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  1. #1
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    Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?

    I'm an avid 43 year old XC rider but don't race much (1/yr). I saw the subject bike and was wondering if it would be a fun, all-around rider that's low weight and nimble. Admittedly, I know very little about Brain, save for what I saw on. Spec promotional video, but the technology sounds interesting.

    I do like a slightly more upright position due to some minor back issues. I've also never had a carbon bike so the weight savings is a huge draw for me. My initial impression of the Epic Expert is that its oriented for racing and that's what I'm concerned about. If it wouldn't be conducive for XC/trail general riding, let me know.

    I'm 6'1" (32 inseam) and I guess looking at a large?

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  2. #2
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    excellent all around bike. Now, if you are riding lift served terrain, big drops, gap jumps etc, it won't last very long as it is not made for that but as an all around bike for us mortals who ride everything up and down, it rocks. Large is probably the right size.

  3. #3
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    Excellent all around bike. I think you'd be looking at a size large.

  4. #4
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    It is a great all around mtb. If your riding style is pure XC riding you will be fine.
    At 6'1" a Large is the way to go.

  5. #5
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    When I was choosing, I demo'd the Epic, the Camber and the Stumpjumper as well.

    The Epic is just too aggressive XC position in my opinion for an everyday comfortable ride. It had the 'cranked over' feel to the riding position to me. Probably not good for someone with back issues.

    SJ on the other hand has slack geometry and felt like a tractor on the flats. Just not steep enough around here to justify it. (If I was doing resorts, I'd think about it.)

    Camber on the other hand is in between - just right. Fairly nimble geometry, just a tad off the Epic, but a comfortable riding position. Quite capable of 3 to 4' jumps.

    I am 6'4" (36" inseam) and I got an XXL (23"), which fits me like a glove (handlebars are level with the seat when set up). It has been a revelation to get on a slightly bigger bike (I previously had 21" ers). At your height, I would be very surprised if you weren't more comfortable on an XL than an L. The right bike size is very important.

    Oh, and my 2012 Camber Expert Evo R weighs in at exactly 26 lbs.

  6. #6
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    Long time Epic Expert 29 lover (2012),so much loving I've had to buy it back and I'm waiting for my 2014 one next week. Careful,if you need a more upright position the Epic may not be the right bike for you. Swapping to a shorter stem may do the trick.
    I don't have enough good words for the Epic. The trails I now rip with my Stumpy FSR 29 become way too boring and easy,but with the Epic you really have the whole technical and aggressive experience all in one package,let alone the insane speed but uphill and downhill.
    You are going to love the Brain,the Brain was developed for the Epic and it give it's best on the Epic. It will be a long time before we will see the Brain working as efficient as on the Epic on the Stumpy FSR. Sometimes I do try to swap to other brand but it's the Brain that keeps me hooked on Specialized.
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  7. #7
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    I think the Epic is an excellent all-around XC bike. It is fairly bump and challenging here in Northern Utah, but the new Epic WC eats up the bumps so well that I just don't see myself riding my Stumpjumper FSR anymore. I'm keeping it for my boys to use. The position is more aggressive on the Epic than the SJ, so I think you will have to demo one to decide if the Epic works with your back. Sounds like you would be a size Large.
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  8. #8
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    Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?

    Wow, lots to consider here. I guess I'm looking for a more aggressive XC bike since that's what I ride in AZ. No jumps or drops but occasionally get in to some rough chunk where I want the suspension to perform at at high rate. One thing that lures me to this bike (besides the weight) is the flat/smooth pedaling efficiency with Brain. I like to pick up speed on flats and smooth trails in order to generate momentum into the climbs, and I like the prospect of a hardtail-feel in these situations.

    Question: Would an Epic Comp be the same basic geo? Experience?
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  9. #9
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    Test ride, test ride, test ride. It's a race bike and it's going to put you in a race position.

    Also, you say you like the idea of carbon for the weight savings, you do realize that it's only half carbon?

    Keep in mind, FSR bikes need the brain. There are other suspension designs that have the anti squat as part of it and don't need a brain shock.

    Check out reviews on the Brain, every year you read about how much better this years brain is over the last one.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post

    Question: Would an Epic Comp be the same basic geo? Experience?
    If you're looking at the Expert and can afford one I would say stick to it. The Comp assuming is the M5 Comp you're talking about is still an excellent bike but it's a bike in desperate need of some serious upgrades to get you to the Epic experience. Wheels,cranks,bart,seat post,you name it..a whole lot of cash to spend around and you would be halfway there since you would be missing the Brain up front.
    Same thing for the Comp carbon,you get the front triangle in carbon and that's it.
    I'd say once again Specialized gave the Expert model the right ratio of price/equipment. I was supposed to buy the Marathon but Specialized Italy knew the difference between Marathon and Expert were not that big of a deal so they only ordered 20 Marathons for Italy and they all sold out. Glad I was able to save 600 Euro and already bought XTR shifters,carbon bar and XTR cassette for my incoming Expert. Sworks crank will be next.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Keep in mind, FSR bikes need the brain. There are other suspension designs that have the anti squat as part of it and don't need a brain shock.
    I hardly think that's true. I own a FSR bike and I've never felt the "need" for the brain. In fact, I didn't care for the brain when I rode a friend's Epic. That same friend, eventually got rid of the brain and swapped a RP23 onto his Epic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by owensjs View Post
    I hardly think that's true. I own a FSR bike and I've never felt the "need" for the brain. In fact, I didn't care for the brain when I rode a friend's Epic. That same friend, eventually got rid of the brain and swapped a RP23 onto his Epic.

    Now ride something else and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. My SJ didnt have the Brain. I thought it was ok until I rode something else. The FSR design isn't the best pedaling one out there, it squats down a lot in it's stroke when climbing.

    There are other designs that pedal much better than a FSR. If you like the way it pedals great. But you might not want to ride something else if you haven't, one demo ride on another bike and my 6 month old SJ was up for sale.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    There are other designs that pedal much better than a FSR.
    I never claimed that there weren't other designs that pedal better. There obviously are, and yes, I have test ridden some other bikes. My point was that I had test ridden a friend's Epic (the exact same bike with the brain and with the RP23) and I didn't like the brain and the way it made the bike behave on the trail. That bike rode better with a RP23, in my opinion. Everyone has their preferences, though.

  14. #14
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    Test ride before ya make a decision - I thought I was all about the Epic (to race and just ride) and then I hopped on a Camber - felt so much more comfortable and made riding quite enjoyable for fun/racing. Sure - no brain, but alas like someone I ride with occasionally, you're off the epic for 2 weeks or so if the shock has to get serviced

  15. #15
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    I am using my 2013 epic almost exaclty as you want to. I ride in in northern californai and do tahoe, downieville, auburn all the time on my modified epic. I have the 2013 epic comp but with some major modifications. I put a Rock shox sid 120 fork,xt brakes, Dropper post, Mavic SLR wheel set. thomson stem with ritchey 720mm bars. Made the bike into much more of all mtn bike than a xc race bike. I absolutely love this bike, It carve like no other and climbing is also most fun. It rails on the downhill since the longer fork slow down the steering a bit.. Here is a pic of it
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?-img_5859%5B1%5D.jpg  

    Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?-img_5860%5B1%5D.jpg  


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrob View Post
    I am using my 2013 epic almost exaclty as you want to. I ride in in northern californai and do tahoe, downieville, auburn all the time on my modified epic. I have the 2013 epic comp but with some major modifications. I put a Rock shox sid 120 fork,xt brakes, Dropper post, Mavic SLR wheel set. thomson stem with ritchey 720mm bars. Made the bike into much more of all mtn bike than a xc race bike. I absolutely love this bike, It carve like no other and climbing is also most fun. It rails on the downhill since the longer fork slow down the steering a bit.. Here is a pic of it
    Dude,that's one sick bike !! Is the Brain ok with that use ? Shorter life between services ?
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  17. #17
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    I have been riding my shop's '14 Expert Carbon test bike since the day it arrived..I liked it enough it, that I am building up an S-Works frameset. I ride New England XC, and I don't think there's a better bike for my riding style. It's firm like a hardtail when accelerating out of corners, and being ~190lb I love the near-hardtail feel of my power transferring to the wheel and not through the suspension. Climbing with the BRAIN fork/shock combo is as good as it gets.

