Slim & Knobby's Bike Shop Blog
The Raciest Race Bike
Late last fall Specialized announced their latest carbon layup (12m) which they used to create the lightest bicycle frame they had ever designed, and to my excitement, it was a mountain bike! I became even more excited when they came out with a retro color scheme from one of Ned Overend's M2 race bikes in the early 90's. Despite having just purchased a Specialized Camber (which I absolutely love) I called Slim & Knobby's and ordered a 2018 Specialized S Works Epic Hardtail with SRAM Eagle drivetrain.
The first thing to note on this bike is the weight. After riding it for 6 months I am still surprised at how light it feels every time I grab it. With the SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Specialized Carbon Roval SL wheelset, and Fox's Float 32 Step Cast fork the bike weighs 18.5 lbs! That's probably 2 lbs lighter than any other mountain bike I have ever ridden. The lack of weight is immediately evident when you throw a leg over it. It surges ahead with every pedal stroke. Moving the bike around on the trail is effortless and climbing is a whole new experience.
In line with the trend in XC race bikes and more difficult courses the Epic Hardtail has a somewhat slackened head tube angle of 69.8 degrees, boost spacing in the rear and internal cable routing for a dropper post. The bike climbs like a billy goat and descends with confidence.
As I mentioned earlier, I also have a Specialized Camber which is an amazing bike, and you would think that with both bikes at my disposal the hardtail race bike would get passed up every ride. But I find myself frequently reaching for the hardtail. If the ride involves a lot of climbing, going with the fast guys in the valley, or any road sections I reach for the hardtail. Especially here in the Heber Valley, our trails just aren't that rough and the advantages of a hardtail, lighter weight, less maintenance, cheaper, makes sense. In fact, when people ask me what bike they should buy, I always recommend looking at a hardtail. I love mine.