Product Review | Specialized Epic Expert
Do you even need the S-Works level Epic? That is the question we are asking ourselves after riding the Epic Expert. Race ready, out of the box. All you need to do is throw on pedals and dial the suspension. Wal-lah!
Well for starters Specialized has moved away from FSR to single pivot suspension. This accomplishes a couple things. As XC courses are increasingly incorporating more downhill like features there is a growing need for XC bikes to have longer travel and more stable platforms. Basically the Epic frames have gotten longer and slacker. What this also accomplishes is some serious dieting. The 2018 Epic Expert reportedly loses 525g just in the frame!
We love the bass boat good looks of this gold/red paint scheme. 23lbs (medium) out of the box!
RockShox Specialized Micro Brain shock. 100mm of travel. There is a slight click or knock when the shock opens. Noticeable while riding pavement but not on the trail.
The brain is close to the axle for accuracy and responsiveness.
Four clicks and you go from firm to soft. The suspension really required some experimentation before we found the ride we were looking for. One downside is that both Brain adjusters are not able to be adjusted while riding the bike. You will need to stop. How cool would the Brain suspension be if you could adjust it from the cockpit.
We ditched the Fast Trak tires it came with. Although they are light racing tires our trails in NWA have a ton of rocks so tires need to have hardier sidewalls. We also wanted a bit more volume. The carbon Roval wheels are great. Running tubeless of course!
The eagle has landed! SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t. SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed.
Additional adds we made (did not come with the bike). Specialized continues to impress us with performance minded attention to detail. The XC Box holds a tube, air cartridge and lever. We have never been fans of saddle bags on MTB’s. Because of how much you need to move about. Getting that weight closer to the bottom bracket is nice. And you still can carry two bottles.
I spy, a multi-tool under that cage. Again, why not use these dead spaces for something useful and get weight closer to the bottom bracket.
HOW DOES IT RIDE?
If the goal for Specialized was to take this proven XC race frame (their most winning XC design) and improve its ability to roll the most techy lines while exuding confidence and stability to its riders, then mission accomplished. The bike is uber responsive and the handling is very precise, it just begs to be ridden all out on all types of trail. In fact, I continue to wonder how it would perform with a dropper post. With the 2018 Epic Expert Specialized continues its heritage of making the fastet XC bikes on the market. Now if we could just get the engine to perform on par with this bike! At 23lbs (medium) the bike is race ready. But don’t just take our word for it. Head on over to the The Bike Route and test ride one for yourself!
CHAIN – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed w/ PowerLink
BOTTOM BRACKET – SRAM GXP
CRANKSET – Truvativ Stylo, 6K alloy, Boost™ 148, 24mm spindle
SHIFT LEVERS – SRAM GX Eagle, trigger, 12-speed
CASSETTE – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
CHAINRINGS – Alloy Eagle 32T
REAR DERAILLEUR – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
FORK – RockShox SID 29 w/ Brain, tapered alloy steerer, bottom-adjust Brain Fade, Solo Air, 110x15mm Maxle® Stealth thru-axle, 100mm of travel, 42mm offset,
REAR SHOCK- RockShox/Specialized Micro Brain shock w/ Spike Valve, AUTOSAG, 51x257mm
FRONT HUB – Specialized, sealed cartridge bearing, 15x110mm spacing, torque caps, 32h
REAR HUB – Specialized disc, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm spacing, 32h
INNER TUBES – Standard, Presta valve
SPOKES – DT Swiss Industry, stainless, 2.0
RIMS – Roval Control Carbon, 22mm internal width, tubeless-ready
FRONT TIRE – Fast Trak, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29 x 2.3″
REAR TIRE – Fast Trak, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29 x 2.1″
SADDLE – Body Geometry Phenom Comp, Adaptive Edge design, Hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm
SEATPOST – Specialized, alloy, single bolt, 21mm offset, 30.9mm
STEM – Specialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
HANDLEBARS – Specialized Mini-rise, 7050 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 10mm rise, 720mm width, 31.8mm clamp
GRIPS – Specialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thickness
FRONT BRAKE – SRAM Level TL, hydraulic disc, organic pads, 160/180mm rotor
REAR BRAKE – SRAM Level TL, hydraulic disc, organic pads, 160 rotor
SEAT BINDER – Alloy, 34.9mm
FRAME – Specialized FACT 11m, full carbon frame, XC Geometry, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel