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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.
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  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.
    '13 Stumpy fsr Elite 29 pimped
    '15 Tarmac Sworks

  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.
    2014 S-Works Epic WC
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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.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  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.
    '13 Stumpy fsr Elite 29 pimped
    '15 Tarmac Sworks

  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.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  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 ?
    '13 Stumpy fsr Elite 29 pimped
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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.

    -Gabe

  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.


    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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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 thatīs 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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