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  1. #1
    Just Wanna Ride!
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    Epic 29er vs Stumpjumper 29er - Endurance Race Bike?

    Also posted in the endurance forum, but thought I might get find more experience with the two bikes here....

    On the fence between a 2010 Epic 29er or a 2010 Stumpjumper 29er. The Epic seems to be a solid choice for endurance racing, but I also want the bike to be trail worthy. I know there are a fair number of folks racing carbon stumpjumpers for endurance events, so I think the brain equipped SJ can be stretched into endurance racing duty with the right setup.

    Have an order in for the Epic, but am second guessing whether it will be versatile enough to serve as my general purpose trail bike too. Seems like the SJ might be able to handle race duties and is a great all rounder. Even though I'm a mid pack sport class kinda guy, I still don't want to feel like I'm losing efficiency. Doing endurance races for fun - probably 4-5 events a year - and usually finish mid pack in endurance races too.

    Any opinions? Anyone ridden both? Anyone know the weight difference between an alum Epic and an aluminum SJ frame?

  2. #2
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    if you enjoy being in the middle of the pack, go SJ
    If you would like a better chance at being in the top 10%, stay Epic

  3. #3
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    I agree with PB. The set up of the stump is more relaxed then that of the Epic. That said the Epic will be a comfortable all arounder.

  4. #4
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    Having ridden both I bought the SJ. I can ride faster easier on the SJ and on a long ride that has to lead to better lap times.

    I also found it to be a better all purpose bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreyjhsu
    Having ridden both I bought the SJ. I can ride faster easier on the SJ and on a long ride that has to lead to better lap times.

    I also found it to be a better all purpose bike.
    Interesting.

    Based on what I've been reading... and spending the last half of the summer on a 29er HT, I'm thinking about going all 29er. I'm a Spec fan and have had an Enduro ('00), Epic ('03) and now a SJ Expert ('08).

    I don't race and am an over all slow rider, though I've been toying with the idea of doing a 24 hour race for fun. I ride mostly XC, some basic AM stuff but no hucking. I believe in "earning" my downhill by pedaling up for the most part.

    With the bigger wheels, the Epic's smaller travel seems like it would suit me just fine as my all around bike. But there's always the SJ....

    I'm very interested in hearing more about this topic, especially from folks who have ridden both of these bikes.

  6. #6
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    I have an 2008 Enduro, a 2007 Merida Mission (Epic Wanna be), and now a 2010 FSR SJ 29er.

    The Enduro will be used for ski lift assisted DH next year, the Merida will be stripped down of all it's light parts, build back up with all the cheaper parts I have lying around and given to my son as a commuter bike. The SJ FSR 29 is now my AM, XC, and commuter bike. It feels like it does all of these things better than either the Enduro or Merida combined.

    if you buy one, have the LBS check for even spoke tension on the wheels after the first ride or two.

  7. #7
    I don't huck.
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    Some thoughts here on Epic VS Stumpy

    http://twentynineinches.com/2010/02/...t-impressions/
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  8. #8
    The Other Dude
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    I like that write up! I think the stumpy has won me over. I was really considering a RIP or possibly even WFO with the party pack they are offering right now, but again the specialized seems like it will be the best choice for me.

    My parts pack just came in for the stumpy, now i am just waiting on a frame to arrive.
    Sponsors: Specialized, Honey Stinger, The Hive, Twenty6, 661, Elka Suspension, www.Chainsmokeracing.net

  9. #9
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    Thought I'd update since the first post. Good write up mtroy - look forward to the follow up posts. I've owned way too many bikes including several SJs (including an FSR 29er), DW-Link Sultan, HiFi 29er and currently riding an Epic 29er.

    Love the Epic - fast bike, handles well, pedals better than any fs bike I've ridden. It will be a great endurance race bike and is more versatile than I thought it would be. Haters say that the brain is needed to make up for a dated design. Call it what you will - the brain works very well and the new version has a wide range of adjustment.

    Still love an SJ, though! I find that I take the fast line on the Epic, while I intentionally hit the rougher line on the SJ. I hit the smoother part of rooty sections on the Epic rather than aiming for the bigger roots to use as a launch ramp to try to jump the root section on the SJ.

    I think I might have to pick up another SJ 29er frame and build it up with parts I have to keep the cost in check, but the Epic isn't going anywhere! It really is a great bike.

    I struggled with the decision to move to the Epic, but after spending time on both the truth is that you can't go wrong with either bike!!

  10. #10
    DTL
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    Would a rider experience more pedal bob (less pedaling efficiency) on a SJ FSR 29er with no brain over an Epic 29er due to the longer travel?

  11. #11
    I don't huck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL
    Would a rider experience more pedal bob (less pedaling efficiency) on a SJ FSR 29er with no brain over an Epic 29er due to the longer travel?
    The lack of a Brain shock is likely the bigger factor.
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  12. #12
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    So......I had an epic a long time ago - Hated the brain. Sometimes it was locked, sometimes it was open - made preloading for logs and big rocks tough cause you never knew if you had a "hardtail" under you or a squishy bike. I realize I was not on the best bike for the terrian I ride - so don't read into that.....

