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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll be able to get a grassroots deal this year so I will be purchasing a new bike. Looking at the spec's, I am obviously more interested in the new Epic Marathon 29 vs the Expert 29. Don't think they are available right now but just looking at the spec sheets, what are your opinions on the additional cost vs the Expert? My first thought is if I am going to spend around the $3500-$4000 or so on an Expert, I might just spend the extra $1500 - $2000 or so to upgrade. I have no interest on spending the money on an S-Works.

Cant' believe I would ever spend this much on a bike :eekster:
 

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I just came from the local Specialized dealer and got to see the spec sheet on the SJ hardtail marathon. I was quite impressed with the components. My only worry are the carbon wheels because I am right at the 240 weight limit.
 

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The Expert is still the best bang for the buck IMHO. But I'm actually just being jealous because I've got the 2012 one and I've just "Marathonized" it with Roval Control SL....:rolleyes:
I would suggest you to do like I did : get the Expert and enjoy it for a year for what it is(carbon crank,brain fork, a great bike),then next year splurge on a good set of wheels :thumbsup:
 

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The 2013 Epic Marathon 29er specs are fairly mixed. It has carbon seat stays, carbon rims, carbon handlebar, SRAM X-0 gripshift and a SRAM X-0 front derailleur. It also has the S-Works version of the Rock Shox Sid 29 brain fork cartridge with the brain dial on top of the fork leg, although without the carbon steerer on the fork.

2013 Specialized Epic | Mountain Bike Review

Many of the other components are all about cost cutting though.

A rough example of how you could use the $1500 - $2000 USD saving from buying the cheaper 2013 Epic Expert 29er for upgrades would be something like this:

Rebuild the stock Roval alloy wheels using light-bicycle.com carbon rims. The ERD is close enough that you can re-use the original spokes. $366 USD including shipping

Light-Bicycle.com carbon fibre rims

Ritchey WCS C260 stem $101 USD
Wiggle | Ritchey WCS C260 Stem

Ritchey carbon WCS 10D flat bar $180 USD
Wiggle | Ritchey WCS Carbon Flat MTB Handlebar - 10 Degree

Thomson Elite seatpost $101 USD
Wiggle | Thomson Elite Setback Seat Post

Specialized Romin Pro saddle $150 USD
Specialized Romin Saddle

Add to that your choice of grips and tyres to suit your riding conditions and those changes would come to roughly $1000 USD, for a bike that's cheaper but also lighter and arguably better specced than the stock 2013 Epic Marathon 29er.:)
 

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This is a long thread with lots of user feedback about the carbon rims.:)

http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-components/cheap-chinese-carbon-rims-673410.html

I'm using the narrow 29er light-bicycle.com carbon rims at the moment. The 3k matte finish carbon rim looks a lot like a Roval Control SL 29 carbon rim but is more understated without the red decals of the Roval Control SL 29 wheel. I think the plain black rim goes better with the black/white colour scheme of a 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er than the Roval red.

I've had the rims on since 27 March 2012 with no issues so far. The carbon rims do pick up stone chips but the external 3k carbon weave is just a cosmetic layer so it doesn't affect the strength of the rim.

Pictured below: My 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er with light-bicycle.com carbon rims. It also has Ritchey bars and stem, Thomson Elite seatpost and a Specialized Romin Pro saddle. The fork lowers are switched to 15mm thru axle and the rear brain shock is updated to the Kashima coated version.

Cosmetic stone chips on the light-bicycle.com 3k carbon matte finish rims
 

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Kashima coated shock

Did you get your LBS to order in the kashima brain shock for you?
what was the wait time for one? Also how much did the replacement cost you?

This is a long thread with lots of user feedback about the carbon rims.:)

I'm using the narrow 29er light-bicycle.com carbon rims at the moment. The 3k matte finish carbon rim looks a lot like a Roval Control SL 29 carbon rim but is more understated without the red decals of the Roval Control SL 29 wheel. I think the plain black rim goes better with the black/white colour scheme of a 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er than the Roval red.

I've had the rims on since 27 March 2012 with no issues so far. The carbon rims do pick up stone chips but the external 3k carbon weave is just a cosmetic layer so it doesn't affect the strength of the rim.

Pictured below: My 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er with light-bicycle.com carbon rims. It also has Ritchey bars and stem, Thomson Elite seatpost and a Specialized Romin Pro saddle. The fork lowers are switched to 15mm thru axle and the rear brain shock is updated to the Kashima coated version.

Cosmetic stone chips on the light-bicycle.com 3k carbon matte finish rims
 

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I just came from the local Specialized dealer and got to see the spec sheet on the SJ hardtail marathon. I was quite impressed with the components. My only worry are the carbon wheels because I am right at the 240 weight limit.
Depending on how you ride the Roval SL carbon wheels will hold your weight. I'm usually 235-240 without gear and have been on them for two seasons with zero issues. Guessing around 2500-3000 miles on them so far. Those are actual mountain miles also (I live in Colorado). They have been my training and racing wheels. I've done several 100 milers on them including the Breckenridge 100 which is a very difficult course not only physically but technically. I can't wait for the 2013's to come out to buy a second set. :thumbsup:
 

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This is a long thread with lots of user feedback about the carbon rims.:)

http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-components/cheap-chinese-carbon-rims-673410.html

I'm using the narrow 29er light-bicycle.com carbon rims at the moment. The 3k matte finish carbon rim looks a lot like a Roval Control SL 29 carbon rim but is more understated without the red decals of the Roval Control SL 29 wheel. I think the plain black rim goes better with the black/white colour scheme of a 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er than the Roval red.

