Just in time for race season, well my spotty race season anyway, a carbon form of beauty showed up for me test. The Epic Expert Carbon from Specialized is one lean and fast race machine with a FACT 9m carbon main triangle and M5 aluminum rear triangle. It has 100mm of front and rear travel with sealed cartridge bearings. Its quick, yet comfortable, handling characteristics are enhanced with a RockShox SID Race. Once I found the sweet spot for Specializedâ€™s proprietary shocks, I really began to enjoy this bicycle and turned my fastest lap aboard it at 12 Hours of Lodi Farms, a very tight and twisty racecourse. (I alternated between the Epic Expert and my 29er).
The FlowControl Mini BRAIN works in harmony with the FutureShock rear shock and FSR suspension for instant platform transitioning between fully active and firm. Iâ€™m running about 190psi in the FutureShock with a quick rebound, while the Mini Brain is about a full revolution and a half from firmest. Besides the suspension, what I like about this bike the most is the way that it can be pushed hard into the corners without breaking traction and itâ€™s ability to handle erratic weaving in and out of trees on super tight courses. I lost both bar plugs on my 29er during the race from clipping trees, but stayed clear of them with the Epic Expert. I did crash it though when my pedal caught a sawed off mini stump after a hard left turn. Hopefully that will be my only crash.
Hereâ€™s a quick list of size large geometry and components on this $5500 machine:
Top tube length: 24.2â€
Seat tube length: 19.01â€
Head tube angle: 70Â°
Seat tube angle: 74Â°
Chainstay length: 16.73â€
Rear Shock: Specialized FutureShock 100mm and FlowControl Mini BRAIN
Fork: RockShox SID Race 100mm
Wheelset: DT Swiss X420SL, DT Swiss 370 rear hub, Shimano Hi Lo Disc front hub
Tires: Specialized S-Works Fast Trak 26×2.0â€
Brakes: Avid Elixir R Carbon SL (185mm front rotor, 160mm rear)
Shift Levers: SRAM X-9 trigger
Front Derailleur: Shimano SLX
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X-0 9-speed
Crankset and Bottom Bracket: Shimano M762
Cassette: Shimano HG-61 11-34t
Handlebar: Specialized XC low rise
Stem: Specialized w/adjustable rise
Saddle: Specialized Phenom
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