    I know they've changed brains and made them softer for the SJ29er, but I still think this would be an issue. So I get how the SJ29er brain would feel snappy, but do you think that the SJ29er triad shock would have more of that saggy diaper feeling...or is the propedal like option on that pretty good?

  13. #13
    DTL
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayoutside
    So......I had an epic a long time ago - Hated the brain. Sometimes it was locked, sometimes it was open - made preloading for logs and big rocks tough cause you never knew if you had a "hardtail" under you or a squishy bike. I realize I was not on the best bike for the terrian I ride - so don't read into that.....

    I know they've changed brains and made them softer for the SJ29er, but I still think this would be an issue. So I get how the SJ29er brain would feel snappy, but do you think that the SJ29er triad shock would have more of that saggy diaper feeling...or is the propedal like option on that pretty good?
    I was never a fan of the hardtail feel of the brain myseld. I'm looking at the 2010 SJ comp 29er, Epic comp 29er and Gary Fisher Hi Fi 29er. I'm wondering if the longer travel of the SJ (without brain) would cause less pedaling efficiency for XC riding and climbing. Not a big fan of the triad but the pp setting should work as good as an rp23 in about the number 2 pp setting, at least you would think. I wish Spesh would get away from the proprietary triad.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL
    I was never a fan of the hardtail feel of the brain myseld. I'm looking at the 2010 SJ comp 29er, Epic comp 29er and Gary Fisher Hi Fi 29er. I'm wondering if the longer travel of the SJ (without brain) would cause less pedaling efficiency for XC riding and climbing. Not a big fan of the triad but the pp setting should work as good as an rp23 in about the number 2 pp setting, at least you would think. I wish Spesh would get away from the proprietary triad.
    While seated and peddaling on a trail, you should not notice less pedaling efficiency from the rear suspension. It needs to move to follow the trail.

    While seated on a steep road climb, the front fork will cycle way more than the rear

    Standing and pedaling will cause the bike to bob more in the front and less in the rear, but that is common with any bike.

    So, go for the brain, once you get it set, it works very well. I have mine set to be more soft, than firm and it never bobs on the road in or out of the saddle. It does have a tiny bit of movement, but that is why I have a FS bike, I do not want to feel the road, I want to ride on it.

  15. #15
    DTL
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    Does the brain make the bike feel more harsh? Especially over smaller bumps?

  16. #16
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    The great thing about the brain fade design is that it allows you to adjust from firm to fully open. You can set how harsh you want it to feel. If you want plush you can get it. If you want firm pedaling out of the saddle, then you can set it up that way too.

    PB is right - you will get more bob from your fork than you will from the rear suspension - even if you have the rear end set up to be pretty soft.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTL
    Does the brain make the bike feel more harsh? Especially over smaller bumps?
    No, but it took quite a few adjustments to get it there. It really comes down to one click of adjustment. One additional click of soft equals excess bob on the road, one click of additional firm = a clunky feeling on the trail.

    Follow the Specialized directions for setting the brain and you will be very close to the happy medium setting.

    Once you find your settings, write it down!!!

  18. #18
    DTL
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    So in the case of the SJ comp 29er with no brain at all would it still be an efficient pedaling platform even with 130 mm in the rear? What is the main advantage to having the brain over not having it? Just more adjustment options than without it?

  19. #19
    namagomi
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    One bicycle is in the competitive XC class the other is a trail bike. Two different intended uses... If you only finish middle of the pack and don't care to move up stick with something more playful like the SJ FSR.

  20. #20
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    When the brain is locked, you have near hard tail pedaling effiecency, there is a tiny bit of flex but not enough to matter. Once the rear tire hits a bump, the brain opens up and allows the shock to work and then you have a FS bike. The firm to soft settings determine what bump size activates the brain. I am sure the Specialized site 'plains this somewhere.

    Oh, and if you go full firm and lock the front fork, you have a fully ridgid 29er MTB

  21. #21
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    So, if I follow this logic, I could open up the Brain on an Epic and have a relatively plush 90mm FS? Help me out here.

  22. #22
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    Yes u could open up the brain and have alot plusher ride than if the dail is on firm.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by olapiquena
    So, if I follow this logic, I could open up the Brain on an Epic and have a relatively plush 90mm FS? Help me out here.

    Yes,you could, and I have done this a few time on my FSR SJ 29er. But why in the heck would you want to be all bent over the frame of a stock but plush XC Race bike?? Or do you plan on getting an smaller than normal frame, shortening the stem and riding it in a more comfortable upright position???

  24. #24
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    I went to the local LBS to order the 29er Epic. The guy tried to talk me into a Stumpy because they can get it quicker. Says it will be April/May before they get the 29er in Epic, I'm going to wait and check back then.

    He said the Epic is more comfortable all around but I'll be doing some rocky mountain trails and he suggested the Stumpy will be a better fit.

