10 Aug 2018

Specialized have a magnificent cross-country race bike with the latest version of the Epic. But you can't race every day, and so in a bid to broaden the Epic's appeal, they've now got an Evo version too, with a longer travel fork, dropper post and meatier rubber. But does it successfully bridge the gap between race and play?

The not-so-minor details

Product

Specialized Epic Expert EVO

Price

7250

Weight

11800

Positives

Magnificent build quality.
Trademark Epic efficiency.
Top marks for overal singletrack handling.
Stiff, precise frame and wheels.

Negatives

Brain shock not ideal for trail riding in some regards.
Some components are a bit low-end for this price.

The Epic’s reputation for relentless XC performance is legendary. With the Brain shock out back delivering superb pedalling efficiency, it’s real race rocket. But because of this uncompromising suspension arrangement, it’s never been a very friendly bike away from the race track.


Watch our video review below!


With the EVO version, Specialized are hoping to capitalise on the latest Epic’s more relaxed geometry and stiff frame construction, and expand the bike’s appeal a little. Have they succeeded? Yes, and no.

While we were genuinely surprised with the confidence and technical abilities of this bike, the Brain shock is always there reminding you that this is really a race bike at the end of the day. Sure, you can dial the Brain all the way off, but then what’s the point?

As we explain in our video review, the best way we can describe this bike, is as a race bike for when you’re not racing.


Watch our First Impressions video here

Read our head to head review of the S-Works Epic vs Giant’s Anthem Advanced 0


One of the nicest, tidiest frames we’ve had on review for some time.
A longer travel fork and dropper post are the two most pronounced changes from the regular Epic.
The fork’s damper is smooth as butter, but hard impacts aren’t its friend. We’d add some volume spacers to help it resist bottoming.
We’d have no qualms about taking this bike racing, that’s still where its heart lies.
Maybe we’ve been spoiled by the performance of SRAM’s SwingLink equipped brakes, but the Level TL brakes felt wooden to us.