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  1. #1
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    Specialized Epic Ultimate S/N SW137, aka The S-Works Test Sled

    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.

    The build:

    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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    Last edited by DoubleCentury; 05-17-2013 at 07:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Sneaker man
    Reputation: mik_git's Avatar
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    Nice
    2003 Yeti ARC
    2008 GT Zaskar Reissue
    1996 GT Xizang
    2012 Cervelo R3

  3. #3
    GMF
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    Mmm... Tasty
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    Hot damn!

    That is a crazy collection of unobtanium. There is a lot there to absorb! Awesome!

  4. #4
    velocipede technician
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    A quick link?
    looking for 20-21" P team

  5. #5
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    Great bike DC!

  6. #6
    Team Brooklyn
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    That's an amazing bike with quite a history.

    And the frame is built as if I custom ordered it 16" with TT of an 18 - PERFECT!

    And. PRECISELY the kind of build I would try to do BITD - replace every fastener and part with Ti and every part with the lightest made - and to hell with stiffness (as I got older, stiffness has become a more desirable goal).

    Thanks for sharing that bike and story.
    Wanted: more of the same ... but different

  7. #7
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    Great write up and amazing bike!

  8. #8
    underachiever
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    Wow.

  9. #9
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    Loss for words, I need to read and look a few more times. For now, KILLER!

  10. #10
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Damn. I can't see you on a 16"st/18"tt bike. heehee. Glad the ride was fun. That is quite unique and love the write up. Great thread, DC. Yay!

  11. #11
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    Now that's some really fascinating mountain bike history... Amazing bicycle and great pics too!

    Awesome-ness!

  12. #12
    VRC Illuminati
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    That thing is freaky. Whats it weigh in at as it sits?
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Damn. I can't see you on a 16"st/18"tt bike. heehee.
    Planning on a lap at the Iron Horse with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    That thing is freaky. Whats it weigh in at as it sits?
    Freaky is a pretty good word for it.

    I think it is 18.3 pounds now. I have the parts to go well into the 17 pound range.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleCentury View Post
    Planning on a lap at the Iron Horse with it.
    Freaky is a pretty good word for it.
    I think it is 18.3 pounds now. I have the parts to go well into the 17 pound range.
    Nice.

    And that was my next question. One lap on this, one on a Ham? You have to do a full period correct outfit change too.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
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    In public.

  16. #16
    VRC Illuminati
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    Naturally.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    I can't see you on a 16"st/18"tt bike.
    Just wanted to clarify that the toptube is 22.5" as found on an 18" size frame.

  18. #18
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    AH. I pictured a really stout little man at specialized. I reread your post and see that I was delusional this morning. Sorry. My name is Amy and visit my bakery in Scottsdale.

  19. #19
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    So cool. I love it when a bike like this is posted and it completely distracts me from everything else. The rarity, the coolness, the looks, and of course the story. I was an avid fan of Specialized back then, and bikes like this, and their pros, are what got me hooked. Thanks very much for sharing, and hope you can find the other parts you want to help fully realize what it was back then.

    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    My name is Amy and visit my bakery in Scottsdale.
    Thanks for the laugh. That's the viral sensation of the moment, if not the year.

  20. #20
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    The good old days...no purple ano???

  21. #21
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmuff View Post
    Thanks for the laugh. That's the viral sensation of the moment, if not the year.
    Thanks, DJ! I was worried that I was gonna get a bunch of blank stares. :P

    My apologies, DC. Back to your beautiful noodler.

  22. #22
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCMDoc View Post
    (as I got older, stiffness has become a more desirable goal).
    You're not talking about bikes here, right?

    Anyway...

    Wow! I love seeing things that you don't see everyday and that bike is dripping with stuff that you just don't see. Off the hook!

    Grumps

  23. #23
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    Nice example of a nice looking bike.
    A bike by any other name is still a bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleCentury View Post
    ...Specialized FSX with custom internals made by Mark Winter of Rock Shox...
    Beautiful bike. Any pictures and/or details of these custom internals? I'm reworking a Mag 21 at the moment and would love to see what's going on inside those FSX's

  25. #25
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    Another great build, great skunks work bike

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