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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been a long time since I have seriously mountain biked. Had so many other extreme type hobbies plus having to work forced me to limit my choices on what I had the time too do.

Anyways, my friends got back into it and have been trying to get me to join them. The old bike I have doesn't work well for high speed downhill single track riding. I have always preferred challenging up hill rides over downhill anyways but my friends like single track and its a suicide run if I use my old bike.

So I have been trolling CR for a number of months and finally got a bike. Im just not sure if this is a bike I should spend money and time on to get it back in perfect riding condition. What do you think?
It's a Specialized S-Works Epic Disc Carbon.

I do have a question and you will probably laugh but I am not really familiar with tubeless tires and what kind of air tool that you would buy/use to at least fill it up. I unscrew that small metal thing on the end and it makes it lose but from there I don't know if you are supposed to try and pull it out or what? Both tires had air when I bought it but both where flat the next day.
I have included images.

Any preferences for Pedals?

Thanks

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel Bicycle fork
Bicycle accessory Synthetic rubber Carbon Tread Bicycle part
 

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Welcome, or.. rather, welcome back :).

What year is that bike? If I had to guess, its, maybe 2008-2013ish? If so, I'd guess that its likely a better choice to ride it as is, and then upgrade to a newer bike whenever you find its no longer meeting your needs. Older bikes are harder to find parts for (for instance, it looks like its a straight steerer tube on the fork, of which there aren't many good ones available anymore).

FWIW, bike geometry has changed a lot in recent years. Bikes have gotten longer and head tube angles have gotten more relaxed (both increasing stability, and reducing the chance that you go over the bars on a downhill). That is in addition to advances like dropper posts (seat posts that can go up and down via a bar mounted lever, giving you the ability to pedal up in the ideal seated position + the ability to go down the hill without the seat in the way), and 1x drivetrains (less dropped chains, etc).

As for the valve on the tire, that is simply a presta valve. Cars usually use Schrader valve, which is probably more what you're used to. To inflate, you either need a pump that is meant for the presta valve, or a Schrader > presta adapter. I think I got a 5 pack for like $4-5 on amazon.

On a Schrader valve, you have to press down the actual valve hard enough to overcome the spring (which seals it). On a Presta, you manually open the valve by unscrewing it. To inflate, just unscrew the top until it stops, attach the pump/adapter, and inflate as normal. When you're down, screw it down again.

IMO, presta valves are easier to work with for bikes. Because there is no spring/pressure to fight against, its easier to get the pump seated. Additionally, because prestas have threaded stems, they don't move around or get sliced when tubes move, etc.

Also, Presta valves don't necessarily mean you have tubeless tires or a tubeless setup. Plenty of tubes are presta.

Oh, and a terminology thing. Usually singletrack refers to the width of the trail (ie, only wide enough for people to ride single file on), not necessarily the type (cross country, downhill, etc). Not a big deal, but just thought I'd mention it.

As for pedals? I'd look at a cheap composite pair, like RaceFace Chesters, Crank Brothers Stamp 1's, OneUp Composite pedals, Kona Wah Wah, etc.

Cheers :).
 

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jcd's best friend
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Is that bike the correct size for you? Just checking!

When it comes to tubeless, you need tubeless compatible wheels and tires. You can pay a bike shop a few bucks to set your bike up for tubeless so you don't have to do it yourself. You will need tubeless sealant so you can add a little bit more over time. Tubeless is nice because your punctures are sealed up as you ride.

If you are wondering about how well tubeless works, here is a great demo video by Daily MTB Rider who torture tested his old tubeless tires:

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Its a Large. And I am about 6' 2" . Also It is a tubeless. I ordered Stans sealant for it. I just was not familiar with this valve stems. Never seen them before in my entire life and I ride a crap load of motorcycles and have owned and still own a bunch.
Spent years out at the track with Yamaha R1s , Suzukis GSXR 1000's and Ducati R series
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome, or.. rather, welcome back :).

Also, Presta valves don't necessarily mean you have tubeless tires or a tubeless setup. Plenty of tubes are presta.

