When demoing a bike, it’s important to not only look for the hot new features that the manufacturers hype up, but also to just ride the bike the way you ride and on your hometown trails. Sometimes it’s difficult to ride when you’re thinking about the cool features that your current bike doesn’t have. That is not the case with the Specialized Epic. Whether you decide to ride either the aluminum or carbon frames, there is no “just get used to it” period. With the autosag set easily to your weight, you can just get on the bike, ride away, and ride past your buddies or opponents like you’ve got an engine.
Climbing: The engineers at Specialized have really dialed in the geometry to make the bike feel comfortable, no matter the pitch of the trail. With most full suspension bikes, climbing is done most efficiently by sitting on the nose of the saddle and spinning smoothly up the hill. With the Brain Shock, there is no need to remain in that position if it doesn’t suit that trail or your riding style. You can sit and have the bike absorb the bumps while you grab the KOM on your local hill, or you can stand up and mash the cranks without loosing momentum while you cruise past the guy that was faster than you last season. The best part about the brain is that it is fully adjustable for whatever the trail throws at you. (TL;DR: It climbs like this.)
Descending: I was amazed at how well this bike flew down the hills and ripped corners. In technical rocky spots, the the brain disengaged and allowed the FSR suspension to suck up all the variations in the terrain. The biggest aspect of the Brain that I noticed was how predictable it was. There were no moments where I felt “thrown” because of the suspension, though there were moments I could have sworn I was riding a nimble trail bike through the rocks. The cornering was perfect since the bike has such a short wheel base even compared to some of it’s 26” rivals.
Overall the bike is not only gorgeous, but fun and fast to ride. Whether you are a racer trying to grab a spot on the podium or a recreational rider looking for a fast, comfortable, and fun bike that performs at the highest level, this is the only XC bike you need. The Specialized Epic comes with a variety of features that will make your ride faster and more fun. By eliminating the third chainring in the front. The “two by ten” setup (2 gears in the front, 10 in the back) offers an even wider range of options than with the traditional 3 chainring setup. S.W.A.T. is another cool feature added to many of the 2014 Specialized fleet. It offers a nice low-profile tool kit to keep on the bike at all times, and even a chain tool in the stem cap! Come test ride an Epic today or rent one for the weekend!