Today Specialized is showing off an all new Epic and Epic EVO with a completely redesigned frame. The Epic features 100mm travel front and rear with BRAIN technology, whereas the Epic EVO goes with a standard rear shock and 120mm front travel mated to 110mm rear.
All new geometry, a lighter weight, and increased stiffness are just a few things that have been improved. There is a big range in the spec and price, 5 sizes on offer and the flagship model coming in at 20.5 pounds for a size Large. All of that just scratches the surface – there is a lot more to the story. Follow along for more details below …
On the race specific XC bike, BRAIN technology is still present, although it has seen some revisions. If you’re unfamiliar, BRAIN is basically an automatic lockout which you never have to engage or disengage with your hands, thus saving seconds and keeping your attention on the trail ahead.
Compared to the previous version, this iteration of BRAIN has a firmer setting when completely closed and a less harsh transition between open and closed. Specialized claims to have tested it in the field for 1,850 hours without breakage. In any case those who buy an Epic are entitled to two years of maintenance on the BRAIN, included in the price. The recommended maintenance intervals are 125 hours for the air sleeve and 250 for the damper.
The fork is a Rock Shox SIDSL Ultimate 2021, which is also equipped with a BRAIN system, settable between 0-3omm, where by zero is a full lock.
The frame uses Specialized Fact11 Carbon Fiber construction. Compared to the last model, it’s lost 100 grams and Specialized is claiming a 15% increase in stiffness. As mentioned prior, the geometry has been made more progressive and modern with longer reach numbers, a slacker head angle and a short offset fork.
This is Specialized’s definitive aggressive cross country bike … downcountry … whatever you want to call it. The bike features a bit more travel and no BRAIN. Instead it features standard SID forks and shocks with a travel bump to 120mm front and 110mm rear. Compared to the XC race version of the Epic, the EVO is in fact 200 grams lighter as it doesn’t have the added material from the BRAIN system.
The ultra light carbon fiber rear shock yoke features the Specialized version of a flip chip which alters the head / seat angle by about half a degree and raises or lowers the bottom bracket by 6mm.