sBC GPL Copper Mtn 2014

A lot of races have been won on a Specialized Epic. Just like the bikes, mountain bike racing continues to evolve with riders going elbow to elbow in short course races, or grinding it out in 12 & 24hr races or epics like the Leadville 100. In 2014, Specialized keeps the winning ways of the Epic, but diversifies the model into two different bikes – the Epic and the Epic World Cup. Epic is a 100mm travel endurance racer’s dream, while the 95mm travel Epic World Cup tightens things up to offer an explosive short course slaying machine.

There’s more to the new Epics after the break.

Fact 11m Carbon Frame Sworks Crank

In continued effort for lighter, stronger, faster, both Epic models see a new S-Works FACT IS 11M carbon frame along with updates to the rest of the line. Updates to the frame include a new concentric pivot shock linkage that improves suspension movement and offers better power transfer as well as internal cable routing, and the SWAT compatibility. Both frames continue the use of tapered head tubes, PF30 BBs, and 142mm rear spacing. The internal cable routing for Epics allows for cabling options for 1,2,3, or 4 cables or hoses depending on the need. Further differences between the two models includes shorter 439mm chainstays for the WC, in addition to a more aggressive WC tuned rear shock, compared to the XC race tune on the Epic.

S-Works models will be equipped with the new S-Works carbon crankset which runs 104 BCD standard chainrings with an integrated carbon spider. The crank is capable of running single or double ring set ups. One big difference between the Epic and the Epic WC other than travel and geometry, is the Epic WC does not have an option for a front derailleur – on the WC 1x drivetrains are your only choice.

New Brain

The Brain shock has always been a big part of the Epic line, and for 2014 the Brain gets smarter. The Mini Brain offers a new XC tune that is externally adjustable, along with Specialized’ Autosag feature to aid in set up. The new Brain moves to a kevlar hose and a new reservoir for a 25g weight reduction and 5 levels of Brain Fade adjustment.

Sworks Epic 29

Built on the new FACT IS 11M full carbon frame, the S-Works Epic 29 includes the full SWAT kit on a 100mm platform for all around riding/endurance racing. Suspension is handled with the Fox/Specialized Mini Brain with Autosag, Kashima Coat, and a lighter tune for better performance from open to close. At the front end a Custom Rock Shox SID World Cup fork includes a Brain Inertial valve, for an extremely light 100mm travel QR15 fork. Spec highlights include a Shimano XTR 10 speed drivetrain with new S-Works PF30 crank set up as 38/24, and XTR hydraulic brakes.

Retail: $10,500 complete, $5,500 frameset.

SWorks Epic 29 WC

The S-Works Epic 29 WC features a new FACT IS 11M full carbon frame with a massive chainstay for power transfer, and no front derailleur mount. A large weighs in at 19.9 pounds for a race ready rocket ship right out of the box. The S-Works Epic WC is SWAT compatible, but doesn’t include the SWAT kit, and has a longer top tube, tighter geo, and 5mm less travel than the Epic. The same Mini Brain Kashima coat shock is found, as well as the Custom SID, just at 95mm of travel. To keep weight as low as possible, the WC is equipped with Magura MT8 carbon hydraulic brakes and SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain driven by the S-Works crankset.

Retail: $10,500 complete, $5,500 frameset.

Roval Control SL 29 142+

Both the S-Works Epic and Epic WC roll on the new Roval Control SL 29 142+ carbon hookless wheels. Designed with XC racing in mind, the 1370g wheelset is built with tubeless ready carbon rims that use Specialized’ zero bead hook design for improved strength and impact resistance. The wheels roll on DT Swiss manufactured hubs with a 15mm/QR compatible front and 142+ only compatible rear. The rear hub uses DT 240 internals with their ratchet system and is compatible with SRAM’s XD Driver for XX1. Control SL wheels carry a rider weight limit of 240lb (108kg).

Epic Marathon Carbon 29Getting away from the S-Works models, the Epic Marathon Carbon 29 has an all new frame as well with the same SWAT kit, sealed cartridge bearings, and 142mm dropouts – only crafted from FACT IS 10M carbon with M5 alloy seat stays. The Mini Brain with Autosag gets the lighter 2014 tune, but forgoes Kashima coat to lower the price. At the front, another custom Rock Shox SID fork with Brain inertia valve provides 100mm of travel. The Epic Marathon rolls on carbon wheels as well, but drops the SL model for the Roval Control Carbon 29 142+ hookless wheelset with DT Swiss internals. A SRAM X0 2×10 drivetrain with S-2200 38/24 carbon crank propels the bike while Magura MT6 brakes slow it down.

