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  1. #1
    ktj
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    Specialized Epic reliability?

    I've heard that older Epics have had some issues and that the newer ones are supposedly better. How true is that, about the newer ones?

    Has anyone had any issues with a newer Epic?

    Also how often would it need to be serviced compared to a hard tail, say a Stumpjumper?

    I'm trying to decide between the SJ HT Comp Carbon and the Epic Comp and my biggest concern with the Epic is reliability.

  2. #2
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    It's not any less reliable it's just that FS bikes are more maintenance - bearings need to be replaced (I got two years out of mine) and the shock needs to be serviced. That's true with every FS bike. Those are two pretty pricey services that you don't ever have with a HT.

  3. #3
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    I have direct experience of a 2009 Epic 26er and a 2011 29er. The 2011 has been far and away more reliable. Apart from a warranty recall on the brakes and an early issue with the crank bearings, it has been exemplary. OTOH my 2009 had the frame, shock and fork replaced under warranty.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    The brain needs to be serviced once per year whether in use or not. It is $150 to have done.
    I've got my 2013 Stumpy FSR in october 2012 then bought an F29 and both bikes have been used alternatively along with my road bike that this winter I've used a lot more. Due to work season I will 100% stop riding in 2 weeks,resmuing to it late september,shoud I drop 150 Euro in october 2013 to service a barely used Brain ? I don't think so
    Last year I've sold my february 2011 Stumpy FSR Elite to a buddy of mine,he's still using it no worries.
    For someone like me I would say every 2 years is the right time span to have my Brain suspension serviced,but I guess it applies to the majority of us out there.
    The "whether in use or not" is wrong. If the thing it's not in use it's simply not working,not wearing out
    Last edited by Devastazione; 04-23-2013 at 01:27 AM.

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    Why is it so important to have the brain shock serviced yearly?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flucod View Post
    You are completely wrong and need to stop spreading inaccurate truths. Call Specialized if you do not know. I have been to Morgan Hills for Specialized to train at their facility. It is a FACT that the brain needs to be serviced yearly, even when not in use. I have worked with them and for them and know just a little about the design of the brain. Can you say the same? If you were to buy one at a shop and it is last years model I would recommend you to have the shop have the yearly service done to the Brain before you buy it.
    I've been trained as a casino dealer in Las Vegas and UK but that doesn't make me a better blackjack player.
    You've been trained at Specialized you say,well,you think that makes you immune to Specialized's mighty marketing machine ??
    You probably know how much a bike shop has to pay to carry the Specialized brand,it's big money we're talking about and big sales have to be achieved in order to keep the brand. The more money for bikes,clothing and suspension services means more money for the shop and ultimately for the good guys in Morgan Hill.
    Nobody in it's right state of mind would send in for service a Brain suspension that's been used 3 hours a month for 7 months and that is going to spend the remaining five months in a climatized garage.
    My wedding watch is going to be 5 years old in july,after 5 years the manufacturer says it should be sent in for service. The watch has been sitting in the bank vault for the past 2 years and used 1 month out of 5 years in total,do you really think I want to drop 600 Euro to service a perfectly working watch ?

    I would buy a brand new old stock 2012 Brain equipped bike in no time as long as the suspensions have no been brought to pressure,that is the only thing I should be concerned about,this is what mr. Mike "Mick" McAndrews of Specialized politely replied me in a mail I wrote him about storing my full suspended/Brain equipped bikes for extended period of time. Justo deflate the suspensions and you're god to go.
    Last edited by Devastazione; 04-23-2013 at 07:40 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devastazione View Post
    I would buy a brand new old stock 2012 Brain equipped bike in no time as long as the suspensions have no been brought to pressure,that is the only thing I should be concerned about,this is what mr. Mike "Mick" McAndrews of Specialized politely replied me in a mail I wrote him about storing my full suspended/Brain equipped bikes for extended period of time. Justo deflate the suspensions and you're god to go.
    To tilt the subject a bit, I'm very interested in the long-term storage advice here, i.e. depressurize the system. I had never encountered this type of guidance, although it makes sense. Has anyone else come across this recommendation?

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    Well, I have a 2011 FSR so it's not exactly what you are expecting, but given the handful of responses I'm anticipating you will have I am expecting you will be happy to have my post rather than not.

