Introducing the new S-Works Epic Hardtail, the bike that Specialized claims to be the lightest hardtail frame in its range, although we're yet to test this claim ourselves.
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The bike occupies the niche vacated by the Stumpjumper hardtail, and comes in both a unisex and women's specific version, both priced at £6,200 with equal specs (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed).
Specialized claims the complete bike weighs in at 19.09lb/8.65kg (in medium), and that the main weight-saving comes from the frame. Specialized has used a size-specific FACT 11m carbon layup to shave off weight where it isn't needed, but without compromising on performance they claim. Based around an XC 29er geometry it features internal split-housing cable routing and a 12x148mm rear end.
Suspension comes via the Custom RockShox SID World Cup fork with 80, 90 or 100mm of travel, Solo Air spring and 15x110mm thru-axle.
The S-Works Epic HT World Cup sits firmly at the top of the range, with SRAM XX1 Eagle derailleur, shifters, crankset and chainrings with SRAM XG-1295 10-50t cassette. Royal Control SL 29er wheels are fitted with 2.2" width tyres and are tubeless ready. SRAM Level Ultimate hydraulic brakes combine carbon levers with titanium hardware, and 180/160mm front rower and 160mm rear rotor.
Finishing kit includes the Mini-rise FACT carbon bars in a 720mm width with 10mm rise, Syntace f109 31.8mm clamp stem, S-Works FACT carbon seatpost with 0mm setback and carbon rail clamps, plus a Body Geometry S-Works Phenom saddle in 143mm.
The Women's Specific S-Works Epic HT World Cup has very similar geometry to the unisex version, with the differences being the ever-so-slightly steeper seat tube angle of 73.9 degrees, compared to 74 degrees, as well as the narrower handlebar width at 700mm compared to 720mm on the unisex version. The bike also features a women's specific Rx tune on the RockShox forks, shorter cranks and a 28t rather than a 30t chainring size.
There are other differences in the finishing kit, such as the Women's Body Geometry Myth Expert Think 155mm saddle with hollow titanium rails. Aesthetically, there are minimal differences however across both versions with both coming in black with yellow decals.
The rest of the Epic HT range
The full range comprises three unisex and two female specific bikes.
The Epic HT Comp Carbon (Women's and World Cup versions) retails at £1,950 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed) and is constructed from FACT 10m carbon with Custom RockShox Reba RL forks — the women's specific version has Rx tune, Shimano Deore XT and SLX drivetrain with RaceFace Aeffect crankset and Shimano M506 hydraulic disc brakes.
Roval Control rims with a 21mm inner width are paired up with Specialized hubs, DT Swiss Com and Fast Trak Control tyres.
Sitting mid-range is the Epic HT Expert Carbon World Cup at £2,750, which combines a FACT 10m carbon frame, RockShox SID forks
The more accessibly priced Epic Comp Carbon rings in at £1,950 and features a different carbon layup, which makes it heavier than the S-Works but with the same frame geometry.