Retail: $7,250

Epic Expert Carbon WCHighlights of the Epic Expert Carbon WC include a new FACT IS 10M carbon frame with M5 seat stays, SWAT compatibility, 142mm dropouts, and again no front derailleur and 95mm of travel. Suspension includes the Mini Brain and Brain equipped SID with 95mm travel. Bringing the price of 1×11 drivetrains down, the bike features the new X01 drivetrain with an S-2200 carbon crank. Roval Control Carbon 142+ hookless wheels keep things rolling.

Retail: $6,750

Epic Expert Carbon 29

The Epic Expert Carbon 29 rolls with an all new FACT IS 9M carbon frame with M5 chain and seat stays, SWAT kit, 142mm dropouts, and 100mm travel. Again, the squishy bits are the Fox/Specialized Mini Brain remote shock and Brain equipped Rock Shox SID. More carbon wheels here, again with the Roval Control Carbon 142+. The drivetrain is a mix of a SRAM s-2200 carbon 28/24 crank and Shimano XTR Shadow Plus 10 speed derailleurs.

Retail: $6,300

Epic Comp Carbon 29

One last carbon bike, the Epic Comp Carbon 29 features a FACT IS 9M carbon main frame with M5 seat and chainstays, with SWAT compatibility, 142mm dropouts, and 100mm travel. The Comp carbon receives the Mini Brain rear shock, but receives a standard Reba RL fork up front. Roval 29 alloy wheels with Specialized hubs provide the rolling, with a Shimano XT Shadow plus drivetrain and SRAM S-1250 double crank. Formula CR1 brakes provide the stopping power.

Retail: $4,200

Epic Comp 29

Finally, the Epic Comp 29 rounds out the line with an all new M5 alloy frame with 142mm dropouts and 100mm travel. The Epic Comp is equipped with the new Mini Brain, but like the model above forgoes the brain equipped fork for a Rock Shox Reba RL. The drivetrain is a 2×10 affair with a mix of SRAM X7, X9 type 2 rear derailluer, and an S-1250 alloy crank. Roval 29 Alloy wheels are slowed with Formula CR1 Brakes.

Retail: $3,300

 Epic Geometry




  1. one might understand that the s works can go from maybe 22lbs last year down to 21lbs this year by making it 1×11, and tightening up the geometry. But how the hell did it drop 2lbs?? 19.9lbs?? that’s lighter than most race ready hard tails.

  2. did i read that right?? the expert non wc has what appears to be the same drive train and a nicer frame than last year AND comes with carbon wheels?? for $6300?

  3. I like the Epic updates with the extra bottle mount and weight loss. It’s a shame there’s that whole money thing keeping me away from them.

  4. epic + improvements= turd polishing

    single pivot design(concentric pivot? barely 1mm concentric does not count) even with a brain is still either stiff suspension(good pedaling, bad riding) or soft suspension(good riding, bad pedaling).

    you still cannot get both unless you are stepping up to a updated design like the jet9 that you can set a active suspension with almost no pedal bob.

    why spend sooo much money on a bike that just does not deliver?

  5. @askar larkinyar

    Horst Link =/= Single Pivot

    Small adjustments in shock tune/pivot placement make a HUGE difference as far as suspension performance goes, there aren’t just two options… and while I am not the biggest fan of the Brain myself… I can definitely see the merits of it for racing.

    There’s a reason why so many companies still using various version of the Horst Link on their bikes. It’s still relevant and still works well.

  6. Just think how sweet and light these bikes would be with 27.5ers! Ha! Ooops sorry, Spesh & its fanboyz have the thinnest of skin and fattest of wallets.

  7. @askar larkinyar

    You need to re-read the Wikipedia page on Suspension before you come on here and sound like a clown.

  8. Wish they would consider a larger ‘xl’ size, or an XXL option. The current xl is a hard fit for us taller guys (6’4”).

  9. @mark


    If you want to buy a motorcycle full of carbon fiber and titanium, I’m pretty sure that you are looking at a bit more than $10k.

  10. @ Everyone who doesn’t understand why people hate Specialized bicycles.

    Some people just don’t have the ability to recognize awesomeness.

    Even if it hit them in the face.

  11. I like the new Epic but can’t figure out why they still go with 142+. Most people can’t afford the top of the line Epic and generally buy the cheaper one along with a race wheelset. The rear derailleur is off by 2mm which means a worse chainline and constantly fiddling around with derailleur adjustment if you buy a wheelset other than Specializes 142+. (i.e. Stans Crest) Just plain stupid.

  12. @Erik: Non-standard proprietary bull—- is one of the reasons not to buy Specialized. Another ones are their questionable business ethics, litigious nature, and patent trolling.

    Not a bad bike.. but for the money… no.

    • @Chief – yeah, it is quite pricey, but note that price is for the frameset. So it at least includes the custom Rock Shox SID World Cup with the Brain damper, and tapered Carbon Steerer. Also a seatpost, BB, and headset.

