Specialized jump in headfirst to the high-end 29er market with two new offerings: an aluminium Epic Marathon full-susser (below) and an S-Works carbon hardtail, unveiled at the Sea Otter Classic.
BikeRadar caught up with the company's global PR manager Nic Sims to learn more about the Epic Marathon.
The new 100mm-travel 29er shares many of the features of its 26-inch wheeled cousin – such as the inertia valve-equipped FlowControl Mini Brain rear shock, four-bar FSR suspension design and lightened M5 manipulated aluminium tubing – but with adjusted geometry to accommodate the bigger wheels.
Chainstay length is reasonably short and the head tube angle is steepened by about one degree to maintain reasonably speedy handling.
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Specialized have kept the standard version’s tapered steerer and head tube design by melding their existing FACT carbon fibre crown and steerer assembly to an otherwise-standard 100mm-travel RockShox Reba 29.
According to Sims, the hybrid creation yields additional stiffness and steering precision – crucial given the longer legs’ extra leverage relative to the 26-inch version – but also lightens things up by about 100g. Target weight for the complete Epic Marathon 29 will be around 11.3kg (25lb).
Likewise, the upcoming S-Works Stumpjumper HT 29 offers all of the performance features of the 26-inch one with no concessions made to fit the bigger hoops, including the same FACT 10m carbon construction techniques, carbon driveside and forged aluminium non-driveside dropouts, and FACT carbon crankset with integrated bottom bracket bearings.
As on the Epic, the hardtail melds a Specialized FACT carbon upper assembly to RockShox Reba uppers, lowers and internals. However, in keeping with Specialized’s other race-oriented hardtails, travel is limited to a custom 90mm. Target weight for the complete bike is 9.3kg (20.5lb).
Specialized plan to produce a limited run of singlespeed versions, but interested parties may want to act quickly – only 200 or so will be made.