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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm ready to make this decision in the next week and place my order. I have decided that the epic 29er is my next bike...and will need two since my wife and I both race. We both race 2008 Stumpy and Safire S-Works now and want to go 29er. One now and the other in the spring.

Money is a deciding factor in this but I don't want to have any regrets either.

My question is should I buy the S-Works frame and do a build or go with the Expert complet bike. My S-Works frame build up would consist of XO componets, stans or Roval E5's wheels, and cheaper brakes...total estimated cost provided I get 20% the frame would be around $6500-$7k for an S-Works build. Basically the build would equal similiar componets as the expert other than the frame. I would throw in a few upgrades such as XTR cassette and SWorks cranks.

The expert with 10% off MSRP and upgrading shifters and bars would come out to around $5600.

The more I look at this, the Expert appears to be the better buy unless the S-Works frame and carbon steer tube are worth the extra $1000+. I'm kinda leaning towards the S-Works build for my wife since she will ride a small frame and need other parts for a proper fit anyway. Then do the expert for me.

...and there is also the option of grabbing a used 2011 S-Works factory build for under $6k during the winter months.
 

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I have a 2012 Epic Expert and love it. I've always ridden S-Works road bikes, but the Epic is my first Specialized MTB. With some reasonably inexpensive part swapping as well as going tubeless, you can get the Expert into the 23+# range (without pedals) for a medium. Still not as light as the S-Works, but light enough to be a fantastic bike.

I'm not sure how much of a disadvantage the alloy rear triangle is on the Expert, but my bike is plenty stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a 2012 Epic Expert and love it. I've always ridden S-Works road bikes, but the Epic is my first Specialized MTB. With some reasonably inexpensive part swapping as well as going tubeless, you can get the Expert into the 23+# range (without pedals) for a medium. Still not as light as the S-Works, but light enough to be a fantastic bike.

I'm not sure how much of a disadvantage the alloy rear triangle is on the Expert, but my bike is plenty stiff.
...and for a Cat 2 racer maybe wife going Cat 1 in next year...I don't see the justified exspense. Other than the S-Works in Red/blk/Wht matches our team colors.
 

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3 of our shop staff ride and race the 2012 Expert, even with staff prices, we can't justify the near double price of the S-Works, plus I think it helps when we're selling bikes to Joe Average to show that we can win and place in races without the top of the range equipment
 

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The Hutch
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3 of our shop staff ride and race the 2012 Expert, even with staff prices, we can't justify the near double price of the S-Works, plus I think it helps when we're selling bikes to Joe Average to show that we can win and place in races without the top of the range equipment
I'm also in the industry, However My Specialized rep said I Can't EP a Expert tell 2012?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't nailed down a price yet but my LBS has an Expert in stock in the correct size. I have it on hold till I put some trail time on a 29er epic. They are loaning me a Epic comp with edge carbon wheels to ride for the weekend.

My LBS will only give me 10% off an SWorks framset, so the Expert will be about $2k less than a SW build. I think Specialized finally listened to us and made some nice upgrades to the stock Expert keeping me from needing to upgrade much. If an factory Sworks was $2500 more than the expert then I'd get it...but the Expert looks like the much better buy.

New shifter, bar, FD and seatpost...you're set.
 

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I dropped 7oz off of my 2012 Expert by going to a Thomson Masterpiece post (I needed a 0 offset post anyway) and using a Toupe saddle I'd taken off one of my road bikes. The FD is an X7, but it works flawlessly, and I think it is only a few grams heavier than XX.

I have no idea what the stock bar weighs, but I am assuming that you would replace it for a lighter bar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ended this debate with myself today and purchased a new 2012 Epic Expert for my wife today as a Christmas present. We ride together a lot so I have a good idea on how she rides. We took it out on a trail behing the LBS to test ride it. I brought my bike so I could ride with her and when he hit our first step short climb, I slowed to down to look behind me to see how she cleared the hill on the 29er. She flew right up the hill, passed me and took off. I was breaking a sweat keeping up with her and could tell she wasn't working as hard as I was on my 26er.

After a mile or so, I rode the epic and all it took was a couple hundred yards on the trail. Wow, this bike is fast and smooth. Shame I have to wait till after Christmas to get mine.

I'll be replacing bars and seatpost to drop some weight, XO shifters since it's what we have now, and probally an XTR cassette because they are so smooth, last a long time, and lighter. Not overly impressed with the brakes...but will let shop work that out and warranty if neccessary.
 

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Yes, the Epic Expert is a smooth and fast bike, and I love mine. FWIW, my Formula front brake rotor had a bad vibration right from the start. After two rides, I took it to the Specialized dealer and he replaced the rotor with an Avid (at my expense). I called Specialized Customer Service and told them to prepare for problems, but maybe I just got a bad one? The rear rotor is fine and both brakes work great.
 

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GoCyco
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Epic with Formula brakes

Funny that you mention an issue with the brake rotors. My first few rides with the Epic Expert were pretty noisy events as the Formula brakes squealed like crazy. I read others were having the same experience with their Epic/Formulas and I read about all kinds of "fixes".

Well, here's something interesting. I recently swapped wheels and forks with another bike. The other bike had Avid Ultimate calipers and rotors. I only switched the wheels, along with the rotors, and the forks (cause one is a 20mm TA). Now the Epic has an Avid rotor and a Formula caliper, and the other bike has a Formula rotor and Avid caliper.

Conclusion: The Formula rotors are generating the squeal. The Avid rotor on the Epic with the Formula caliper is now quiet, and the Forumla rotor with the Avid caliper now squeals (it was quiet b4).

Hmmm.....Warped rotors? My back brake squeals as well with the Formula rotor. Is it possible that they both are faulty?
 

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When I talked with Specialized, they were not aware of any other problems, but I had one of the first 2012 Epic Experts. I wasn't aware that others have had problems. My front rotor was doing a lot more than squealing; there was a tremendous vibration that made the bike unrideable.

My rear Formula (and front Avid) rotor still squeals at times (mostly after getting wet), but that's pretty normal in my experience.
 

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It seems that I have made the right choice in purchasing the Epic Expert. Should have it by christmas but probably won't be able to ride it for a few months here in Canada.
Could not justify S works cost but wanted a bit better than the Comp Carbon
 

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It seems that I have made the right choice in purchasing the Epic Expert. Should have it by christmas but probably won't be able to ride it for a few months here in Canada.
Could not justify S works cost but wanted a bit better than the Comp Carbon
You wont be disappointed, i've had mine for a few weeks now and cant find anything to complain about, the bike is perfect. I would like it to be the same weight as the s-works, but 24.5 lbs isn't bad
 

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I’m thinking of retiring my 2007 Stumpjumper Pro and jumping into the 29er and carbon craze. I have my eye on the 2012 Epic Expert since I ride mostly fire roads and 4x4 trails and I don’t think I want, or need, the mega travel of the new Stumpys. To me the Epic has the potential to be a good trail bike if the brains are complacent. So my questions to those lucky few who already have one of these puppies; is it a good trail bike? how are the F1 brakes? and finally isn't the 24 low gear rather tall for trail riding.
 
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