Product Review | Specialized Epic Expert Evo
This is one fast and versatile mountain bike. The additional travel (120mm) fused with Specialized’s Brain (rear) suspension really work well together blurring the lines between XC/Trail. Whether you are going uphill or downhill one thing is for certain. You can go fast. Perfect for the XC rider who just wants that little bit more travel. Or the rider that loves long epic rides. Read on!
KEY THINGS THAT STANDOUT
Brain rear suspension. It works. One thing I do not like is a squishy rear end when going uphill. The Brain keeps that rear end stiff and efficient. Carbon Roval wheels. These wheels are fast. Really fast. Throw on the Ground Control Gripton tires and you’ve got wheels that spin up quick and track well. Dropper post. With the higher bottom bracket you might feel a bit high up but the dropper gives you the adjust-ability to get your weight closer to the frame.
Practically a hardtail when climbing. Spend some time dialing this in to your liking. It makes a difference. I’ve actually adjusted it during rides as the terrain changes. Really cool. The Brain only controls the rear shock on the Epic Evo.
Absolutely love these wheels. Specialized wheel tech has really upped their game across the board with Roval wheels.
Specialized tire game has always been strong. And the Ground Controls are no exception. We recommend throwing a Ground Control on the rear as well instead of the Fast Trak. Our trails here in NWA tend to produce a lot of flats so we went with the slightly thicker side wall of the Ground Controls front and back.
As our trail systems continue to evolve in NWA the downs continue to get longer and more techy lines are being added all the time. In the past I would have said droppers are not necessary. But they are REALLY nice to have now.
Easy fork adjustment. Open it up all the way or make it stiffer to total lock out. You might consider a remote lockout.
The SWAT box is great. No saddle bag needed. No tube/air/multi-tool filling up your jersey pockets. Also we like getting the weight of these items closer to the bottom bracket.
All you need. Wait, where is the multi-tool?
Right here! Brilliant.
HOW IT RIDES
XC or Trail? Kind of both but not extreme in either direction. Fun, fast and engaging this bike goes uphill like a dart and downhill like a missile. It is the perfect bike for long epic rides. The medium bike weighs in at 26lbs so again not heavy and not ultra light. Kind of the sweet spot for a versatile all day machine. I would have no issues lining this up at an XC race but I’m not going to be winning any gold medals either. For where I am currently as a rider this is probably the perfect bike. Now, go test ride one for yourself at The Bike Route!
BOTTOM BRACKET- SRAM DUB, threaded BB
CHAIN – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
CRANKSET – Truvativ STYLO, DUB
SHIFT LEVERS – SRAM GX Eagle, trigger, 12-speed
FRONT DERAILLEUR – Shimano Ultegra braze-on
CASSETTE – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
CHAINRINGS – SRAM Eagle, 32T
REAR DERAILLEUR – SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
FORK – FOX Step-Cast 34 Performance series, GRIP damper, 44mm offset, 15x110mm Kabolt thru-axle, 120mm of travel
REAR SHOCK – Custom RockShox Micro Brain shock w/ Spike Valve, AUTOSAG, 51x257mm
FRONT HUB – Specialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28h
REAR HUB – Specialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm thru-axle, 28h
INNER TUBES – Presta, 60mm valve
SPOKES – DT Swiss Industry
RIMS – Roval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, tubeless-ready
FRONT TIRE – Ground Control, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″
REAR TIRE – Fast Trak, GRID casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″
SADDLE – Body Geometry Phenom Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm
SEAT BINDER – Alloy, 34.9mm
SEATPOST – X-Fusion manic, 30.9mm, (S: 100mm, M-XL: 125mm)
HANDLEBARS – Specialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clamp
STEM – Specialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
GRIPS – Specialized Sip grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thickness
FRAME – Specialized FACT 11m, XC Geometry, Rider-First Engineered™, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel