Strengths: Fantastic race bike when it's not broken!!! Best climbing bike ever ridden and handles beautifully. However...
Weaknesses: This is the fourth warranty frame I have had since 2006. Three future shock inners and three rear shocks replacements (separate occasions), and two rear carbon triangles. I initially thought it was me, and then realized many other people have had similar issues.
Great bike when it works, however, it has been in parts for the better part of 2-3 months a year. Fortunately, Specialized always warranties the parts, however, it is unfortunate that their product requires constant replacing. Furthermore, international assistance is sluggish (to be kind), 3rd rate and unacceptable. I love the bike when it works, just be prepared to spend more time on the road bike :(
Strengths: Handles like on rais, climbs like a hard tail, descends WAY better than I expected, handles singletrack perfectly! Way light, stiff, agile...the PERFECT XC F/S race bike!
Weaknesses: ZERO weaknesses!
I can't believe the guy gave me this killer bike (couple months old) for the price, but...Thanks dude! This bike is intended to be a XC race bike...or a bike to use when you ride with your FAST buddies! I use my Pivot Mach 4 otherwise...Love both of them. The Epic with it's shock brain and fork brain do EXACTLY what they were built to do! The only problem I had were the Avid XX brakes which were quickly replaced under warranty...not the fault of Specialized. Also, I just leave the suspension in next to the firmest mode and never have to change it..."Set it and Forget it". Well done Specialized!!
Similar Products Used: Epic Expert, GT, Ellsworth and another favorite of mine...Pivot Mach 4
Bike Setup: Stock 2010 setup, except I have 2010 Mavic Crossmax SLR's and a Bontrage Evoke RXL saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from Fairfield, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: February 4, 2010
Strengths: Coolness factor, even after 3 years. Efficient FSR rear suspension, when the rear Brain shock is set correctly, this bike absolutely climbs either standing or sitting. Specialized really stands behind this carbon frame since its backed by a lifetime warranty.
Weaknesses: I really still can't find any after 3 years. Well maybe the original XTR rear 140mm rotor didn't provide as much braking power as I'd like.
Back in 2007 I decided to buy what I thought was the most efficient in rear suspension technology. 3 years later I'm still happy with how this bike climbs. 100mm of travel is great for XC, but I guess I'm on the more aggressive XC end, but the Epic gets it done. I like challenging super steep technical climbs where I need to stand to make it. The SWorks Epic's carbon frame is stiff allowing power to be delivered to that rear end. With the rear Brain set
just right this bike almost locks out the rear end when standing. I can still feel the rear end allowing small bump absorption. In fact I'm beginning to think this bike out climbs my hardtail titanium framed 29er, because of the efficient rear suspension. Inherently, it climbs well as a sit & spin'r. I really only feel that rear suspension bob a little when I'm in the big ring on the road going to & from the trails.
April of 2009 I rode the SWorks on the main trail of Moab. This was the ultimate test for the carbon frame, but Moab had nothing too hard for this bike. Even with the rear brain dialed about 2 clicks in from full SOFT the rear end never felt mushy with all that climbing. I usually ride with the Brain at full hard or 2 clicks out from full hard.
The overall ride & control really improved when I upgraded to the Ritchey WCS 10degree flat bar at 670mm width & SWorks Captain 2" tyres. I run the tyres at about 25# front & rear. This provides great overall traction & prevents pinch flats even at 190# full battle rattle. The ride would be even better if I went tubeless, which I just havn't taken the time to do yet. I'll use Caffe Latex from Mariposa Effetto, Stan's is ok, bad for the aluminum rims tho...
It's really a toss up which bike I want to ride/race, either my SWorks Epic or my Titus Fireline 29r. The Epic is the more comfortable of the 2 & probably faster when the trails get rough.
Next step, I'm going to run Ashima 160mm rotors to shave weight, as well as, a KMC 9SL gold Ti Nitrided chain. Maybe an Eriksen Ti seatpost, an Extralite stem, Extralite seatpost clamp to shave weight.
I was lookin to build a Titus titanium Rockstar 29r, but the SWorks is still great. So I'm going to save that project build money for a new Dodge truck! The SWorks will look great in the bed of the Ram.
