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  1. #1
    sock puppet
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    Specialized S-Works Epic 29

    Reviews of this bike were glowing. Kulhavy won the XC WC overall as well as world championships on it. And finally, even the gnome is getting a 29er. Pigs are flying indeed.

    Anyway, back to the bike. It is hard to justify the price tag on a bike that is higher than some cars. Even if cash is not an issue - there is a mental barrier that I would not be able to overcome to cough up that much dough. Luckily, at this time of the season - there are some deals to be had... I stumbled upon it by accident. It was hard to pass on and I really wanted to see for myself if the myth was true.

    SNATCH. There are many S-Works Epic 29ers out there, but this one is mine.

    Tossed the brakes off of it right away. Not a big fan of Avids. Slapped on my trusty Magura Marta SL Magnesium in perfect red and white. There is no brake on the market that matches positive engagement of Marta brakes. The travel is smooth and then you hit the wall - very positive feeling and great for modulation. Easy to bleed as well.

    Replaced regular Spesh Phenom with my trusty Phenom SL with Titanium rails. Seat post will have to go as well. Kept everything else on for today's test ride.

    Kelso. Bit of everything - climbs, descents, rocks, false flats, fast hardpack... Perfect testing ground...

    RIght of the bat - climbing up the fire road - the bike made me go one cog down. Nice. Same effort but going a bit faster. Suspension is very active and is keeping the rear wheel glued to the surface. Jumped out of the saddle to test efficiency and was greeted with immediate and unmistaken acceleration... Sweet... this squishy came the closest to hard tail efficient feeling... No wonder Kulhavy was hammering out of the saddle on tough climbs... There is almost no bob yet suspension remained active.

    The technical rocky climb from the Kelso O-Cup did not present as big of an issue as on my former squishy. No matter which line I picked, the bike tracked precisely and confidently. I am liking this thing already...

    Shifting is precise, there is no ghost shifting effects even under most adverse conditions.

    Bike was more confident going over rocks, short and steep rocky descents included. It was easy to shift weight to the back, when needed or load front in corners. I did notice that the rear was a bit flexing under hardest effort climbing. I may have to adjust the chain line to compensate.

    Though tires were totally inadequate (S-Works Renegade) for the conditions today - the bike tracked corners better than I would expect with this rubber. At times it felt like hard tail yet it was so smooth and comfortable that I could maintain power delivery even on roughest surfaces, where I would have to jump out of the saddle on my hard tail.

    Having raced most of the season on Gary Fisher Superfly Elite 100 - I didn't expect such a big improvement with this bike. I was blown away - indeed.

    The test ride was only around 2 hours long - this review is based solely on this ride.

    One of the magazine review said: "should other companies stop trying now?" Funny, but interestingly close to my findings today based on my limited experience...

    It is nice to get so much excitements from our toys... It was another glorious day on the trails...

    electrik - are my rims going to rot now that they have been exposed to mud???
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Specialized S-Works Epic 29-img_0320.jpg  

    Specialized S-Works Epic 29-img_0321.jpg  

    Specialized S-Works Epic 29-img_0322.jpg  

    Specialized S-Works Epic 29-img_0323.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Nice rig!

  3. #3
    GAME ON!
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    BUT is it worth $10000 if you couldn't get a deal on it?
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  4. #4
    sock puppet
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    BUT is it worth $10000 if you couldn't get a deal on it?
    Compared to some $6000 bikes that I have ridden, yes it is. The technology packed in this bike is indeed incredible.

    Would I spend $10000 on a bike? No I wouldn't. But many would. And have.

    Keep in mind that the price associated with a product is not just the value of components. It also includes intellectual property as well as research and work with other players (Fox and Rock Shox and SRAM) etc.


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  5. #5
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    Kelso huh? So how does it handle drops, log rides, and jumps? And how easy is it to wheelie?

  6. #6
    sock puppet
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Kelso huh? So how does it handle drops, log rides, and jumps? And how easy is it to wheelie?
    It would require better rider than myself to test features in your question. I am just a sausage suit with gutter and no skills.


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  7. #7
    GAME ON!
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    Compared to some $6000 bikes that I have ridden, yes it is. The technology packed in this bike is indeed incredible.

    Would I spend $10000 on a bike? No I wouldn't. But many would. And have.

    Keep in mind that the price associated with a product is not just the value of components. It also includes intellectual property as well as research and work with other players (Fox and Rock Shox and SRAM) etc.


