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  1. #1
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    what's the deal with the epic

    I'm sitting here contemplating and I'm just making myself more confused. I've test ridden the epic several times. It's amazing, it climbs ALMOST like a hardtail but the rear shock completely eliminates all small obstacles.

    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.

    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.

  2. #2
    Rolling
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    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    I'm sitting here contemplating and I'm just making myself more confused. I've test ridden the epic several times. It's amazing, it climbs ALMOST like a hardtail but the rear shock completely eliminates all small obstacles.

    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.

    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.
    Maybe because All the FS i have ridden climb better than hardtails (on rocky terrain) so why would I want a bike that climbs almost as good as a hardtail.

    Sure, it's an awesome xc race bike.

  3. #3
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    Downside

    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    I'm sitting here contemplating and I'm just making myself more confused. I've test ridden the epic several times. It's amazing, it climbs ALMOST like a hardtail but the rear shock completely eliminates all small obstacles.

    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.

    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.
    Disclaimer: I don't race mountain bikes(yet)

    My guess is that it is difficult to evaluate, with high accuracy and precision, exactly when and where the benefits of suspension overcome the losses due to the extra weight. And how could you be sure? Ever gone over a rock differently and thought, "Man did I nail that one right this time!"?

    Imagine yourself in the shoes of a team rider. Let's assume you have a choice as to what you ride for an upcoming race. If you gain the podium, you made the right choice. But if you do poorly, and you rode the team standard hard-tail, nobody can criticize your choice. If, on the other hand, you ride something different and ride poorly, your boss may have something to say about it.

    That being said, I want an Epic!

    Walt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.
    well, if you're talking about racers, it's because most races are held mostly on wussy terrain, and because the really fast guys are out of the saddle and hammering so hard the suspension would get in the way too much. imagine sprinting as hard as you can over smooth-to-moderately-rough section of trail, maybe 50 yards. try it on a hardtail and on a nice dualie, and see which is faster. top level racers are going that hard all the time!

    if you're talking about xc riders, well, not everyone has a problem with the suspension moving around when they pedal. if you have a fairly smooth pedaling style, there is very little movement. with pro-flex, santacruz, and now kona bikes (3-5" travel) i have never felt like the suspension was moving too much.

    besides, every year, someone comes up with the newest innovation that completely revolutionizes suspension. at least that's what their ads say.
    mw
    mark weaver
    kuna, id

  5. #5
    The former Blue 'Goose
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    ... and if we just ... Thoughts from an Epic Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    I'm sitting here contemplating and I'm just making myself more confused. I've test ridden the epic several times. It's amazing, it climbs ALMOST like a hardtail but the rear shock completely eliminates all small obstacles.

    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.

    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.
    I ended up buying an Epic comp last July. My friend who has owned several
    hardtails with front suspension forks bought an Epic Marathon two weekends
    ago. I knew it was the bike for me when I was laughing out loud riding the thing.
    I love the bike, it climbs and descends great, it's not heavy at all in my mind
    (compared to my old bike - it's 13 pounds lighter). It's just a great bike y'know.

    Okay - who might not like it? Got broadband? See this 38 meg quicktime video:
    http://pod.ath.cx/mtb/4ridesHigh.mov

    My friend Paul is the guy riding an FSR-XC type Specialized and is bouncing
    like a pogo stick during the entire video almost. No, he did not have issues
    with his wheels going out of true (almost!). He likes bouncing and boinging
    like that. The brain would preclude him doing that (although the front fork
    would let me).

    I think some of the hype ended up getting people somewhat turned off.
    Also, some felt the suspension was not plush enough for them.
    To each his own. I think it's a great bike - for me. But "your mileage may vary."

  6. #6
    i worship Mr T
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    fit

    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    I'm sitting here contemplating and I'm just making myself more confused. I've test ridden the epic several times. It's amazing, it climbs ALMOST like a hardtail but the rear shock completely eliminates all small obstacles.

    If the brain shock is so amazing why are crosscountry riders buying any bike other than the epic.

