I've owned quite a number of bikes. With that, I have had the chance to feel major and minor differences in stiffness, carbon compliance, geometry and overall frame comfort. While I'm certainly grateful to be able to feel these differences, it has absolutely turned me into a critic, and I now demand perfection from the bikes I ride. Endurance mountain bike racing is not easy on the body either. 8 hours of racing, pushing, grinding, full gas. When I went looking for a bike that would help me perform at my highest level, I went to the Specialized S-Works Epic.
The Epic was not a hard decision. First of all, Specialized is the first company to have nailed down an aggressive 29er design that has a snappy wheelbase. If I'm not racing a hardtail, I don't want to feel like I am on a boat. The Epic still has a tight and quick geometry that makes cornering and technical sections easy.
Second, full suspension can be a major weight burden. Again, Specialized has created a bike that is easily down into the 23lb range and can go even further with a few adjustments. That is just incredible. The bike is lively and isn't a lead weight going up the climbs.
Third, the brain. This cannot be overstated. Having your suspension think for you is phenomenal. When I'm hammering at my limit, the last thing I want to think about is opening my rear suspension manually to hit a rock garden, or closing it to stand on a climb. Having the brain fluidly do all of that for me is the best. When my brain is occupied with railing the next turn, it is occupied! The Specialized brain technology is unparalleled.
Three simple reasons, but they make a huge difference over a long endurance mountain bike race like an NUE. The Epic is the fastest bike for those races, without a doubt, and I am so happy to be riding one.