:    Low weight, solid geometry, XTR brakes are incredible, BRAIN works

Weaknesses:    Stock seatpost and saddle a bit heavy for a bike otherwise superlight

Bottom Line:   
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

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by chad geisler a Racer

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).

Weaknesses:    low BB clearance, clunky rear brain sound, silly price

Bottom Line:   
This is by far the best XC 29er I've ever ridden. Fast, fast, fast. Accelerates both up and down the trail perfectly. Amazing control and handling.

Expand full review >>

Purchased At:   private seller

Similar Products Used:   Pivot Mach 429 with full XTR and stans rims/CK hubs

Bike Setup:   Sram XX, Roval carbon wheels

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by cyclingmagnet

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2012

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)

Bottom Line:   
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.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JR a Weekend Warrior from Placerville

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...

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   used

Similar Products Used:   santa cruz superlight, giant anthem 29ers


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by donlaforet 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


Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   Ellsworth Epiphany

Bike Setup:   180 mm front disc, XO rear der, Twist shifter front der

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by onza a Racer 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.

Bottom Line:   
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!!!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   2010 S-Works Epic 26er

Bike Setup:   Stock set up except for replacing saddle and grips

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by jplamere1 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.....

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fisher Creek Trail

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $9000.00

Purchased At:   Eriks

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Scalpel, Hardtail Stumpjumper 26"

Bike Setup:   Stock, carbon Roval wheels, XTR

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by H8rain a Racer 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.

Weaknesses:    Price.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Poison Spyder - Moab

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $9500.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Sport Shop

Similar Products Used:   26 epic comp

Bike Setup:   Factory XTR setup with tubeless conversion.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $9900.00

Purchased At:   WEBIKE

Bike Setup:   Standard but swopped brakes for Shimano XTR M985 brakes

Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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