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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a new bike and narrowed it down to an Epic or a new Pivot Mach 4 SL . (I can get a very good deal on the Pivot, not considering Blur or others.) I don't need a long travel bike as I ride mostly in Ventura County and do long races like the Epic series of races. No jumps or enduro stuff. I like the 120 on the Pivot but don't really need it. I have long wanted an Epic but I'm concerned about the horror stories I hear about the Brain failing. I'd put a dropper post on the Epic; the Pivot comes with one. Your feedback would be appreciated.
 

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I have 2018 Epic. I ran it for most of 2018 as with a fixed seat post. I did Breck Epic with a dropper. Love it more with a dropper. I use Fox 32 SC fork rather than the Reba it came with or Sid Brain. The bike 23.2 lbs. I in the rear I love the brain when it works. However I am on my 4th brain-shock unit (3 failures), but all have been covered under warranty. My shop has made this an easy process, but it is still a pain, but only one was an issue that made riding not possible. The other two failures just turned the bike from a super efficient climber to "ok". I have no experience with new Pivot, but compared to the older Pivot the Epic is lighter and more efficient.

So far I have 2837 miles on my Epic since March 2018 including 2 Breck Epic stage races, Couple Epic Series rides, couple 24 hour team races and 1 24 hour solo, 6-7 "sprint" XC races as well as many 5-8 hour back country rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So far I have 2837 miles on my Epic since March 2018 including 2 Breck Epic stage races, Couple Epic Series rides, couple 24 hour team races and 1 24 hour solo, 6-7 "sprint" XC races as well as many 5-8 hour back country rides.
Wow! That's a lot of miles on a mountain bike! I usually run 6-900 miles a year on the MTB and 4-5,000 on the road bike. Need to put more miles on the MTB. Thanks for the input. Can't find many Epics in stock in SoCal right now.
 

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I'd narrowed my decision down to the same two bikes you have. Was fortunate enough to demo both bikes on the same trail. (not the same day though) Long story short... The Pivot provided a plushness that I preferred over the Epic. The plushness also provided better traction as an end result. The Epic was a nice bike but the brain just didn't dampen initial hits like the Mach 4 SL did(Non Live-Valve Version). The plusher ride of the Pivot didn't noticeably sacrifice pedaling efficiency either. I believe the Pivot would suit a wider range of riders/terrain from my experience.

Before the demo I was fully prepared to hand over my credit card to our local Pivot dealer. Had the model picked out and everything. Just wanted to confirm before I pulled the trigger. By the end of the ride I couldn't justify the "value" of the purchase as it didn't seem the new Mach 4 SL was significantly better for me than my current Mach 429SL. Please keep in mind I'm from the mid-west and much of our trails are tighter and don't have the long descents that other areas of the country do. The new Mach 4SL was awesome but the slacker head tube angle just made me a little leary. I still think my next purchase will be a Mach 4 SL(or Scott Spark) but I'll probably look at a 100mm fork to help tighten things up.

If I was purchasing a new bike and didn't have one currently to ride the Mach 4SL would be my pick.

I rode both versions. Live valve and non-live valve equipped bikes. Live valve was cool but I just see that technology evolving rapidly over the next couple years and I think whats currently being sold is going to be obsolete real soon and costly to maintain. Just my two cents....

Best of luck with your decision.
 

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I have several buddies with the current EPIC, seems to be the rear brain is good for 2000-2500 miles before it blows out. Most shops down here are carrying rebuilt spares to swap so you don't have the 3-4 week down time like you did with the last generation EPIC sometimes.

If I were buying, the ONLY reason I wouldn't get the Mach 4 SL is if I needed 2 bottle cages. Otherwise it's a better bike for me (though I'm sticking with my '18 Top Fuel 9.9 for the forseeable future).
 

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One thing I do like about my Epic is the packing. I can get 2 bottles and swat box in my medium frame. That packaging is good and when I do long rides (5-8hrs) with no water stop I can carry 100 oz camelbak and another 45 oz on the bike. Or for shorter rides just 2 bottles. The Epic also has a threaded Bottom bracket. Pretty easy to change if needed.

Tire Bicycle tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle wheel rim

Bicycle tire Tire Bicycle frame Wheel Bicycle wheel rim
 

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I've already made up my mind on the Pivot for me, although my wallet is still undecided. Your comments drive home my desire to leave the live valve and brain alone. At your failure rate in miles I would be hitting my 6th brain failure this year already. I really do hope the Fox system is robust and reliable and it steers the industry in a better direction than the brain technology.
 

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No proprietary brain=winner.

Efficiency of XC short travel bikes doesn't matter much where lockouts are used on all the smooth terrain and climbs.
 

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I went through the same process recently as I decided between the 4 SL and Epic. I am a spesh guy and have two S works. I ended up going with the Pivot. The reason was that I did not want the brain and I liked that Pivot had more build options. Having been riding the pivot now for 1 month, I could not be more happy. The full lock out is great. Also, I went with the 34 120mm fork. This was a hard decision as I thought I wanted the more XC world class race with the 32. Dude, so happy I went with the slacker head angle and longer travel fork. I still love spesh but do not want the brain (I have had it before) on either the fork or rear.
 

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Pigeon1-

How does the bike climb on super steeps compared to the sworks and how does it handle normal, medium level single track riding compared.
I have a 5 year old Jet nine carbon and am considering a new MTB for next year.
Looking for something for trail riding and endurance racing so want resonably light, and climbs well.
 

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No proprietary brain=winner.

Efficiency of XC short travel bikes doesn't matter much where lockouts are used on all the smooth terrain and climbs.
Agree with the point above in regards to using lock-out a lot. After owning three S-Works Epics over the years including a 2018, I too will be looking elsewhere for my next FS XC bike. The Epics are great bikes but I can no longer justify the hassle of having to facilitate the Brain fork to Specialized for service on top of the top dollar price for the bikes. I really liked my old Scott Spark with Twin-Lock as a Brain alternative. I would switch from mid to locked out dozens of times in a ride. Heck even if I have to reach down to flick a lever I would prefer this over the Brain and all the expense and complexity that goes along with a proprietary system like this. I'm looking at a Sniper, Spark or Canyon Lux as my next FS race bike. I would like to Demo a Mach 4 as I have never rode one.
 

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Agree with the point above in regards to using lock-out a lot. After owning three S-Works Epics over the years including a 2018, I too will be looking elsewhere for my next FS XC bike. The Epics are great bikes but I can no longer justify the hassle of having to facilitate the Brain fork to Specialized for service on top of the top dollar price for the bikes. I really liked my old Scott Spark with Twin-Lock as a Brain alternative. I would switch from mid to locked out dozens of times in a ride. Heck even if I have to reach down to flick a lever I would prefer this over the Brain and all the expense and complexity that goes along with a proprietary system like this. I'm looking at a Sniper, Spark or Canyon Lux as my next FS race bike. I would like to Demo a Mach 4 as I have never rode one.
I upgraded the brain fork to the Current damper with remote or manual lockout for 200 bucks.

I am all for not having to deal with the brain rear shock though. Only own one if you have multiple mountain bikes.
 
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