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  1. #1
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    Is SJ a "safer" choice than an epic?

    Is an SJ a "safer" choice for a road biker getting a first mtn bike? Or is an epic a natural fit for a roadie and a good bike to start with?

    The epic feels much better to me in the parking lot, but I'm afraid it would be the opposite feeling out on the trail.



    I don't see myself "racing" xc. But I do see myself "competing" to keep up with my friends. I live in Atlanta, so I would drive to trails and the mountains, & will use it for night group rides on the Atlanta city streets that are littered with potholes.

  2. #2
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    I am not sure about which is a safer choice but I can tell you that I love my StumpJumper. I ride 3 or 4 times a week at Blankets Creek but I have ridden the bike in on different trails in North GA, Tennessee, and N.C. The bike is a fast climber and can take all of the stuff that I want to give it.

  3. #3
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    It really depends. With the Epic you can sit down more when on a smooth trail than the stumpjumper. (your talking about the HT right?).

    The Epic has the brain shock in the rear which adjust to the amount of input. I have riden one and loved it. Im about to get the Epic Marathon.

    I have the Stumpjumper right now and its a great bike for a beginner but if you don't like a stiff ride go for the Epic.

    either way you can't go wrong

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkman
    Is an SJ a "safer" choice for a road biker getting a first mtn bike? Or is an epic a natural fit for a roadie and a good bike to start with?

    The epic feels much better to me in the parking lot, but I'm afraid it would be the opposite feeling out on the trail.



    I don't see myself "racing" xc. But I do see myself "competing" to keep up with my friends. I live in Atlanta, so I would drive to trails and the mountains, & will use it for night group rides on the Atlanta city streets that are littered with potholes.
    I think that both bikes are good for what you want. If you want to ride faster and the terrain is not hard, the Epic is a very nice bike. It feels close to a hardtail. The Stumpjumper is a bike designed for a little harder use, to be more plush, but not as fast in smooth terrain.

    I have the Stumpjumper and it's a very nice bike. When I bought it, I compared it to a Epic, but decided on the Stumpjumper because it has a little longer travel, and it 'felt' right for me on the parking lot.

  5. #5
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    Well MbxNitro, actually no ... I was talking about the FS SJ. I was originally thinking of a HT because that's what a couple of my friends have and they look down their noses at FS. But then I met many people who have switched to FS, and I just decided that I'm not getting any younger and FS is probably a better choice for me.

    So I was really wondering if most people who get epics stay satisfied, or if it's not long before they want more suspension.

  6. #6
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    Well i know 3 of my team mates here in Houston have the Epic and love it. Our shop has 2 SJ FS's in stock and i took one on a test ride and then a Epic and would take the Epic over the SJ. The way the shock is on the SJ its more of a free style bike but still a XC bike. (to me it is) I like the way the Epic is designed and the overall ride of it.

    Also keep in mind i only rode each about an hour each.

    I would go Epic over SJ but I race also.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkman

    So I was really wondering if most people who get epics stay satisfied, or if it's not long before they want more suspension.

    I'm wondering the same thing. Notice though that the '06 Epics have as much suspension as the bottom range SJs from last year. As much as some other companies, like Giant with the Trance, tag as their "all mountain" rides. Somehow I think 4 inches will be enough.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB
    I'm wondering the same thing. Notice though that the '06 Epics have as much suspension as the bottom range SJs from last year. As much as some other companies, like Giant with the Trance, tag as their "all mountain" rides. Somehow I think 4 inches will be enough.
    I don't think the only difference between the Epic and SJ is the travel. The Epic will tend to be lighter and have different angles at the headtube and seatpost to make it racier than the SJ.

  9. #9
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    Stumpjumper!!

    Don't count on the epic being much if any lighter. For all around riding the stumpy is the better choice. I have had the Epic and currently have a Stumpy, and while the travel is getting longer on the Epic it is the angles that make the biggest difference. The Epic is very race orientehill, quick steering, stretched out riding position. The stumpy is a very competent handler but more relaxed. It goes downhill way faster!! And is better for all day rides. They claim ( whoever they are) that a race was never won on the downhills, but for my money that is where the fun is, and maybe even possible on the Stumpy.
    BTW the Stumpy has a more race oriented riding position, geometry than most other "all mountain" bikes, Trek Liquid, Giant VT.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB
    I'm wondering the same thing. Notice though that the '06 Epics have as much suspension as the bottom range SJs from last year. As much as some other companies, like Giant with the Trance, tag as their "all mountain" rides. Somehow I think 4 inches will be enough.
    +
    About 4" being enough, yes it is for most rides. So if you have a chance for a sale on a Stumjumper FSR 100 it is a good option.

