Q&A - Specialist Specialized

I've had a full suspension bike for some time, but lose a lot of efficiency on the flat stuff

Q. I've had a full suspension bike for some time, but lose a lot of efficiency on the flat stuff. I'm very keen on the rear suspension Fox Brain of the Specialized Epic Comp, but the bike's too pricey. Can you suggest an alternative bike with a similar smart rear suspension?

Danny Kitchener, via email

A. The 'smart' suspension of the Epic is unfortunately unique in its auto on/off behaviour. You can increase low speed compression damping or 'platform' effect on some shocks to stop bob on the flat, but that makes them less sensitive over small bumps. The only real cheap alternative is getting a bike or shock with lockout on that you can easily reach when you need to stiffen the bike up.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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