Oh, and a terminology thing. Usually singletrack refers to the width of the trail (ie, only wide enough for people to ride single file on), not necessarily the type (cross country, downhill, etc). Not a big deal, but just thought I'd mention it.

Cheers :).
They are for sure tubeless and thanks for the info on the valves.

I was using the term single track to the down hill less than a foot wide trail with near cliffs on one side.

Problem I had was I have a hard tail and I had a real difficult time keeping it on the trails beings it would bounce around all over the place. I really did not enjoy myself trying to stay up with my friends, it was a Sh#t fest. I dont mind crazy stuff but I do mind things I cannot control and narrow paths with no room to error flying down hill was not fun.

The are I live has some of the best riding around. I live way up in Northern California in Redding.
 

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They are for sure tubeless and thanks for the info on the valves.

I was using the term single track to the down hill less than a foot wide trail with near cliffs on one side.

Problem I had was I have a hard tail and I had a real difficult time keeping it on the trails beings it would bounce around all over the place. I really did not enjoy myself trying to stay up with my friends, it was a Sh#t fest. I dont mind crazy stuff but I do mind things I cannot control and narrow paths with no room to error flying down hill was not fun.

The are I live has some of the best riding around. I live way up in Northern California in Redding.
No worries, just trying to help out :). I rode dirt bikes for a good while, and like you I used to hate presta valves. Now that I have a pump that uses them, I actually prefer them for bikes (its easier to get the pump seated imo, and I like how they always have a metal valve stem that can't get twisted at low pressures when you run tubes).

If your tires are tubeless, and they lost air overnight, I'd be worried they're not sealing well. Before you put more sealant in there, I'd check to see if the rim is taped correctly. You can find videos online of how to setup tubeless tires, including re-taping (you can use either special tape, or gorilla tape).

Its normal for tubeless setups to lose some pressure (few psi) over the course of a few weeks. Complete loss of air overnight is kind of a red flag. Just don't want you to waste any sealant on a poor tape setup, or something like that.

And I hear you on exposed shelf roads, they can be scary. I started on a hardtail too, and they can be great fun, but if the trails your buddies are taking you on are as chunky as you make it sound like, they do get out of their depth. Hopefully with the new bike, and some practice, things get more enjoyable.

Happy trails sir :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well fast forward a few months and here is my progress on this bike. These fricken Presta valves where not the normal Presta valves, they are specific to Mavic rims. I kept buying tools to remove the stem and every tool I bought wouldnt work. I finally gave up and took the bike into a local bike shop to find out that you have to replace the entire presta stem on these rims. So live and learn.
Well, got that done and then finally mailed off the front forks off to fox to rebuild. I had asked the local bike shop my best option either replace them or rebuild. He said those are still nice forks and they are set up for this specific bike. I was told by fox that a new comparable set would be around $600 to $700. It was around $175 to rebuild them and I finally got them back the other day and installed them.
I am going to wait on rebuilding the back shock until I ride and get some feedback from it. I knew the front had seen better days and wasnt even going to try and ride with it in the condition they were in.
Right now I am out riding my archaic cannondale a few miles a day to get back into the swing of things before I take off on the trails with a new to me bike. Photo of Cannondale attached.
 

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ACHOO
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Hate to sound harsh, but I'll mention this here as it's the Beginner's Corner, and worth sharing. Based on the colorway, suspension, and wheelset, that is likely a 2006 model year bike, and I would have advised against buying it.

The S-Works line is the hardcore racing end of the spectrum, and always pricey at the time (current S-Works epic costs $10,000+), however they are not for beginners, even if used, and priced appropriately. The Epic in particular can get ramped up to mimic a hardtail ride, with the rear "brain" absorbing some chatter, while retaining a firm feel.

There are a few problems with this specific bike:
-It is a 26" wheel, and the industry has moved to 27.5 or 29er. I used to ride them myself, but the rollover on say, a 29er, is hard to give up.
-The rear brain (that small cylinder next to the shock) is proprietary, and needs service after X hours of use. Odds are overwhelming that it is not working, and it must be serviced by Specialized. I believe there's a date-driven cutoff, so they may no longer service it. Even if they do, it is pricey, and must be done every 2 years or so - drove me nuts when I owned bikes equipped with it.
-You may have difficulty finding a replacement rear shock if it needs work. I know some frames had a specific shock that may no longer be available.
-This is a short travel, hardcore XC racing bike. Not the bike if you want to absorb a bit more on the downhills. Also, as mentioned, the geometry back then made these things very challenging in the "down" direction, i.e. "twitchy". Not the geo I would have recommended for someone wanting to keep up with buddies in that scenario.
-You are probably limited to some rather narrow tire sizes - can be good for speed, but tradeoff is grip, confidence.

The frame would be good and light (assuming the integrity is fine), and you've got one of the early models as they transitioned to disc brakes - hence the reason they used to include the word "Disc" in the bike name. I hope you paid very little for it. I would have recommended a new, or recently used bike from a local dealer, and you'd likely get the benefit of included service for a while, such as for tubeless bits.

Just a quick side note re the valves. Some valves have removable cores, some do not. There is likely nothing preventing you from using removable core valves on that Mavic wheelset, but those wheels go back to when Mavic had a proprietary "UST" system - among the first truly tubeless setups.

Lastly, just to confirm the stance here, I've been riding Specialized since 2008, and had the 2008 version of that bike. Still riding them today, and love them. However, I really wish you had posted here prior to purchase, or even submitted a thread in the Specialized subforum. I'm writing this as guidance to others who may target an older bike of that type (hardcore race) - best to avoid, or especially if you're new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hate to sound harsh, but I'll mention this here as it's the Beginner's Corner, and worth sharing. Based on the colorway, suspension, and wheelset, that is likely a 2006 model year bike, and I would have advised against buying it.

The S-Works line is the hardcore racing end of the spectrum, and always pricey at the time (current S-Works epic costs $10,000+), however they are not for beginners, even if used, and priced appropriately. The Epic in particular can get ramped up to mimic a hardtail ride, with the rear "brain" absorbing some chatter, while retaining a firm feel.

There are a few problems with this specific bike:
-It is a 26" wheel, and the industry has moved to 27.5 or 29er. I used to ride them myself, but the rollover on say, a 29er, is hard to give up.
-The rear brain (that small cylinder next to the shock) is proprietary, and needs service after X hours of use. Odds are overwhelming that it is not working, and it must be serviced by Specialized. I believe there's a date-driven cutoff, so they may no longer service it. Even if they do, it is pricey, and must be done every 2 years or so - drove me nuts when I owned bikes equipped with it.
-You may have difficulty finding a replacement rear shock if it needs work. I know some frames had a specific shock that may no longer be available.
-This is a short travel, hardcore XC racing bike. Not the bike if you want to absorb a bit more on the downhills. Also, as mentioned, the geometry back then made these things very challenging in the "down" direction, i.e. "twitchy". Not the geo I would have recommended for someone wanting to keep up with buddies in that scenario.
-You are probably limited to some rather narrow tire sizes - can be good for speed, but tradeoff is grip, confidence.

The frame would be good and light (assuming the integrity is fine), and you've got one of the early models as they transitioned to disc brakes - hence the reason they used to include the word "Disc" in the bike name. I hope you paid very little for it. I would have recommended a new, or recently used bike from a local dealer, and you'd likely get the benefit of included service for a while, such as for tubeless bits.

Just a quick side note re the valves. Some valves have removable cores, some do not. There is likely nothing preventing you from using removable core valves on that Mavic wheelset, but those wheels go back to when Mavic had a proprietary "UST" system - among the first truly tubeless setups.