  11. #11
    mechmann_mtb
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    to answer your question, yes the SJ would be a safer buy. the epic would be the correct choice if you were racing XC. for endurance racing the SJ might be nicer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbx5nitro
    It really depends. With the Epic you can sit down more when on a smooth trail than the stumpjumper. (your talking about the HT right?).
    Usually when people compare the Epic to the SJ, they mean the FSR. While the Epic has some HT qualities, it's really an apples to oranges comparison. Even without reading his follow up post, I and most likely 99.9% of the other readers of this post figured he meant the SJ FSR.


    Quote Originally Posted by mbx5nitro
    I have the Stumpjumper right now and its a great bike for a beginner but if you don't like a stiff ride go for the Epic.
    I usually think post counts don't have any relavance, but in this case, I'd say it does indeed indicate the wisdom level related here. The SJ is a great bike for a beginner??? I think there are some people out there who might have other opinions. Opinions like the SJ (HT) is a world class race bike. Ned Overend might feel that way.

    I don't know exactly how many podium finishes the SJ has accumulated through the years, but I can tell you it's more than, say... 14.

    A beginner bike typically isn't $1400 either. Though, I guess you could ride a real beginner bike a few times and decide you're hooked enough to go plunk $1400 down on a bike, but I'd say that's the exception rather than the rule.

    As for getting the SJ over the Epic? I haven't had the opportunity to ride the new SJs so can't compare the two for you. I can tell you I rode the Epic one day for a coupe of hours out on the trails and knew right then that that was the bike for me. I don't race and I don't huck anything. I've ridden it in Moab, TX, New England and I demo'd it in WA. Works great for me everywhere I've ridden it. Oh yeah, I don't race, either.

    It does have less travel than the SJ and is probably a little harsher, too. But it does exactly what it advertises. It's a FS when you need it and essentially a HT when you don't need the rear end moving around. For me, it's comfortable and plush enough. I originally moved from my SJ HT to an Enduro and then to the Epic.

    See if your shop has demos. Try both out on the trails. Bottom line is the bike you should choose is the one that feels best to you, not us. Or your riding buddies. Or the shop guy. If the shop doesn't have demos, have them call the Specialized rep for you. They should be able to bring a couple out for you you to try. Either will be a great bike for you, but the best and safest is the one that feels the best to you.
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  13. #13
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    I'd say if you XC race more than once a month get an epic, if not get a stumpy

  14. #14
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    Good job! Woodstock...DO IT!

    If you haven't already done so, you REALLY need to make a trip to Woodstock and stop by Outspokin Bicycles. I was there yesterday picking up my '06 SJ FSR Expert, and Kevin and Derek were putting together a batch of neon GREEN Demo Only SJ FSR and Epic test bikes. All different sizes.

    Personally, I think that green color is awesome, as it reminds me of my old Fat Chance Wicked

  15. #15
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    Smile

    I've been debating whether or not to get an EPIC also.

    I rented a 04 epic comp last weekend and currently own a 03 FS SJ. I took it out for about 3 hours on barton creek greenbelt in austin texas which is a relatively flat creek bed with the occasional rock garden.

    I have to say that the EPIC is a much faster bike. It was noticable to me whenever I climbed a hill, or was slowed down by an obstacle and then restarted. They both have about the same feel handling-wise. The FSR handles the rough stuff much better and has generally a smoother ride. The EPIC's suspension is locked out on the small stuff which after three hours my body noticed.

    So I liked the pedaling efficiency of the EPIC, but didn't like that it beat me up more than my FSR. I like how the FSR is smooth and can pretty much go over anything, but don't like how it suck up some of my energy when i climb. (my FSR doesn't have a platform type shock which may help a little in that department)

    So I'm still undecided.

