The Specialized S-Works Epic 29
When Specialized slaps the “Epic” moniker on a model, it means one thing: “Wanna race?” The Epic models are synonymous with cross-country racing, but the growing popularity of long-distance and
multi-day cross-country races has created new demands on
equipment. The Specialized S-Works Epic 29 World Cup,
with its 1x11 drivetrain and steeper geometry, is intended
for traditional cross-country racing, while the Specialized
S-Works Epic 29, tested here, is decked out to meet the
demands of these longer distance races. The good news is,
this bike will make trail riders as happy as racers. Maybe
WHO IT IS MADE FOR?
The Specialized S-Works Epic 29 is made for long-distance endurance events. These can be one-day challenges
like the Leadville 100 or multi-day adventures like La Ruta
De Los Conquistadores. After months on this bike, however,
we realized that everything that makes it great for endurance racing makes it great for trail riding. The Specialized
S-Works Epic 29 brings versatility back to cross-country
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The S-Works Epic 29 uses Specialized’s latest twist on
carbon fiber. They call it FACT IS 11m carbon fiber, and it
is used for the frame and stays. All the FSR four-bar linkage
rear suspension pivots use sealed cartridge bearings. The
front derailleur is direct mount. The head tube is tapered,
and the fork uses a carbon crown and steerer tube. You get
a carbon PF30 bottom bracket, full internal shift cable and
brake hose routing, 142-millimeter dropouts, and a replaceable derailleur hanger.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
Got time to read a book? The Specialized S-Works Epic
29 is loaded from the tip of the front tire’s knob to the roost
coming off the rear tire with components that are not only
unique, they represent the best money can buy. Ready?
Specialized gives you carbon fiber rims, a RockShox fork
that has a Brain (we’ll explain that in a second) and supercool gradients to help set sag, S-Works tires, their own
FACT carbon crankset, a shock made by Fox for Specialized
with a Brain and AutoSag, Shimano XTR derailleurs and
brakes, a carbon fiber seatpost and handlebar, and a system
approach to trail assistance called S. W.A. T. (explained in
more detail below). Honestly, there is not a component on
this bike that can be upgraded. When you buy a Specialized
S-Works Epic 29, you are getting in on the top floor.
WHAT IS A SMART SHOCK?
The Specialized Mini Brain, connected to the shock via
a hose, is positioned on the left chainstay just in front of
the rear brake rotor. It uses an inertia valve to sense when
the rear wheel is taking a hit from the trail (as opposed to
the rider’s pedaling) and opens the shock’s damping circuit.
This keeps the suspension firm for pedaling and supple for
soaking up bumps. A Brain Fade adjustment allows riders
to dial in the point where the suspension becomes fully