    I have been fortunate to ride/own some pretty high-end bikes and the new Epic is as fast or faster than anything I've had. This year I had a Tallboy Carbon then a Highball Carbon as my training bikes (I race SS, so a lot of my time is spent on my SS) and I would pick the Epic over both of them. The Epic has the efficiency of the Highball with the long-distance comfort of the Tallboy.

    I am a just a bit over 6"1 with a 34 inseam and am riding a Large. I like a more compact bike to toss around, and the position is not as stretched out as the XL would be. I would think that you could still be fairly comfortable on the bike if you run the stem positive and and keep the saddle/bar drop height low.

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  18. #18
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    Re: Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?

    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrob View Post
    I am using my 2013 epic almost exaclty as you want to. I ride in in northern californai and do tahoe, downieville, auburn all the time on my modified epic. I have the 2013 epic comp but with some major modifications. I put a Rock shox sid 120 fork,xt brakes, Dropper post, Mavic SLR wheel set. thomson stem with ritchey 720mm bars. Made the bike into much more of all mtn bike than a xc race bike. I absolutely love this bike, It carve like no other and climbing is also most fun. It rails on the downhill since the longer fork slow down the steering a bit.. Here is a pic of it
    Wow, I dig that. It looks like what I'm thinking, a lightweight XC bike with attitude. I currently ride a Trance 29 and its a 'XC bomber'. The Maestro is good for pedalling too but Brain sounds really interesting. I rode the Anthem Advanced (carbon) but it didn't feel right so I went Trance 29. If the EE feels right Ill be so stoked. Thanks again to everyone who has chimed in.

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    Last edited by MTBeing; 12-21-2013 at 03:35 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Um, this is specialized's hardcore attack position XC racing bike and you are interested in all-around/trail riding.


    What could possibly go wrong?
    Last edited by Jayem; 12-20-2013 at 09:11 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Um, this is specialized's hardcore attack position XC racing bike and you are interested in all-around/trail riding.


    What could possibly go wrong?
    Well, the point is that the 2014 rides a lot plusher over bumps than you would think based on 95m of travel. It is far more comfortable than my brother's Scalpel Carbon 1, for example, which I would never consider an all-around bike. The new Epic I would.
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  21. #21
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    He sounds like he needs a camber or carbon stumpjumper, which can be built damn light, but the Epic is a go-fast bike, the brain will take away plushness and while yes, it's much more ridable than the previous epics, it's still their go-fast XC race bike that most people won't be comfortable with. There are lots of light 120mm bikes that aren't as harsh or overly-aggressive as the Epic. This is bad idea jeans.


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  22. #22
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    Thanks Devastazione , So Far I only have about 1000 miles on it. I bought it last August. It probably needs a service but I am really enjoying the heck out of riding it. I am going to take it in at the first of the year to get it check up. So far it is still riding like new but I know with my luck the brain will blow up right before sea otter or the downieville classic. I am going to get it serviced soon. How long does everyone else to get their shock serviced? Just wondering.

  23. #23
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    I came from a trance 29er. I loved it while I was riding it but the epic is like a Ferrari in comparison to the Trance . Super fast and fun to ride. I will be selling it this spring. I no Longer have the urge to ride it. It is slow and to cumbersome for me.. Here is a pic of that bike...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?-2012-2013-rob-random-pics-006.jpg  


  24. #24
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    Hi
    I have a Epic Expert Carbon 2013 and i love it i rode the brains full open and it was like floating you hardly felt the rear at all, now i have set up the brains so they do what they need to do when they are activated, so when i pedal uphill on tarmac it is stiff when i get to some trails and single track that´s where they come to full use.

    i had a nasty accident this summer (July) and injured my back so i had no choice but to go FS and i got a sweet deal on the epic and i love it.
    best bike i ever owned

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollinrob View Post
    I came from a trance 29er. I loved it while I was riding it but the epic is like a Ferrari in comparison to the Trance . Super fast and fun to ride. I will be selling it this spring. I no Longer have the urge to ride it. It is slow and to cumbersome for me.. Here is a pic of that bike...
    I remember that pic. You were one of the first people to have the TX29-1 on the forums. This pic and others are what drew me to the 1 instead of the 2.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post

    Question: Would an Epic Comp be the same basic geo? Experience?
    I have a '13 Epic carbon comp. I ended up having Specialized add the brain guts to the front fork, switched to Easton ec70 carbon bars and seat post, and found a set of lightly used aluminum Roval Control wheels. Now it seems similar to the Expert... I'd buy the Expert, if I did it all over again.

