The Epic FSR has pretty much won everything already
Specialized’s full suspension Epic is one of the most recognizable bikes on the XC scene, having won everything from the Olympics to the Cape Epic and numerous world cups.
With the old Epic, Spesh took the approach of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, leaving it unchanged for four whole seasons. In top-end race bike years that’s a hell of a long time.
For 2018, those cool cats from Morgan Hill have updated the Epic to match modern cross-country racing. This means longer reach and slacker geometry squeezed into a lighter overall build.
Specialized’s patented Brain technology has also been updated, with the automatic lockout system being slimmed down and moved closer to the rear axle. This should make it more sensitive to smaller hits and — we’re hoping — negate some of the clunk that Brains of yore have been known to exhibit.
Regardless, this is a bike you’ll most definitely be seeing at the front of many a race in 2018.
Nicolai’s XC bike steps away from the norm
Nicolai is well known for its polarising long and slack trail bikes, and it’s applied the same philosophy to this reincarnation of its classic Saturn.
The Saturn 11 raceline could be classed as the Swiss Army knife of XC bikes, meaning it’s designed to do much more than endless laps of your local race circuit.
As you’d expect from Nicolai, it’s plenty slack with a head angle of 67.6 degrees, however this has been combined with a steep seat angle of 74.5 degrees. The theory is this gives you the best of both worlds, with trail friendly handling that keeps you positioned over the bottom bracket for efficient climbing.
Being made from aluminium we don’t think you’ll be seeing a Nicolai on the podium at a world cup anytime soon, but if you want something that offers far more versatility, then it’s worth a closer look.
We know that the Edict is both fast and fun
At a glance, Felt’s new Edict looks more like a trail bike than a pure race bike. But don’t let your eyes fool you, this thing is designed for going fast up and down.
Just like every other new cross-country release it’s become a touch longer and a touch slacker, although, with a head angle of 70 degrees, still sits on the ‘euro-quick’ fringe of the handling spectrum.
That being said, lower tiered Edicts run a 120mm fork and 69-degree head angle, making for a more trail friendly, versatile machine if that’s your thing.
The early verdict from our veteran tester Guy Kesteven is that this is indeed a very fast and very fun bike, so we’re looking forward to spending more time aboard the Edict in 2018.