Strengths: Fast enough to race and can hold it’s own for all mountain use.
Weaknesses: Brain is good, but sometimes it was unpredictable and left me wondering if it was doing its job. The brain also requires maintenance every 100-150 hours, which is more than twice a year for me!
2013 Comp Alloy Lg. I owned this bike for 7 months and averaged about 50 miles/week; it was the bike that got me serious about riding and xc racing and it was my first 29er. Coming off a 26” Stumpjumper I immediately felt like I was cheating when I got on this bike. It weighed about the same (28lbs w pedals) and it was infinitely faster and it never felt “big” to me compared to my 26”. This bike is up for racing and I could take it on the most technical trails we have in Texas. It took a little time and trial and error getting the shock/forks dialed in and learning on how/when to adjust the brain for each trail, but once I did the bike handled anything I through at it.
I ended up selling the bike because I am more interested in racing right now so went carbon hardtail, but I could see an Epic in my garage again. Probably go carbon next time though.
Strengths: Climbing, descending and everything in between. Feels light and nimble like a much lighter bike yet it stays stable and planted over gnarly terrain like a much heavier bike. The steering is lightning quick. The bike just gives you a ton of confidence to push your limits.
Weaknesses: This is not a fault of the bike but coming from a Stumpjumper FSR with a stock low-rise bar and going to the flat bar on the Epic, I am bent over a little too far in more of a racing position (which the bike is meant for) and I noticed my lower back hurt a bit more than usual after the ride. I will experiment with the stem to see if just raising it a bit makes a difference. The one thing that I wish was not true about this bike is that you're supposed to send the Brain in to Specialized every 100-150 hours and you're without your ride for 7-10 days and it costs somewhere around $150 I'm told. I guess if that's the additional price for admission, I'm obviously willing to pay.
This review is for a 2012 Epic Comp 29 and I just took it out for the first ride today after getting a great deal on a leftover model from my LBS. I am so glad that I purchased this bike. It is everything I hoped it would be. I rode on trails that I know like the back of my hand from riding a Rockhopper 26 there for one year and a Stumpjumper FSR 26 for 1 2/1 years. The trails fall into more of an all mountain category. Lots of rocks, roots, some very, very fast downhills and some brutal uphill climbs along with a little bit of technical, tighter areas. It's a fantastic place to get a really good feel for what a bike's capabilities, strengths and weaknesses are.
Descending: This is where I was most impressed although I initially feared that I would really miss the extra travel of my Stumpy. I did not. The bike is definitely a little stiffer up front but it soaks up whatever you throw at it and never gets off line. If you have the guts to plow through some rougher sections pretty fast, the bike will not waver one bit. I could not believe it. I'm not saying huck it off big drops- I'm sure you'll bottom the suspension out- but the front fork and the 29" tires do an amazing job of getting you through some gnarly trail.
Climbing: One thing that stood out to me is the front end does not wander. My Stumpy was tough to keep pointed straight sometimes on the steeper sections. Even on tight, ascending switchbacks the bike held the line beautifully. The 29" wheels/tires roll over roots, rocks and ledges much, much better than my 26 and keep the momentum going- which resulted in less fatigue. The lighter weight made a difference here as well, as did the Brain keeping the rear end planted. I did spin out on a wet root going up a pretty hard section and that sucked but the Renegade rear tire is pretty slick. Not sure if a more aggressive tread would have helped but it couldn't have hurt.
Cornering: The steering is so quick on this bike it's hard to believe. It feels every bit as flickable as my 26 Stumpy. It holds a line around sweeping corners and berms b/c the front end doesn't feel like it's going to wash out like the Stumpy did sometimes. Perhaps the rider's forward position and flat bars increase this stability.
Overall: I could not be more pleased. I ordered a set of Roval Control Carbon 29 wheels for it and I can't wait to get those on when they come in and see how it affects all of the above. I can't imagine the bike riding even better but that's what I've read and heard nice wheels will do from so many people. If you're considering buying this bike, I can highly recommend it and think it lives up to the hype and then some.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Rockhopper
Specialized Stumjumper FSR
Bike Setup: Bone stock
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2012
Strengths: Quickest FSR, up and down the mountain I've ridden. Brain when set right adds the extra firmness on climbs and only engages when you need it. Nice big wheels and stiff light frame eat up the trails and smallish drop-offs.
Weaknesses: None yet
I've been looking to pull the trigger on a 29er from my Trance X2 26er for a few months as my mates are eating me up on the climbs. I originally had my eyes on the Giant anthem X1 (albeit the colour scheme is horrendous) and was prepped to have a test ride, but the staff at my Giant LBS were pretty unresponsive so i walked out. I'm thankful that I did as I was put onto the Specialized Camber and Epic comp in the LBS across the road. I've test ridden both, and as amazed as I was with the big Camber, I decided to give the Epic a go before pulling the trigger. The Epic matches the Camber and raises the bar. Admittedly a little more expensive but you really do get what you pay for. This bike is fast, and I mean really fast. If you dont mind a slightly rougher ride on the flat stuff the trade off is worth it. And if you add the brain shock into the equation the call to spend a little bit more is a no-brainer.... Or a brainer if you're into bad puns. Love the sound of the brain kicking in as you eat up the rough stuff.
I was conscious of the trade off with 29ers and your ability/inability to descend but this bike is faster, sharper and grippier than my heavier, plusher trance 26 on the way down technical trails.
I've set PB's on grade 3 and 4 climbs on my first few rides and also on the 12km decent on the way home. This thing eats up everything I've thrown at it so far.
I ride a mixture of well formed SC switchback climbs and fast, occasionally rocky decents.
Love this bike.
Climbs without any pedal induced suspension bob. The new brain works faultlessly. Margura bikes work well with plenty of power. 29 inch wheels roll well and help to maintain speed.
Weaknesses: None really, could be a little lighter but I'm happy to have the extra strength after folding up my Pivot Mach 5 frame.
This is a great bike. If you are looking for a fast cross country full suspension 29 this should be on your list to test ride.
I was looking seriously at a Giant x29er due to their value for money and performance but I decided on the epic mostly due to the function of the brain rear shock and the balanced feel.
For me this was the better option. The epic is very flickable and handles well.
Strengths: speed, comfort, feel, high quality components
Weaknesses: not super light
I have this bike in the 2004 model. I got it used off of Craigslist. Less than a week ago I bought a 2011 Trek Superfly brand new and I like the Specialized better. I'm now trying to sell the Trek. If I'm able to sell the Superfly, I'm considering doing some upgrades on the Specialized but I'm not sure what needs improving. Rear derailer is XTR stock (at least on the 2004). Gotta love it. I'm convinced that I'm faster on this that the carbon 29er (Trek).
Similar Products Used: trek superfly , rumblefish.
a Cross Country Rider
from Pleasant Grove, Utah
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2012
Strengths: FAST & nimble! Amazing climber. I was impressed with the Brain.
Weaknesses: Haven't found any yet
I picked up the 2012 Epic Comp 29 as soon as it hit the shop. I had been researching several different bikes for my new race steed (Cannondale Scalpel 29, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Giant Anthem). I took as many of them out for a demo as I could. The Scalpel was a VERY close number 2. From the second I hopped on the Epic, it just felt like we were meant to be together.
I took it down the Bearclaw Poppy in St. George, Utah for it's first ride. I flew down the single track faster than I had ever before. Later on the trip in San Diego it made very technical climbs feel easy. I actually wanted to try hard long climbs just to see if I could do them. I even cleaned a hill that is infamous for being nearly impossible during a race down there. Another rider who witnessed it asked to try the bike out (not believing that the bike, not the operator was responsible) and came back stunned with a huge grin on his face. He swore he would be buying one for himself after he got paid again. Since I just have the alloy frame (and it STILL rocks) I can't imagine what the Carbon is like. Now I understand why everyone I talked to said, I can't go wrong with an Epic.
I can't wait for race season!!!
a Weekend Warrior
from Greenville, SC USA
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2011
Strengths: Light, Climbs like a dream, keeps begging for more!
Weaknesses: Its owner is holding it back.
I wanted to wait till the buyers honeymoon wears off before reviewing and that has finally happened.
I have taken this bike out on the trail several times and used it to cycle after work on the road to get some exercise on it. Obviously it is not made for the road, but locking out the suspension thanks to the brain makes it enjoyable.
Take it on the trail and it shows you immediately that this is where it belongs. It eats up root and rock gardens and gives a lot of confidence in the rider! I've gone through some hairy situations where i thought for sure my back wheel has taken too much of the brunt and the bike just keeps going, auto correcting a bad fish tail from over braking and so forth.