Lastly, just to confirm the stance here, I've been riding Specialized since 2008, and had the 2008 version of that bike. Still riding them today, and love them. However, I really wish you had posted here prior to purchase, or even submitted a thread in the Specialized subforum. I'm writing this as guidance to others who may target an older bike of that type (hardcore race) - best to avoid, or especially if you're new.
I agree with almost everything your saying. I am not per say a beginner. I spent years hard core mountain bike riding and then kind of moved on to other interest. One of which was spending countless hours at the track road racing motorcycles. I just posted this where I felt it belonged and it has been a few years since I have been on the trails.
I do know what it is like spending top dollar for a so called race ready item. I learned the hard way when I spent close to $40K on a brand new R series Ducati. Then no more than 6 months after buying the Ducati I picked up a AMA race bike that I got for a 5th of the price and was all an all a better set up bike.
I feel I am not into this bike that much, counting the front shock rebuild and a few other items plus the bike I am into the entire bike around $700. I feel I could probably get most of that back if I were to either find out that MT bikes are not for me anymore or if I really liked it and wanted to upgrade. I figure I will get some seat time in before I decide to send the rear shock off. Beings it is a Fox shock I am pretty sure fox will be able to rebuild it like they were able to rebuild my front forks.
This wasn't a spur of the moment purchase. I had been trolling local ads for almost 2 years. Most people are asking 2x what their bikes are worth and some sell and some don't. I wasn't ready to throw down $2 to $3k for something that I did not know if I had the time for or wouldn't enjoy as much as I had in the past.
Your are 100 percent correct on the wheel size and geometry on the bike. That will be a great disadvantage, but once again as stated above if I decide that I need more I will purchase a better bike. Its not like I am planning to compete at this point in my life I just want to be able to stand half a chance with my old riding buddies. And most of the used stuff out there was literally over priced junk.
I appreciate your input and probably knew a large portion of what you said before purchasing the bike. Like I said, I don't feel I am in over my head on what I paid for it, the frame seems solid on it and the tires where brand new. Braking is good now and I have an almost new front shock.
 

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ACHOO
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Glad to hear you didn't spend too much. Don't get me wrong - that bike was at the top of available technology at the time, but as with anything it gets old fairly quickly. While the geo has changed in newer bikes, you should still be able to outclimb anyone in your group.

The only real pain will be with that rear brain. Even with a rear shock rebuild, you don't get the benefit of what that bike was setup for if the brain is unresponsive.

I hear you re used bike listings. Apparently people think bikes are immune from depreciation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wheel Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel rim Mode of transport Spoke
I fully realize that this bike is obsolete compared to todays standards. When I bought it I did not expect some miracle bike that was the answer to me being a super rider. I was just looking for a lower cost intro bike that would allow me to join my buddy's.
I heard from the previous owner that this was a hill climbing bike, I have read articles also stating the same thing and now you also are confirming this. I guess my question is why? Is it gearing, suspension or weight? Back when I used to spend all my free time mountain biking I enjoyed challenging uphill battles more than down hill. My friends enjoy the downhill but as in most cases you have to ride uphill in order to go downhill.
Also, I could not find anything about what the brain on the rear suspension actually does. Or how to set it up for terrain or rider weight.
You seem to know a great deal about this model and I was wondering if you could give me any insight as far as what to look for if it is not working correctly or any information that you can think of that may be helpful.

Glad to see I wasn't the only one that noticed people think that their used bikes are made of gold. In my area it is common to see someone asking $1200 to $1500 for a 10 year old bike.

Thanks
 

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ACHOO
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The geometry for this bike - not necessarily just this specific bike, but XC bikes in general in that timeframe, seemed to have a climbing bias. I don't want to oversell this, but they always climbed well, at the expense of some harrowing descents.

This bike would also be very light relative to others of the time, even though I believe the rear triangle was still ALU, going from memory (vs fully carbon). In the 26" size, I'm certain it is significantly lighter than a buddy's modern 29er with aluminum frame.

Aside from the brain, I'd expect the usual maintenance things to check, such as pivot points, and bottom bracket. Feel free to PM me anytime if you need any ideas/help.
 