Similar Products Used: circa 2002 Santa Cruz Heckler for work
Bike Setup: XTR drivetrain, Thomson cockpit, 2010 Ritchey 10degree flat bar 670mm width, Formula Oro K24 brakes with 160 rotors front & rear, WTB Silverado Team saddle, SWorks Captain 2" tyres, Crossmax SLR's (stock)
Oh yeah, Crank Brother's EggBeater SL's modified with Ward Industries Very Short Ti spindles; these are the absolute bomb! for lowered pedal Q.
Strengths: Light, well balanced, snappy, integrated XTR front derailleur, and stiffer steerer/ front suspension.
Weaknesses: None yet
The bottom line is Specialized as a company is amazing! I had a 2008 Epic and due to a crack in the bottom bracket they warrantied the frame and sent through an '09 loaded with a new carbon front fork, XTR derailleur, and rear brain (the turn around was 5 working days, and I live on a island in the middle of the pacific!!!). As you would expect; a company that produces carbon product should look after their customers and they really do!
The bike geometry is so similar to the previous 08 model that it fits almost the same. The feel of the bike, however is significantly different. The previous bikes were great; but the weight saving benefits from carbon rear triangle and steerer are noticable and I believe from the factory the bike is 2-3lbs lighter. This savings is huge and coupled with the stiff frame, what an improvement! The change in the brain shock location to under the top tube shifts the balance forward and evens out the front and rear, this will take a bit of getting used to, but should be alright.
Even though the wheelbase is only 6mm shorter it's noticeable around switch backs and speedy winding trails. I've yet to ride on super fast gravelly downhills, but sure that'll be good too. The increased maneuverability could also be attributed to the stiffer oversized headtube and steerer. I'm also super stoked with the integrated XTR front derailleur; it's so much smoother than the previous set up.
All is all amazed with the Epic and with Specialized, they really look after their clients and riders!!!
Similar Products Used: 2008 Epic S-Works
2007 Epic S-Works
Bike Setup: Futureshock E100 front fork/ brain
Brain rear shock
XO shifters and rear derailleur
XTR front derailleur, cassette, chain, cranks
a Cross Country Rider
from castle rock,CO, USA
Date Reviewed: December 13, 2008
Strengths: Light, good looks, components that just work
Weaknesses: Brake noise
Rode a Trek 9800 carbon hardtail in the 90's and loved that bike. Built a custom GT LTS 2000 in late 90's. Loved the full suspension, but not the weight. Pined for a fully suspended carbon bike then saw the 08 epic carbon and it was love at first sight. Found a close-out 08 at good price, still expensive but even from the first ride in the parking lot sold me, the bike just felt right. Rode it in the fall of 08 about 3 to 4 time per week. Verdict, I love this bike. Fast, quick, point and shoot agility, climbs like a hard tail. Ridden allot of tight single track this fall and can't wait for spring to get it on some fire roads as this bike flies. Bottom line, if you can find one left buy it as the 09 is listed at 8800 bucks. Best bike I have ever ridden.
Similar Products Used: epic sworks 2004, turner flux
Bike Setup: thompson masterpiece seatpost, monkey lite sl bar, avid ultimate brakes, XO gripshifters, XO rear derailleur XTR front derraileur, mavic slr rims, stan no tubs, continental speedking tires, slk gelflow carbon kit saddle, servicio corse 100 stem, zipp carbon bottle cage, manitou R7 fork
a Weekend Warrior
from Cape Town, South Africa
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2008
Strengths: I rode the Cape Epic on this bike. The Cape Epic is the largest stage mountain bike race in the world. It was 966km long with 18000m of climbing ridden over 9 days. The terrain ranges from dirt road to seriously hectic jeep track to single track. The bike performed flawlessly, I did not have one mechanical for the whole race. This is the best bike I have ever ridden, it is light, provides a solid climbing platform and is super fast downhill. Its precise handling saved my ass many times. I set the brain shock on the softest setting and there was still no bounce even when hammering out the saddle on climbs. The quality of the frame finish is very high and the bike still looks brand new even after all the training riding and nine intense days of racing. Even though the bike is a full racing rig it was still comfortable after 10 hours in the saddle. After all the riding it still gives me a thrill to ride it.