    The Epic as an all around bike? Yes. When riding with my wife, I turn the brains (on the bike) off and it rides like a pillow. When I ride with fast guys I turn the brains back on and it is about as good as an xc bike can get.

  27. #27
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    My only real complaint about using the Epic as an all around bike is that it is so nice that I feel bad about using it in the mud and snow. Before the Epic I had a 2006 Giant Yukon Fs and didn't care at all about riding that bike in the muck...

  28. #28
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    I have a 2013 epic comp that i use for everything,mind you the only thing left stock on it is the forks and rear shock,i love this bike,my brother had a expert that i rode a bit and now he has an s-works,iv'e rode that also.I preferred my comp over the expert,i don't like the brain in the forks,i find it a little to harsh,i seemed to have better grip on my front
    end than it,s-works is very nice but still found the brain in front a little harsh.Remember iv'e about $2000 spent on my comp though,and with the forks on the comp i recommend running lower psi than rockshox recommends.I ran it with their psi rating for my weight for about a year and i was bouncing of bumps instead of absorbing them,dropped it over 20psi in the front and wow,different bike.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by letitsnow View Post
    My only real complaint about using the Epic as an all around bike is that it is so nice that I feel bad about using it in the mud and snow. Before the Epic I had a 2006 Giant Yukon Fs and didn't care at all about riding that bike in the muck...
    Same thing. I just beat the heck out of my Stumpy fsr but could not do the same with my 2012 Epic Expert,it will be the same for my 2014 one.
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  30. #30
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    Is the epic a decent choice for multi day bikepacking races like the Colorado trail race, arizona trail race, etc... or is the brain too much of a liability in terms of finding shops to service it on the spot when stuck in some tiny town somewhere and wanting to get back moving ASAP? I am still debating picking up an Epic expert carbon or comp carbon to replace my knolly endorphin for this purpose. The only thing holding me back is horror stories about people's Epics being broken more often than not and needing service all the time.

  31. #31
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    I have a 2013 comp and love it. I rode most of the contenders and as soon as I hopped on the epic I knew right away. Is it the plushest? Nope. Is it the most comfortable? Nope.
    However a new stem and a little less tire pressure took care of most of that. I really didn't want to like the brain but it works really well, sort of a set it and forget it situation. The bike rides "tight" and you quickly lose track of the fact the rear is doing anything, until you jump back on a hardtail. Then you realize just how much it is doing.

    It's certainly not a bike for big drops and all mountain type riding but it can hold it's own in the rough. The main impression is that you don't notice the suspension working and for me that's a good thing. Oh yeah, it climbs pretty well too.

  32. #32
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    Probably the most fair and accurate review PdPwr.

    The epic is a race bike, but modern stuff like 29er wheels roll easier over obstacles, short stems make them less twitchy, wider bars give more control to the rider, ever-evolving suspension helps, but with all these in mind, the point of the epic is to win races or go as fast as possible on level and uphill stuff. While the downhill traits are better than older epics and older XC race bikes, XC races aren't won on the downhills, so the "all around" aspect depends largely on the rider having more advanced skills.

