The Epic is a legend of a bike; ridden and trusted by the late Burry Stander and with multiple Cape Epic stage victories, you can only know that Specialized have done nothing wrong in engineering the Epic models.
We had the privilege of being able to test and experience this legend; in particular, the Specialized Epic Comp Carbon 29. The minute we saw this bike, we just knew, that this ride is going to be epic! (And honestly, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it…)
Like most bikes in the Epic Comp’s class, the frame has a carbon front triangle linked to an alloy rear triangle. In this case we’ve got Specialized’s FACT 9mm carbon fibre constructing the front triangle with M5 alloy constructing the rear triangle. The SWAT Door sits outside the frame and is an optional feature.
The RockShox Reba RL29 is a super light-weight air sprung fork, featuring 100mm of travel. It is paired up with a unique FOX/Specialized rear shock, operating with the remote Mini-BRIAN Technology. The Mini-BRAIN basically controls the rebound of the rear shock automatically and sits apart from the shock unit, on a half of the frame’s rear triangle.
The drivetrain and its controls, consist of a very snappy Shimano XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur with SLX shifters, that make shifting hears a pleasure. Sram’s custom XO front derailleur and S-1250 crank-set are reluctant in keeping the chain on the cogs, but that could just be a tuning error.
Where the rubber meets the gravel; the Specialized Roval rims are extra balanced, and the S-Works FAST TRAK tyres; engineered for maximum grip.
On the first test ride we did an exceptionally lot of climbing, one of which, has literally got loose rocks everywhere. On this unstable terrain, the Epic kept us surprising stable; the tyres managed to grip the loose terrain. Because the frame has xc 29 Geometry, we never felt that the bike would loop out from under us: we were able to get into an attack position and sprint all the way to the top of the hill, despite the steepness and obstacles.
When we found ourselves cruising on flat terrain and in the saddle, we were in a comfortable, stretched out riding position. The saddle is quite comfortable for a XC bike. We found that the saddle is nice for long rides and does not hurt the glutose maximus that terribly.
In order to make sure that no energy was lost while sprinting the Mini-BRAIN automatically adjusted the rear shock to a harder rebound, but when it was time for the descents it immediately made the rear shock noticeably softer.
The Epic Comp Carbon hardly feels like a 29er when handling curves on single-track, but it’s got the speed of a 29er though. The number of times that you actually feel unstable on descents are zero; that also goes for the number of times that you’re riding “slowly” on the bike.
The Epic is built around being fast and is meant for the seriously dedicated XC racer. All the components just scream speed. Short suspension travel, light-weight design and a higher aspect of gear ratios, all contribute to your speed on the bike.
At R55000 for the Epic Comp Carbon 29 you wouldn’t expect to see the Mini-BRIAN making an appearance. So, actually you’re getting a lot more features on this bike for a reasonable price, compared to other XC bikes.
If you get to know the Specialized brand, you’ll see that they are not just in it for the money, but for the ride experience and the sheer love of bikes. They have truly exhibited this passion in the way they’ve made the Epic!
Credits: Special thanks to the guys at TygerBerg Cycles for helping to make this happen. You can purchase your Epic at their store or just stop by to have a chat with Mike(the owner), he’s got a pretty neat story himself to tell!