  13. @Mindless

    Confused about what is so “proprietary” on the Epic or Specialized Branded components. I know two water bottles on a FS bike on any size over medium sucks right that would be proprietary since no one else is pulling that off right now.

    Let’s begin:

    -BB/Crank: standard PF30 BB Specification. Run whatever BB30 crank you want (or run the threaded BB adapters they sell for $10 and run any Shimano, SRAM, or any other ~24mm spindled cranks). Or buy a Specialized Crank. The standard (older) carbon cranks can run any of four different spiders (all offered by Specialized seperate of the cranks): One that is triple compatible, one that is 74/110mm compatible, one that is 80/120mm (SRAM XX) compatible, and an 88mm XX1 compatible model. Or buy the new crank that is compatible with a double format 64/104mm BCD (which can run either standard rings, or X01 rings, or Race Face, Narrow Wide, Wolftooth…list goes on).

    Sounds like two cranks that are insanely verstile and not “Non-standard proprietary bull”. And basically any other crank that is currently being sold on the market.

    Moving on…

    -Headset/fork: Compatible with any tapered (or straight 1.125in with appropriate adaptable crown race) forks. Framesets come with fork, but you can sell it and get another one. Headset bearings are standard FSA units.

    Again proprietary what?

    – Wheels: Ok so some of you might have a point with the 142+ chainline argument. But wait!? They sell their carbon and aluminum wheels in either 135mm, or 142mm+ and you can run either in their frames! You don’t say?! What comes with the standard 135mm carbon wheelset(s). Let’s start the list (at no extra charge and $1700 with lifetime warranty BTW): 100/135mm QR Axle endcaps with Ti skewers, 100x28mm OS endcaps (ok kind of dumb), 15mm thru axle endcaps, 20mm thru axle endcaps (with Trail front hubs/wheels) standard 142mm endcaps. That is a ton of options included. Look up retail on all of those from DT Swiss. Compile that. Seriously. Think that one through.

    Proprietary what again?

    – Suspension: ok you win on the rear (and rear only!) shock. Can’t replace it with another unit due to the clevis mounting design.

    – Brake mounting: Post Mount front and rear. Nothing going on there that is proprietary.

    Throw some other senseless, uneducated banter around. I am willing to reason with fact. Not lack of knowledge. Throw some actual proprietary to “Specialized” stats back at this post.

  14. @Just Saying: Yes, you are confused.

    What is proprietary? Shock, hubs, cranks is enough. And that is just one reason not to deal with them.

  15. that chainstay omg. SWAT is hot, though. Why wouldn’t somebody want this bike if they don’t need lots of travel and have the money? I bet that it feels more natural to a noob than a stumjumper. I just wish there was a way to take the brain off the back, but I’m not a racer.

  16. I love the armchair engineers. Mindless I’m guessing you have years of frame, suspension and cycling engineering design and testing experience right? In particular more expertise than all the lazy workers over at Specialized right?

    Basically what I am saying is shut up and ride.

  17. We’ve been selling specialized bicycles for years. Some cannot handle the fact that whenever there is a poll asking “What bicycle brand you prefer ?”, Specialized comes first.

  18. It sucks being middle class….that S-Works bike is something I will never be able to afford. O well….if you have the cash, go for it. Look amazing though!

  19. @Vassilis K. I’m not Specialized fan, but you are true, If you want to check the Poll in Pinkbike page, the people choose Specialized by high margin over any other brand, I was wondering why, maybe models and variety, just my opinion. By the way I just enjoy seeing how the tech is going in designs. Cheers

  20. Specialized makes great bikes, obviously. However, from a bike shop stand point, they are difficult to work with. They want ALLLLLL of the floor space.

  21. I hate those Toyota guys, bringing new cars to market, having people buy them and be happy driving them. Occasionally even being innovative. Winning races with their fancy engines. Wouldn’t win any races if they didn’t pay for the best racers and sponsor top teams. And the recalls! Why would anyone pay ridiculous money for their cars? They should be like me and buy GM; GM brings new cars to market, people buy them and are happy driving them. They sponsor teams. And their recalls have much better PR. At least there’s no fancy pneumatic tires, I use regular air in mine. Much better. Now if only people would stop buying Toyota then they’d see how much better my choice is.

  22. there is good and bad with any of it. At the end of the day our wallets or opinions can’t buy any of us skill and flow no matter what. enjoy the lap dance for what it is. you too, mindless.

  23. new Control SL’s aren’t really new. don’t believe the hype. 2013 Control beadless rim + 2012/13 Control SL hubs = 2014 Control SL

  24. @Pete, I believe that the rim is 100% new. It has a new profile that has a smoother transition in to the sidewall.

