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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering a new bike and have been fascinated by specialized epics for the past couple years. I have a chance to pick up an 08 Epic Expert for a pretty good deal. My only hesitation, besides justifying/explaining the purchase to my wife, is hearing that this bike is built more for shorter races and beats a person up on long rides (6 hours+) due to the fact that it rides more like a hardtail. The bike I have now isn't great but has treated me well. My fuel ex is few years old, heavy (almost 30 lbs), and getting to the point where I'm wearing out parts or breaking them faster then I can replace them. I'm an average sized guy looking to do some endurance races this year along with a few regular/short races. I have demoed this bike (and other epics) around the parking lot and like it, but its hard to tell if I'd like it after I'm 9 hours into a long ride. If anyone has experience with the Epics and long rides/races would you please share your opinion?
 

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I love my 03 S-work Epic (27lbs) , last two years I was racing eight 24 hour races duo class (every year four races) with my budy who owns 07 Epic comp (26lbs). We both changed forks - mine is 130mm RS Recon (coil,heavy but cheap) and my budy has Fox Talas 140 RLC fork to make our rides more comfortable. My bike is old so I had to replace almost all components because I am putting lots of miles on it every year , my budy had to replace seat, seatpost , link on frame (crack after 1/2 year) - Specialized took care of his problems with no charge, he also replaced wheelset (original DT wheelset was heavy). Again we love our bikes and we never finished worst than 9th place.Do not forget that during long races you will put a lot of stress on bike components - 2008 24hour of BigBear we were riding sometimes knee deep mud and only way to clean our bikes was pressure washer. Last 24 hour of Moab was sand storm - I found sand in every impossible spot on my bike later. Buy lots of asscream and ride hard , if you can buy Epic for good price and you like this bike , I would go for it. One more think - I would not buy this bike if you are heavier (like 200lbs +) and you like to ride hard , I feel like it is made for skinny light people... Rob
 

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If I were in the market for a 4" race bike the carbon Epic would be at the top of my list. It's a very efficient suspension system and the threshold adjuster makes it tunable to be more plush if conditions dictate.
The Stump Jumper line adds an inch of travel at each end and has a slacker headtube. That makes it a better decender and play bike but not as good a racer for most courses.
 

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I have an 07 Epic it is a perfect bike for long distance riding such as 100km races. Typically these events are not that techical so a 5 inch full sus bike is usually overkill. The Epic pedals like a hardtail (which you will appreciate if you are looking to be at the pointy end of the field) and you get some squish for the big hits and rooty/rutted sections that usually bounce you around on a HT. BTW I also have a HT, Stumpjumper and Fuel 100 but I still always race long distance with the Epic.
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I'm 5'11" and 180 lbs, not quite a clydesdale, and I'm certainly not into huge drops and freeride stunts, mostly just into XC riding. I say "Dude" very infrequently.

Another question for you guys: How tunable is the brain/inertia valve? Can it be dialed back a bit for a more plush (less efficient) ride? When I ride at night I tend to run into or over things that I manage to avoid during daylight hours and more cushion for my rear end is more important then my ability to out sprint someone. Then again,I'm not looking for a pogo stick or a couch on wheels.
 

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Yeah, I'd say go with the epic. And if possible, look into in 2008 leftover. You'll save a bunch of money and I've heard people actually say they actually like the suspension over the redesigned 2009 (though the 2008s are a tad heavier, and I haven't ridden an 09 so I can't say for sure). My 2008 aluminum Epic Comp (entry level components) was 30lb and change but fast and stiff as hell.
 

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Take a look at the 09 Anthem X. It is the best xc/fs on the market right now. I used it at this past La Ruta, and plan to do a bunch of stage races and 100k races this coming year on it. You can easily build one in the 22.5-23 lb range and keep it sturdy enough for descending; still light enough for climbing. The rear end works, period. The rear end moves up and down when you are putting any kind of power down, yet it is helping you move forward at the same time. Unlike Specialized's Brain, which is more on/off. The Epic climbs like a hardtail, and if you happen to hit something hard enough to make it move (going up or down), then it will. Might as well build up a really freakin' light hardtail. The Anthem X, is by far the fastest descending short travel bike I have ever ridden. The thing feels bottomless in the rough. If you are a smooth descender, you can ride it like a six-inch travel bike. It will take whatever you can throw at it. I don't think the same could be said for a Brain-equipped Specialized.
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hell, 25-26 lbs would be plenty light enough for me. Anthems are also tempting, but it would be a 2 hour drive to go test ride one. The local giant dealer has a nice shop, but 90% of the bikes he sells are "fitness" bikes, kids bikes, and low end road bikes. The top of the line mtb bike there features a Deore drivetrain and a 7lb 80mm fork. The epic on the other hand is local and can be had for a really good deal.

Oh, its a hard balance between wanting to talk myself into making this purchase versus taking months to weigh every available option and maybe getting something I would like better. Right now I'm leaning towards getting the epic. Even if its 80% perfect instead of 100%, the time I'd be spending pouring over reviews and driving back and forth to far flung bike shops is time I could be riding. Then again, maybe there's other deals out there.... Damn I hate being a libra.
 

