Sea Otter 2009: Specialized Epic 29er Quick Ride Review

Specialized Epic 29, waiting to be ridden

I got a chance to swing a leg over the new Specialized Epic 29er at Sea Otter. Nic of Specialized was great. He spent a good twenty minutes talking about the bike and getting it set up for me. What he did not mention, and what I felt immediately and confirmed later, was that the bike was a size too small for me. I found out later that they had run out of my size.

Specialized’s own shock of course.

The Epic 29 is a full suspension horst link frame that uses the 2009 Reba with a customized Specialized crown and steerer tube. The crown and steerer tube changes make the Reba stiffer, but lighter, a great combination indeed.

Tapered headtube, with an internal headset to keep things down up front

Taking the Epic out on the test loop I immediately noticed it’s racy roots. The Epic 29 was fast bike with good handling. There were a couple of times when the handling may have been a bit too fast for me or I was just not used to it yet, and the smallest movement had me straying off the singletrack. Thankfully the brakes brought me back under control before I hurt myself and I was able to quickly get back on the trail without any issues.

I was also impressed with the out of saddle climbing as I was uanble to feel or see any pedal bob. There were short stretches of trail where I got out of saddle and hammered things out and the Brain did its job and limited bob. When I got a chance to open up the bike and speed along, the shock and Brain did their jobs in taking out some of the terrain’s edges.

In the short time I was on the Epic 29, I could definitely tell it was a race worthy 29er bike. It felt efficient when climbing and yet descended well on the non-technical open trail.

6 Replies to “Sea Otter 2009: Specialized Epic 29er Quick Ride Review”

  1. I’ll be in line for it in October, then!!! I’ve had a 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 29 & a 2005 S-Works Epic (26″)… If specialized can combine these two bikes… as far as I’m concerned there’s not a better bike out there!!!

  2. Too bad they did not have enough fore thought to do fox/specialized inertia valve technology for the front shock to make it a well balanced out rig. Most of your unwanted bob comes from the front. Also, to do a carbon s-works model. The front brain and full carbon body would make this a remarkably competitive entry into the new dual suspension 29ers coming out from Santa Cruz and Fisher.
    As it is….not so much.

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