    The brain went 'out' after 13 months of use where it spent 8 months out of those 13 just sitting around. I bought it on close out so I guess you could add another 6 months of it just sitting round because I really only took it out for like 10 hours a month when I owned it before needing service. I knew it needed service when I would mount her and she'd just compress with no sense of rigidity in the suspension.

    I suppose that what I am saying is that in my case the truth laid somewhere in the middle to where if it is just sitting around then you can definitely stretch out the maintenance, but that doesn't mean that you can avoid maintenance for a drastic length of time without expecting it to fail.

    I had it S-tuned a few months ago so I really like it and don't mind servicing it once a year or until it fails for a fee of ~$120 just because of how good it rides. However, this is apart from the pivots and other maintenance areas so the 'price/value' factor could be different for everyone. My next bike won't have a brain, but I don't quite hate having one right now.

  9. #9
    ktj
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    What about rear suspension in general. Would I be able to go spring through fall without having any issues? I don't mind a yearly service but I don't want to bring it in every month. I plan on riding it weekly.

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    $150 bloody luxury. Over here in OZtralia I've been told it's $300 for a brain service and has to be sent interstate. I tried the local suspension specialist shop and he won't do them. Mine's 2.4 yrs old. Hence I'm looking on the forum for an alternate shock for my '11 epic 26er. Going to wait until it fails then replace. I like it but not spending that type of money to keep it going.

  11. #11
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    The Brain shocks seem to be hit or miss. I've seen people go 2+ years riding 2x a week without any issues, and I've seen other people that have had them serviced 4+ times in one year due to issue.

    I personally swapped out my brain shock for an RP23 and never looked back. The Brain is a great idea for XC riding, but I prefer to choose when my shock is open or not.
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  12. #12
    Bos
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    I have a 2013 Epic Comp bought in January. It's barely 10 months old but so far, no indications of problems. I ride 2 to 3 times per week.

  13. #13
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    What does a BRAIN service entail? What part goes bad just from sitting?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    What does a BRAIN service entail? What part goes bad just from sitting?
    Basically a replacement of seals and oil in the damper. Like any standard damper you must keep air out (which is a bit tricker with the Brain). You also need to pressurise the damper/brain with nitrogen. Otherwise apart from the usual collection of shock tools (clamps) and the seals it is no harder than a motorcycle fork. I've not BTDT but do have one to play with in the coming few months.

    Google the Spec video of Brain R&R for a 30 minute tutorial.

    The issue from an LBS perspective is that they generally don't have good mechanics and if they were to invest in the training they would have to pay their mechs more or lose them. A bit of a lose/lose proposition. On the other hand a good little opportunity for an enterprising mech. Here in NZ there used to be one certified mech who just happened to live in Wanaka (think Aspen) and had the shops courier to him there. Lucky bugger. Unfortunately for him the larger NZ Spec shops now are capable if doing it themselves.

  15. #15
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    My Epic Comp Carbon 26" is almost a year old and I have had no issues at all other than normal maintenance.

    I have ridden about 1600 miles in the last year and am pleased with the bike.

  16. #16
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    Does anyone know what the problem on the 2014 epic shocks were?has it been fixed?

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    I sent my shock and brain in 4 weeks ago through a specialized dealer and still haven't got it back,they reckon its going to cost $270.mine is a 2013 epic,lucky my bro had a spare 2012 shock and brain or I would have been screwed,4 weeks and counting and specialized is only 20 miles away from me.

  18. #18
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    You should be banging the table. That is unacceptable.

  19. #19
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    I rang the shop early last week to see about my shock/brain,they contacted specialized and called me back,specialized misplaced or lost my shock/brain.They sent a brand new
    shock/brain to the shop for me,picked it up Monday,5 and a half weeks later,good job i had a spare shock/brain or i would have been screwed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce219 View Post
    I rang the shop early last week to see about my shock/brain,they contacted specialized and called me back,specialized misplaced or lost my shock/brain.They sent a brand new
    shock/brain to the shop for me,picked it up Monday,5 and a half weeks later,good job i had a spare shock/brain or i would have been screwed.
    Spec have warrantied my fork where I had a failure of the air spring. Pickup the unit tomorrow. Total time in the shop 2 weeks, including full service of the fork & shock brains. Total cost $150USD. The service was done in a week, the warranty took another week. Excellent.