    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.
    not everyone fits on an Epic. those that do, and have them, love them. those that don't, buy something else.

    rt - a 16" (size SM) epic would be at least 2" too big for me.
    [SIZE="2"]"where are you not going so fast?" (question asked to cyclist on a trainer)[/SIZE]

    [SIZE="2"]*rt*'s fabulous blog[/SIZE]
    [SIZE="2"][SIZE="2"]mm blogging[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliensporebomb
    My friend Paul is the guy riding an FSR-XC type Specialized and is bouncing
    like a pogo stick during the entire video almost. No, he did not have issues
    with his wheels going out of true (almost!). He likes bouncing and boinging
    like that. The brain would preclude him doing that (although the front fork
    would let me).
    Nice video. What does Paul say at the trailhead, "Ah, what's up doc?"
    You can't knock a guy for having fun!
    Big hoopy.
    Turner Sultan / On One Inbred

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by icrider
    furthermore, if anyone has any experience with the epic and a sc superlight I'd like to hear about that.
    Dunno about riding a Superlight, but I passed one going uphill on my new Epic yesterday!

  9. #9
    Jet
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    There is one very very big criticism I have for the epic.. It has a very harsh ride. The Brain shock; because of the way it works (brass weight suspended by a spring) The initial hit on any bump is like hitting it with a hardtail. After that the suspension works properly/normally. I noticed this the first time I rode one almost immediatly. Quite a few people that ride my local trail became increasingly annoyed by this. we don't see too many of them anymore.

    That aside, with all the new technology (5th element, Swinger, Fox ProPedal, Avalanche, etc.) these new shocks will either improve or cover suspension designs. The 'threshold damping' shocks also work much better all the time over any terrain than the Brain Shock. The catch; however, is that the shock needs to be set up properly, and this may take some time. Example: a lot of freeriders started blowing up their 5th's because they would increase the air pressure but not the volume in the chamber. They would hit a big drop/jump and bottom out the shock and blow the seals.

    There are a plethora of bikes that use these new shocks. I would suggest riding some with the 5th Elelment air first and go from there. I have a gut feeling about the Fox and it's not good. the manitou swinger licenses the technology from Progressive (5th) so they are pretty much the same shock, the Swinger just has more options. i'm not sure about aftermarket sales though.

    Just my .02

  10. #10
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    Was that on an '03 or an '04? My '04 doesn't have that problem. The valving is a little more reactive (I don't have the IQ adjustment, its the base model) so the "spike" is much reduced. I notice little, small bumps that a reduction in tire pressure would probably take care of. But things like potholes, rocks, or big sharp bumps make my suspension go active fast enough that I don't get a kick from it.

  11. #11
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    Blah blah blah

    I've had one for over a year now and it is great. Just as plush as my former Fox Float RC with 4.5" of travel, yet absolutely no bobbing uphill. I have a bad back and I ride it for 8 hours at a time with no problems.

  12. #12
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    New question here.

    Quote Originally Posted by aliensporebomb
    I ended up buying an Epic comp last July. My friend who has owned several
    hardtails with front suspension forks bought an Epic Marathon two weekends
    ago. I knew it was the bike for me when I was laughing out loud riding the thing.
    I love the bike, it climbs and descends great, it's not heavy at all in my mind
    (compared to my old bike - it's 13 pounds lighter). It's just a great bike y'know.

    Okay - who might not like it? Got broadband? See this 38 meg quicktime video:
    http://pod.ath.cx/mtb/4ridesHigh.mov

    My friend Paul is the guy riding an FSR-XC type Specialized and is bouncing
    like a pogo stick during the entire video almost. No, he did not have issues
    with his wheels going out of true (almost!). He likes bouncing and boinging
    like that. The brain would preclude him doing that (although the front fork
    would let me).

    I think some of the hype ended up getting people somewhat turned off.
    Also, some felt the suspension was not plush enough for them.
    To each his own. I think it's a great bike - for me. But "your mileage may vary."
    Why is that dude bunny hopping up and down the trail?

  13. #13
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    That's proof that

    Quote Originally Posted by TXNavy
    Dunno about riding a Superlight, but I passed one going uphill on my new Epic yesterday!
    the Epic is faster than the Superlight!

  14. #14
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    Oh yeah?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarrGuru
    the Epic is faster than the Superlight!
    Well I passed both epic's and superlights at the race last weekend, going downhill, going across open flats, rocky washes and up some good climbs, on my beat up Blur! Even passed an expert on an Epic..... neener neener neeeeener! J/K

    There is something to be said for a) setting up the bike correctly and b) being a solid/efficient/strong/whatever rider....

    I personally tried both the '03 and '04 epics, and was impressed with the hardtailness, but agree with Lidarman that I climbing on an FS is more efficient for me, as I can employ more power and stay planted while seated on a good FS than a HT.
    follow me on Twitter!
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  15. #15
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    Read some of the reviews for the 03 and the 04 Epics. I have one and it took about 2 hours of setting it up and adjusting until I found the happy medium. All good FS bikes need proper setup. The brain is not harsh is setup correctly, it works the same way as the new Fox F80x/100x forks.