I've had the rims on since 27 March 2012 with no issues so far. The carbon rims do pick up stone chips but the external 3k carbon weave is just a cosmetic layer so it doesn't affect the strength of the rim.
Good to hear - I'm looking at their AM 29er rim to complement my SL's (I've got a 2 week MTB epic that I'm planning for at the moment). What hubs did you get them to build with the rims? Novatech?
 

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Speaking of the uglish Roval Control SL red decals : can they be removed ??? I bet that would void warranty...


Great imput for the "stone chipping" thing and the carbon texture look WR04,it would have been something I would be worry about :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Pictured below: My 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er with light-bicycle.com carbon rims. It also has Ritchey bars and stem, Thomson Elite seatpost and a Specialized Romin Pro saddle. The fork lowers are switched to 15mm thru axle and the rear brain shock is updated to the Kashima coated version.
What does your bike weight now?
 

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I'll be able to get a grassroots deal this year so I will be purchasing a new bike. Looking at the spec's, I am obviously more interested in the new Epic Marathon 29 vs the Expert 29. Don't think they are available right now but just looking at the spec sheets, what are your opinions on the additional cost vs the Expert? My first thought is if I am going to spend around the $3500-$4000 or so on an Expert, I might just spend the extra $1500 - $2000 or so to upgrade. I have no interest on spending the money on an S-Works.

Cant' believe I would ever spend this much on a bike :eekster:
Help an ignorant brother out: what is a Grassroots deal?
 

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I'll be able to get a grassroots deal this year so I will be purchasing a new bike. Looking at the spec's, I am obviously more interested in the new Epic Marathon 29 vs the Expert 29. Don't think they are available right now but just looking at the spec sheets, what are your opinions on the additional cost vs the Expert? My first thought is if I am going to spend around the $3500-$4000 or so on an Expert, I might just spend the extra $1500 - $2000 or so to upgrade. I have no interest on spending the money on an S-Works.

Cant' believe I would ever spend this much on a bike :eekster:
I'm going against the grain here and voting for the higher spec Marathon. While it's probably true that you could buy the lower spec Expert and swap individual components to save a couple hundred dollars and/or reduce weight by a few ounces, this process will take a fair bit of time and effort. Personally, I'd rather spend the time riding.

Just my $0.02.

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of full disclosure, I was also deciding between the Marathon and Expert... I ended up going with the Marathon. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm going against the grain here and voting for the higher spec Marathon. While it's probably true that you could buy the lower spec Expert and swap individual components to save a couple hundred dollars and/or reduce weight by a few ounces, this process will take a fair bit of time and effort. Personally, I'd rather spend the time riding.

Just my $0.02.

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of full disclosure, I was also deciding between the Marathon and Expert... I ended up going with the Marathon. ;)
Thanks for the input.
 

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I also decided to order the marathon. Specialized carbon wheels that come on the Marathon also have a lifetime warranty. The new XO grip shift, etc.

I have a 2012 Expert and spent almost $2000 upgrading componets that are comparable to the new marathon. However, I also get a team discount that gives me an incentive to purchase the bike whole versus upgrading componets.
 

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Good to hear - I'm looking at their AM 29er rim to complement my SL's (I've got a 2 week MTB epic that I'm planning for at the moment). What hubs did you get them to build with the rims? Novatech?
I bought the rims individually. They were built into a Powertap rear hub and Extralite Hyperfront front hub. The front wheel is fairly broken after my biggest crash for a few years last Saturday though.

http://forums.mtbr.com/9616126-post164.html

My right foot going through the front wheel broke the DT Super Comp spokes but the carbon rim and hub flanges still seem to be ok so I'm hoping it can just be rebuilt. It was a really odd impact though.

The kashima coated rear shock was surprisingly reasonably priced. It was originally going to be just the shaft of the original grey shock swapped over. As there weren't any in stock they sent an entire shock for the price of the kashima shaft and a shock service. (I think it was £60 + £125+ postage).

My bike as pictured above isn't that light due to having a Powertap hub, Shimano Deore XT triple chainset and custom crank fitted. If you look through this thread you can get an idea of how much to expect a 2012 Specialized Epic Expert to weigh. The stock 2013 Epic Expert is probably a bit lighter.

http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/2012-epic-expert-carbon-29er-weight-765038.html

Pictured below: The broken spokes in my front wheel after crashing when my right foot came unclipped from the SPD pedal, flew forwards and became trapped between the wheel and fork leg on Saturday. Ouch.
 

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