    There are a lot of carbon frames out there that are quite light, you can build up a 22-25lb FS bike with 120-140mm of travel no problem, the epic is a great bike for what the intended purpose is, but I'm not sure why the OP is so focused on it. If the idea is to build a light all-around bike, there are many better choices out there that will allow for a light build, but won't make as many geometry and suspension sacrifices.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couloirman View Post
    Is the epic a decent choice for multi day bikepacking races like the Colorado trail race, arizona trail race, etc... or is the brain too much of a liability in terms of finding shops to service it on the spot when stuck in some tiny town somewhere and wanting to get back moving ASAP? I am still debating picking up an Epic expert carbon or comp carbon to replace my knolly endorphin for this purpose. The only thing holding me back is horror stories about people's Epics being broken more often than not and needing service all the time.
    I never kept a Brain equipped Specialized long enough to tell when the Brain was in need of service but honestly the mini Brain I've had on my 2012 epic Expert was the best Brain ever. 2011 on my Stumpy fsr ? Was ok but all in all bad performer. 2013 Stumpy fsr same as above,works ok but after only few months of use (the last month pretty intense use) i can tell it's almost in need of service,still working great but it's the first time I'm noticing we're getting close to service time.
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  34. #34
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    Love my '13 Carbon Comp. Replaced a Tracer 29, and I was faster on every trail. That most likely shows you that I was over biked previously. As others have stated, if you're really looking for a AM/Trail bike, there are other bikes out there that would better fit the bill. With that said, I enjoy the adjustability given by the brain. I can run it soft, or set it up for go-fast rides if needed. I'm a big fan of loaded up the Brain for fire road climbs, and then opening it up for the single track back down.

    One thing I do like about the '13s and older is that it was super easy to run a dropper post on them. I know, maybe silly for an XC race bike, but I won't run mine any other way. On easier trail race days I'll throw a standard post, but I truly enjoy how dropper posts add some aggressiveness to any bike they're on.

    What I will say is that with any XC 29er, wheels are paramount. Buy the best you can. Two best upgrades were carbon rims on King hubs and the dropper post. Am considering throwing on a 120mm fork, but love how the 100mm handles.

  35. #35
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    I'm also 43, ride 1-2 races a year, ride mostly XC, & up until two weeks ago, my Epic was my only bike. Now, I have an 09, so it's has 26" wheels, but I have loved that bike since I first took it out for a test ride. The newer, 29" Epics are certainly a different animal, but mine has been a great bike, & more than a few of my friends have commented how fast I accelerate, when we start riding. I would guess you would want to shorten up the stem & get a different handle bar though to get a more upright riding position.

  36. #36
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    Mine came with a pretty short stem and I actually swapped it for a longer one. One thing I will say is the epic isn't a stand and hammer type bike, not that it bobs much but I've found it's pretty easy to break traction while standing. Using a body position to put more weight on the rear feels semi awkward. That would be my only complaint with the bike. At the end of the day it is a race bike that with a few adjustments makes a pretty good trail bike as well. I'm mostly a trail rider that likes to go fast and I do 4-5 races a year. It covers that range nicely for me.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by PdlPwr View Post
    Mine came with a pretty short stem and I actually swapped it for a longer one. One thing I will say is the epic isn't a stand and hammer type bike, not that it bobs much but I've found it's pretty easy to break traction while standing. Using a body position to put more weight on the rear feels semi awkward. That would be my only complaint with the bike. At the end of the day it is a race bike that with a few adjustments makes a pretty good trail bike as well. I'm mostly a trail rider that likes to go fast and I do 4-5 races a year. It covers that range nicely for me.
    The Epic is one of the best, if not the best, full suspension bikes on the market for people that like to stand and hammer.

    Sounds like putting on a longer stem put your riding position too far forward.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by padrefan1982 View Post
    Love my '13 Carbon Comp. Replaced a Tracer 29, and I was faster on every trail. That most likely shows you that I was over biked previously. As others have stated, if you're really looking for a AM/Trail bike, there are other bikes out there that would better fit the bill. With that said, I enjoy the adjustability given by the brain. I can run it soft, or set it up for go-fast rides if needed. I'm a big fan of loaded up the Brain for fire road climbs, and then opening it up for the single track back down.

    One thing I do like about the '13s and older is that it was super easy to run a dropper post on them. I know, maybe silly for an XC race bike, but I won't run mine any other way. On easier trail race days I'll throw a standard post, but I truly enjoy how dropper posts add some aggressiveness to any bike they're on.

    What I will say is that with any XC 29er, wheels are paramount. Buy the best you can. Two best upgrades were carbon rims on King hubs and the dropper post. Am considering throwing on a 120mm fork, but love how the 100mm handles.
    I ran 120mm for a year; it works, but unless you're actually going to use another 20mm of travel it's pretty pointless. I'm back at 100mm; the bike balances and handles better in every way except I spent a week tagging rocks with the pedals until my brain recalculated. It's only maybe a quarter inch difference in BB height, but it shows you how finely tuned our senses are.