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    well i have my dream bike but after reading this page i understand that it is a expensive dream bike in service fees, see i almost likely have to send the fork and rear shock with brain to the Netherlands unless Sram services the fork?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiwi View Post
    Spec have warrantied my fork where I had a failure of the air spring. Pickup the unit tomorrow. Total time in the shop 2 weeks, including full service of the fork & shock brains. Total cost $150USD. The service was done in a week, the warranty took another week. Excellent.
    t

    The spare shock and brain I was using my brother sent it in for service and shock rebuild only took two weeks,$270

  23. #23
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    I just remembered about a post where someone complained about having to replace 5 brains - maybe more - until Specialized finally cut him off from warranty replacements? Anyone remember that - I can't seem to find it via search.

    I always meant to reply to that post, since X number of brain replacements is just flat out strange. Would have also like to have heard Specialized's part of the story too.

  24. #24
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    Bingo - found the thread re 5 brains replaced:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/specialized/2...hs-872363.html

  25. #25
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    A little birdie told me that a problem with the 2014 epic shocks were noted AFTER the bikes had been shipped,so on arrival every epic had to be carefully taken out the box,plastic removed and shock swopped out.Looking at the pivot bolts on some of the new ally epics you can clearly see that they have been worked on.Rumor is that this involved 2000 bikes to the USA alone.Hope that everything has been fixed by the time the s works arrives.

  26. #26
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    your birdie is correct

    By the way, I had 9 AFR shocks replace on my Epic (Marathon 2008) in 2009/2010 withou any problems. Of course this was not acceptable that´s why I received shopping vouchers from my LBS.

    But this problem is gone after Fox is supplying.

  27. #27
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    i was so close buying the epic carbon expert WC but it was out of my price range so i got the 2013 carbon expert.
    So if my local store gets this baby (2014 carbon expert WC)they need to ship the rear shock brain and all to get a replacement?

  28. #28
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    Just wanted to add to this thread even though it has been a while. I have been riding my 2012 EPIC for a while now without sending out rear shock for service. I just oil inside the can every so often.

    I recently checked on the operation of the BRAIN and it still performs like normal. The way to check the BRAIN is with low air pressure in the shock (maybe like 50 psi, forgot the exact #)...and fully close the BRAIN. The lower air pressure exaggerates the operation of the BRAIN. Push down on the seat...the shock should not move. Then drop the bike down on the rear tire and follow through with pushing on the seat, the shock should move. If the BRAIN Knob is open just one click or more....the BRAIN will not fully lock out the rear shock. 2012-to just about 2014 is a good run on a BRAIN so far without the overhaul.

    With the shock fully aired up for my full weight.....I find it hard to check the operation of the BRAIN. I'm wondering if there are a thousands of people out there that thought their BRAIN was broken and it wasn't ? They don't fully understand its proper operating characteristics maybe. Then they think its broken.

    The question I have....If the brain stops working, does the shock still perform its duties without the added function of the BRAIN ? Thanks
    Last edited by Vader1; 12-18-2013 at 01:40 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader1 View Post
    The question I have....If the brain stops working, does the shock still perform its duties without the added function of the BRAIN ? Thanks
    Basically yes.

  30. #30
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    Thanks Skiwi

  31. #31
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    My bike is in the shop while Specialized serviced the brain, it's been 4 weeks. 2 to 4 weeks, is that the standard turnaround time for repairs? The hose had a small leak, is this common, anyone else had the same problem?
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    Quote Originally Posted by StudioDino View Post
    My bike is in the shop while Specialized serviced the brain, it's been 4 weeks. 2 to 4 weeks, is that the standard turnaround time for repairs? The hose had a small leak, is this common, anyone else had the same problem?
    I never had a hose leak but mine did develop a leak from the top seal on the BRAIN itself. Though I think my 2012 was cursed as the shop had it for 2 months out of the 11 months I owned the bike. First the top seal let go on the BRAIN and then the BRAIN itself crapped the bed and I got another rebuild for free 3 months later. Needless to say I sold the bike immediately after that. I have been considering getting another full suspension model but it won't have the BRAIN system.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by StudioDino View Post
    My bike is in the shop while Specialized serviced the brain, it's been 4 weeks. 2 to 4 weeks, is that the standard turnaround time for repairs? The hose had a small leak, is this common, anyone else had the same problem?
    Unfortunately it depends on the shop and where the nearest Spec service centre is. For me I get a 1-week turnaround as servicing is done in the city that I live. I would be on the LBS daily asking them where the bike is.

