We hinted last week in our initial assessment of the new Specialized S-Works Epic that the new Specalized S-Works Epic Evo, launched at the same time, would likely be a more appropriate, popular model in South Africa. Well, here’s the lowdown on why.
By Sean Badenhorst
Let’s be honest, a high-end, high-performance XCO bike is designed and tested in conjunction with the world’s best mountain bike racers. These are men and women (but usually men) that are younger than 35, super strong, highly skilled, carry minimal body fat, have the suppleness of a cat and get regular sports massages to iron out any aches and pains.
These are professional athletes that are so in tune with their equipment that they can tell when their tyre pressure is too soft or too hard just by how the bike feels five minutes into a ride. These are humans that won the genetic lottery, allowing them to have the commitment to train for up to five or six hours a day and the discipline to not gorge themselves on pizza and beer afterwards.
If this doesn’t sound like you, then the S-Works Epic is likely not the ideal bike for you. Go ahead and buy it though, but just know that Epic Evo might just be the perfect bike for the imperfect you.
While they both share the same DNA, the Epic got all the compliance genes, while the Epic Evo inherited the rebellion genes. Here are the main differences:
(TABLE BEST VIEWED LANDSCAPE ON MOBILE DEVICE)
|Rear triangle||No Brain shock||Brain shock incorporated||The Evo frame is lighter as a result and has a bit more tyre clearance|
|Rear shock||RockShox SID LUXE ULTIMATE, Rx XC Tune, Two Position, Rebound Adjust with 110mm travel
|RockShox-Specialized BRAIN, Rx XC Tune, 5 Position Platform Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Integrated Extension with 100mm travel||With no Brain shock on the Evo, you get to either have the shock open or closed. The Epic Evo has 10mm more travel than the Epic|
|Fork||Rockshox SID ULTIMATE, Charger Race Day Damper, Debon Air, 15x110mm, 44mm offset with 120mm travel||RockShox SID SL ULTIMATE BRAIN, Top-Adjust Brain damper, Debon Air, 15x110mm, 44mm offset with 100mm travel||The Epic Evo has 20mm more travel than the Epic|
|Headtube||66.5 degrees||67.5 degrees||The Epic Evo is one degree slacker than the Epic; and quite slack for a XC bike!|
|Stem length||60mm||70mm||The Epic Evo has a 10mm shorter stem, in keeping with trail-bike reach|
|Front tyre||Ground Control, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″||Fast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29×2.3″||The Epic Evo has the Ground Control model for more robust riding|
|BB||336mm||324mm||The Epic Evo has a lower BB for increased stability on descents|
|Seattube angle||74.5 degrees||75.5 degrees||The Epic Evo has a slacker seattube angle due to its slacker headtube angle and longer-travel fork|
|Seatpost||RockShox Reverb AXS, 30.9, 1X remote, (SM:100mm, M: 125mm, L-XL: 150mm travel)
|S-Works FACT carbon, 10mm setback, 30.9mm
|The Epic Evo has dropper seatpost, increasingly more accepted by the ‘marathon-racing masses’|
|Flip-chip||Present on the Epic Evo||None on the Epic||Flip-chip simplicity that allows riders to steepen the Evo’s headtube angle by half a degree while raising the bottom bracket height by 6mm
|Crankset||SRAM XX1 Eagle, Boost™ 148, DUB, 170/175mm
|QUARQ XX1 Eagle Power Meter, Boost™ 148, DUB, 170/175mm, 32t
|The Epic includes the Quarq power meter as standard – something pedigreed racers will appreciate|
|Weight||9.95kg (size M)||9.46kg (size M)||Although the frame is lighter, higher volume suspension and the dropper seatpost raise the weight of the Evo|
So, while the differences aren’t huge in each area, they add up, transforming the Epic Evo into a bike that’s likely more suited – for most committed amateurs – to longer rides or races, and stage races; i.e. the slightly ‘above-average’ South African mountain biker. Without the Brain shock, it’s likely to be more playful, with jump preloading unaffected and the geometry and additional travel to attack more gnarly descents with a higher level of confidence.
What’s impressive is that both the Epic and the Epic Evo come in an Extra Small. There are very few 29er full suspension brands that offer bikes in this frame size, so it’s worth appreciating if you’re a human that’s diminutive in stature but not in mountain biking ambition.
We’re looking forward to riding the two bikes ourselves on some popular South African trails in the near future to be able to give first-hand feedback and local reference, but in the meantime, our mates Mick and Wil at Flow Mountain Bike in Australia have compiled a super comprehensive review after riding both bikes before the launch. Check them out here:
The Epic Evo comes to South Africa in four models, starting at the top with the S-Works at R190 000 and tailing down to the Evo Pro (R140 000), the Expert (R110 000) and the Comp (R78 000). More detailed information of the new Specialized S-Works Epic Evo range here. https://www.specialized.com/za/en/shop/bikes/mountain-bikes/cross-country-mountain-bikes/c/mountaincrosscountry