    Good luck with your decision. They climb like a goat and desend like a lazy boy....best of both worlds
    Proud Tribe member since 1992 - looking for better singletrack to be ridden year round

  16. #16
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    SPV and Pro-Pedal works same but on ANY bike

    With the introduction of the "pro-pedal" and SPV platforms, you don't need all those pivots and mechanics of the BLUR or the fancy shock that the Epic requires. The Epic is also a bit porky for an XC racer.

  17. #17
    The former Blue 'Goose
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    ... and if we just ... Haha! That's Paul.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acme54321
    Why is that dude bunny hopping up and down the trail?
    Paul is insane. Heh!

  18. #18
    The former Blue 'Goose
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    ... and if we just ... I disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by Jet
    There is one very very big criticism I have for the epic.. It has a very harsh ride.

    (stuff deleted for brevity)
    Not in my opinion. My unsuspended hardtail was very* harsh. I literally could
    not ride for two days after riding my hardtail. That thing was a spinecrusher.

    Not so the Epic. I can ride every day on the Epic with no issues.

    The Epic is plush in comparison. But I also have a Fox Float FL80 front fork which is a plush fork. And I also have set the rear shock up carefully. This is a HUGE deal.

    There is a crucial thing that needs to be said regarding this bike that is absolutely
    critical: you need to set-up the rear shock for your weight. That includes any gear
    you might be carrying the day you ride. If not it just doesn't work as well.

    It took some trial and error to figure this out. If you're 208 naked but with clothes
    and gear and helmet and camelbak you're 220 set it up for that and you will* notice
    a difference.

    When I first got the bike I was almost 30 pounds heavier than I am now. Within
    the last week I've reset the pressure in the rear shock and it's almost like a different
    bike.

    Also know that Specialized CHANGED the pressure spec on that fork (I have two
    sets of what you're supposed to set the pressure to depending on your weight and it
    is different).

    The new ones have a less firm feel since the word was out that some DID feel that it was harsh in comparison to some of the more "wallowy" (for lack of a better term)
    suspended bikes. But the Epic was designed as a racer and perhaps it does*
    come across as firmer than, say something like a Blur or a Racer X or a
    Stumpjumper or an Enduro or a Heckler.

    A friend tried a recent Enduro, a recent Stumpjumper, last years Epic, this years
    Epic, and a few other $1000+ dual boingers and ended up buying a last years
    Epic since for him the others were "too much boing".

  19. #19
    The former Blue 'Goose
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    ... and if we just ... Weight

    Quote Originally Posted by HammerSAC
    With the introduction of the "pro-pedal" and SPV platforms, you don't need all those pivots and mechanics of the BLUR or the fancy shock that the Epic requires. The Epic is also a bit porky for an XC racer.
    S-Works Epic is 23 pounds which is about as light as I'd want an MTB. My roadie
    is 18 pounds but I would not dream of riding it on a trail.

    My comp is in the 26-27 pounds range, I could get it to 24 with some judicious
    upgrades.

    My climbing was not fun on my 40 pound old hardtail.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet
    There is one very very big criticism I have for the epic.. It has a very harsh ride. The Brain shock; because of the way it works (brass weight suspended by a spring) The initial hit on any bump is like hitting it with a hardtail. After that the suspension works properly/normally.

    This ties in to what I don't like about the Epic. Now, I only test rode one once on a local trail, but my impression was the following. I think they biased the geometry of the frame rearward to insure that there is enough weight over the super duper rear shock that it takes enough of a hit to actually engage. The result is a bike that sits like a chopper and takes way too much steering input to throw it around tight corners. I still prefer a hardtail.

  21. #21
    Jet
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    Ok so now it sounds like a bit of a debate has started here.

    Epic vs. everything else...

    I am a fan of the Epic. I think it is a good race bike, and I stress the word race. As far as an all day type bike, I personally cannot reccomend it, but that is just my opinion. I think that the Fox Brain Shock is a great advance in suspension, but I feel the SPV or threshold shocks just work better all the time. Fox got the jump on these type of shocks getting to the masses; which is great for them, but I would reccomend an SPV over it.

