For 2014, Specialized assembled their largest development team ever to revamp their top-selling bike, the Epic. With a three year old design as a baseline, they looked to make the Epic faster, lighter and smoother. They saw two audiences for the bike: the top-level cross country racer and the hardcore enthusiast who races regularly and is always looking to go faster than his buddies or faster than he’s gone before.
The big change is a frame that’s laterally stiffer and about .5 lbs lighter. The new carbon frame has lighter, more optimized materials yet has thick chain stays to provide lateral stiffness. The seatpost is now 27.2mm in diameter to save weight and to make room for the brain shock cable that is fed in between the seat tube and the moving seat stays.
The cable routing is now internal. Their old system tucked the cables under the down tube in a very organized manner and it worked well when set up properly. Internal routing is great for the end user but is a nightmare for bike shops and home mechanics as feeding the cables through tiny frame holes is never easy. In the frame, they house the cables in a foam ‘noodle’ material that prevents any kind of rattling noise inside the frame.
What the Specialized Epic does is make you go fast uphill. It has performed this task well in the past and this new version does an even better job at it. One of the new sample Epics with very rideable parts weighed in at 19.6 lbs without pedals. This is a responsive frame that is very stiff laterally.
Specialized Carbon Roval SL wheels are the best of any bike manufacturer bar none. They are light, stiff, durable and affordable. The old wheels Roval wheels were good but these new ones are wider, lighter, stiffer and more durable. The new 1370 gram, 22 mm internal width, hookless rims are just phenomenal. They are a decent value at just under $2k but the Roval Control Carbons are the best for the money at $1200.
Two large water bottle capacity is a godsend and it will make one leave the hydration pack at home whether on a bike race or just a long ride. The hidden multi-tool above the rear shock is actually very cool. Some may be tentative about adding weight to the frame but this tool is the smallest, most functional one seen to date. And it is so easy to access that it will be used often.
price: $10,500 usd