Weaknesses: The brain shock needed to be replaced due to a factory fault otherwise none.
A dream bike that has lived up to its pedigree. Best bike I have ever owned and ridden.
Similar Products Used: Gaint NRS, Gary Fisher Cake
Bike Setup: Mavic crossmax sl wheels, Maxxis UST tubless, full 2008 XT groupset (which also fantastic), Thompson masterpiece seat post, Fzik Gobi saddle
a Cross Country Rider
from North vancouver, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 20, 2008
Strengths: Light weight, Brain shock, stiffness, no vibrations!
Weaknesses: Layback seatpost prevents full drop. Magura brakes run
smoking hot, but no fading!
Superb racing bike. You can dance through the rock gardens
and ride 'hard tail' up the hills.
Kudos to Specialized switching from Shimano to Magura/SRAM.
Re weight, I don't see how you can get much below 24 lbs with pedals and decent tires.
Bike Setup: Stock except for Gravity Dropper seatpost (fantastic!) and
replaced the (useless) stock tires with Specialized Captain
2.0, the grippiest and lightest 2.0 tires I have ever had.
The superlight Roval wheels seem to take a beating without
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2008
Strengths: Weight and great set up
Weaknesses: The "Brain" has a low IQ it has been redone twice and now I have an 08 on it. The only issue is what to do when this part is out of production?
Ok I got a smoking deal on this bike and that is why I got it. Plus I was on a 34 lb bike and well... just could not get up the hills like the xc boys on a AM bike. So as i do little DH and more XC it was time to find a bike that would give me the best push, and try a 12 hour race. This bike is it. Some shops talk down on the bike, it cost to much.. other bikes have more bang for the buck. well i rode the yeti 575 carbon, and I dont like the seat post set up, and well the fire red color kinda did it for me to tell the truth. you have to like what you ride and not only can this bike ride well, shift well, climb, DH is ok, and jump well it is a looker. I am the kinda guy that will buy in a blind test what is best and you want a XC bike that is hands down the best I have ever been on well this is it..
Similar Products Used: Jamis xam, Enduro pro, yeti 575
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 4, 2008
Strengths: DREAM BIKE!!! This is one if the nicest bikes I have ever ridden. I have ridden & raced for 20 years, and the only other bike I have experienced in the same class was a Titus Racer X Exo Grid Titanium/Carbon Fiber, $9000. Fast, agile & responsive. Point & shoot. Simply a dream to ride. This bike handles like a hardtail, but is comfortable. Like riding your road bike on the trail.
Weaknesses: This baby ain't cheap. Also, the stock Roval wheelset could be upgraded. They're light, but for heavier riders, you may feel some flex & possible true issues. Fast Trak Tires are fast rolling for dry hard pack, but don't corner the best.
This is one Bad Mama Jama!!! Remember when you started riding bikes and had a dream bike...This is it! Climbs like a spider monkey, cuts like a blade through single track, and blasts like a rocket down XC courses...Holla
Similar Products Used: Titus Racer-X Exo Grid, Yeti ASR, Trek Fuel EX 8
Bike Setup: 2008 Carbon S-Works Epic. Shimano XTR crankset, front Dr and pedals, SRAM XO rear Dr & thumb rachet shifters, Marta Magura SL hydro disc brakes, Fox Float RLC front shock, Specialized Brain rear shock, Thompsom SL Elite stem, S-Works Carbon handle bar & stem, Specialized Phenom Saddle, OEM except uprgraded wheelset to Mavic Cross Maxx SL & ugraded tires to Continental Mountain King 2.2, ODI Rogue lock on grips.
a Cross Country Rider
from West Monroe, LA
Date Reviewed: December 28, 2007
Strengths: Amazing Everything! I am highly impressed with this bikes 21.8 pounds which is minus my Ti Crankbrother Eggbeaters. Top of the Line Components!
Weaknesses: Non, as of now except the high price! ;-(
I felt like I was floating on air when i made the transition to this bike and i noticed a big increase in my ride time! I ride at Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, LA 90% of the time and the trail is mainly Roots and Rolling hills. So being able to maintain contact with the trail is important to maintain speed on this trail. The S-Works does a great job! I am ready to race it this coming 2008 season in Xterra!