    An 'unsuspended' hardtail does have a harsh ride- if you do not ride it correctly (i.e. if you don't rise off the seat in rough sections). Also, if you have a 40lb 'huffy' (for lack of a better term and not knowing what other poster's HT's are) type hardtail, anything you ride that is not a mass market bike will ride better. Also- glenzx- and I am not picking on you- if you happen to pass riders on X and Y bikes doesn't mean the are slow, heavy, or a bad design, you just have more fitness. I used to pass XC riders all the time on my 50lb DH bike on climbs.

    Perhaps the term harsh ride was too er..umm...harsh of a term to use. A better word would be 'spiking'. I think that about 80-90% of first time Epic riders would agree with me on this. For example; when you hit a root, the rear end spikes into your bum. After that, the suspension does exactly what it is designed to do. A good way to see this is to go to a Specialized dealer and do the 'floor' test. Take an Epic and try to move the suspesion while both wheels are on the floor, it doesn't move. Pick the rear end up and bounce it off the floor and push up and down on it. The suspension works correctly for a few seconds.

    Someone also said that the Epics were choppered out. I rode all three sizes and felt that I was placed more over the bars than anything. I did notice that the bikes 'borrowed' from the genesis geometry that Fisher started ( quite a few companies do this, much to my dismay). I felt the rear tire had good placement, it felt right under my bum where it should be. The front wheel always felt like it was right under my chin with a bmx type headangle. I aslo think that it is a little 'twitchy' or over sensetive to steering corrections. I preffer relaxed geometry myself. I have a Ht that is designed for racing slalom with 'old skool' geometry, and it handles like a slot car. The first mt. bike I bought when i got back into riding was an inch too big fro me because I felt it handled better. BTW I'm 5'8", so take the fact that me riding a 15" Epic with a grain of salt.

    'Bobbing' on FS designs will always be an issue too. Much of this; however, can be corrected with setup and pedal stroke. If you have an issue with bob; try adding 10lbs of air. 10lbs may not sound like much, but it can make a huge diference. Next, work on your pedal stroke. If you 'lumberjack' on the pedals, the bike will return the favor to you. Tthink of it as being in a trainer. If you only apply power on the downstroke, there is no return coming from the drivetrain. If you increase the power past the downstroke, the rider kind of becomes a perpetual motion machine. Power on the down and up stroke. This is the most efficient way to pedal and we all know it, most of us just don't do it. Try riding some flat pedals and you will notice how bad your pedal stroke is.

    One other thing about the '03 Epics that not alot of people caught. The Epic Marathon (if you were lucky enough to get the F80X fork) was a better bike than the S-Works. With this bike, you got the brain shock internals on both ends. The marathon did weigh a little more, and all the bikes were stout, but I felt it performed better. Matter of fact, any fox RLT fork can be 'tricked' into locking itself out with the threshold setting, escentially giving you the same effect as the FX.

    One last option\opinion. If you have an Epic or are thinking of getting one, look into getting a swinger shock. Meridian has made a similar bike for a while that uses exactly the same rear end. Both frames are made by the same manufacturer too.

  22. #22
    mtbr dismember
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    You debate.....

    ....I'll just keep on enjoying riding mine.

  23. #23
    JJK
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    I love my SC Superlight

    I've owned 3 SC bikes. The Superlight is an awesome ride. It can outclimb my friends
    Spec. Epic on the rocky climbs we have here in Phoenix and it does downhill better
    also. I ride with a group of guys that 4-5 of them ride the Epic's. I did get to test ride one
    last year at SoMo on Desert Classic with Ned Overend. The highlight was getting to
    ride with Ned, the bike did not impress me. It is too stiff for my liking. I ride a F/S to
    get the cushion, if i wanted a hardtail ride i'd pull out my Fisher SuperCal. I think the
    Epic would be great for racing, but not for long rides or comfort. That's my .02 FWIW

    Later,
    JohnnyK
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  24. #24
    IWantMyMtb.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB
    This ties in to what I don't like about the Epic. Now, I only test rode one once on a local trail, but my impression was the following. I think they biased the geometry of the frame rearward to insure that there is enough weight over the super duper rear shock that it takes enough of a hit to actually engage. The result is a bike that sits like a chopper and takes way too much steering input to throw it around tight corners. I still prefer a hardtail.
    An epic sits like a chopper? What, compared to a road bike?

  25. #25
    IWantMyMtb.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wherewolf
    ....I'll just keep on enjoying riding mine.
    Me too, it's by far the best xc bike I've ever ridden.

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