2019 Specialized Epic Expert EVO Review – The Beast in the Belly

Rating
/10

The 2019 Specialized Epic EVO embodies a legendary race character, which it derived from the original Epic. However, the Epic EVO range adds something a little extra. 20mm more suspension travel upfront, a dropper post, and buckets of smiles. So help yourself! It’s regarded as the ideal race/have-fun-all-day mountain bike,at our test HQ. You can fly uphill, and smile all the way downhill with stability and versatility.

The Epic Expert EVO demonstrated virtually everything we’d want in a mountain bike. It’s somewhat more ‘beefy’ build, can be the result of Specialized’s expert craftsmanship with their Roval wheels. Our test model featured the Control Carbon set, which teamed up with a set of 29×2.3-inch tires. And yes. We loved everything about this combo!

The Frame:

Specialized’s Epic Expert EVO frame, doesn’t draw much contrast between the original Epic model, when it comes to features. It’s still got a lightweight, stiff, and fully carbon fiber frame. Which is constructed from the brand’s ground-breaking FACT 11m carbon. It adopts Rider-First technology, which fits like a glove to the rider’s stature. Let’s not forget about the leading BRAIN 2.0 rear-suspension technology – which the EVO integrates to add rider suitability.

The Shock Absorbers:

Is this good suspension?! Or is this good suspension?! Well, you tell us! A brand new FOX Step Cast 34 Performance series with 120 mm of travel (of-course) takes control of things upfront. With FOX’s GRIP damper, the fork kept traction on the front wheel, whilst squashing bumps. Then need we mention the custom-tuned for Specialized, RockShox with 100mm of rear shock travel. It implied a fast paced pedal-stroke, with pretty much zero loss of grip on the rear wheel.

The Winning Wheelset:

A winning combination of a wider rim wall, and multipurpose tires, rolled confidently on the trail. Specialized know their stuff when it comes to mountain bike wheels.The set of Roval Control Carbons presented a 25mm rim width, with tubeless ready functionality. The masters in manoeuvres additionally ran 2.3-inch 29er tyres. However, they were two different sets of tires – Ground Control for the front tyre, and Fast Trak for the rear tyre. Two different tires, meant two different grip compounds, which resulted in an adaptable mountain bike.

Other Specs:

Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 w/ 32T chain-ring.
Brake-set: SRAM Level TL

Total Bike Weight: 11.8kg

Geometry:

All the features of the bike, mean nothing without a bike geometry that’s aggressive on climbs, and balanced on descents. The Epic EVO comes out with a 68.5-degree head-tube angle. Which is about a degree slacker than the original Epic. The seat-tube angle has also been slackened and sits at 73.8-degrees. Based on these figures, you can expect a more responsive ride on the descents compared to the normal Epic.

The Ride:

The Epic Expert EVO supplies fast climbing all-day long! The bike’s snappy shifting,thanks to the SRAM GX Eagle setup, and wide range of gears, gave-off a reliable feel. Even when we faced the most gruelling giant of climbs, we had the gears to get up there. Granted, the bike does feel more heavy and less sporty, when accelerating. However, this is just a by-product of the added dropper post,plus longer fork, and simply one we’ll have to live with.  

The Specialized Epic is a celebrity on single-track. And we’re sure that you’ll agree. Consequently, the Epic EVO carries that same DNA of a dedicated, speedy,mountain bike. The bike is quick to respond to the corners and berms of the trail. Its more balanced over the back the end, giving you more poise. You’d think that the 2.3 inch tires would hinder the snappiness of the bike somehow. But that was not the case. The lightweight feel of the wheelbase was truly magnificent. 

Time for some dynamite speed downhill?! Have you left the flats and the climbs behind?!Oh good, because there’s no hard feelings ahead. Literally! The 120mm fork was superbly dynamic in soaking up the hard stuff. Even the 2.3 inch tires, made it feel like there was a nice, soft, cushion between you and the ground. The dropper post was very much appreciated too. It was great to be able to shift sufficient weight over the back wheel of an Epic, without catching the saddle. That’s definitely a perk on the Epic EVO. Descending, the way you like it!

Verdict:

Right now in the mountain bike market there is a parted sea scenario, of riders who want a capable XC bike with a bit more of an edge on descents. From what we can see,the 2019 Specialized Epic Expert EVO closes that gap handsomely. Though its price isn’t that attractive. At R 93,000.00 it’s the tip top of the Epic EVO range. There might even be a S-WORKS Epic EVO in the works – but you never know.

Buy it! If you want a cutting edge, carbon fiber, mountain bike that literally lives life in the fast lane. We were impressed with the Epic EVO. It adds so much more to the legendary Epic range, and expands your field of riding.

 Price: R93,000.00

2019 Specialized Epic Expert EVO Review – The Beast in the Belly  

Joel Meintjes

Joel Meintjes

Joel's goal is to help you become an expert in the field of cycling. He has helped many riders decide on buying new bikes and coached a handful of young aspiring riders. He's been on the bike and on the roll since 2013, and has gained bucket's full of knowledge from his tinkering with bicycles.

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