Similar Products Used: My first Full Suspension/Carbon. Previous bike was a 2006 Trek 6500 hard tail, which was a Great Beginner Bike! Highly Recommended also!
Bike Setup: 2008 S-Works Carbon Epic Disc Stock. See Specialized.com for the specs
a Cross Country Rider
from Visalia CA USA
Date Reviewed: November 12, 2007
Strengths: Ahh!! my 2008 Epic. Dreams do come true. Climbs great. I feel very confident when I am on this bike. Wherever I point the bike it goes.It is incredibly quick. After riding a Klein Rascal since 92 I was ready for a new bike. What a great transition to suspension for me.I have always liked technology and this bike is specked perfectly.
Weaknesses: I wish the seatpost clamp was a quickrelease. I guess they are worried about over torqueing the carbon components.There were warning stickers everywhere.
I was very fortunate to be able to get this bike.I am having a ball on this bike. If mountain biking is what you love to do.Find a way to get one. 23.5 lbs tubeless. It climbs,it corners,it absolutely is incredible coming down. My Old Klein was pink. No need to explain that this is not my wifes bike. Black, red and white. Looks fast. It is fast.Comfortable too.You will want to ride this bike alot.
Similar Products Used: Klein Rascal xtr complete with RockShox mag 21 if this is even a comparison.
Bike Setup: Stock. Who would want to change anything on this Bike
from Medicine Hat, AB, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 6, 2007
Strengths: Weight, awesome geometry, nice aggresive ride. Fox rear shock works well for me when set up correctly.
Weaknesses: Rear derailler cable was not routed correctly from Specialized factory so was sitting on frame rather than guide, S**t pedals, but understand that's a preference, XTR dual controls take some getting used to. Stock Fastrak tubeless tires=too wide for my liking.Not sure how available it is to upgrade to the FSR rear shock if wanted to. Retailers- what a bunch of a*sf**ks sometimes.
THis is one sweet ride. I thrive on climbing and this only helped me. If set up right power transfer is unbelievable. Can still tell a difference between classis Hadrtails but I definitely could not descend like this. I ride hard,and I can tell that this bike and wheelset will hold up. I've ridden my bud's aluminum and if you have the money stick with the carbon.
Similar Products Used: Nothing really. Old school hardtailer for the majority of XC trails in western Canada that I have been riding for the past 15 years.
Bike Setup: 2006 Epic S-Works size Large, XTR dual control, thompson post and stem, crossmax SL wheels, kool stop pads, XTR pedals,
from Canberra, Australia
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2007
Strengths: Light, well built, strong, fantastic geometry, suspension second to none, looks
Weaknesses: Zip, Zero, Ziltch... Nadda
Decided to take the plunge and buy an S-works Epic Carbon frame and build the bike myself to my own specifications. This has just added to the rewarding experience that is - Riding an S-Works Epic!!
This thing feels strong, confident, and capable no matter what the situation. The geometry allows for a very aggressive riding position, or a slightly more relaxed position, but no matter what, you feel like you're on a true thoroughbred.
The carbon frame soaks up all the small bumps, without feeling saggy, the suspension does a hell of a job on the rest! Out of the saddle climbing feels just like being on a hard tail - no peddle bob at all. Descending the bike sticks to the ground and loves to be thrown around under your body.
A truly amazing ride... If I don't upgrade to another S-works, i think I'll be on this one for a long time.
Similar Products Used: 03 Epic Comp, Giant Anthem, Cannondale Rush
Bike Setup: Mavic Crossmax SL tubeless, SRAM X0 Shifters & rear derailleur, & XGen front derailleur, XTR Crank & BB, Avid Juicy Carbon brakes, Rock Shox Reba World Cup forks, Easton EC90 carbon flat bar, Race Face Stem
a Cross Country Rider
from Longwood, FL
Date Reviewed: June 28, 2007
This bike simply works! I rode Mills River in NC and rode some trail that was borderline dangerous and this bike is simply the most forgiving and finest handeling bike I have ever ridden. If you can afford one, go for it. This bike works. I also have been on the technical trail of Clemson and this bike eats it up. I had an older epic and it was nice but this thing rocks. All smiles from me so far. Just hope I don't crash and crack the carbon. We'll see. Get one and enjoy!