  16. #16
    mechmann_mtb
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    the newer pedal platform shocks can help alot with pedaling efficiency.

    another thing to pay attention to when you compare is the relative weight of the wheelset/tires. the epic will tend to have lighter wheels/tires and that will make it faster/quicker.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by leitner6
    So I liked the pedaling efficiency of the EPIC, but didn't like that it beat me up more than my FSR. I like how the FSR is smooth and can pretty much go over anything, but don't like how it suck up some of my energy when i climb.

    I took an '06 Epic out for a couple of hours on a local trail today. I think the new shock would solve your dilemma. When I ran the brain fade as soft as I could, there was none of that jarring from small hits. It had about 1cm of sag and insulated me from everything. Conversely, when I ran the shock a click or two shy of locked out, it behaved a lot more like a hardtail until...well, you know the line about the brain. It works as advertised.

    More or less like having two different bikes at your disposal, as far as I can tell.

  18. #18
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    I thought the adjustability on the new epics just determined what the threshold was for going in-between locked out and active.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by leitner6
    I thought the adjustability on the new epics just determined what the threshold was for going in-between locked out and active.

    That's kind of what I thought before I rode it, and maybe I'm wrong, but it didn't seem to be the case. Like I said, there was a good bit of sag in the shock when I ran it fully soft, definitely not the locked out until you hit something action of yore. Again, there are definitely spots in the range of adjustment where the interial valve is noticeable. But there is a part of the range where the shock just didn't feel locked out at all.

    When I think about it, the best part of the threshold adjustment was that it made the action of the inertial valve sort of transparent once I found where I wanted it set.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB
    I took an '06 Epic out for a couple of hours on a local trail today. I think the new shock would solve your dilemma. When I ran the brain fade as soft as I could, there was none of that jarring from small hits. It had about 1cm of sag and insulated me from everything. Conversely, when I ran the shock a click or two shy of locked out, it behaved a lot more like a hardtail until...well, you know the line about the brain. It works as advertised.

    More or less like having two different bikes at your disposal, as far as I can tell.
    Given you ridden the '06 Epic and previous Epics would you say it if worth it to buy an '06 given the M5 frame, brain fade, and whatever other small differences in compared to saving around $500 or so by buying an '05 closeout?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by collinja
    Given you ridden the '06 Epic and previous Epics would you say it if worth it to buy an '06 given the M5 frame, brain fade, and whatever other small differences in compared to saving around $500 or so by buying an '05 closeout?

    Well, I've never owned one, but the ride earlier this week on the new bike was substantially better than the Epic I tried a few years ago. That's about all I can say.

  22. #22
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    I along with mr GrantB rode the new bikes the epic and the SJ. My main complaint with the epic is the pork factor. For being pushed as the fs race bike the thing was a bit fat. only one pound less then the SJ. Granted the way you sit on the bikes and they way they handle is diff. For me i just cant get over the fact the thing needs to go on a diet right out of the box.

    But i do like the way the epic rides, the adjustment on the brain shock now is the key i think. Well that is my opinion, you know how it goes everyone has one kind of like an A@@&#$E.

    grant just buy that IF bike you were talking about.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by azdrawdy
    If you haven't already done so, you REALLY need to make a trip to Woodstock and stop by Outspokin Bicycles. I was there yesterday picking up my '06 SJ FSR Expert, and Kevin and Derek were putting together a batch of neon GREEN Demo Only SJ FSR and Epic test bikes. All different sizes.

    Personally, I think that green color is awesome, as it reminds me of my old Fat Chance Wicked
    We are the only "Epic" test ride center in the southeast that I know of. Took a group of 3 yesterday to blankets creek with various sizes of the Epic and SJ. We also have the Enduro test bikes, takin those to Mountain Town in two weeks. I'll let you know how that goes!

    Derek/ Outspokin Bikes

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBXC
    We are the only "Epic" test ride center in the southeast that I know of. Took a group of 3 yesterday to blankets creek with various sizes of the Epic and SJ. We also have the Enduro test bikes, takin those to Mountain Town in two weeks. I'll let you know how that goes!

    Derek/ Outspokin Bikes

    BikeTech in Macon, GA also has a test fleet. Epic, a couple of SJs, and I saw them putting together an SJ XC with "tester" on the seat tube thingy the other day.

  25. #25
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    [size=2]www.sycamorecycles.com[/size] in Brevard, NC has test bikes

    And I believe adventurecycles.com in Gainesville, GA

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