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I picked up a new 2004 epic in the fall of 2007 (a year ago). Last summer my epic went through 2 local 7-8 hour endurance rides (90 km). I raced it in two 8 hour solo's (120-140 km per race). I made it through 6.5 hours of a 24 hour solo attempt (100 km - to bad my body didn't). It went on countless 50-60 km off road rides and a few short XC races. Oh yeah, and Transrockies, so a couple other km there.

I don't have a wealth of experience with other bikes. My previous was an aluminum hardtail which did 1 solo 8 hour and a couple team 24 hours. Saying that, I love the brain. I don't need the plushest ride (especially with the local trails) and I feel I have a pretty strong core/back, so the little stuff doesn't bother me over longer distances. The big thing for me was to suck up the big bumps, which the epic does great.

I've found the epic is a little sketchy on really technical trails, so if that is the case, you might look for something with more active suspension. However, as posted before, most endurance races are not the most technical.
 

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I've been racing an epic since 2004 and completed a few long 6, 12 and 24 hour events each year. Epics feel good when you are moving fast but as you slow down you don't hit bumps hard enough to unlock the shock so it starts to feel rough.

If you are feeling fit they are inspiring, if you are blown/ not on a good day they make everything seem like hard work
 

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Buy the Epic. I have been racing mine in 12hr races for 5+ years and it takes quite a pounding but is still reasonably comfortable. It's handled D-Ville, Creampuff, and many others with absolutely no problems and I am a Clyde. The brain is pretty amazing really. Haven't tried Specialized's proprietary shocks, but I'm sure it has gotten better. Do it!
 

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A friend of mine has blown out his rear shock 3 times in the last 2 years. He is a VERY fast/good rider. He said that "he thinks" that part of the problem was due to how heavy the rear end of the bike rode. He said that "hopping" the rear wheel over stuff just seemed to take A LOT more effort due to the weight/position of the rear shock. Subsequently he just let the rear wheel "plow" through the bigger roots/rocks. He has since moved on but he is still adimit that the Epic is a really fast bike. You may want to consider a Giant Anthem or Rocky Mountain Element. Both are very fast bikes with great pedaling platforms and smooth rides. I also strongly recommend the Salsa Dos Niner. Every bit as smooth as a 4" travel 26er with propedal on without the choppy ride.
 

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Go for it! Really is a fantastic bike for UE events. I have an 04 Comp and 06 Marathon - been racing the 06 exclusively in UE events for the past 2+ years and love what it offers in handling, suspension tune-ability and mechanical dependability. The M5 frame is light but durable. I do epic (no pun) training rides through some southeast US bushwhack country and have never been let down - my body is not feeling beatup after the ride. Can't speak for what a carbon frame would offer. Hearing good things about the new version of the Brain you'd be getting. I don't think you 'll be disappointed with that bike for UE racing.
 

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In the past I've ridden a 1999 Stumpjumper hardtail and a 2004 Stumpjumper FSR; now I have a 2007 Epic Marathon and have being testing out a friend's Gary Fisher Superfly. In my opinion, the Epic is the fastest bike I have ridden. I ride it with the brain as stiff as possible, which is perfect for my style, and comfort has never been an issue in endurance races. The Epic is the best of both worlds: it is snappy enough to be a XC bike but comfortable enough to be an endurance bike. The Stumpjumper is more of a "trail" bike in my opinion. Never had any mechanical issues whatsoever with the bike. You won't be disappointed.
 

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Flat Ark said:
He said that "he thinks" that part of the problem was due to how heavy the rear end of the bike rode.
Besides the '09 carbon models the Epic is very heavy for a 4" race frame. The placement of the shock probably exacerbates this feeling in the back. For racing I would only consider the '09 carbons and I wouldn't consider the Epic for anything besides racing. Trail riding is what Stumpjumpers and Mojos are for.
 

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I have an 06 Marathon and have never had any problem with the brain or the shock. It's a very fast bike that is very comfortable for what is considered an XC race bike. I generally run the brain just a little on the stiff side of the middle setting and it suits me fine. 5-6 hour rides are fine.

I highly recommend the epic.
 

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Happy, in the woods.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, the decision is pretty much made. I WANT THAT BIKE!
Now, I just have to deal with the reality of marital relations and securing the financial allocation. I'm not dumb enough to ask you folks for advice in that realm, though I'm sure the responses would be pretty entertaining.... Oh heck, offer your advice if you want, we could all use some comic relief....
Thanks to everyone who helped me by sharing their opinions and stories.
 

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epic or not

all that i can add if you can afford the 09 carbon go and get it i have come off an 07 stumpy and took the plunge and bought 09 carbon marathon and upgraded to controle sl wheels and this bike is so fast light and responsive it blows stumpy away been out for 5 hr rides no problem and energy left at end just one thing had to have bearings in front wheel atfter about 140 miles which was disappointing
 
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