    AM, trail, xc are first a tire change. I've been running a Ground Control rear and either a Fastrak or a Purgatory front depending upon the mission profile.

  39. #39
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    Re: Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoo1424 View Post
    I'm also 43, ride 1-2 races a year, ride mostly XC, & up until two weeks ago, my Epic was my only bike. Now, I have an 09, so it's has 26" wheels, but I have loved that bike since I first took it out for a test ride. The newer, 29" Epics are certainly a different animal, but mine has been a great bike, & more than a few of my friends have commented how fast I accelerate, when we start riding. I would guess you would want to shorten up the stem & get a different handle bar though to get a more upright riding position.
    I've been riding a 5" f/s trail bike for a year and recently acquired a 2014 Stache hardtail. Going back to the h/t made me realize what I was missing on the flats and climbs. Overall, times were better even though the weights of both bikes were similar, but my back paid the price.

    I don't know if a f/s Epic with Brain is that bike until I test it. If the geo is a little slung I can compensate as long as its not too racy feeling. Right now I'm probably on more suspension than I need and more weight that I want to pedal. My goal is to find that niche of comfort, speed, efficiency, and light weight.

    Sent from my mountain bike while crashing
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  40. #40
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    To make my 2012 Epic Expert a more general purpose MTB I replaced the SID fork. I wanted a bit more than 100mm travel, and I didn't like having the Brain adjustment inaccessible (on the bottom of the fork leg) while riding. I went with a 120mm travel Manitou Tower Pro which has the low-speed damping control and lock-out on the top of the right fork leg. It's also easy to swap springs and shims to fine-tune general compression curve characteristics. The Manitou fork has more offset (48mm), and steering response and handling are improved. I'm 6' and find that a 75mm stem and a 710mm flat bar seem about right on a Large frame. Now if I just had a remote to control the rear Brain setting...



  41. #41
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    Epic Expert as a general purpose MTB?

    Quote Originally Posted by shamrok View Post
    Test ride before ya make a decision - I thought I was all about the Epic (to race and just ride) and then I hopped on a Camber - felt so much more comfortable and made riding quite enjoyable for fun/racing. Sure - no brain, but alas like someone I ride with occasionally, you're off the epic for 2 weeks or so if the shock has to get serviced
    I ended up going with a Camber Comp carbon (mostly because I got a good deal on a '13), but also after talking to a knowledgeable mechanic at my local Specialized dealer. Still waiting on the UPS truck, but so many things about this model look right to me. I know I can play with the bike's geo a bit to get a comfortable riding position and a few items really appealed to me:
    1) 110mm Reba fork, kind of a sweet spot between pure XC an trail riding which is my MO. Rebas are bomb-proof, IMO.
    2) 36/22. I just really like this combo as I'm not a terribly strong climber and I don't need the top-end of a 38t or 40t.
    3) 720mm wide bars. Another sweet spot.
    4) easily removable Fox Shock
    5) XT rear derailleur. I've had minor issues with X9s in the past.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by levity View Post
    To make my 2012 Epic Expert a more general purpose MTB I replaced the SID fork. I wanted a bit more than 100mm travel, and I didn't like having the Brain adjustment inaccessible (on the bottom of the fork leg) while riding. I went with a 120mm travel Manitou Tower Pro which has the low-speed damping control and lock-out on the top of the right fork leg. It's also easy to swap springs and shims to fine-tune general compression curve characteristics. The Manitou fork has more offset (48mm), and steering response and handling are improved. I'm 6' and find that a 75mm stem and a 710mm flat bar seem about right on a Large frame. Now if I just had a remote to control the rear Brain setting...



    Stunning 2012 Expert ! Still kicking myself for having sold mine last year. I'm getting a 2014 Marathon next week but trust me if I could get a NOS 2012 Expert I would buy it back hands down.
    Roadie DNA,mtbike curious.

