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.
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.