The Specialized Epic Comp Carbon made some of our testers want to don their favorite pair of race bibs and give Dave Wiens and Lance Armstrong a run for their money in the Leadville 100. But then they also just wanted to take it out for a trail ride. Check out our video discussion to find out why—and be sure to watch through the 4:00-minute point and let us know if our tester is pumping a shock pump or something else….


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Final Take: An affordable out-of-the-box, race-worthy rig that keeps getting better with age.

Specialized Epic Comp Carbon

Specialized Epic Comp Carbon

"It really doesn't get any more cross-country than this." That's what we could have said about last year's Epic, and then we would have been wrong. Specialized poured a lot of engineering resources into the 2014 Epic to further refine it into one of the most effective cross-country weapons available.

The entire Epic line benefits from a new frame design using a concentric pivot, which is more compact and results in better bump sensitivity. The design also leaves room for a revolutionary concept: two usable water-bottle mounts. These are also key players in integrating Specialized's SWAT (Storage, Water, Air, Tools ) system. The Epic Comp Carbon doesn't come with the SWAT kit, but it is SWAT-technology compatible.

Further enhancements were made to reduce the leverage ratio on the rear shock and to incorporate a new lighter tune for the Mini-Brain. The excellent job with the internal cable routing was also worthy of a group cheer.

The first thing all our testers said after returning from the test loop aboard the Epic was that it was fast. It's the kind of bike you want to put the wood to all the time, and it should be. After all, it's a race bike. That might justify shrinking the seat tube down to a dropper-post-unfriendly 27.2 size, but our testers agreed that this is an unnecessary limiting factor, despite its obvious racing intentions.

The lighter shock tune makes a difference—the transition between open and closed is much less shelf-like. We still ran the Brain open, partly due to the rocky terrain on our test lap, but also due to the nature of running an inertia-valve shock paired with a regular fork.

The Reba fork has a compression adjustment, but it still felt like the front and back ends weren't on the same page until they were both wide open. –Simon Stewart