    I have not heard of other hose leaks - I assume that Spec would normally warranty the unit and replace it...

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    My Epic Comp Carbon 26" is almost a year old and I have had no issues at all other than normal maintenance.

    I have ridden about 1600 miles in the last year and am pleased with the bike.
    No issues with my shocks or brain but I am now waiting for a warranty replacement decision after the carbon began to separate in my bottom bracket, about 2100 miles



    Not happy

  35. #35
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    I have owned Epics since the first version in 2003. They have been very reliable with one exception. I beleive it was the '07-'09 models that had Specialized rear shocks (made for them by X-Fusion as I recall). These rear shocks were not reliable at all. Any year with a Fox shock is fine. I have found the bearings wear fairly quick if not maintained but, thats true of most suspension bikes.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    No issues with my shocks or brain but I am now waiting for a warranty replacement decision after the carbon began to separate in my bottom bracket, about 2100 miles


    Not happy
    Wow, sorry to hear this!

    If you look at the empty frame around the BB area (similar to your photo, but pre-destruction), you'll notice a nicely-finished carbon "cylinder" that the crank & BB assy slide into. It includes the serial number printed in this area as well. You can see that it is a separate piece somehow integrated into the rest of the carbon frame, and I wondered how it was bonded to the rest of the frame.

    Looks like the bond failed in this case.

  37. #37
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    I had a 2011 Epic Comp Carbon, ridden hard but always well serviced, never had a single problem with it. You have to remember, most people come on the forums to complain when they have problems. You don't hear about the other thousands of riders that are happily riding without a hitch.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    Wow, sorry to hear this!

    If you look at the empty frame around the BB area (similar to your photo, but pre-destruction), you'll notice a nicely-finished carbon "cylinder" that the crank & BB assy slide into. It includes the serial number printed in this area as well. You can see that it is a separate piece somehow integrated into the rest of the carbon frame, and I wondered how it was bonded to the rest of the frame.

    Looks like the bond failed in this case.
    That was my LBS view as well. Still waiting to hear, they did not call me yesterday as promised

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by xmangox View Post
    I had a 2011 Epic Comp Carbon, ridden hard but always well serviced, never had a single problem with it. You have to remember, most people come on the forums to complain when they have problems. You don't hear about the other thousands of riders that are happily riding without a hitch.
    I always report both the good and the bad. For 2K miles this bike has been great but I am not going to shy away from facts on either side.

  40. #40
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    Update:

    I have been told that Specialized has agreed to uphold their warranty and send a replacement frame. I will update when I have my rebuilt bike back.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    No issues with my shocks or brain but I am now waiting for a warranty replacement decision after the carbon began to separate in my bottom bracket, about 2100 miles



    Not happy
    Well, this went far better than expected.

    Specialized honored their warranty and gave me a big surprise. After some back and forth with my LBS (thanks Buck) and a tense week of waiting, Specialized sent a brand new S-Works Epic frame.

    Another week of waiting and then the build to see what parts I needed. I could not pass up the chance to add some great wheels to this frame and I now have a truly awesome bike.

    Attachment 889007

    Attachment 889008

    The Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels are fast and strong. Not much of a challenge yesterday on a 16 mile shakedown ride but I hope to test them more in the coming weeks.

    Attachment 889009

    Now to see if I can improve my skills to match the bike. Looking forward to getting back into the dirt after three weeks on my road bike!

    Thanks again to Specialized and Spokes ETC in Fairfax, VA!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshannon View Post
    Well, this went far better than expected.

    Specialized honored their warranty and gave me a big surprise. After some back and forth with my LBS (thanks Buck) and a tense week of waiting, Specialized sent a brand new S-Works Epic frame.

    Another week of waiting and then the build to see what parts I needed. I could not pass up the chance to add some great wheels to this frame and I now have a truly awesome bike.

    Attachment 889007

    Attachment 889008

    The Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels are fast and strong. Not much of a challenge yesterday on a 16 mile shakedown ride but I hope to test them more in the coming weeks.

    Attachment 889009

    Now to see if I can improve my skills to match the bike. Looking forward to getting back into the dirt after three weeks on my road bike!

    Thanks again to Specialized and Spokes ETC in Fairfax, VA!

    They replaced your frame by an old 2011? Unusual.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkinho View Post
    They replaced your frame by an old 2011? Unusual.
    Brand new frame, brand new warranty. I am happy, date of manufacture is irrelevant.

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