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.
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.
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.