It honestly just plain out performs and delivers in all areas! A friend rented the Epic 29er Comp so I got to compare the two. The 29er got the nickname the "Tower" since between the two you felt much higher, however after about 20 minutes on the bike quickly got used to the feeling and performed exactly where a 29er should, including ground clearance of the same root/rock gardens. I PERSONALLY prefer the 26 from a control standpoint, since you feel much more "IN the bike" than "On-Top" like you do on a 29er, and for me that translates to pushing myself harder on the trail; a bit more adrenaline!
Fantastic bike that truly lives up to its 4.9+/5 reviews!!
Similar Products Used: Trek Topfuel, Cannondale Rize, cannondale Scalpel
Bike Setup: only change, Specialized the captain Tires I love this tire
a Cross Country Rider
from Cha-Am Thailand
Date Reviewed: February 25, 2011
Strengths: Having been an avid cyclist most of my adult life in and around Mammoth Lakes California.. a daily rider from 35-60k I take it very seriously and this bike delivers to the max. It's carbon construction is unsurpassed with regards to weight, but it is not just that. The designers obviously paid a lot of attention to rider needs, as well as balance and function//It has it all. I have never before felt so strongly about a bike..to the extent that I would publicly comment about it..
Weaknesses: You must be a serious rider to max this bike out... but even the Weekend Warriors will fly on this rocket!
The bottom Line is this There is in my mind nothing that compares to this model Of Specialized bike. Anywhere.. anytime...
Bought this 2nd hand (2009 model) as my first FS bike. Just love it. It looks great, and rides even better. It weighs less than my old bike (Trek 4500), and soaks up all the bumps, while climbing really well. The rear shock really does what they claim!
I'm more into long cross country rides and a few races, so this bike suits me more than it would someone into DH or big drops. I'm always looking forward to getting out on it again.
Fast too - my first time out I took about 4 mins off my previous best time for my regular 20km loop.
Bike Setup: SRAM X9 and X7, DT Swiss 420, Purgatory front, crossmark rear, Elixir R SL, Fox RL 32, Shimano M540
a Cross Country Rider
from Corvallis, Oregon
Date Reviewed: December 19, 2010
Strengths: Sharp handling, good stability, and the brain.
Weaknesses: Steep downhills.
Overall, this is the best bike I have ever ridden. Why? With the 120mm fork, the bike handles much more precise than a Stumpjumper FSR, Blur LT, or a Motolite. If you are building this bike to be strictly a racer, then the stock 100mm fork is great.
The brain rear shock is outstanding. I never thought I would find a setup that I liked as well as VPP, or the Triad on the Stumpy, until now. The setup of the brain is definitely a personal thing and takes some experimentation to find what works best for you. For trail riding, I find that 7 click out still provides an efficient ride, but retains the plushness equal to a Stumpjumper FSR.
Bottom line: The Stumpjumper is designed to be the "do it all" bike in the Specialized lineup. However, I think the Epic is a better overall package after putting the 120mm fork on it because of the improved handling characteristics.
Similar Products Used: Blur XC, Blur LT, Titus Motolite, Giant Trance X, Stumpjumper FSR.
Bike Setup: Epic Comp with Crossmax SLR wheels, Carbon Cranks, Carbon Bars, Fox Float32 120mm fork, Bontrager 2.2 front tire.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2010
Strengths: Suspension avant très bien concue. La suspension arrière travaille très bien, quand ont monte une cote la suspension de bouge pas pour nous aider a pédaler sans perdre de puissance. J'utilise un Small et je le trouve trouve le cadre très agressif
Weaknesses: Les pneux devrais être a repensé. Ils travaillent très mal en forêt.
Pour quelqu'un qui recherche un vélo très rapide en montagne, sur route et en forêt je vous conseille ce vélo. Très bon rapport qualité prix!
Bike Setup: Stock avec un pneu arrière Maxxis Cross+Mark
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 5, 2010
Strengths: Without a doubt the brain.I ride the 29'er which is forgiving to start with but the suspension on this bike allows me to stay in the saddle and crank which is what it's all about.
Weaknesses: Only weakness about this product is the rider!
The Epic Comp 29er is a great bike in my opinion.As I stated I'm 51yrs.old and this bike has allowed me to ride like I never thought I could ride again.It is strong,reliable,smooth& so much fun.I'm even thinking of racing in 2011.It would be very hard to be better than this bike!