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As mentioned, that bike is designed as a dedicated XC racing rig. It's not going to be very forgiving/fun for more downhill-oriented stuff, of even just general trail riding IME.

Also, the Brain set-up is overcomplicated, underperforming, and more hassle to maintain than it needs to be. It is (basically) supposed to keep the suspension locked until after you hit a bump, which in my mind, pretty much defeats the purpose of having suspension in the first place.

Personally, I would probably try to sell that thing and hunt down something more suited to your purposes.
 

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View attachment 1269391

Also, I could not find anything about what the brain on the rear suspension actually does.
The "Brain" is the cylinder poking off perpendicular to the shock.

In concept it's fairly simple. It's just an inertial valve. More or less, there's a ball inside that sits on top of a hole when the bike is sitting still or riding over something smoother. At a certain impact, the ball will move, opening the hole, and allowing oil to flow. This opens the shock and allows the suspension to work. On the later Brains like this one, you could adjust the sensitivity/threshold of the inertial valve with that blue knob at the end of it.

I took an early Epic out for a demo ride on actual trails and I hated the way it felt. You felt the initial hit, and then the suspension would open up. Felt a lot like you just got a flat tire.

I have no idea how you'd set one up since you can't just check sag or do a simple bounce test with it. And yeah, because of that rear shock, I would have avoided the bike altogether.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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it's considered a 'hill climbing' full suspension because when the brain is working it's a power efficient climber at the time period when that bike 'ruled'. a full suspension that eats hits yet also climbs well has been [and still is somewhat] of a 'unicorn' in full suspension, though nowadays most bikes are far more developed and capable

that and it was XC oriented and light
 

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it's considered a 'hill climbing' full suspension because when the brain is working it's a power efficient climber at the time period when that bike 'ruled'. a full suspension that eats hits yet also climbs well has been [and still is somewhat] of a 'unicorn' in full suspension, though nowadays most bikes are far more developed and capable

that and it was XC oriented and light
Eats all the hits except the first one. Just gotta get the trail builders to always add a little bump to activate it before any big bumps, and make sure they're not too far apart. Not sure how you could handle a drop or jump, maybe reach down and smack it in mid-air?

Sorry, I always hated that design. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After spending lots of money on rebuilding things on the bike and replacing and updating parts I moved on from the bike i first started this tread about to the one you see in the attached image. A 2016 specialized enduro expert carbon 29.

Trying to follow my friends on their new 2020 trek fuel 9.9s was the final nail in the coffin. Granted this isn't a $9k bike but at least it has 29" rims that will be able to go through the high speed draws where as when following my friends line with 26" rims I would abruptly come to a stop while getting thrown over the handle bars and end up with a blown tire.

Any pros or cons about my new to me bike? Would appreciate any input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
As in a lot of things ,equipment is around 10% of the capability ,the rest is whom ever is the rider or whatever. That bike should suit the riding you do much better.
I agree, but then again I had never been on this trail we where 10 miles in. When i went into the draw the only thing I can recall was being off the bike and then hitting the other side. However the tire got stopped it was hard enough to pop the tire. I think I was watching the ride ahead and his line more than the trail beings at that point it was a clear fast area.

I am only speculating if I had 29" rims I would have just past through like he did.
I do have decades of dirt bike riding experience and did spend a number of years on my bikes awhile ago. That being said I am far from a great rider but i do ok. I just need to get into it again. I have been spending a lot of time on my Trek Madone 6.5 to try and get back in the riding shape I used to be in.

On another note on something you brought up. A few years back i bought the best street bike available. It was a Ducati 999r Xerox edition. I bought it out the door for $37,000 and added another $5k in race components on it. I took it out to the track and spent a number of hours on it. I ended up crashing it pretty bad and had to have it left at a shop for months to get fixed.
Beings I needed another race bike I picked up an ex AMA race bike minus some of the higher end parts for $9k. It was a GSXR 1000, and I actually enjoyed that bike more than the one that almost cost me 4 times more. I had also cut down my lap times considerably.

Moral is all the money doesn't necessarily buy a great ride.
 
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