    Also the front hub appears to be completely redesigned. New larger bearing along with a new “Labyrinth” seal to keep pressure washers out.

    The wheels also get new lower spoke counts.

    the the Roval Control Carbon used on the Epic Expert is a carry over from last year. Still good wheels for $1200 in the aftermarket though…

  25. @payitforward do you have a link to the new Control SL’s features? I see what you mean. It’s a more rounded profile and at least a different finish layup. A larger bearing would be fantastic as the 6704 lacks durability and lasts only a few rides. I’m not too sure going to a lower spoke count is a good idea. I just popped a rear spoke literally just riding around and I’m only 125 lbs.

  26. Entertaining read, mostly the comments.
    @ Mindless, wow you really have a grudge against Specialized.
    I can understand wanting to stay with older “standard” parts on some bikes but good God do you have any idea the kind of amazing technology Specialized has brought to the biking world.
    Comments of price being an issue are understandable, seriously Epics start off at $3,300 for 2013.
    But look what they run on these bikes; most companies don’t run this kind of high end component groups or even attempt to create this many options for a high end race bike. It takes some balls as a company to bring this kind of tech to market.

    @Just Saying, you know your stuff, nice comments.

    @askar larkinyar, I’ve seen multiple Jet9s come around for “chain suck” issues and a couple guys trade them off for the Epic and come back saying it’s not a comparison, just so you get it that means they would never go back to the Niner… and why is it bike companies are still purchasing the rights to use FSR setups? Clearly a sign of a poor design… love that argument.
    If you ridden an Epic you should have tride a mid-range setting on the mini Brain to give you a little softer ride if you don’t enjoy the more firm climbing ride, heck I’d open it all the way and still get less pedal bob if it’s set up to the correct air pressure/rebound.

    At the moment I don’t ride a Specialized but all I think about is getting an Epic as a second full suspension bike so I don’t have to travel so far to have as much fun as I do on my Tallboy LTC.

    …and to think I didn’t want to get sucked into a debate about bike tech tonight, some people just draw it out of me.

  27. @ Zach Overholt: So, it seems you get a rockshox SID with the frame. Say that fork is worth at most, 1000 bucks. The rest of the moving parts, 500. That’s 4 g’s for a frame. Too much, in my opinion. The question is, does all that extra cash buy you more performance than a comparable bike from say, Niner or Pivot? Can’t see that FSR link having any sort of stiffness advantage over the DW link or VPP rear ends.

  28. I ride an Epic Comp 29 ’11 and couldn’t be happier with it.

    I’m quite sure there are “better” suspension designs, if better means more supple performance or longer travel or something else in that direction. However the Epic is most fundamentally a racing platform. I consider my Epic to be a hardtail with benefits. I can adjust the brain just so that it won’t bob under heavy pedaling, yet it saves my back from cracking in the technical terrain. And I don’t have to give it single thought while riding, just concentrate on going fast.

    Proprietary parts are virtually non-existent. My current wheelset is a Mavic Crossmax SLR with a 12×142 rear-axle. Works like a charm. The brain shock is of course proprietary because it is a part of the frame’s suspension linkage. I’m quite sure the engineers at Specialized have given it a lot more thought than I have. Why would I want to replace it? If it breaks down, I’ll call my dealer for a yearly service, take the shock to them and get a factory serviced shock in return. And this happens for the price of regular shock maintenance. Couldn’t ask for a better service.

    The only problem with my current Epic is the lack of a drainage hole underneath the bottom bracket. Basically after a good wash I have to remove the seat post and let the bike hang from the front wheel to get the frame dry, inside and out. And a carbon frame would be a lot sexier. If I only could come up with a proper reason for upgrading.

  29. I’m with mindless. But for different reasons. What gives Spez such a crap reputation IS its fanboys. I’d wager that most s-works epics are ridden by overweight middle-aged men who pose more outside coffee shops than sctually spend time on trails.

    That, and they haven’t really done anything original in a long, long time. Putting bigger wheels on an existing model doesn’t count.

  30. @Jugi I rode an S-Works Epic demo at a 3 day, 260 km event, first time ever I had ridden a Specialized. As you say, a hard tail till you need it, just get on it and enjoy the ride. I can’t imagine there can be a better bike out there. I know absolutely nothing about the technical side of bikes, just what helps me enjoy my rides. They are damned expensive though. The proof of how good my partner and I thought they were, is we have both bought Epics since the May event.

  31. I have an S-Works Epic 2013 (SRAM). Couldn’t be happier. I was a Trek rider before this (Fuel EX 9.9).. the Trek is fantastic, but as an older (48yo) racer, the Epic has the best of all worlds. Allows me to keep up with the younger guys and remain competitive! Damned Strava;)

What do you think?