Specialized Epic Review

The Specialized Epic family brings you full suspension all-mountain setups, top quality frames using carbon or aluminium alloy and a wide selection of competitive components which have been put together with care. Here are the main models to look out for in 2012.

Specialized Epic Comp 29

The Specialized Epic Comp 29 kicks things off nicely with its M5 hydroformed alloy frame and fast-rolling 29 inch wheels which are ideal for cross country treks as well as uphill climbs and daring descents. The RockShox Reba RL 29 fork comes with 100mm of travel and lets you adjust the lockout and rebound as you see fit, enabling the bike to conquer technically challenging courses with ease. The rear shock from Fox has been retuned by Specialized for 2012 to make sure that it is race-ready and up to date for the new year.

Custom Avid Elixir 7 SL hydraulic disc brakes feature alloy-backed semi-metallic pads and 160mm rotors at both the front and back. Meanwhile SRAM X7 (front & shifters) and X9 (rear) components form the drivetrain, which is surprisingly rugged and tough despite its light weight and nimble shifting potential. The Comp 29 sits on Roval 29 rims and a combination of S-Works Purgatory (front) and Specialized Ground Control (rear) tyres.

Specialized Epic Comp Carbon 29er

The Specialized Epic Comp Carbon 29er features a FACT 9m carbon front triangle along with chainstays and seatstays constructed from M5 alloy. The same Fox rear shock sits comfortably at the back end while a RockShox Reba RL 29 fork with 100mm of travel takes punishment at the front. The drivetrain is identical to the entry level Epic, as are the brakes. Roval 29 rims, DT Swiss Industry 2.0 spokes and tyres from the S-Works Fast Trak and Specialized Renegade Control ranges partner up in a harmonious relationship that will have you consuming the toughest terrain for breakfast.

Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29

The Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29 still sports the partnership between carbon and alloy elements on the frame and while the rear shock sticks with the Mini-Brain technology, you can enjoy the full benefits of this on the RockShox SID 29 Brain fork with 100mm of travel. The Custom Formula R1 S hydraulic disc brakes add an extra notch of precision while the Roval Control 29 rims give you that bit extra when it comes to stability and strength.

SRAM again provide the drivetrain with X7 on the front derailleur and the very special X0 on the rear, the X0 being just one level down from the mighty SRAM XX, which features on the Specialized Stumpjumper S-Works FSR Carbon MTB and the, well er, nothing else in the 2012 Specialized range, which is a shame.

Specialized Epic S-Works Carbon 29 XTR

The Specialized Epic S-Works Carbon 29 XTR is in a different league when it comes to both price and performance. The all-carbon FACT 11m frame, custom shocks from Fox and RockShox along with the Shimano XTR components on the drivetrain and brakes show that this is a mountain bike to beat. The S-Works Fast Trak front tyre is paired with the S-Works Renegade for added grip without compromising the fast-rolling cross country capabilities of the bike. Even the seatpost and handlebars are constructed using carbon, which makes this Epic model feel feather light and more than worthy of its flamboyant nametag.

Specialized has done a good job of making each Epic 29er better than the last while still retaining a degree of consistency through the range so that if you progress from one bike to the next you will not feel out of your depth.