The Epic started life as Specialized’s thoroughbred XC racer, but early models were criticised for the ‘spike’ you felt when the valve in the rear shock didn’t open quickly enough on the first bump of a rough trail section.
Refinement of the shock has smoothed out this problem, and it was great to have a machine that really did sprint up the smooth climbs, allowing you to stand without wallowing, but then open up and take the hits on the descents. But more noticeable are the small changes that turn this from a racer into an enduro event bike.
The growing popularity of marathon bike rides has seen demand soar for lightweight, shorter travel full suspension bikes that can still be ridden all day. The 2007 Epic is one such machine, with tough components and riser bars giving it a distinctly trail rather than race feel. It still rides fast, staying firm on the ups, and it’s easy to move around in the singletrack, but can still handle rough mountain terrain coming down. Fox forks and Juicy 5 brakes are impressive at the price point, with no obvious shortcuts elsewhere other than the mid-quality hubs and frustratingly tight rims.
In fact, the wheels are the only poor feature – the flat internal section of the rims means you can’t get enough slack on the tyre to lever it off or push it on with ease. A small point, perhaps, until you’re stuck in foul weather, fighting with your tyre after a puncture. The best solution is to swap to looser tyres – the Kevlar beaded Panaracers are good.
Apart from that, the Epic is a class act, doing everything well and backed up by the excellent service you get from Specialized in the UK.