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    what if you put flats on it?
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  8. #8
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    sweet ride

    How was the fork performance with the "brain" ?

    Is it really that good?

  9. #9
    sock puppet
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    this was my first ride with it

    so i am still in the data-collection mode...

    there will be more fiddling with pressures, settings, geometry etc until it is dialed in completely.

    however, while thinking after the ride about issues that i may need to address - i realized that there aren't that many - considering this was the "setup" ride.

    most of the times, i didn't have to think about the bike - just focus on the trail - particularly technical sections. suspension really took care of business in most inconspicuous way. when it needed to work hard - it did. when it needed to be hardtail efficient - it was. sprinting out of the saddle was the thing i wanted to try the most - as it is the biggest reason i still prefer hardtail over squishy - for my kind of riding. i was pleasantly surprised with instant response and acceleration without mushy feeling while hammering... while watching few XC world cup races - i noticed that Kulhavy was not hesitating to jump out of the saddle - particularly on climbs and he was able to drop the hammer pretty good... from time to time there is audible thump from the suspension when brain engages - i guess. most of the time there is no audible indication that it is working... it is just working...

    the ride is on the firm side, but bumps are eaten up without fuss. technical climbs were impressive. rear wheel was tracking really well, allowing me to pick more lines than i am used to.

    the bike is surprisingly quiet. no rattling, buzzing, squealing etc... the attention to detail is insane... i can't wait to take it out again and play more...

    Quote Originally Posted by want to ride View Post
    How was the fork performance with the "brain" ?

    Is it really that good?

  10. #10
    sock puppet
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    when gnomes start riding clipless

    i'll start riding platform...

    but we both know it ain't gonna happen...

    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    what if you put flats on it?

  11. #11
    Evil Jr.
    Reputation: garage monster's Avatar
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    Were I to venture into the world of FS race bikes, this one would be on a very short list. Very pretty!
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    It would require better rider than myself to test features in your question. I am just a sausage suit with gutter and no skills.
    Trade bikes with her for a day, won't even have to change pedals since you're both on Eggbeaters.

    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    most of the times, i didn't have to think about the bike - just focus on the trail - particularly technical sections. suspension really took care of business in most inconspicuous way. when it needed to work hard - it did. when it needed to be hardtail efficient - it was. sprinting out of the saddle was the thing i wanted to try the most - as it is the biggest reason i still prefer hardtail over squishy - for my kind of riding. i was pleasantly surprised with instant response and acceleration without mushy feeling while hammering... while watching few XC world cup races - i noticed that Kulhavy was not hesitating to jump out of the saddle - particularly on climbs and he was able to drop the hammer pretty good... from time to time there is audible thump from the suspension when brain engages - i guess. most of the time there is no audible indication that it is working... it is just working...
    That sounds about right, I've ridden the Epic Comp & S-Works Epic (26er versions) and it sprints like a hardtail. Drop the hammer and it just goes, the suspension doesn't move until you hit a bump. It's just like riding a hardtail except it keeps traction better on bumpy climbs so you can keep the power going without worrying about spinning out.

    My one complaint is it desperately needs riser bars, with flat bars I feel like I'm going to go over the bars on steeper downhills so I actually go slower on downhills than I do on my hardtail.

  13. #13
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    I have had a 2010 SWorks Epic and now have a 2011 SWorks Epic, both 26s. I had a few issues with my 2010 this summer so Specialized essentially gave me a new bike, x wheels, crank, brakes. They were PHENOMENAL to deal with.

    I can talk about the brain and how well they work. They work so well that you dont notice them. Once your settings are established, aside from air pressures (which I have to do every single ride), they are fire and forget. There are many things that I love about my bike, and the brains are at the top of the list. They are the heart and soul of the Epic; if they did not work as advertised, you would be better off with a Stumpjumper. But they work perfectly and they make the Epic come alive.

  14. #14
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biobanker View Post
    Once your settings are established, aside from air pressures (which I have to do every single ride), they are fire and forget.
    Are you saying you have to pump front and rear before every ride?
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  15. #15
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    The shocks are remarkably sensitive to temperature. I have to set the pressures before every ride and the bike has to be acclimatized when I do it.

    In the early spring and late fall I usually ride with a shock pump because the temps can change so much over the course of a single ride that the bike falls out of spec (noticeably), strictly because of temperature, during the ride.

  16. #16
    Evil Jr.
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    As a guy who barely likes to check his tire pressure more than once a month, that sounds like a lot of work but I guess it's like any other high-end piece of equipment - if you want to get the most from it, you have to put in a little effort (ask me about waxing my XC race skis sometime if you're suffering from insomnia... ).
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for sharing!

    Glad you posted this...It further justifies the $7K or so that I am investing in a 2012 frameset build in January...SRAM XX drivetrain, Magura Marta Mag SL brakes, custom Dave's Speeddream Wheelset, and a bunch of other sausage suit/XC friendly lightweight bits.

    Reading your write up makes me extremely excited that the expense will be well worth it...I will be working hard on the engine this winter to make sure it supports the technology as best as possible! Keep us posted on further reviews!
    A bad day on the bike is better than a good day doing anything else...

    http://www.apexracephotography.com

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    It would require better rider than myself to test features in your question. I am just a sausage suit with gutter and no skills.


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    Oggie, I've raced against you many times in the past & you are a pretty good expert catagory rider who has podiumed a few times this year. We will be at it again next year as I'm moving up to Expert but it scares me a little that you'll have this "rocket ship". That's why I just ordered the new R.M. Vertex 990 RSL, at least I'll look fast at the start line.

  19. #19
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    Sweet ride! I got to ride a 29er Epic Comp for a week in January and was impressed with how well the suspension worked.

  20. #20
    Muskoka
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    Sweet!

    Nice ride Oggie One of our fastest local racers got a new Epic 29er this year ( not S-Works ) and I must say it is a great looking bike...that coming from one who generally doesn't care for the 29er look.. And it's much nicer in person than in pics I might add.

  21. #21
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    Take it off any sweet jumps?

  22. #22
    sock puppet
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    yeah, the bike is way better looking in person... totally agree...

    so here is a dilemma - would appreciate your thoughts...

    it came with 160mm rear and 180mm front rotors. Had to use adapters in order to use size up rotors. Already went down to 160mm front - this is the setup on my other bikes and it is completely adequate. Thinking about 140mm rear rotor - that would eliminate adapter. I can lockup the rear wheel easily with 160mm and I suspect 140mm will be quite capable of this as well. So why 160mm?

    I have not seen any 29ers out there with 140mm rear rotor though, doesnt mean this one can't be the first...

    I have Magura Marta SL Magnesium brakes on it - they have plenty stopping power with reasonable squeeze applied.

    discuss!

  23. #23
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    My knowledge of the bike world is still fairly new, but i imagine the brakes would be similar to the automotive racing world.
    You can run into the addition of more torsion stress from the larger wheels against the 140MM rotor. While your stopping power now is locking the wheel, the stress against the bolts,adapter and rotor would still be applied when the bike is dragging the wheel. This is not to say that it won't work, but when you have the stopping power that those calipers can provide, it may be too much for such a small setup to work with.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    yeah, the bike is way better looking in person... totally agree...

    so here is a dilemma - would appreciate your thoughts...

    it came with 160mm rear and 180mm front rotors. Had to use adapters in order to use size up rotors. Already went down to 160mm front - this is the setup on my other bikes and it is completely adequate. Thinking about 140mm rear rotor - that would eliminate adapter. I can lockup the rear wheel easily with 160mm and I suspect 140mm will be quite capable of this as well. So why 160mm?

    I have not seen any 29ers out there with 140mm rear rotor though, doesnt mean this one can't be the first...
    In general I would keep a 7 inch rotor up front as that is really where most of the stopping power comes from. Back brake unless you are into a bit of trials style in your riding is really for most of the ride a drag brake- slow you down slightly.And anything bigger would really be overkill.

    In the last year or so people have realized that a slightly bigger front rotor is better. when you factor in bigger wheel and all the stuff about bigger wheel.. larger rotating mass... and so on.

  25. #25
    db9
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    On my Jet9 (29er) I started with 160/140 (Hope Race X2) While I found that it was alright, it wasn't as confident inspiring as my old 26er FS (I have a RM Element Race) with the same setup. I also found that I was possibly overworking the 140, but then I may ride different than you or anyone else for that matter. I'm also 200lbs kitted up - if you are lighter you may find the 140 OK out back.

    I like big brakes (within reason) they are there when I want them. Yes the 140's are lighter but not by much - if you want I have a 140 on the wall - you could borrow it and try to see if you like before spending the money (6 bolt mount Hope floating disk - I'm in Mississauga)

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