    I've decided to get the Epic as I will be riding both trails and rocky areas.
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  25. #25
    DTL
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    Did your LBS guy explain why the epic would be more comfy over the SJ? I would think the SJ would be more comfortable due to it's more relaxed geometry.

  26. #26
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    He said that the SJ had more travel and would be better for riding on rough rocks and downhill, but the Epic was more plush overall and would be better for racing and riding more varied terrain.

    I'm kind of new with the terms but I recall he said something like 75 vs 100 mm of travel.
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  27. #27
    DTL
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    The SJ has 130 mm of rear wheel travel while the epic only has 90mm of rear wheel travel. I haven't ridden either one but am looking at both myself. If you are riding mainly xc then the epic should be faster. It also should have a more xc geometry though which may get you a little more stretched out in the saddle.

  28. #28
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    Keep checking back with that dealer. One or two might pop up before April/May.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesd
    He said that the SJ had more travel and would be better for riding on rough rocks and downhill, but the Epic was more plush overall and would be better for racing and riding more varied terrain.

    I'm kind of new with the terms but I recall he said something like 75 vs 100 mm of travel.
    The SJ has the potential to be a more compliant ride compared to the Epic. A slightly more relaxed tune on the Brain and more travel add up to 'smoove-ness'.

    The Epic is better for any typical XC racing for sure.

    The Epic is 100mm/90mm travel F/R and the SJ is 120/130mm travel. Different bikes for sure.
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  30. #30
    Pastor Josh
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    If you have an 08 Stumpy get the Epic... The epic 29er is an amazing ride you will love it.
    Character trumps Charisma every time.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHSAD
    Keep checking back with that dealer. One or two might pop up before April/May.
    I would think... I got mine back in the middle of December!

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    I stopped by another LBS today, he said he could have the Epic within a week.

    Thanks for all the thoughts. Once I get it, is there anything special I should do to the bike?
    2007 Ibex Asta Pro
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  33. #33
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    Yeah the Epic is a beast of a bike that begs to be ridden faster and faster. I had any epic 26er back in 04 and the difference in the brain is amazing now, I don't even notice it working at all.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesd
    I stopped by another LBS today, he said he could have the Epic within a week.

    Thanks for all the thoughts. Once I get it, is there anything special I should do to the bike?
    Well - I guess it depends on what you wanna do with it (your new Epic 29'er, that is)... I've already changed nearly everything on mine... now mine is just right for ME. however, it's gonna be great right outta the box!!!

  35. #35
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    I want to ride it, I don't want to replace anything that isn't necessary.
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  36. #36
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    Hey Wesd one thing i noticed about the bike is that the tapered steer tube makes this thing stiff as heck and the brain is amazing too. Iam amazed at how u can just stand and hammer with the front locked out. You can feel ur pedal strokes going stright to the wheels so powerful.
    "It Is What It Is" Phil 4:13
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesd
    I want to ride it, I don't want to replace anything that isn't necessary.
    My advice is: ride it as it is! You can always upgrade parts later on as they wear or as you desire... but it's a great ride as is! You'll be amazed!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesd
    I stopped by another LBS today, he said he could have the Epic within a week.

    Thanks for all the thoughts. Once I get it, is there anything special I should do to the bike?
    ...Oh! You might wanna get some pedals for it! (it doesn't come with any...) ;-) Enjoy!

  39. #39
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    Yeah, pedals are a must for me. I'll get some Shimano XTR pedals and go to town as is stock. can't wait to get her and post pics here.
    2007 Ibex Asta Pro
    2010 Specialized Epic Comp 29er....SWEET
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  40. #40
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    Can't go wrong with XTR pedals. I've been a Shimano pedal fan for as long as i've been riding! I just got my first pair of Look Quartz... they're a good bit lighter and less $$$ than XTR, and work pretty well. They feel a little different than Shimano, but as a die hard Shiimano guy, I think they feel pretty good! You may want to consider those to save some weight, & some $$$ in your wallet! Can't wait to see some pix... just curious, what size bike you gettin'?

  41. #41
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    Considering the new SJ as it looks a very efficient pedaler as well as a fun trail bike.

    How easy is the SJ's front to loft, compared to any other 29er FS, or even a 26" bike?

    Cheers

  42. #42
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    I'm getting a medium. I went again to the LBS and he says it will be April before they can get it, so I told him to check back and call me.
    2007 Ibex Asta Pro
    2010 Specialized Epic Comp 29er....SWEET
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    Retired: 1998 Specialized Hardrock Sport FS

  43. #43
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    My stump jumper 09 comp 29er is 100mm of travel all around it weights 24.6 pounds and I used it to do it all from racing to all day rides. etc... The '10 sj has more travel and It would probably not be prefered at least for me for racing but more for only trail riding, the epic I think would be better for racing although from riding with a guy very recently and he had one he said the bike handled better at speed he did not like riding it slow. All considering I like my 09 sj with 100mm of travel for an all around bike and as far as results racing I dont come middle of the pack if I train. Hope this helps.
    Your big wheels are so awesome!

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