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    Good choice, MTBeing

    I am very similar to you although I'm almost 70. Ride mostly trail riding, no cross country races anymore, but still ride at a competitive level with younger guys.
    In 2012 I face the same decision as you. Was riding a pivot Mach 5 and not enjoying the sluggish ride. It weighed 28 pounds.
    I was able to demo a 2012 S works epic and fell in love with it. At the same time I rented a epic comp all aluminum version, and found that while it was heavier it still rode faster than anything else I have ever ridden.
    Mountain bike action magazine stated that the SWorks was the fastest mountain bike they had ever ridden. That speaks to the efficiency of the design even with suspension. Some people knock the brain and the FSR suspension but the fact remains those guys evaluate lots of bikes and absolutely stated it was the fastest. I don't believe everything I read (to head off the baiting), but I myself came to the same conclusion and sprang for the S works Epic. I am 6'1" tall with a 32 inch inseam also and a size large fits me perfectly.
    The race position was too much for my lower back and I went from a 105 mm stem to an 80 mm, with the stock handlebar and was much more comfortable. I eventually added a dropper seatpost because of our steep terrain and that was the cats meow. Finally I recently put it 120 mm Fox float fork on it and I'm happier than ever. However I was still quite comfortable with just changing out the stem, as long as I didn't elevate the seatpost too high. I would highly recommend those changes. Finally, going tubeless with Stan's sealant improves the bikes efficiency and ride quality amazingly well. Final note, I put beefier tires on because I needed bigger knobs for better traction in our terrain. You may not need that.
    Have fun with that bike,man. :-)

  44. #44
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    What he said

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Um, this is specialized's hardcore attack position XC racing bike and you are interested in all-around/trail riding.
    What could possibly go wrong?
    What he said. I started on an Epic but it was far too aggressive for everyday riding and I did a lot of endos. The SJ has been perfect for my XC riding. And at your height you must ride both for sizing. I'm a bit over 6'1" and it turned out a Large Epic was too small and cramped for me. And aside from all the 29er hype being true, anyone over 6 ft. tall should definitely try a 29er just for the fit. I've also had brained and no-brained SJ and brained Epic. The Brain is worth every cent for XC riding. Now I have an S-Works 29er FSR XL SJ and I wouldn't change a thing.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcdev1 View Post
    I am very similar to you although I'm almost 70. Ride mostly trail riding, no cross country races anymore, but still ride at a competitive level with younger guys.
    In 2012 I face the same decision as you. Was riding a pivot Mach 5 and not enjoying the sluggish ride. It weighed 28 pounds.
    I was able to demo a 2012 S works epic and fell in love with it. At the same time I rented a epic comp all aluminum version, and found that while it was heavier it still rode faster than anything else I have ever ridden.
    Mountain bike action magazine stated that the SWorks was the fastest mountain bike they had ever ridden. That speaks to the efficiency of the design even with suspension. Some people knock the brain and the FSR suspension but the fact remains those guys evaluate lots of bikes and absolutely stated it was the fastest. I don't believe everything I read (to head off the baiting), but I myself came to the same conclusion and sprang for the S works Epic. I am 6'1" tall with a 32 inch inseam also and a size large fits me perfectly.
    The race position was too much for my lower back and I went from a 105 mm stem to an 80 mm, with the stock handlebar and was much more comfortable. I eventually added a dropper seatpost because of our steep terrain and that was the cats meow. Finally I recently put it 120 mm Fox float fork on it and I'm happier than ever. However I was still quite comfortable with just changing out the stem, as long as I didn't elevate the seatpost too high. I would highly recommend those changes. Finally, going tubeless with Stan's sealant improves the bikes efficiency and ride quality amazingly well. Final note, I put beefier tires on because I needed bigger knobs for better traction in our terrain. You may not need that.
    Have fun with that bike,man. :-)
    Kudos to you jmcdev1 for being 70 and still out their hammering! I ran a race in November and the oldest MTBer was 73-74 and he was still getting after it. Funny you mention the 80mm stem because I ordered one last night just to try when my bike arrives. I have a 90mm and I'll try that first, then the 80mm, and pick between the two. I had an 80 on my last bike and it felt pretty good. Tubeless is a must in Arizona desert, where I live, so that will be the first order of business.

    In reading some other posts I'm concerned about the Hi-Lo rear hub going to pot, but hopefully it won't be a problem. Anyway, thanks for your input. Happy trails.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

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