In recent years, my interests have migrated back toward bikes that were built before 1990. However, when this mid-90s Epic Ultimate was presented to me and the story of its past came to light, I decided it was something of significance. To contemplate the corporate research dollars that this bike represents, boggles the mind. The S-Works program back then never made money and was all about marketing.
This Epic is one of two that Mike Sinyard personally signed off on as receiving custom geometry, which meant a special set of fixtures at Merlin were built to weld the lugs. No surprise, that other custom bike was made for Ned. This bike is a 16" size with the toptube of an 18" frame. This bike was built for the head honcho at S-Works, and was ridden and raced extensively. It was used as a test sled for potential parts being evaluated for the S-Works program, and it features a number of prototypes and one-offs that were received as gifts to the owner. The build of the bike has gone through various incarnations, and it is my hope that more of the rarest pieces can be found and will be presented here.
The ride: soft, noodle, swingset. There is 1/2" of backward flex in the saddle and seatpost. The cranks bend by 3/4" to lateral loads. The tips of the handlebars will twist a couple of inches up. It's a unique ride and actually a lot of fun as the bike floats over the terrain. At one time it was built close to 17 pounds and I may be able to return it to that over time. Almost every bolt on this bike is Ti.
Frame: S-Works Epic Ultimate with custom geometry
Fork: Specialized FSX with custom internals made by Mark Winter of Rock Shox. It comes with a special rebuild kit from Mark. The steerer is titanium off a Paris-Roubaix fork. The brake arch was custom made by Wayne Lumpkin of Avid as a gift to the owner for using Tri-Align brakes on S-Works bikes, which was a big break for Avid (pun intended). The hardware is all Ti.
Handlebar and barends: Two-piece welded Ti, with a joint inside the stem. This was another gift from Wayne Lumpkin. I'd seen one of these at Veloswap years ago but the Avid guys wouldn't sell it.
Stem: The owner of the bike made the mold for these cast 6/4 titanium stems, which were made in Connecticut.
Shifters: Grip Shift. At one time the bike ran a set of prototype Grip Shift shifters that were later returned to SRAM.
Brake Levers: Altek. At one time a set of crazy prototype S-Works levers were used. It is my hope that they might be found.
Saddle: Iscaselle with titanium shell and rails
Front Derailleur: M900 with Ti hardware
Rear Derailleur: prototype Shimano. This derailleur is one I had, although this bike once had a Shimano prototype on it, among others. It is my hope that these derailleurs may be found.
Cogset: Tioga titanium. At one time it had a Hugi alloy. Race only! The bike once had Hugi hubs given to the owner by Mr. Hugi.
Brakes: Avid Tri-Align with Ti hardware, of course. At one time this had Avid prototypes, as was shown here,
Let's see those rare parts!
Crankset: La Creme prototypes. Arms are serial #1 an #2. Some of the lightest made at 297 grams with hollow arms. Most broke, however these were X-rayed and determined to be sound. The Rings are Boone and the hardware is SRP titanium.
Bottom Bracket: S-Works Ti. At one time this bike may have run a beryllium spindle as shown on this page,
Let's see those rare parts!
Wheelset: Pre-production Mavic CrossMax with ceramic rims. These were a personal gift from Mavic to the owner and were picked up following the 1996 Tour de France while the owner was in Europe. These early model CrossMax wheels would later make their debut at the 1996 Olympics.
Tires: Prototype S-Works tires with white testing numbers written on the sidewalls. These tires were also an experiment in alternative printing methods for the graphics, where were traditionally done with molding or a label panel.
Bottle Cage: King Ti, of course.
Cables: Gore Ride-On
OK, now some photos of this bad-boy.
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